What is a Marriage and Family Therapist?

Marriage and Family Therapists are mental health counselors or psychotherapists.  As defined by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (http://www.camft.org), Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) are relationship specialists who treat persons involved in interpersonal relationships. Marriage and Family Therapists are trained to assess, diagnose and treat individuals, couples, families and groups to achieve more adequate, satisfying and productive marriage, family and social adjustment. The practice also includes premarital counseling, child counseling, divorce or separation counseling and other relationship counseling. Marriage and Family Therapists are psychotherapists and healing arts practitioners licensed by the State of California. Requirements for licensure include a related doctoral or two-year master’s degree, passage of a comprehensive written and oral examination and at least 3,000 hours of supervised experience.

What is a Marriage and Family Therapist-Intern?

Marriage and Family Therapist-Interns have received their Master of Arts degree in Psychology with emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy.   As part of the licensing requirement, The California Department of Consumer Affairs, Board of Behavioral Sciences requires that to qualify to take the board exam, candidates must have accumulated at least 3,000 hours of practice.  Prior to eligibility for board examination and post-Master’s degree, Marriage and Family Therapists are known as “Intern” and, to practice, must be under the supervision of a licensed psychologist, MFT, or MSW who are, in turn, must be eligible to supervise interns.

Franco E. Santos is an intern registered with the The California Department of Consumer Affairs, Board of Behavioral Sciences with Registration No. IMF 61114.  Franco E. Santos, M.A., is supervised by Dr. Jo Anne Kaplan, a registered psychologist with License No. PSY 17126.

What is a Marriage and Family Therapy Trainee?

The California Department of Consumer Affairs, Board of Behavioral Sciences requires MFT candidates to “While enrolled in a qualifying degree granting institution, a MFT student gains hours as a MFT Trainee at school approved sites.” This means that Master’s degree candidates must work in a community health agency for a number of client face-to-face hours (different universities require different number of hours of face-to-face client interaction) before the candidate can be conferred a degree in Master’s of Arts in Psychology, Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT).

How do I verify if a Marriage and Family Therapist is licensed?

To verify the status of a Marriage and Family Therapist’s license as well as infractions and disciplinary actions, please visit the Board of Behavioral Sciences’ (BBS)  Online License Verification website at http://www.bbs.ca.gov/quick_links/weblookup.shtml.