“Becoming a Marriage and Family Therapist: 24 Essays” available now

My new book offers straightforward, practical guidance on becoming an MFT and developing in the family therapy field.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Becoming a Marriage and Family Therapist: 24 Essays by Benjamin E. Caldwell, PsyDThe book is mostly a collection of the most popular posts from this blog, though it concludes with a special essay about the future of the field for those just at the beginning of their careers in it. That essay is less a crystal ball and more a call to action (emphasis added):

The more I learned about the history of marriage and family therapy, the more I came to see its early trailblazers as activists and rebels. We would not even have a profession of family therapy if the Virginia Satirs, Murray Bowens, or Jay Haleys of the world had been satisfied with the status quo. The future of family therapy depends on the next generation of MFTs being similarly unsatisfied with simply following in the footsteps of those who came before. We need loud, passionate voices who share their views beyond their clinic walls. We need loud, passionate voices who know that improving the health of individuals means working to change relationships and families, and that improving the health of families means working to change communities and societies. And we need loud, passionate voices who know that creating change – doing therapy – works differently on those different levels.

It’s worth reading. The whole thing is. It makes an especially good gift for those new to the MFT profession or considering becoming a family therapist. But, of course I would say that. I’m biased.

“24 Essays” is available now for Kindle (and less than 10 bucks!), which has the added benefit of preserving all the active links from the original blog posts. Additional formats to come in the next few weeks; rather than do a separate post each time a new format becomes available, I’ll simply announce them on my Facebook page and my Twitter feed.

Yes, Tweets can be considered advertisements

For California therapists promoting their practices on Twitter, there isn’t enough room to include legally-required disclosures on every tweet. Here’s what to do.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Twitter is a web site that allows for “micro-blogging,” or posting of messages that are 140 characters or less. Because of Twitter’s open and social nature, it can be a good platform for sharing news about your practice. However, as you can imagine, 140 characters is often not enough room to include both your legally-required disclosures and whatever meaningful content you had hoped to include in a post on the site (otherwise known as a “tweet”).

If you are an LMFT, LPCC, or LCSW in California (other state laws vary), you can advertise your practice on Twitter, you just need to use caution in doing so. The California Board of Behavioral Sciences reported in a committee meeting that they had consulted with legal counsel on therapists’ use of Twitter [page 6 of linked PDF]. If the BBS were to receive a complaint about such advertising, they said they would consider advertising “as a whole.” In other words, if your tweet only links to your web site, they would consider the tweet and the site together. As long as a potential client must have seen your legally-mandated disclosures in at least one of those places, you should be safe.

Another way to think of it is, do NOT include any direct contact information – like your phone number, email address, or office location – in a tweet or on your Twitter profile. If you do that, a potential client could come to you just from the tweet, never having seen your required disclosures. Instead, make sure your Twitter profile and individual tweets ONLY include a link to a web site or other resource where you do meet all of California’s advertising standards.

Standard caveat applies here: I’m not a lawyer, so if you are in need of legal advice, this isn’t that. Talk with someone who has actually, like, gone to law school. I’m giving my best clinician’s understanding of both the law and what the BBS has said about it.