The good folks at AAMFT kindly invited me to join Executive Director Tracy Todd for a live Twitter chat last Thursday, focused on possible solutions to some of the challenges today’s family therapists face (and that I discuss in Saving Psychotherapy). Here’s how it went!
As tremendously effective as psychotherapy is, and as much as we try to help out students and new professionals, there are some things about working in this field that we don’t eagerly share. It’s not that we don’t want you to know, necessarily, it’s just… these things don’t look so good.
Here are three secrets we keep about the world of therapy. Each one is true, even if we don’t talk about them much.
A few weeks ago, I sat down with John Webber and RJ Thomas from the popular Talking Therapy podcast. We talked about license exams, the high cost of becoming a therapist, the importance of measuring outcomes, my book Saving Psychotherapy, and a lot more. It’s a wide-ranging interview, and I hope you find it interesting and informative.
My new book, Saving Psychotherapy, will be officially released September 22 [Update: Here it is!]. An edited excerpt about licensing exams is available here. Another excerpt focused on student debt appeared in the January/February 2015 issue of AAMFT’s Family Therapy Magazine (it starts on page 26).
I could spend a lot of time convincing you why you should read the book, but I think these two charts will be sufficient.
Note: The following is an edited excerpt from Saving Psychotherapy: How therapists can bring the talking cure back from the brink. You can buy it on Amazon.
Licensing exams do not assess your effectiveness as a therapist. They aren’t meant to. That bears repeating: License exams do not assess your effectiveness as a therapist. They are a licensing board’s best effort at assessing whether you have the minimal knowledge (not skill, knowledge) to be able to practice independently without being a danger to the public. That’s all. When therapists decry the fact that license exams are nothing like doing therapy, they’re right – and their point isn’t relevant. Exams aren’t supposed to be like therapy. If you want to know how good you are as a therapist, look elsewhere, because exams are not and are not intended to be a barometer of clinical effectiveness. They are a somewhat crude assessment of safety for independent practice.
With that aim in mind, do they work? Do licensing exams make therapists safer?
There’s remarkably little data to answer that question.