"I'm struggling with getting paid kid hours. I need 400 kid/family/couples hours, but work at an adult outpatient program. I really feel hamstrung b/c I'm not bilingual. Seems like that is the "open sesame" code for paid kid gigs these days, and without that...."
Without getting those minimum 500 hours in family, child, or couple's counseling- you can't get licensed in California as a Marriage and Family Therapist. In many other states the licensure and experience is 90% focused on working from a family or couple perpsective. California is one of the only states where one could get licensed and have never done 1 marriage counseling session!
But- what you really want to know is- how do I get a paid gig where I can gain these hours? While I am going to focus on someone who is working with adults who wants to switch things up- I believe most of the rules apply to therapists who have seen primarily children who want to expand to working with an adult population.
Step #1: Start where you are at.
If you are already working in an organization, start by doing an assessment of your work there. Might there be a way to take a new look at what you are doing and suggest to your supervisor, or to your clients, integrating more couple's or family therapy work?
Conjoint sessions are the first step to doing couples and family work, and your supervisor will likely still sign off on conjoint sessions- even if the family or child isn't the mode of treatment.
Here are a just few ideas that might be possible (depending on several factors related to the outpatient program you work in:
Offering couple's sessions.
Offering a support group for couples
Bringing families in as part of the assessment process
Doing a "family day" group therapy evening once per week or per month
Asking new client's to plan one session with their children present
Offer a workshop aimed towards children, parenting, or relationships to start wheels turning.
Step #2: Assert your needs
Let your clinical and agency supervisor know your predicament. If you are awesome (and I will assume you are), people will want to help you overocome this last obstacle. Whether that means coming up with a plan that truly benefits your current job placement, or making recommendations on your behalf to help you get a gig elsewhere- supervisors who care will make it happen.
Step #3: Identify and develop your skillset
Do you think being bilingual is the only thing that gets you hired? I am going to disagree with you. Speaking a second language is absolutely an amazing skill and adds value. However, there are so many things that tie into your value as a therapist, as a colleague, and an employee.
Take some time to really explore what is great about who you are, the specifics of things you have done, and what sets you apart. Are you not sure? Do you feel like a dime a dozen? that is a cognitive distortion that will tank your opportunity for success.
I have supervised amazing therapists who are bilingual, and some that only speak English. Personally, I am not bilingual and have created amazing opportunities for myself again and again. It isn't always easy- but it is possible. And, the skills you learn to get great jobs, are the SAME skills you will need to create a great private practice!
What did we just talk about above?
Sounds like business skills to me!
p.s. Are you in a private practice internship, or do you plan to launch a private practice? Several interns just went through the Business School Bootcamp and found it to be personally and professional transformative. You can get on the list to find out about the next bootcamp here.