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Marriage and Family Therapist Requirements in Kentucky

Kentucky's marriage and family therapists are licensed by the Board of Licensure for Marriage and Family Therapists. A person becomes an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist, or AMFT, by completing a master's or doctoral degree. He becomes a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, or LMFT, after completing post-graduate practice and passing a licensing exam.

Capella University, offers one of only two online Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) - accredited master's programs in Marriage and Family Therapy. This program prepares you for MFT state license eligibility. Click here to contact Capella University and request information about their program.

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AMFT/ LMFT Educational Requirements

A Kentucky resident can become a marriage and family therapist with a graduate degree in MFT or a related field (counseling, community mental health, social work, or psychology). If the program was not accredited by COAMFTE, though, the candidate will need to document their completion of the following coursework:

  • There must be nine semester hours (or the equivalent) in marriage and family studies. Concepts may include family systems, blended families, and family subsystems. There should be discussion of gender and culture and other issues that may present themselves in practice.
  • The student will also need nine semester hours of marriage and family therapy. These should give the student a foundation in major theoretical approaches (for example, communications family therapy, object relations family therapy, and narrative family therapy).
  • Human development is another nine semester hour requirement. The student should learn about development across the lifespan. Courses should cover both normal and abnormal development, as well as cultural, gender, and sexual influences. Personality theory and personality development would come under this category as well.
  • The student will need three semester hours in psychopathology and use of the DSM and another three semester hours in professional studies. Professional socialization and legal and ethical responsibilities fall into the professional studies category. Research is another three semester hour requirement. The board notes that this course should develop the ability to understand and carry out professional research.

*There should also be a practicum that includes 300 hours of client contact or is a year in length. If an applicant does not meet the practicum requirement, they will need to meet it after graduation -- while under supervision, but before applying time or hours toward the post-graduate supervised practice requirement.

The following applies to candidates who have considerable experience in a mental health discipline: Authorship and book editing may also be applied toward meeting educational equivalency requirements. An applicant who has written a chapter of a book or an article in a juried professional journal may count it as three semester hours. If the applicant has written or edited a book, they may count it as six.

Further explication of equivalency can be found in the statutes and rules section of the website under “Resurces” (section 201 KAR 32:020) http://mft.ky.gov/Pages/default.aspx.


LMFT Requirement: Examination

When the Board approves an associate license, they also submit the name of the candidate to the testing company, making him or her eligible to take the national board examination. Candidates should wait until they have been approved by the Kentucky Board before attempting to register with PES/AMFTRB.

Candidate handbooks and upcoming testing windows can be seen on the AMFTRB site (http://www.amftrb.org/exam.cfm). The fee is currently $220. An additional $75 will be owed (later) to Prometric-Thomson. An approved candidate will be able to schedule at the learning center of his choice.

A failure will not nullify an associate license. The candidate will be expected to retake the exam at the next opportunity. Details can be found in 201 KAR 32:045 under the administrative rules section of the website.

The Kentucky Board notes that they do not receive official scores until 20 days after a testing window closes.


LMFT Requirement: Supervised Practice

The candidate must work under supervision for at least two years and until such time as the candidate accrues at least 1,000 client contact hours. The candidate will need 200 supervision hours. All of these hours must be post-master. However, if the candidate has already earned a master's degree in a related field and returns to school to earn an additional degree through a COAMFTE-accredited program, the candidate may count the hours he does in his practicum toward the post-graduate requirement.

The associate must work under approved clinical supervision at all times. The supervising professional is responsible for guiding the associate's professional development as well as ensuring the welfare of clients. A professional who is approved by the AAMFT to act as a supervisor is automatically approved by Kentucky; however, some MFTs go directly to the Kentucky Board for approval. An MFT student/ graduate can find a list of potential supervisors on the board site; professionals are identified by county, city, and zip code. The candidate will even find a few in neighboring states (Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee).

Supervision is to be documented through a written contract: one that includes a plan for terminating the supervisory relationship when and if it becomes necessary. If the clinical supervisor is someone other than the administrative supervisor at the agency, then the agency supervisor will also need to sign the supervision plan.

The supervisee should average at least four sessions a month with the clinical supervisor. The board has identified particular areas that should be the focus of supervisory meetings; among them are DSM-based diagnosis and treatment.

Up to 100 hours of the total 200 may be conducted in a small group setting; however; the supervisor can't supervise more than six associates without the express permission of the board. In most cases, supervisory sessions are to be live, but the board may approve alternate arrangements when circumstances demand it.

In certain circumstances (like when a supervisor has a death or serious illness in their family or takes a leave of absence) the associate may continue to carry out their duties temporarily under the supervision of another mental health professional. The associate will need to notify the board and submit a plan for resolving the situation.

The supervisor and supervisee are to maintain a log that shows dates of sessions. At the end of the experience period, the supervisor will sign a document verifying completion. The supervisor will have the opportunity to make comments about the candidate’s ethics and/ or therapeutic competency.


The Application Process

Applications are available on the board site in Adobe Acrobat form (http://mft.ky.gov/Pages/applications.aspx). They may be mailed to the P.O. Box listed on the form or hand delivered to the board office in Frankfort.

The Marriage and Family Therapy Associate application is to be submitted with a $50 application fee and $25 licensing fee.

Associate licenses are to be renewed every year. A. $50 fee is required; the supervisory log is to be submitted as well. Associates must reaffirm their supervisory agreement if there are no changes.

LMFT applications must be accompanied by a nonrefundable $50 application fee. The initial licensing fee of $175 may be combined for a total of $225. (The latter is refundable under some conditions but must be remitted before a license can be issued.)

The application includes questions about professional fitness and background. ‘Yes’ answers will require supporting information.


Contacts and Additional Information

The Board can be reached by phone at 502-564-3296. Additional contact information can be found on the website (http://mft.ky.gov/Pages/contactinformation.aspx).

Kentucky Division of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists: http://www.kamft.org/

Marriage and Family Therapy Programs in Kentucky

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