5 Reasons Why Having to Take the MFT Exams is GREAT!

Why Licensing Exams are Awesome

1.  If you’ve been letting your self-care slide, these exams will force you eye-to-eye with how much you’re NOT doing what you teach your clients.  In these exams it doesn’t matter if you can memorize gobs of stuff or whether you were a good test taker in school.  These exams are about whether you can manage your anxiety and make well-reasoned decisions while enduring uncertainty.   Which, face it, is what our profession requires from us on a fairly regular basis.  If your “tank” is on empty because you haven’t been taking care of yourself that will limit your ability to do well on these tests.  Therefore, use this time not only to study but to reevaluate the current balance of your life. 

2.  These exams will bring you eye-to-eye with the misinformation you’ve picked up over the years from professors and supervisors who don’t take the time to stay current with professional guidelines.  The license you will be issued is precious, and these exams make it clear what you need to know and do to make sure you never lose that precious commodity.  Passing these exams means you’ve been launched into your licensed career with the most up-to-date legal and ethical guidelines – now it’s up to you to maintain them.

3.   These exams are a big deal.  And everything that comes after taking and passing them is ALSO a big deal.   You’ll be licensed and as such have options available to you.  The “goal” of getting licensed has now turned into a crossroads.  What do you do with the wide open space spreading before you?  Taking and passing these exams builds your confidence.  Taking and passing these exams lets you know that you have what it takes to forge ahead.   Taking and passing these exams gives feet to your dreams.

4.  Taking and passing these exams isn’t possible without support.  If you haven’t learned the importance of networking yet, you will learn it now.  You need a network of colleagues whom you can count on for information and encouragement.  That same network will be there on the other (licensed) side when you’re looking for a well-paying job, starting a private practice, building a non-profit…  The relationships you build and maintain with your peers while you’re walking through this crucible together is VALUABLE.

5.  Finally, taking and passing these exams is a rite of passage that inserts you into a top notch group of people who not only say they want to help to make the world a better place, but have actually put their time, money, sweat, and tears toward that goal.  It means you’ve come through the tests, papers, theses, comps, field experiences, pratica, internships, personal therapy, late nights, low pay, and, yes, 2 seriously kick-butt exams in order to stand by your values.  You ARE a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist!  

Angela French is a licensed marriage and family therapist, and is making her dream of private practice in Manteca, California a reality.  Angela loves working with women who care deeply about others but are losing their sense of self in the middle of all they do.  She is passionate about helping women to unhook from feelings of guilt or fear, and encouraging them to develop a deep satisfaction in who they are and how they live life.  Angela has extensive experience working with women and adolescent girls, as well as couples, to reestablish relational wholeness and build personal fulfillment.  To find out more about Angela click here.

Understanding the Difference Between Law & Ethics

The California MFT Licensing exam, and several other state licensing exams for LCSW, LPC, Psychologist make a clear distinction between our legal requirements, and our ethical requirements. For many pre-licensed, and licensed individuals the two can easily get jumbled together in the carrying out of our daily duties. 

In addition, sometimes, cultural norms within our professions can be perceived as ethical duties or legal requirements- when there is no such requirement. Not only can this hinder us when attempting to pass the licensing exams- it can be confusing in our future independent clinical practice. And that is what licensing exams are about- it is the licensing boards best effort to ensure we are ready to practice on our own without forced oversight. 

I wrote an article for ZynnyMe about Is it Ethical for me to ________ in private practice? While the questions I answered might not be on your mind for a bit if you aren't in private practice yet- definitely check out the recommendations for developing a clear understanding of your ethical obligations, and developing your own personal code of ethics! 

Here are some of the questions I cover: 


  • It is unethical not to accept insurance. 
  • It is unethical not to offer sliding scale to everyone who calls you. 
  • It is unethical to charge a certain fee. 
  • It is unethical to hire contractors to work within your private practice- no matter the situation. 
  • It is unethical to refer a colleague to any other business if that business offers any sort of thank you, or perk, for that referral. 
  • It is unethical to offer coaching if you are a licensed or unlicensed therapist. 
  • It is unethical to start to market or brand yourself prior to licensure. 

    Read the entire post about common ethical questions in private practice here. 

    Did you know that one of the things people search this site for is free study materials? The ethical code of your professional organization is one of those free study guides! Go and read it, soak it in, understand it- it will help you prepare for your exams and doesn't cost a dime! 

    AAMFT Code of Ethics

    CAMFT Code of Ethics

    NASW Code of Ethics


    How do I study for these #$@! exams? 8 Lessons we can learn about the anxiety associated with licensing exams.

    I am sure you have heard it… there is a lot of talk about licensing exams… specifically there is a lot of negative talk about licensing exams. Why all the profanity, stress, and anxiety? Here are just a few of the reasons why exams are anxiety provoking, and some lessons we can learn from that anxiety:
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