Marriage and Family Therapy
Everyday people somewhere in the state of North Carolina are getting married and while in a healthy relationship there is bound to be problems every once in a while, the situation can become so serious that it strains the marriage and in such instances a marriage and family therapist is required to intervene. Marriage and Family therapy/counseling is the process of listening to the parties involved in a marriage relationship, mainly the husband and wife with the sole intention of reconciling troublesome differences and reoccurring patterns of distress. Sometime the whole family i.e. the children and siblings can be involved all in an attempt to solve a dispute that is straining a relationship.
This paper will therefore focus on the interest, rules and credentials required in the state of North Carolina so as to become a Marriage and family therapist. The board to be studied will be the Board of Behavioral Health Examiners in the state of Arizona. To receive a license so as to practice as a marriage and family therapist, the board requires that the individual produces proof of residency. If however one becomes a residence of the US through naturalization, it is advised that the interested individual provides the board with a copy of the naturalization certificate (Arizona Board of Behavioral Health, 2011).In case the individual wants to shift form one state and move to another to practice, the House Bill 2325 of 2008 states that the interested individual must have been licensed and certified by another state regulatory board for at least five years and the licensing that you had been given in that previous state is of the same discipline as the one that you are currently applying for.
The current license should still be active and in good standing and should indicate that the individual had worked for at least 6000 hours in the practice.To upgrade from a reciprocal license to a regular one the individual must provide proof of having worked for at least 1600hours of supervised practice and 50 hours of clinical supervision in the state of Arizona. The individual must be certified as competent by the Board too (Wheeler, & Anderson, 2008).The certified Board members of Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners that make up the Marriage and Family Therapy Credentialing Committee include, Nancy Groppenbacher who is the chair, Ellen La Belle, is the secretary, Mary Doyle and Gloria Gabler as the members.
The Board operates under the following powers and duties; it has the power to adopt rules that are consistent with the behavioral health professional code. It also has the power to examine, and give reciprocity, give temporary license and also renew licenses of those practitioners that are qualified. By a formal vote, the board is at liberty to establish a licensure fee to be imposed on aspiring practitioners (Wheeler, & Anderson, 2008).. It is the board’s duty to keep a record of all the licensed behavioral health professional and all the actions taken with reference to misconducts or probation or denial of license. The Board also has the power to conduct investigations on a professional that is suspected of misconduct. After investigation, the Board is at liberty to conduct any disciplinary action that it sees fit for the behavioral health professional (Arizona Board of Behavioral Health, 2011).
Having the interest of becoming a marriage and family counselor I was privileges to attend one of the board meetings that mainly focused on the misconducts of various practicing counselors and the appropriate action that was taken. One practicing professional, Daniel Herrera applied for a licensure in Arizona and indicated that he had significant alcohol abuse history, after serious thought and discussion the board members agreed to deny the applicant a licensure as they considered him not medical and employment history not stable enough(Adverse action report, 2011).Another applicant David Tennyson failed to disclose to the Board that he had been convicted of mail fraud and attempted tax evasion in the year 1998.
His failure to disclose information of his incarceration due to the stated crimes, the board discussed the matter an ultimately agreed to deny the applicant a license of practice (Adverse action report, 2011).Another practitioner, Lynn Bonner, was put on probation for not informing the authorities of a possible child abuse incidence when she was dealing with a traumatized 14 year old girl. Lack of disclosure of illnesses that may inhibit good performance and practice while working led to the dismissal of Maureen Thatcher and Jack Griffith (Adverse action report, 2011).. For a professional wishing to practice Marriage and family therapy, it is the Marriage and Family therapy credentialing committees that will analyze and examine his or her request before issuing or denying a license for practice in North Carolina.
It is also up to the Marriage and Family therapy credentialing committee to determine the disciplinary action of a licensee, the hearings and also the civil penalty.It is up to the credentialing committee of Marriage and family therapy to investigate any evidence and new information that may indicate that the licensee is incompetent, guilty of an unprofessional conduct or probably physically or mentally impaired. It would be up to the Marriage and Family therapy credentialing committee to source for any information that would for example cause another Marriage and family therapy counselor to claim that another counselor is not fit to work as a Marriage and Family therapy counselor (Fenell & Weinhold, 1997).
Once the Marriage and Family therapy credentialing committee conduct the investigations and examinations regarding a licensee, it is up to the Board as a whole to sit and discuss the suitable way forward with regard to the appropriate action to the licensee.To apply for a licensure as an associate marriage and family therapist, the first number one requirement is to have a master or higher degree in behavioral health science from an institution that has been credited by the commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family therapy Education. A master or degree in this course will touch mainly on marriage and family therapy and it shall also entail that the interested individual’s carried out a marriage and family therapy research study. For an internship, the student will be required to contribute a minimum of 300 client contact hours under supervision by the licensed marriage and family therapist (Fenell & Weinhold, 1997).
Examination to be done by the licensee will be approved by the marriage and family therapy committee. After acquiring the degree the student will then complete supervised work experience for marriage and family licensure which shall later be followed by clinical supervision for marriage and family therapy licensure. The applicants should ensure that the clinical supervisor submits a performance evaluation form to the Board. Incase an applicant has a master or higher degree in behavioral health science but still does not qualify to be a marriage and family therapy practitioner, he is allowed to take post-graduate degree programs from accredited colleges so that he can qualify for practice (Arizona Board of Behavioral Health, 2011).
A licensed associate marriage and family therapy counselor is not permitted to engage in independent practice; he only is allowed to practice under direct supervision.For those with interest in the Marriage and family therapy, they should be informed of the following list of unprofessional misconducts that has been approved by the behavioral health board. Conviction of felony, use of fraud, intentional misinformation either orally or written by the applicant/licensee. It is also a misconduct to carry out any false or fraudulent statement in connection to the Family and marriage therapy. Habitual use of alcohol or other substances that are not prescribed is also considered misconduct. Sexual harassment of the client and acquiring money through deceptive means while on duty is also considered misconduct (Wheeler, & Anderson, 2008).
To be a counselor any aspiring student should focus on studying the subjects that are related to the field of behavioral health that he wishes to study. The student should also be keep to only study in institutions that have been certified by the behavioral health board. To be a counselor one has to have the right mind set and should prepare himself to commit wholly to the profession so that he/she can offer the required services efficiently.
Arizona Board of Behavioral Health (2011) retrieved from http://www.azbbhe.us/ on 25th March 2011
Adverse action report (2011) retrieved from http://www.azbbhe.us/statute 2010.pdf on 25th march 2011.
Fenell, D. &Weinhold, B. (1997) Counseling families: an introduction to marriage and family therapy. Love Pub
Wheeler, A., & Anderson, B. (2008). The counselor and the law: a guide to legal and ethical practice. American Counseling Association