Can a religious therapist refuse to treat gay and lesbian clients?

Homosexuality symbolsIn 2009, Julea Ward, a counseling student at Eastern Michigan University, was in her school-assigned practicum when she was assigned a same-sex couple for treatment. She went to her supervisor and said she could not provide treatment to the couple, citing a conflict with her religious beliefs. The couple ultimately was assigned to a different counselor at the same agency, who did not have the same conflict. Ward thought she had handled the issue appropriately, as the clients received the treatment they had sought and she was not put in a position of needing to hide or compromise her beliefs. She understood the issue to have been successfully resolved.

Her graduate program, however, did not.

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Prologue: A poem for new grad students

Pen balletI wrote this poem several years ago, and republish it each fall as a welcome to students beginning their graduate studies in the mental health professions.

Every fall, the universities where I teach enroll dozens of new students into our family therapy programs. Our new students tend to be immensely talented, and many of them (as at any school) are also immensely anxious as they begin their journey.

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“Deferred tuition” is betting against yourself

Matthew Henry / Burst / Used under licenseA few years ago, I wrote about income share agreements. ISAs are a novel way of financing higher education. Under this model, rather than paying tuition, a student agrees to pay a percentage of their future earnings back to whatever entity agrees to finance the person’s education now. It’s now called deferred tuition, and it’s still a bad idea.

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New California MFT Law & Ethics Exam Prep and 12-hour CE

Matthew Henry via Burst / Used under licenseA California MFT Law & Ethics Exam prep course is supposed to give you a good, broad overview of the legal and ethical standards for MFT practice — just like a 12-hour law and ethics CE course should. And if a 12-hour law and ethics CE course is good, it should leave you well-prepared to take the exam. So we made them the same.

We’re proud to announce the launch of our new California Law and Ethics for Marriage and Family Therapists course. It’s Law & Ethics Exam prep and 12 hours of continuing ed, rolled into one.

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The benefits of COAMFTE accreditation for MFT students

Shopify Partners / Burst / Used under licenseWith the exceptions of California and possibly Texas, around the US most graduate degree programs in marriage and family therapy are accredited through the Commission on Accreditation for Marital and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). Of the 80 or so license-eligible MFT programs in California, only a handful are COAMFTE-accredited MFT programs. Without some background on professional accreditation and what it means, it is perfectly reasonable for prospective MFT students to wonder whether the benefits of COAMFTE accreditation are worth the added challenge of seeking out an accredited program.

Not everyone needs or will especially benefit from attending an accredited program. MFT programs that are not specifically accredited are still generally housed within accredited universities, making their degrees eligible for licensure. (More on that below.) But there are at least four areas where the benefits of program accreditation are likely to be significant for many students:

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