www.marriagefriendlytherapists.com - Marriage Friendly Therapists
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Eligibility to Join Marriage Friendly Therapists



Eligibility for Therapists: Clinical Expectations


The following requirements are designed to create a Registry with therapists who are trained and experienced in marriage and couples therapy. The requirements will be applied flexibly to individual circumstances; for example, some therapists did not have access to courses in marriage therapy during their graduate training.

  • State licensed or credentialed as a mental health professional. (LMFT, LCSW, LPC, Psy.D., Ph.D., etc) or Pre-licensed professionals who are state registered and have accumulated 500 direct client contact hours
  • Academic coursework or CEU training or workshops in marriage and couples therapy
  • Clinical training in marriage and couples therapy (in graduate school or training/workshops)
  • Licensed professionals: At least three years of clinical experience in marriage and couples therapy (can include pre-license experience)
  • Pastoral Counselors who are certified by an established and respected pastoral counselor organization

Additional qualifications (not required):

  • Membership in professional associations of marriage therapists
  • Experience as a teacher and supervisor in marriage and couples therapy

Eligibility for Therapists: Values Expectations


A unique dimension of the Registry is a values orientation that supports a couple's original commitment to their marriage unless there are compelling reasons not to. Please read the values statement to see if it accords with your own beliefs about marriage and therapy. We are happy to answer your questions about this statement, please contact us.

The Registry seeks therapists who see themselves as supporting couples’ original commitment to their marriage unless there is a compelling reason not to. Because this is a complex issue, we do not have one catch phrase to describe this values stance (for example, "pro-marriage" can imply that the therapist wants everyone to marry!), but the term "a balanced pro-commitment stance" may come close. “Pro-commitment” suggests that the therapist is not neutral about the outcome of marriage therapy; rather the therapist views preserving the marriage as a desirable outcome to be pursued. "Balanced" suggests that marital commitment is not the only value at stake; some marriages are dangerous to personal well being and sometimes clients have already make an irrevocable decision to divorce.

A requirement for the Registry is that the therapist agrees in principle with the following statement about marriage and the practice of therapy. Affirming this statement indicates agreement with its spirit and overall content; many therapists might use different wording or emphasize certain points more than others. There will be an opportunity for therapists to write additional material on their own page on the website, if they like. But since couples and referring professionals will be trusting that therapists on the Registry hold certain values about marriage and the practice of therapy, it is important that all registered therapist be on board with the value orientation of the Registry. Over time, we will develop a fuller exposition of the philosophy and rationale for the values statement.

An important distinction: This statement is framed in professional language, akin to language in an ethics code, and not in clinical language ready for use with clients. Therapists must always adapt their language for specific clients and clinical situations. The decision to share one's values directly in therapy, and how to share them, involves complex judgments. However, a therapist on the Registry who is contacted by a prospective client should be able and willing to articulate something similar to this statement.

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