AAMFT MEMBERSHIP GUIDELINES POLICIES, STANDARDS, REQUIREMENTS AND APPLICATION PROCESSES. Last Revised: January 2012

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1 AAMFT MEMBERSHIP GUIDELINES POLICIES, STANDARDS, REQUIREMENTS AND APPLICATION PROCESSES Last Revised: January

2 TABLE OF CONTENTS Standards at a Glance 3 Clinical Fellow Definition and Process 4 Member Definition and Process 6 Pre-Clinical Fellow Definition and Process 7 Associate Member Definition and Process 9 Student Member Definition and Process 10 Affiliate Member Definition and Process 11 Clinical Fellow Membership Evaluative Requirements 12 Pre-Clinical Fellow Membership Evaluative Requirements 14 Commonly Asked Questions 15 Addendums 1. AAMFT Bylaws as of January 1, Marriage and Family Therapist Independent Licensure Titles in the US 3. Psychology Independent Licensure Titles in the US and Canada 4. Counseling Independent Licensure Titles in the US and Canada 5. Social Work Independent Licensure Titles in the US and Canada 6. Nurse Practitioners Scope of Practice Chart in the US 7. Revised Statement of Ethics Statements as of January

3 2012 STANDARDS AT A GLANCE Student Can hold student membership for 5 years then must transfer to next level or if not ready for next level they can either provide documentation to request an extension to complete, current and ongoing studies or transfer to Affiliate Graduate working towards LMFT license Graduate not working toward LMFT license Have an LMFT License Licensed in another discipline w/o LMFT, but carries license in recognized mental health profession recognized by the AAMFT Board Not licensed in mental health field, discipline recognized by the AAMFT Board or eligible for any other AAMFT member category Pre-Clinical Fellow (licensure or evaluative track). Can apply for Affiliate Member if not qualified based on Evaluative Track Application (members under this category can hold membership for 5 years then must transfer to next level (Clinical Fellow) of if they are not ready they will transfer to Affiliate Membership Associate Member (licensure track only there is no evaluative track for this category) AAMFT must be able to document mental health licensure sought (other than an LMFT) Clinical Fellow (licensure or evaluative track). AAMFT must be able to verify MFT license or applicant must provide sufficient documentation including qualify degree, documentation of clinical hours, etc to offer Clinical Fellow membership Member licensure track only. there is no evaluative track for this category) AAMFT must be able to document mental health licensure held (other than an LMFT) Affiliate Membership 3

4 A Clinical Fellow Is: Clinical Fellow membership is the credentialed level of membership in the AAMFT. Clinical Fellows have met the rigorous standards of training in marriage and family therapy and are recognized worldwide for these standards. There are two tracks that will allow one to become a Clinical Fellow in the Association. Description of Application Process: The licensure track is designed for individuals submitting proof of current licensing or certification as a marriage and family therapist in states or provinces with licensing or certification laws approved by the Board, under criteria established by the Board. The evaluative track is designed for individuals submitting proof of current licensing or certification in a mental health field other than MFT, who also meet our evaluative standards for the clinical fellow category. Complete the application Proof of current license or certification in a mental health field other than MFT. Submit proof of current and active MFT license Agreement to abide by the AAMFT Code of Ethics A **qualifying graduate degree** from a regionally accredited institution COAMFTE degree automatically accepted. Completion of 11 specific courses that cover 5 different topic areas (Marriage and Family Studies, Marriage and Family Therapy, Human Development, Research Methods, and Professional Ethics), COAMFTE accredited program graduates do not need to document courses. Supervised client-contact practicum hours requirement (Minimum of 300 client contact hours and minimum of 1 year of direct client contact.) COAMFTE practicum automatically accepted. At least 2 years of post-graduate experience which includes 1000 hours of client contact concurrently completed with 200 hours of supervision with an AAMFT Approved Supervisor (or someone who meets equivalent criteria) of which at least 100 of the supervision hours must be individual. Agreement to abide by the AAMFT Code of Ethics 4

5 **Please note that in order for a degree to be considered as a qualifying graduate degree it must be an integrated course of study which must include at least one (1) completed course applicable to each of the five (5) educational requirements. The five areas are: Marriage and Family Studies Marriage and Family Therapy Human Development Professional Ethics in Marriage and Family Therapy Research **For Canadian Applicants: in order for a degree to be considered as a qualifying graduate degree, the school needs to be BOTH affiliated with the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) or be affiliated with an AUCC accredited college or university, and fulfill the aforementioned educational requirements. **For Overseas Applicants: in order for a degree to be considered as a qualifying graduate degree, the program needs to be BOTH determined by a credentialing service (member of NACES) to be equivalent to a US graduate degree, and fulfill the aforementioned educational requirements. 5

6 A Member Is: Members of the Association shall have attained and hold a current independent (private) practice license in mental health field other than an MFT, as defined by the Board that legally authorizes you to provide services to individuals, couples and families. **If your province and/or country (excluding the United States) does not regulate licensure or certify mental health professionals you should apply under the Affiliate Membership category. There is no evaluative process for this category. Description of Application Process. An individual who holds a current mental health license other than MFT in a US state or territory at the highest level that can be documented and verified in one of the following mental health disciplines: Clinical Psychology, Psychiatry, Social Work, Mental Health Counseling, Professional Counseling, or Psychiatric Nursing Pastoral Counselors (Applicants from Maine only) For Canadian and Overseas applicants: you must provide a recognized credential from your jurisdiction. Application Process: The applicant must provide a license or certification in any of the aforementioned disciplines along with their application. Complete the application Submit proof of current and active mental health license in any of the aforementioned disciplines Agreement to abide by the AAMFT Code of Ethics 6

7 A Pre-Clinical Fellow Is: An individual who has completed a master s or doctoral degree in marriage and family therapy from a regionally accredited educational institution, or an equivalent course of study, and is completing the post degree supervised clinical hours toward licensure for independent practice. Pre-Clinical Fellows may remain in this category for a maximum of five (5) years or until they have completed Clinical Fellow membership requirements (whichever comes first). Transfer to Affiliate if not ready for Clinical Fellow membership at the end of 5 years. Applicants can attain Pre-Clinical Fellow status in the AAMFT through either our Licensure Track or Evaluative Track Process as described below. Description of Application Process The licensure track is designed for individuals who have earned a graduate degree in marriage and family therapy or a related mental health discipline and are working on the clinical hours required for the highest level of MFT licensure in a US state and AAMFT Clinical Fellow status. This category includes individuals who have an associate, intern, or graduate license or certification in MFT in a US state. The Evaluative track is designed for individuals who have a degree in marriage and family therapy but who do not have a license in marriage and family therapy and are not working toward licensure as an MFT but meets our evaluative standards for the Pre-Clinical Fellow category and would like to work toward Clinical Fellow status OR an individual who has a degree in marriage and family therapy or a related mental health field and meets all education requirements. Complete the application A **qualifying** Graduate degree in MFT or a related field from a regionally accredited institution. COAMFTE degree automatically accepted. Submit proof of current and active MFT license Agreement to abide by the AAMFT Code of Ethics Completion of at least 8 of the 11 specific courses that cover 5 different topic areas (Marriage and Family Therapy, Marriage and Family Studies, Human Development, Research Methods, and Professional Ethics). COAMFTE graduates have completed all 11 courses. Supervised client-contact practicum hours requirement (Minimum of 300 client contact hours and minimum of 1 year of direct client contact.) COAMFTE practicum automatically accepted. Agreement to abide by the AAMFT Code of Ethics 7

8 **Please note that in order for a degree to be considered as a qualifying graduate degree it must be an integrated course of study which must include at least five (5) of the eleven (11) completed courses applicable to each of the five (5) educational requirements. The five areas are: Marriage and Family Studies Marriage and Family Therapy, Human Development Professional Ethics in Marriage and Family Therapy Research **For Canadian Applicants: in order for a degree to be considered as a qualifying graduate degree, the school needs to be BOTH affiliated with the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) or be affiliated with an AUCC accredited college or university, and fulfill the aforementioned educational requirements. **For Overseas Applicants: in order for a degree to be considered a qualifying graduate degree, the program needs to be BOTH determined by a credentialing service (member of NACES) to be equivalent to a US graduate degree, and fulfill the aforementioned educational requirements. Requirements to advance to Clinical Fellow Membership include: Proof of current license or certification in a mental health field. Completion of 11 specific courses that cover 5 different topic areas (Marriage and Family Therapy, Marriage and Family Studies, Human Development, Research Methods, and Professional Ethics), COAMFTE accredited program graduates do not need to document courses. Completion of required practicum. At least 2 years of post-graduate experience which includes 1000 hours of client contact concurrently completed with 200 hours of supervision with an AAMFT Approved Supervisor (or someone who meets equivalent criteria) of which at least 100 of the supervision hours must be individual. Agreement to abide by the AAMFT Code of Ethics 8

9 An Associate Member Is: Associate members are individuals who submit proof of an official designation indicating they have met all educational requirements for licensure or certification in a mental health profession other than marriage and family therapy and are completing the post graduate clinical hours to practice independently in a mental health field other than MFT. For Canadian and Overseas applicants: you must provide a recognized credential from your jurisdiction. Description of Application Process. Individuals who hold a current intern/associate license or certification in a mental health discipline in a US state that can be documented and verified in one of the following mental health disciplines: Clinical Psychology, Psychiatry, Social Work, Mental Health Counseling, Professional Counseling, or Psychiatric Nursing Applicants from these disciplines must be working toward having the license authority to practice independently. Application Process: Complete the application Submit proof of an intern/associate license or certification in any of the aforementioned disciplines. Agreement to abide by the AAMFT Code of Ethics **If your province and/or country (excluding the United States) does not license or certify mental health professionals you should apply under the Affiliate Membership category. There is no evaluative process for this category. 9

10 A Student Member Is: Student members are those that are enrolled in a graduate marriage or family therapy program, or an equivalent graduate mental health program, which can reasonably be expected to lead to qualifications as a Clinical Fellow or Member of AAMFT. Application Process: Complete the application Review of enrollment in a graduate degree program related to mental health Agreement to abide by the AAMFT Code of Ethics Student member may remain in this category for a maximum term of five (5) years or until satisfactory completion and receipt of a qualifying graduate degree, whichever shall come first. 10

11 An Affiliate Member is: An individual is in a field related to marriage and family therapy other mental health discipline but not licensed nor have any plans to deliver mental health services independently. If you are licensed to practice marriage and family therapy or any other mental health discipline independently you will not qualify for Affiliate Membership and should apply under one of our mental health track applications. Applicants under this category do not hold licensure in: Clinical Psychology, Psychiatry, Social Work, Mental Health Counseling, Professional Counseling, or Psychiatric Nursing Pastoral Counselors (excluding those applicants from Maine) Marriage and Family Therapy Applicants under this category are: Non MFTs or pursuant Non Allied Mental Health practitioners or pursuant Lawyers Medical Physicians Nurse Practitioners Mediators Psychotherapists Play Therapists Pastoral Counselors (except for those in Maine who are eligible for the Member category) Music Therapists School Psychologist School Counselors ** this category is also applicable to current Pre-Clinical, Associate or Student members who are unable to satisfy the requirements to transfer their membership to the next level of AAMFT membership. Complete the application Agreement to abide by the AAMFT Code of Ethics 11

12 Clinical Fellow Membership Evaluative Requirements Educational Requirements: Master or doctorate degree from an educational institution accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). Or a master s or doctoral degree in a related mental health field and substantially equivalent course of study from a regionally accredited educational institution or post-graduate training institute accredited by COAMFTE. Curriculum Requirements: Eleven required courses in five basic areas for a total of 33 semester credits or 44-quarter credits. The equivalent of one course is defined as 3 semester credits, 4-quarter credits, or 45 didactic contact hours (i.e. lecture hours). Marriage and Family Studies (a minimum of three courses required) Courses in this area should present a fundamental introduction to systems theory. The student should learn to think in systems terms across a wide variety of family structures and a diverse range of presenting issues (i.e. gender, culture, and substance abuse). Topic areas may include: systems theory, family development, subsystems, blended families, gender issues in families, cultural issues in families, etc. Marriage and Family Therapy (a minimum of three courses required) Courses in this area should have a major focus on advanced family systems theories and systemic therapeutic interventions. This area is intended to provide a substantive understanding of the major theories of systems change and the applied practices evolving from each theoretical orientation. Major Theoretical approaches might include: strategic, structural, object relations family therapy, behavioral family therapy, communications family therapy, intergenerational family therapy, and systemic sex therapy. Human Development (a minimum of three courses required) Courses in this area should provide knowledge of individual personality development and its normal and abnormal manifestations. The student should have relevant coursework in human development across the life span, which includes special issues that effect an individual s development (i.e. culture, gender, and human sexuality). This material should be integrated with systems concepts. Topic areas may include: human development, child/adolescent development, psychopathology, personality theory, human sexuality, etc. Test and measurement courses are not accepted toward this area. Professional Ethics (a minimum of one course required) Courses in this area are intended to contribute to the professional development of the therapist. Areas of study should include the therapist s legal responsibilities and liabilities, professional ethics as a marriage and family therapist, professional socialization, and the role of the professional organization, licensure or certification legislation, independent practice and interprofessional cooperation. Religious ethics courses and moral theology courses are not accepted toward this area. Research (a minimum of one course required) 12

13 Courses in this area should assist students in understanding and performing research. Topic areas may include: research methodology, quantitative methods and statistics. Practicum Requirement Minimum one (1) year, supervised clinical practicum, with 300 hours of direct client contact with individuals, couples, and families. This requirement may be completed during master s or doctorate degree. Applicants who did not complete a clinical practicum may document this requirement with their first 300 post-graduate client contact hours, supervised by an AAMFT Approved Supervisor, supervisor candidate or by an alternate supervisor accepted by the AAMFT specifically for you. Post-Graduate Clinical Experience Minimum of two (2) years of professional work experience in marriage and family therapy following receipt of master s or doctorate degree. Post-graduate clinical experience includes both client contact and supervision hours, which must be completed concurrently. All clinical work must be supervised by a qualified supervisor (AAMFT Approved Supervisor or supervisor candidate). Individuals must complete a minimum of 200 hours of supervision concurrently on 1,000 hours of client contact in marriage and family therapy. At least 100 hours of the 200 hours must be individual supervision. AAMFT will accept a maximum of 100 hours of group supervision Alternate Supervisor Qualifications Supervisor should possess the educational and clinical requirements as described above, plus a valid state license/certification. The supervisor should also have completed following minimum requirements: -Five (5) years of professional work experience in marriage and family therapy. -Three (3) years supervising marriage and family therapy trainees. -Thirty-six (36) hours of supervision of supervision -Graduate marriage and family therapy supervision courses 13

14 Pre-Clinical Fellow Evaluative Requirements: Pre-Clinical Fellow members have completed a qualifying graduate degree in marriage and family therapy or a related mental health field and are in the process of earning the clinical experience necessary for AAMFT Clinical Fellow Membership and/or licensure as a marriage and family therapist. Pre-Clinical Fellow members may remain in this category for a maximum of five years, or until they have completed the requirements for AAMFT Clinical Fellow Membership, whichever comes first. If an applicant is unable to satisfy the Clinical Fellow Membership requirements in five years, he or she must transfer to Affiliate membership until ready to earn Clinical Fellow Membership. 1. Master s or Doctoral degree in MFT from a COAMFTE accredited program or related field from a regionally accredited institution. 2. Must successfully complete any 8 of the 11 required courses outlined in the AAMFT curriculum guidelines, either during their graduate program, or in a post-degree training program accepted by the AAMFT. The applicant can complete the remaining 3 courses while holding Associate Membership. Individuals who have graduated from a COAMFTE accredited program have met all required courses as outlined in the AAMFT curriculum guidelines. 3. Practicum (internship): minimum 1 year, 300 hours of supervised direct client contact with individuals, couples and families. Graduates of COAMFTE accredited programs have met this requirement. COAMFTE graduates complete a minimum of 500 hours. *Pre-Clinical Membership is not a guarantee of AAMFT Clinical Fellow Membership, or of state/provincial licensure as a marriage and family therapist. Pre-Clinical Fellow members are responsible for seeking appropriate guidance throughout their training to ensure that Clinical Fellow Membership and/or licensing requirements are met. 14

15 COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS 1. Do Clinical Fellow Members have to maintain their LMFT license to maintain eligibility for Clinical Fellow Membership? a. No. The license is only required to obtain Clinical Fellow Membership. There is no ongoing CE or other requirement other than commitment to abide by the AAMFT Code of Ethics and pay yearly renewal fees to retain Clinical Fellow Membership once it is earned. Once a Clinical Fellow, always a Clinical Fellow. 2. Is someone licensed as an MFT eligible for any other category of membership? a. Members of AAMFT mhst hold the highest level of membership for which they are eligible. If they are applying for territories or provinces that do not regulate licensure they should apply under the evaluative track (for Clinical Fellow and Pre Clinical Fellow Applicants). If they do not meet the requirements for Clinical Fellow, Pre-Clinical Fellow or hold or are seeking a mental health license in a mental health profession not recognized by AAMFT, they should apply as an Affiliate Member. 3. Who is eligible for Affiliate Membership? a. Anyone who isn t licensed as and MFT or any other AAMFT recognized mental health profession, isn t working on the MFT license or any other recognized mental health profession and isn t a student in an MFT or mental health program is eligible for Affiliate Membership. 4. Will we maintain the 5-year rule on Student, Pre-Clinical Fellow and Associate Membership? a. Yes. If graduation or licensure requirements have not been met within the 5 year period of holding AAMFT membership in these categories, the member will need to transfer to Affiliate until they either earn their license or provide additional documentation demonstrating that they are still actively enrolled and/or seeking licensure. 5. If someone was licensed at one time, but is no longer licensed, can they apply for Affiliate Membership? a. Yes, as long as they never held Clinical Fellow Membership. 6. AAMFT has always required members to hold the highest level of membership for which they are qualified. How will this be administered with the new 2012 standards? a. If someone is licensed or certified as an MFT they must first apply for Clinical Fellow Membership. They can only apply for Member or Affiliate if they are found not to be qualified for Clinical Fellow membership on the licensure or evaluative tracks. b. If they hold another license at the highest level in any of the AAMFT Board recognized mental health disciplines, then they must first apply as Member. They 15

16 can only apply for Affiliate if they are found not to be qualified as a Member on the licensure track. 7. Who is eligible to hold the Approved Supervision designation a. The standards from previous requirements remain in effect. There are no current changes to the AAMFT Approved Supervision Designation outline in the 2007 AAMFT Approve Supervision Handbook. 16

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