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The Missouri State Committee of Marital and Family Therapists issues licenses to the state’s marriage and family therapists. There are three credentials, but only one is permanent. The Licensed Marital and Family Therapist (LMFT) license allows a therapist to practice independently. In order to obtain this credential, a candidate must hold a graduate degree, complete a supervised practice requirement, and pass a national board exam.
While completing practice requirements, the MFT is known as a Supervised Marital and Family Therapist (S-MFT) or a Provisionally Licensed Marital and Family Therapist. The PLMFT license is contingent on passing the required examination.
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The candidate must do a master’s in either MFT or a related mental health discipline through a school that holds appropriate institutional level accreditation. Correspondence coursework or coursework that is offered primarily via the internet is disallowed. Independent studies and seminars must be reviewed by the Board. A full discussion of what is and is not allowable is found in 20 CSR 2233-2 of the statutes.
The master’s program is to include at least 45 semester hours of coursework. 60 quarter hours will be accepted as the equivalent.
The candidate will need to take courses in all mandated subjects (either as part of the master’s program or post-master).
There must be six semester hours of human development and family studies. There must be three semester hours in each of the following four content areas: MFT theoretical foundations, MFT ethics and professional studies, research methodology, and diagnosis.
There must be fully 12 semester hours of MFT practice. This content area covers historical development and current conceptual directions as well as the actual assessment and treatment process. The practicum, meanwhile, is to be six semester hours.
With regard to individual courses, five quarter hours is considered the equivalent of three semester hours.
If the MFT program is accredited by COAMFTE, it is assumed to meet curricular requirements. Otherwise the candidate will fill out a course grid later to show which courses met which requirements. A candidate who has coursework deficiencies will need to meet them and submit documentation.
If a candidate did not do a course in research methodology as part of the qualifying degree, if the candidate is three semester hours short on human development/ family studies requirement, and/or three semester hours short on the practicum requirement, the candidate may still be allowed to register their supervision and begin work. The MFT candidate will need to correct the deficiencies later.
The MFT program graduate must pass the national exam developed by the AMFTRB. He or she may opt to take the MFT exam at any point after they have finished their education and applied to register supervised practice. It will cost $295 for the exam process. A candidate handbook can be found on the AMFTRB site (http://www.amftrb.org/exam.cfm). A list of upcoming examination windows is also available.
While fulfilling the practice requirement, the MFT must be under the guidance and oversight of an approved clinical supervisor. The supervisor is to be someone who has at least a master’s degree in mental health and has at least five years of experience providing marriage and family therapy. The supervisor may be licensed as a marriage and family therapist, professional counselor, social worker, psychologist, or psychiatrist. If the supervisor graduated any time from January of 1990 on, the supervisor must have training in supervision – this includes supervision-in-supervision.
The supervising professional does not have to be someone who is employed at the same setting as the supervisee. However, a workplace representative will need to be in on the agreement and sign the contract.
A candidate with master’s level education must accrue 3,000 total hours of experience. The candidate cannot meet requirements in a period of less than two years. The MFT has up to five years to meet them. If the candidate doesn’t put in at least 15 hours during a given month, though, the candidate is not allowed to count that month’s hours.
At least 1,500 of the experience hours must be spent providing direct client services. Up to 1,500 may be in other areas related to MFT practice. (This can include activities like writing notes, developing client treatment plans, and even attending seminars.)
The S-MFT/ PLMFT will need at least 200 total hours of supervision; it is permissible to do up to half of these hours in a small group setting with three to six supervisees in attendance. At least once every two weeks, the SMFT should meet individually with his supervisor (or with no more than one other supervisee in attendance).
Volunteer work can be counted toward the experience requirement. If the supervised MFT adds a work setting or changes or adds a supervisor, the supervised MFT candidate must submit a change of status form. Within two months of the time the supervised MFT candidate completes the supervision requirements, the candidate must apply to the state committee for licensure.
Supervisors will verify the experience in an official document submitted to the state committee. The document includes evaluation questions.
A candidate who begins accruing supervision hours in another state and then moves to Missouri may count the hours they have already earned, provided that the conditions are determined to be sufficiently equivalent.
A candidate who has, at the time of registration, a doctoral or specialist degree in MFT or 30 semester hours of qualifying post-master coursework, will have a reduced requirement for post-degree supervised work experience and a reduced time frame in which to complete it.
Application forms are available on the site of the state committee (http://pr.mo.gov/marital-forms.asp). The application should be received 30 days prior to the next scheduled Board meeting or conference call so that it can be on the agenda.
The first application is called registration of supervision. There is a $125 fee due at this time. The candidate will provide some basic information about the supervisor and work setting. In addition to the candidate’s own signature, the candidate will need the signatures of both the clinical supervisor and the candidate’s employer.
There are several steps that must be completed. The candidate must demonstrate that they have the met educational requirements.
The candidate must also have a fingerprint-based criminal background check. The state’s official vendor is Cogent. The candidate will make an appointment by visiting the Missouri Automated Criminal History Site (www.machs.mo.gov) or calling 877-862-2425. The candidate will need a recent photo to be used as identification. The candidate will need to pay the correct fee (currently $44.80).
Once the candidate has gone through the examination process, the candidate will be issued a PLMFT license. This is a step up from S-MFT. The only fees due at this stage are those paid to the testing company.
The candidate will need to remit a $100 fee when the candidate applies for LMFT licensure. The supervisor will need to verify completion of requirements as well.
A candidate who has already been licensed in another U.S. state, jurisdiction, or territory must provide license verification. The candidate will apply by reciprocity if he or she is currently licensed and by score endorsement if he or she has taken the exam but is not currently licensed.
Missouri State Committee of Marital and Family Therapists: (http://pr.mo.gov/marital.asp).
Missouri’s professional organization is the Missouri Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (http://www.moamft.org/) Pre-professionals can find resources on the site, including a list of educational programs and a list of potential supervisors.
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