Marriage and Family Therapist Information
The following Information is provided to begin your understanding of becoming a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the State of Georgia. Sections of the Licensing Code are provided and additional information from the Board's Newsletter is also shown. For questions, email: Dr. Michael Baltimore.
Verbatim GA Code and Definitions
*** CODE SECTION *** 10/15/99
(a) The education, experience, and training requirements for licensure in marriage and family therapy are as follows:
(1) For licensure as an associate marriage and family therapist, a master's degree in a program in marriage and family therapy or a program including a master's degree and additional post-master's degree coursework, both of which programs shall include three courses in marriage and family studies, three courses in marriage and family therapy, three courses in human development, one course in marriage and family therapy ethics, and one course in research, or from any program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education, which degree shall have been granted by a recognized educational institution; completion of a one-year practicum in marriage and family therapy under supervision before or after the granting of the master's degree, which practicum shall include 500 hours of direct clinical experience in marriage and family therapy and 100 hours of supervision of such experience; and registration with the board of an acceptable contract for obtaining the post-master's experience under direction and supervision required for licensure as a marriage and family therapist; and
(2) For licensure as a marriage and family therapist:
(A) Licensure as an associate marriage and family therapist and two years of full-time post-master's experience or its equivalent in the practice of marriage and family therapy under direction and supervision as an associate marriage and family therapist, which shall include a minimum of 2,000 hours of direct clinical experience and 100 hours of supervision of such experience and which shall be completed within a period of not less than two years and not more than five years;
(B) A master's degree from a program in any specialty, any allied profession, applied child and family development, applied sociology, or from any program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education, which degree shall have been granted by a recognized educational institution and shall include, as part of the degree program or as additional post-master's degree coursework, at least two courses in marriage and family studies, two courses in marriage and family therapy, and, after July 1, 2000, one course in marriage and family therapy ethics; and three years' full-time post-master's experience or its equivalent under direction and supervision in the practice of any specialty, which shall include a minimum of 2,500 hours of direct clinical experience, one year of which may have been in an approved practicum before or after the granting of the master's degree which shall include a minimum of 500 hours of direct clinical experience, and two years of which shall have been in the practice of marriage and family therapy which shall include a minimum of 2,000 hours of direct clinical experience, and 200 hours of supervision of such experience all of which shall be completed within a period of not less than three years and not more than five years; or
(C) A doctorate degree from a program in any specialty, any allied profession, applied child and family development, applied sociology, or from any program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy education, which degree shall have been granted by a recognized educational institution and shall include, as part of a master's or doctoral degree program or as additional post-graduate degree coursework, at least two courses in marriage and family studies, two courses in marriage and family therapy, and, after July 1, 2000, one course in marriage and family therapy ethics; two years' full-time post-master's experience under direction in the practice of marriage and family therapy which shall include a minimum of 1,500 hours of direct clinical experience, one year of which may have been in an approved internship program before or after the granting of the doctoral degree, which shall include a minimum of 500 hours of direct clinical experience, and one year of which shall have been full-time post-master's experience, which shall include a minimum of 1,000 hours of direct clinical experience; and 100 hours of supervision of such experience in the practice of marriage and family therapy, 50 hours of which may have been obtained while a student or intern in an accredited doctoral program.
(b) Persons intending to apply for licensure as a marriage and family therapist and who have completed one of the graduate degrees required for such licensure may register a contract with the board for obtaining the required post-master's experience under direction and supervision.
(c) Associate marriage and family therapists may only use the title "associate marriage and family therapist" and may practice marriage and family therapy only under direction and supervision and only for a period not to exceed five years while obtaining the post-master's experience required for licensure as a marriage and family therapist.
(4) "Counseling" means those techniques used to help persons learn how to solve problems and make decisions related to personal growth, vocation, family, social, and other interpersonal concerns.
(5) "Direction" means the ongoing administrative overseeing by an employer or superior of a specialty practitioner's work. The person providing direction shall be responsible for assuring the quality of the services rendered by that practitioner and shall ensure that qualified supervision or intervention occurs in situations which require expertise beyond that of the practitioner. Direction may be provided by any person acceptable to the standards committee for that specialty in which the practitioner is working.
(6) "Fee" means money or anything of value, including but not limited to a salary, offered or received as compensation in return for rendering services in any specialty.
(7) "Joint-secretary" means the joint-secretary of the state examining boards. The joint-secretary shall serve as secretary to the board.
(8) "Marriage and family therapy" means that specialty which evaluates and treats emotional and mental problems and conditions, whether cognitive, affective, or behavioral, resolves intrapersonal and interpersonal conflicts, and changes perception, attitudes, and behavior; all within the context of marital and family systems. Marriage and family therapy includes, without being limited to, individual, group, couple, sexual, family, and divorce therapy. Marriage and family therapy involves an applied understanding of the dynamics of marital and family systems, including individual psychodynamics, the use of assessment instruments that evaluate marital and family functioning, and the use of psychotherapy and counseling.
(9) "Practice a specialty" or "practice" means to offer to render for a fee or to render for a fee any service involving the application of principles, methods, or procedures of professional counseling, social work, or marriage and family therapy.
(10) "Professional counseling" means that specialty which utilizes counseling techniques based on principles, methods, and procedures of counseling that assist people in identifying and resolving personal, social, vocational, intrapersonal and interpersonal concerns; utilizes counseling and psychotherapy to evaluate and treat emotional and mental problems and conditions, whether cognitive, behavioral, or affective; administers and interprets educational and vocational assessment instruments and other tests which the professional counselor is qualified to employ by virtue of education, training, and experience; utilizes information and community resources for personal, social, or vocational development; utilizes individual and group techniques for facilitating problem solving, decision making, and behavior change; utilizes functional assessment and vocational planning and guidance for persons requesting assistance in adjustment to a disability or disabling condition; utilizes referral for persons who request counseling services; and utilizes and interprets counseling research.
(11) "Psychotherapeutic techniques" means those specific techniques involving the in-depth exploration and treatment of interpersonal and intrapersonal dynamics but shall not include the performance of those activities exclusively reserved to any other business or profession by any other chapter of this title.
(12) "Recognized educational institution" means any educational institution which grants a bachelor's, master's, specialist, or doctoral degree and which is recognized by an accrediting body acceptable to the board.
(13) "Social work" means that specialty which helps individuals, marriages, families, couples, groups, or communities to enhance or restore their capacity for functioning: by assisting in the obtaining or improving of tangible social and health services; by providing psychosocial evaluations, in-depth analyses and determinations of the nature and status of emotional, cognitive, mental, behavioral, and interpersonal problems or conditions; and by counseling and psychotherapeutic techniques, casework, social work advocacy, psychotherapy, and treatment in a variety of settings which include but are not limited to mental and physical health facilities, child and family service agencies, or private practice.
(14) "Specialty" means social work, marriage and family therapy, or professional counseling, or any combination thereof.
(15) "Supervision" means the direct clinical review, for the purpose of training or teaching, by a supervisor of a specialty practitioner's interaction with a client. It may include, without being limited to, the review of case presentations, audio tapes, video tapes, and direct observation in order to promote the development of the practitioner's clinical skills.
(16) "Supervisor" means a person who meets the requirements established by the standards committee for that specialty which is being supervised and who is either licensed under this chapter or is a psychiatrist or a psychologist.
(17) "The Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education" means the national accrediting agency for marriage and family therapy education as recognized by the United States Department of Education.
(18) "The Council on Social Work Education" means the national accrediting agency for social work education as recognized by the United States Department of Education and the Council on Postsecondary Accreditation.
After Licensure, the CEU Requirements
Continuing Education Requirements
In connection with license renewals for the biennium, professional counselors, social workers and marriage and family therapists must comply with continuing education requirements. For complete details, please see Board Rule, Chapter 135-9-.01. The following are some common questions and answers to assist you in this process:
Q. How many CE hours are required?
A. Thirty-five (35) hours are required for each license renewal biennium (October 1 even year – September 30 next even year). No more that 20 hours of CE's shall be from any one course, workshop or presentation; this does not apply to professional conference.
Q. What courses satisfy the CE requirements and where do I find these courses?
A. Course content must apply to Ethics, Core or Related. The Board does not provide courses. A course may meet the requirements if it's co-sponsored or approved by a professional association, academic institution, licensing or certification board, government or hospital.
Q. Who must comply?
A. If you were licensed on or before 9/30/99, you must attest that you completed 35 hours of CE credit since the last renewal.
Q. Who does not need to comply?
A. If you were initially licensed during the second half of the biennial renewal period (10/1/99 – 9/30/00), no CE's are required for the first renewal.
Q. Who must send documentation of CE compliance?
A. Licensees who are audited by the Board during the renewal will receive a letter with their renewal application. Such persons must submit documentation of the number of hours completed; program or course and subject description and date/s of continuing education hours obtained from July 1, 1998 thorough June 30, 2000.
Q. What if I haven't completed my CE hours prior to June 30?
A. Do not send your renewal application until you have completed your CE hours. If you take courses and want them applied to the current renewal period, you may renew. However, your renewal application will not be reviewed before those received by June 30.
Q. What counts as independent study?
A. You may engage in independent study. A maximum of five hours in related hours may be obtained from professional activities, such as: teaching a course, presenting a lecture, conducting workshop for the first time; listening to audiotapes or viewing videotapes; reading, editing or writing professional books or articles; and conducting professional research.
Q. Are separate CE credits required for Ethics hours?
A. Yes, a minimum of five hours must be in professional ethics. This cannot be done by independent study. These hours may be in any specialty or allied profession. Additional ethics hours may be applied to core or related hours only when approved as such.
Q. How many hours must be in my specialty – professional counseling, social work or marriage and family therapy?
A. A minimum of 20 hours must be in core hours. Core hours must be in the specialty area in which you are licensed, i.e. professional counselors must have professional counseling hours from a professional counseling association, academic department, or a licensing or certification board in another state or jurisdiction in professional counseling.
Q. How many other CE hours must I have?
A. You must have a maximum of 10 hours of related hours. Related hours may be in a specialty other than one in which you are licensed - PC, SW, MFT, or allied professional (psychiatry, psychology, psychiatric nursing or pastoral counseling), or graduate level coursework by an academic department in any specialty listed above, or from a licensing or certification board in another state or jurisdiction which regulates the specialty in which your license is held, or activities sponsored by federal, state, or local government agencies, public school systems and licensed hospitals.
Q. How do I show proof of continuing education courses taken?
A. You must maintain your own record of CE activities completed for three years. The Board does not maintain CE files for licensees. All licensees must attest to satisfaction of CE requirements for biennial license renewal. If your license is audited, you must submit your documentation to the Board.
Except for independent study, documentation of CE shall be in the form of a certificate of attendance, or a state signed by the provider verifying participation in the activity or an official transcript.
Documentation of independent study shall be in the form of an affidavit, which includes a description of the activity which includes a description of the activity, the subject material covered, the dates and number of hours involved.
Q. What if some of my CE documentation is not accepted?
A. If you are past the period and do not timely renew your license by December 31, 2000, your license will be renewed under the condition that you obtain the required CE hours within six months of the notice of deficiency. If you fail to comply, the license will be subject to revocation.
Recent Rule Changes for Board Newsletter
Proposed Rule Changes
The Board is posting the following revisions to the rules which will be in effect for the next renewal.
Rule 135-9-.01 – Amends the continuing education core hour requirement from 20 to 15 and changes related to 15 hours and 5 in ethics.
Rule 135-6-.04 – "Reinstatement" adds a reinstatement period of one year after December 31 of even numbered years.
The Board has amended the following rules.
Rule 135-5-.01 – Associate Professional Counselor – to provide requirements for associate professional counselors.
New Name for the State Examining Boards Division
In the 2000 legislative session the legislator changed the name of the examining boards division to Professional Licensing Boards; the joint secretary title has been changed to division director.
We Need Peer Reviewers
If you area of experience is child custody evaluations or sexual offenders we need your help. We are especially seeking licensed professional counselors in this area. Please send to the Board office your resume. If you are chosen you will be compensated $75 a day and received five (5) hours of ethics toward your renewal. If you are chosen to be a peer-reviewer, you must complete your report within sixty days.