LMFT versus MFT

What is an MFT?

Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT) are mental health specialists who treat and diagnose a variety of disorders related to psychotherapy and mental health.  MFTs must have at least a master’s level education in the field or related field

What is an LFMT?

LFMT’s (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists) are recognized and regulated mental health service providers in California. A valid state license is required to provide therapeutic services and to use the title. Educational standards, supervision requirements, standards of practice, and ethical requirements are conducted by the California Board of Behavioral Science (BBS). The California LMFT licensing requirements reflect relatively high standards of preparation and are among the most stringent in the country (for similar licensure).

Before an MFT can be granted a license to practice as an LMFT, they must complete a minimum of 3,000 hours of supervised counseling over 104 weeks; even before they can sit for California’s two state licensing examinations (written and oral). LFMT’s must also pass a criminal background check.

In order to qualify to sit for the licensing examination, MFTs in training are also required to have extensive, clinical experience working with individuals, couples, and families. Their specialized training includes education about individual, couple, and family dynamics. They are also required to master specific practical skills which are designed to help clients attain their goals.

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