Certified Family Therapist Standards

The Board has established criteria for determining whether an applicant possesses credentials and qualifications that are substantially equivalent to a Certified Family Therapist, CFT. To establish that her/his credentials and qualifications meet the Board requirements, an applicant must submit proof satisfactory to the Board and has the burden of proof. The Board may request additional information from the applicant.

VERIFICATION All of the following factors must be shown in order for the applicant to establish his/her credentials. At the time of application applicants verify that:

– Any held license to practice as a professional counselor or marriage and family counseling/therapy must be in good standing.

– Applicants should know of no injunctions entered against her/him and know of no injunction action pending against a license to practice.

– Applicant knows of no malpractice judgment against her/him or settlement of a malpractice action or claim, and knows of no malpractice action or claim pending where the malpractice alleged relates to the practice of marriage and family therapy.

STANDARDS OF TRAINING The applicant’s education and training is from one’s Master’s or Doctoral degree, post-graduate work, or training through quality workshops, seminars or institutes. Equivalent coursework or workshop training is required in the following areas:

– Individual, marital and family studies (6 semester hours) – includes family and individual development, life cycle stages, and interactional patterns. Course/workshop context may include the study of individual, interpersonal relationships (marital, parental, sibling), family development and life cycle, marriage, sociology of the family, families, family phenomenology, contemporary families, families and culture, aging and family issues, family violence and related family concerns. (Majority of work in Marital and Family Studies.)

– Individual, marital and family therapy (9 semester hours) – includes individual and family therapy, family diagnosis, systems assessment, treatment and planning, intervention strategies, clinical theories with emphasis on marital and family therapy such as communications, structural, strategic, transgenerational, experiential, contextual, and systematic. (Majority of work in Marital and Family Therapy.)

– Human development (6 semester hours) – includes human development through the life span, personality development and theory, abnormal and normal development, human development and sexuality, and psychopathology and psychopharmacology.

– Professional studies (3 semester hours) – includes professionalization, professional role, legal and ethical responsibilities and liabilities, independent practice, ethics, family law, licensure and certification.

– Research (3 semester hours) – includes an understanding of process and outcome, research design, methodology, basic statistics, with research knowledge in individual and family therapy.

-Mental Health Diagnosis (3 semester hours) – Psychodiagnosis and Treatment Strategies, covers types of human distress, as described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, including the development of tools for the understanding and critical appraisal of abnormal human behavior across the life-span. Strategies and techniques for working with clients in a variety of settings are considered.

If the course workshop or seminar titles as stated on transcript or certificate do not clearly reflect the subject matters listed above, the applicant is asked to document the combinations of experiences in which the material was covered.

COURSEWORK EQUIVALENCY The Board accepts the following as establishing coursework equivalency in the above five substantive content areas:

– Workshops/seminars – 45 contact hours equals three semester or four-quarter hours.

– Courses taught – one graduate level course taught equals three semester or four quarter hours.

– Extensive experience, publications, and educational qualifications in the field of marriage and family therapy may be considered on a case-by case basis.

A.Clinical Training: Within Graduate Program

Applicant’s training should include supervised practicum or internship, or both, in the principles and practice of individual and marriage and family therapy. The applicant must prove that she/he completed a minimum of 700 hours of supervised practicum or internship, or a combination of the two, in principles and practice of marriage and family therapy. Face-to face contact with individuals, couples, and families for the purpose of assessment, diagnosis, and intervention is required. If the practicum/internship hours do not meet stated standards, the applicant may demonstrate how the standard is met by the equivalent hours of post-graduate supervised practice.

– Practicum is a distinctly defined and supervised curricular experience intended to enable the student to develop individual, marriage, and family therapy skills and to integrate professional knowledge and skills appropriate to the student’s program emphasis. A practicum is a part-time clinical experience completed concurrently with substantive coursework.

– Internship is a distinctly defined and supervised curricular experience intended to enable the student to refine and to enhance basic individual, marriage, and family therapy skills, to develop more advanced marriage and family therapy skills, and to integrate professional knowledge and skills appropriate to the student’s initial post-graduation professional placement. An internship is a clinical experience that generally follows the substantive coursework but is largely free of other educational and professional demands.

Graduate level courses or post graduate workshops, training, seminars, or institute supervision are acceptable as establishing equivalency.

B. Clinical Training: Approved Post-Master’s or Postdoctoral Practice in Individual and Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy under Supervision.The Board will approve post-masters or postdoctoral supervised practice as meeting the requirements for certification when that practice satisfies the requirements of this subsection.

– The supervised practice requirement can be fulfilled via post-graduate practice in individual, marriage, and family therapy under supervision and must include a minimum of 300 hours of face-to-face contact with couples and families for the purpose of assessment and intervention, and at least 60 hours of supervision. A minimum of 30 hours must be individual supervision. A licensed Marriage and Family Counselor/Therapist, or an individual with equivalent background and experience must perform supervision. The hours must be obtained in such a manner that they are reasonably uniformly distributed over a minimum of 24 months. “Face-to-face contact with couples and families’ includes contact with individual members of the couples and families so long as the contact is done as part of and in furtherance of on-going work with the couples and families.”


– “Practice” means knowledge, skill, or experience derived from direct observations of, and participation in, the practice of counseling, psychotherapy, and marriage and family therapy.

– “Supervision” means personal direction and responsible direction provided by a supervisor.

– “Individual supervision” means face-to-face supervision rendered to one individual or in triadic supervision.

– “Group supervision” means supervision rendered to not more than six individuals at one time.

– “Post-master’s experience” or “postdoctoral experience” means experience under approved supervision acquired subsequent to the date certified by the degree-granting institution as the date on which all requirements for the master’s or doctoral degree (whichever is applicable) have been completed.

– “Practice in individual and marriage and family” means all services included within the definition of psychotherapy.


– The Board shall issue a certificate to an individual who possesses the necessary requirements.

– Each certificate holder shall keep the Board informed of the certificate holder’s current address and email address


– A certificate issued is subject to an annual fee of $30.

DENIAL, SUSPENSION, or REVOCATION OF CERTIFICATE After a hearing, the Board may deny, suspend, or revoke a certificate or otherwise discipline a certificate holder if the applicant for certificate or the certificate holder has:

– Been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude;

– Obtained or attempted to obtain registration by fraud or deception;

– Used drugs or alcohol to an extent that affects professional competence;

– Been grossly negligent in performing professional duties;

– Been adjudicated mentally incompetent by a court of competent jurisdiction;

– Practiced in a manner detrimental to the public health or welfare;

– Advertised in a manner that tends to deceive or defraud the public;

– Had a license or certification revoked by a licensing agency or by a certifying professional organization;

– Otherwise violated a rule or code of ethics adopted by the Board.