by Jacqui Gerritsen, LMFTJacqui has been licensed since 2007. She joined the SCV-CAMFT board in 2015, initially as the Communication and Technology Director. She has a private practice in Palo Alto and San Mateo and is certified in TEAM-CBT level 2. She works with teens and adults and uses both a family systems model as well as a supportive, humanistic approach.
As I write this message to you I’ve just left the annual CAMFT Chapter Leadership Conference. Each year CAMFT hosts this conference for all chapter boards. It is a great opportunity to meet with our counterparts in other chapters throughout the state, and exchange information and ideas. There were so many take-aways, but most important this year is CAMFT’s participation in a review of statutes and regulations relating to the practices of marriage and family therapy. CAMFT is reviewing the language in the current MFT Scope of Practice as defined in California Business and Professions Code Section 4980.02.
Participants broke into groups where there were lively discussions throughout the room. We were asked to focus on the following questions:
• What are the breadth of job titles?
• What practices or activities need to be reflected in the definition?
• What aspects of the current scope must be retained and what should be removed?
• What needs to be incorporated?
We were guided to the various definitions for MFTs, LPCCs, and LCSWs from other states. CAMFT asked that we provide our input as they begin their review. Below is the current MFT Scope of Practice for your review. I’m sure you will agree that the language is very general and vague and does not really define our work as Marriage and Family Therapists.
§4980.02. MFT Scope of Practice Defined
"For the purposes of this chapter, the practice of marriage and family therapy shall mean that service performed with individuals, couples, or groups wherein interpersonal relationships are examined for the purpose of achieving more adequate, satisfying, and productive marriage and family adjustments. This practice includes relationship and pre-marriage counseling.
The application of marriage and family therapy principles and methods includes, but is not limited to, the use of applied psychotherapeutic techniques, to enable individuals to mature and grow within marriage and the family, the provision of explanations and interpretations of the psychosexual and psychosocial aspects of relationships, and the use, application, and integration of the coursework and training required by Sections 4980.36, 4980.37, and 4980.41, as applicable."
"The MFT Scope of Practice in the 21st Century...Language for the
Future” is available for your review and comparison through this link: https://scv-camft.org:443/resources/ Documents/articles/MFT_Scope_of_ Practice.pdf. As compared with the definition for Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, it is clear the that the MFT Scope of Practice must be redefined. If you have any new ideas please email me and I can share them with CAMFT. Legislative changes take time, and CAMFT is just beginning this process. We will continue to monitor their progress.