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HELP! I'm Considering A Career As A Licensed Psychotherapist

Need a career change?

Dr. Romance discusses how to become a licensed therapist.

Dear Dr. Romance:

I am considering being a licensed psychotherapist. What was your education track if I may ask?

Dear Reader:

Of course you may ask. I was licensed in 1978, so things were quite different then. I took an independent study curriculum at Lindenwood  Colleges, and I used the California BBSE guidelines to set up my courses. That way, I knew my Masters Degree would be acceptable to them. I also needed 3,000 hours of counseling under supervision. Those guidelines also vary. I suggest you contact the licensing board in your state and get the current guidelines. You can also get help from the American Psychological Association and any good school that trains psychologists will know what the guidelines are. "Ten Things People Don't Know about Therapy" will help you understand what therapy is about.

I looked them up, and here are the current California guidelines:

In addition to holding a qualifying degree, an applicant for examination eligibility must complete specific pre-licensure required courses prior to submitting an application for MFT examination eligibility. These courses include:

• Child Abuse Assessment and Reporting (7 hrs)
• Human Sexuality (10 hrs)
• Alcoholism and Chemical Substance Abuse Dependency (15 hr/1 semester unit; must be within the qualifying degree program)
• Spousal/Partner Abuse (must be within degree program; must be 15 hours for those after 1/1/2004)
• Psychological Testing (2 semester or 3 quarter units)
• Psychopharmacology (2 semester or 3 quarter units)
• California Law and Professional Ethics (2 semester or 3 quarter units)
• Aging and Long Term Care (10 hrs for those after 1/1/04)

Note: The dates above refer to when a person begins his or her degree program. Statutes and Regulations cited: B&P Code 4980.39, 4980.41; CCR Section 1807,1807.2,1810

Then, of course, you have to get supervised hours. In my day, it was 3,000 unpaid hours, but these days you can be paid.

If you would like a good example of how I work with clients It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction will tell you a lot of what you need to know.

It Ends With You

Good luck with your career.

For low-cost counseling, email me at


This article was originally published at Dr. Romance Blog. Reprinted with permission from the author.


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