What do therapists credentials mean?
When searching online for a therapist, you may be asking yourself “what do therapist’s credentials mean?” For some, it looks like alphabet soup with no indication of the actual meaning.
Here is some information on my credentials:
- LMFT – Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. To obtain this license in PA, a candidate is required to have a 60 credit Master’s Degree from an accredited University, a one year 600 hour internship is included in that degree. Post graduate the candidate must complete 3000 hours of client work, 1500 of which needs to be face to face therapy. The candidate must also receive 150 hours of supervision during that time when the 3000 hours of work is accumulated. After the graduate degree is complete, followed by the work experience and the supervision, the candidate submits an application to be approved to take a national exam. Your license is granted after you pass the test.
- My other credential is a CAADC – Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor. This certification is issued by the Pennsylvania Certification Board. To achieve this, a candidate is required to have a minimum of a Master’s Degree, 2000 hours of work experience and 100 hours of supervision in substance use disorder work, plus 180 hours of education relevant to substance use disorders, including professional ethics and responsibilities. This application is also submitted to obtain permission to take the examination. Once a candidate achieves a passing score, they are then granted this credential.
- AAMFT Approved Supervisor – I am also a nationally approved supervisor under the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. This means I am designated to supervise other therapists that are seeking licensure. In order to achieve this status, I need to supervise a minimum of two therapists for 180 hours, plus receive 36 hours of Supervision of Supervision. I then had to take a 15 hour course, 3 hours a week for five weeks, complete weekly assignments, followed by a comprehensive Philosophy of Supervision paper. When all of my supervision and assignments were completed and I was granted a passing grade from the instructor, I was granted this credential. I received this designation in August 2017 and it will be renewed every five year
- I passed all tests/ courses the first time, and have held my LMFT in good standing since December 2012 and my CAADC in good standing since 2015. In order to renew the LMFT, I need 30 hours of CEU and for the CAADC I need 40 hours of CEU, both renewed every two years.
- The CAADC CEU credits must be specific to substance use disorder so not all CEU’s overlap for both credentials, leaving me with about 50-70 CEU credits every two years.
- I have also completed the necessary Department of Health trainings when I worked in an outpatient setting. These trainings include: Basic HIV, PCPC, Confidentiality, Hepatitis/STD, CPR & First Aid, and these were completed through the BDAP approved training system.
Next time you are looking to answer, “What do therapist’s credentials mean?” make sure you ask the therapist directly. Its not hard to forget all the hard work that went into getting these credentials, so your provider should be able to explain them easily!