What I wish I’d known about a Private Practice Internship

by Kimberly Sandstrom, LMFT

Well, first, I wish I’d known that private practice would challenge every “I’m not good enough” crack in my “I’ve got it all together” veneer. Yep, people think I’ve got it all together. I don’t. Every time I called a client and they asked if I took insurance or how long I’d been in practice, or what my fees were…the hesitation took over.  “The ruse is over. They will know I’m a poser.” If they find out, they are going to run for the hills…or the therapist next door!”

These are things I wish I could tell you as you begin your journey in private practice as an intern.

  1. No one will EVER ask you what your GPA was in grad school. (Well, one client did, but his son was in my practice for anxiety…hmmm.) So, don’t stress it while you are studying. Just learn what you are supposed to and enjoy the journey—you will miss the opportunities to learn and discuss (but not the papers and exams).

  2. I would feel like a poser for a while. Sometimes I would catch myself in the middle of a session thinking, “Wow, look at me! I’m a therapist!”

  3. I know more than my clients do. Telling clients I was an “intern under supervision” was one of the scariest things in the beginning. I was sure they would say, “I’m outta here. I want someone who can actually help me!” No one did run or tell me that. In fact, once they were in the office, they stayed—I’m good at connecting with people. My life experience couples with my clinical training and awesome supervision gave me the edge I needed.

  4. I can charge what I’m worth. I thought I would have to charge $25 per session because that’s what all the interns before me did. I sat down and made a list of what I knew and what I need to learn. Surprisingly, all the extra training and interests, books I’ve read over the years, and my life experience being married 20+ years, raising 3 daughters, actually gave me a competitive edge. I started out lower than I am now, but worked my way up. I’m worth it. You are too. You have unique experiences no matter how old you are. You have a reason you pursued this career. Capitalize on that and think about all the work you’ve done in that area for yourself.

  5. Helping people heal is like taking ecstasy! Well, I’ve never taken ecstasy but I hear it’s like the love drug. That’s exactly how I feel when a couple I’m working with begins to heal, lowers their escalation and begins to fall in love again. All the dopamine centers in my brain begin firing. It motivates me while working with the tougher couples I work with. There is hope and I’m a vessel for healing in their lives (not the only one, but one vessel they can access).

  6. Transparency is okay in the therapy room. Remember #2? I thought I had to pretend I knew everything. I don’t. When I’m stuck with a couple, it’s okay to share that. “Hey guys, I’m feeling like we are getting stuck in this same place, are you feeling that too?” Usually this opens up conversation for where they are getting stuck and I don’t have to do all the work.

  7. Opportunities don’t “present themselves” you have to go find them! During my practicum, the site I was at had to send me clients and there was no shortage—they took on students to provide for their clients and I needed the hours to graduate. Private practice, no one hands you clients (my supervisor was very generous with referrals). You have to go out and get them. This meant asking people to meet for coffee, asking people if I could blog for them (like here) and emailing audiences I wanted to speak to and asking them if they needed me. My name was unknown and I had to make myself known to others. While you may not like to speak, you can certainly put yourself out there in other ways. I networked with key people in my area and the referrals begin to trickle in. Now licensed, I have a steady stream of clients and community referral sources that I can rely on to keep my practice full. Oh, and about “full”…

  8. I don’t have to see 45 clients a week. I’m exaggerating, of course, but I found a good number of clients that I feel comfortable with each week. They get the best of me when I stay within that client-hour range. There was one month during my internship that I saw 25+ clients a week. I was exhausted, irritable with my family, and not doing my best work. I got sick the moment I slowed down. I made a decision that this was not in my best interest. So, I raised my fees a bit with new clients and see less.

  9. The BBS does eventually approve your hours. The past few years it has been a long seemingly endless wait for hours to get approved, but it meant I got an extra year of supervision and experience. Silver lining.

  10. I don’t have to know everything and I don’t have to figure it all out on my own. Are you seeing a theme here? There are people out there, like Miranda, who LOVE to help you succeed. There are free resources available and ones worth paying for. They are investments in your current and future practice. Take advantage of them!

Want more specifics on how I did it? Feel free to contact me. Miranda has amazing resources and is so willing to connect with you and connect you with others, don’t miss out on what she provides.

A note from Miranda: Ahh thanks Kim! A huge shout out to Kim for sharing a piece of her journey with all of you! Comment below with what you learned in today's article, or what wisdom you would like to share with others! (Maybe even just say "Thank You" to Kim for taking the time to give back to the MFT Interns out there!) If you aren't on the list yet- be sure you are getting these awesome articles delivered right to your inbox! If you are looking to start a private practice internship, here are some other articles that might be of interest: 

Finding a paid private practice internship

Learning to network to find a paid position

Your MFT Resume


Finding a Paid MFT Internship or Private Practice Internship

Are you looking to get a paid internship? Well, in many areas of the country the competition is fierce and the jobs are scarce. And you know what that leads to? A lot of of fear, frustration, and hopelessness. 

Calling all pre-licensed therapists! You CAN be successful- even in this economy! I'm going to give you some tips to finding a paid internship as a MFT Intern, ACSW, Associate LPC, etc. today.

Ok, so let's starts simply: 

1. Be professional. 

I think it is crazy that I should even have to write this one down. It seems so obvious. And yet, I talk to therapists who are searching high and low to hire pre-licensed therapists for private practice internships. What do I hear about? 


  • Unprofessional clothing
  • Interns who aren't taking care of their own mental health
  • Unprepared therapists
  • Entitled therapists
  • Angry therapists


While I know that none of you would ever do this. I want you to take a moment to think about this. A private practice internship is someone's baby. It is a licensed professional's small business that they built from scratch. It is should (hopefully) be successful if they are looking to hire someone to come to work for them. 

However, an unprofessional therapist who dresses poorly and doesn't know how to carry themselves could lead to more than just a headache for the supervisor. It can lead to a loss of new clients, a loss of income, and even the loss of the business. It is a VERY big deal for someone to trust you with their practice. Their business will be judged by your actions. 

So, put a little extra oomph into your dressing choices. Dress as you would if you were presenting at a state conference, or you were going to be on Television. If you find the position is more casual- great. But never assume. And prepare for that interview! 

2. Understand the position

One of the key tips i describe in my job interviewing 101 podcast are ways to gather information about the position you are interviewing for. Understanding the position more completely prepares you beautifully for an interview. You need to know what they are looking for,  and, you need to know whether this is even a position you want! 

Private practice internships are not like traditional agency jobs. In 95% of cases you don't show up and see clients. In fact, if you find an internship where you show up and see clients- chances are the pay will be low, or non-existent. 

A successful private practice internship gives you an opportunity to legally market your psychotherapy services. It is a chance to present yourself to the world, start to build your reputation online (and offline), and it can be the foundation with which you launch your own private practice after you get licensed. 

You want a therapist who is going to give you freedom to develop your own website, market in the community, etc. If you get an internship where you aren't allowed to do these things, you are going to have difficulty finding clients- either now- or when you launch on your own. 

A private practice internship that includes the responsibility to market your practice isn't a minus- it is a plus. It is a perk! Having a clinical supervisor who expects you to get clients means having a supervisor who understands how business works and will have more support for you as you move forward. 

A private practitioneer is looking for someone who doesn't just "want to go into private practice someday" but someone who is "preparing to launch a successful private practice in the future by taking specific steps today." Are you passionate about starting a private practice? Are you willing, and ready to learn about marketing, business planning, business boundaries, clinical boundaries, and more? 

3. Don't wait for things to "happen." 

I see many therapists who are complaining that there are "no jobs." While therapists in the exact same places are getting offers from multiple positions. How can this happen? Are some therapists just "lucky?" Maybe. However, every pre-licensed therapist I've seen experience this has made some very specific choices. They make time for trainings and networking early and often in their careers. They are well known by licensed and pre-licensed therapists alike. They are strategic in their thinking and have a bigger plan in mind. 

Do you have a goal of starting a private practice once licensed? Start developing your specialty today. Start your blog today. Start building a contact list today. If you wrote even 1 blog per month, and got even 30 new subscribers per month, in 3 years you would have over 1000 people on your e-mail list. Google would know who you are, 1000 people would know your name. Let's say 50% of those people unsubscribed, and only 1% of those that were left wanted to become your client when you opened your private practice. Do you know what that means? Five new clients when you open the doors. 

Pre-licensed therapists, you can be successful! Think outside of the box. You have (or are getting a master's degree). Build your reputation, make connections, and choose to be successful. You can do this! 

(Are you on the list? If not, get on the list and you'll get the Job Interviewing 101 podcast send out to you after a few days). 


Top 5 Reasons Why Therapists Need the Free Online Study Group

I started a free MFT study group back in July of 2005. I had failed a licensing exam, felt humiliated and wasn't sure what to do next. My clinical supervisor hadn't taken the written clinical vignette, and had failed the oral exams several times. She had no words of wisdom before, or after I took my licensing exams. 

I started the free study group for MFT Interns studying for the clinical vignette on a whim after failing my written clinical vignette exam by 1 point. Sometimes that is just how these things start, on a whim, selfishly. I am SO glad that I did, it was a major turning point in my professional career.

The study group currently has pre-licensed MFT, LPC, LCSW, MHC studying for California Exams, National Exams, and other state specific exams. There are over 1040 members currently helping each other down the path to successful, licensed practice. 

When I started the study group I thought for sure we would be practicing theory, quizzing one another, etc. And yes, that stuff happened. However, there is something much deeper, and more profound that happens in the free online study group:

1. Community

While some professional organizations have clubs for pre-licensed individuals, many do not. Many pre-licensed therapists feel less than, left out, unseen. They are biding their time patiently to get licensed and "emerge." In a pre-licensed group the sense is that you are great right where you are. Everybody is there with you, and rooting for you as you go forward. Nobody feels less than, just excited for one another! 

2. Crowd-sourcing

I remember asking the 1 person I knew who had taken the written clinical vignette exam what study materials I should get, or what advice she had. She had none. She felt like it was a fluke she passed. She didn't know what to tell me. My supervisor recommended a program with a lady whose picture looked a bit crazy. That picture did NOT instill confidence. With over 1000 therapists in one place, ask and you shall receive. Is this study program worth it? You can get dozens of responses within a few hours usually. What should I do to prepare for my exam that is 3 days away? Dozens of responses with tried and true tips- and TONS of encouragement. 

3. Power

It is easy to feel alone and powerless in the licensing exam process, and in the entire licensure process. Having hundreds of people who are in the process, finishing up the process, just starting the process. It is beautiful to see people stepping us as leaders, informing the next generation, who in turn step up as leaders, and inform the next people. I truly believe the online study group is going to train up an amazing group of future clinical supervisors. 

4. Encouragement

There is nothing like true, honest support while in the deep depths of a really bad day. Whether it is a letter from the BBS saying they didn't approve all your hours, frustration at a 10 month wait for exam approval, or failing your MFT exam by 1 point. Being able to post in a place where people really get you, or where others are experiencing the same thing is amazing. I've watched this process for almost a decade, and I might even say it is awe-inspiring. 

5. Informative

While asking a question like "What study materials should I buy for my MFT exams?" and getting dozens of responses is awesome. Sometimes, we don't need lots of opinions. Sometimes you just need someone who has the information. When you have questions like "How do I get someone at the BBS to pick up the phone?" Having someone who has a direct contact to share that meets your needs is the best feeling in the world. I wish I coudl see that I was that person with "all the answers." I'm not. I can't be. What is fantastic is that when you get hundreds and hundreds of passionate, determined therapists together someone has the answer. Or, someone is going to get the answer. 

These are the top 5 reasons why therapists need a free online study group. These are the reasons why even though I created the group selfishly, to meet my own needs, I've continued the group all these years. I always want pre-licensed therapists to know there is a place to go where they can get support! Would you like to join? We'd love to have you! 

Join the free online study group today.

Are you already in the study group? Post below why YOU love the online study group. And give this article a share! 


Why I'm thankful I failed my California Clinical Vignette Exam

Yesterday I posted that was I was full of gratitude for failing my clinical vignette exam back in 2005. It caused some major confusion for some people ;0) If you have failed your clinical vignette exam, written exam, or any licensing exam- you know it isn't something you feel grateful for in the moment. 

You don't feel grateful. You might feel angry, sad, numb, frustrated, confused, hurt, humiliated, humbled, panicked, fearful, overwhelmed, disappointed, embarrassed, and about a million other things. But, I've yet to meet someone that, in those first moments or hours feels grateful. 

No, I'm not one of those evolved humans who felt grateful for my failure in the moment. I still hate failing today, and I hated it then. That is probably one of my Top 10 worst days in my life... which considering my life story is actually pretty funny. 

Read More

Free training for Psychology students

I always LOVE finding new free resources for pre-licensed therapists, especially graduate students. Your career does NOT start after licensure. It starts right now, this moment, even as you are getting educated. 

Good Therapy has a free student level membership that gives you access to free recordings of trainings given by industry leaders. How cool is that? 

So, today, if you are a current student, I want you to take these steps: 

#1. Go and grab your free GoodTherapy student membership

#2. Schedule time at least once per month to take an online training. Schedule it as if it was a LIVE training. keep that time sacred. 

#3. As you take that training, post about what you learn on social media on your personal or professional accounts. Have a little fun on twitter, Facebook, reddit, whatever you are already engaging on. 

#4. include the training on your resume or curriculum vitae, and add it to your LinkedIn profile. 

#5. Love the training? Consider giving a shout to the presenter and Good Therapy on Twitter and follow them both. You might just make some great connections and meet some awesome people! 

#6. Share this post with your colleagues. And yes, I mean colleagues. They may seem like classmates today, but they will by your colleagues soon enough! 

Develop yourself as someone who is passionate about learning more about your craft today. And, as you take each of these trainings, use it to improve your online reputation. Later, as you are looking for positions, you will already have started to develop your professional network, which will make the process of getting a job, and starting a private practice easier and more fruitful! 

MFT websites for pre-licensed therapists

Did you know that a lot of established therapists feel a bit jealous of the next generation of therapists? Seriously. They are jealous of how many more options you have for marketing your practice. They are hopeful that you will have or develop the skills to have a great online presence and reach clients who need you. 

How cool is that? While some of you MFT Interns and ACSWs are "digital natives" many of you are coming to psychotherapy as a second (or fifth career). You decided to give yourself permission to do what you are have always dreamed of doing in your deep down heart. 

However you have gotten here, be happy! Be inspired! Be joyful. You have a wonderful journey of growth and passionate work ahead of you! So, here are a few tips for developing a website as a Marriage and Family Therapists, MFT:  

  1. Learn about how great therapy websites work. Whether you have any technology background at all- a business website is a bit more complex than a regular website.
  2. If you aren't in private practice yet, start a website anyway. Start letting google get to know you, and start building an online reputation- even if you have no services to offer yet. Just start the process of sharing expertise. 
  3. Start to develop an expertise or passion you feel comfortable sharing. You don't have to be the all-knowing guru to have something amazing to share! 
  4. Get over your fear of sharing your passion. Your clients deserve a fearless therapist! Ok, well maybe not fearless- but let your passion for connection overshadow your fear of judgment from others! 
  5. Start learning private practice marketing skills now. The sooner you learn them, the more clients you will be able to help! 

Side note: I have wonderful clients who send me notes when I miss typos on my private practice website. They are still happy to work with me and are comfortable that I'm not going to be teaching English anytime soon! 

Don't think you are tech savvy enough to build your own website or blog as a therapist? You are! Seriously. It is easier than you think to get started! 

Click here or on the pretty picture below to get started! Also, know that your clinical supervisors might like this free course too! So, share away! 

Pre-Licensed Private Practice: Going Paperless

Are you a supervisor hiring interns in private practice? 
Or an intern in private practice? 
Or an intern who wants to land a private practice internship? 

Awesome! I LOVE working with interns in private practice internships. Why? Because I love seeing interns who are working on the full suite of skills that they will need to run their own private practice someday. Unfortunately, the clinical aspects of a private practice are often overshadowed by the business aspects: 

  • How to market your private practice.
  • How to get full fee clients. 
  • How do I set your fee. 
  • How to negotiate sliding scale clients (and when to avoid them). 
  • How to track the financial side of the practice. 

I work with a lot of licensed therapists in private practice over at http://zynnyme.com and many of them are finding that "going paperless" isn't just about getting rid of paper files. A practice management system can start to develop some automation in not just sending clients appointment reminders, but also in putting together your financial picture. 

A good practice management system allows you to see how much income you have outstanding, how much money you made this month, makes it easy to print off receipts for clients, and so much more.

What does this have to do with pre-licensed private practice? 

Supervisors are finding empowering their supervisees with a practice management system is letting both the supervisor and the supervisee get the business side of the intern's private practice experience on target! There are a few programs that are set-up for allowing interns.

One of our favorite programs just released not just an update to make it all kosher and legal for interns to use the program, but they are offering an ah-mazing discount! How cool is that?

Why? Because the developer of Simple Practice the therapist paperless office is also the original creator of TrackYourHours. He has a passion for pre-licensed MFTs, LCSWs, Psychologists, and Licensed Professional Counselors- and it comes out in everything he does!

Their program is designed with California MFT Interns and Associate Clinical Social Workers in mind. These individuals are not allowed to practice independently and must be employees in order to practice therapy prior to licensure. Outside of California? You may qualify, here is link to an article that describes who qualifies for the discount. In short: 

"If you do not have your professional license, are not able to collect money directly from your clients and are required to work under the guidance and supervision of a licensed clinician, then you most likely qualify for our discounted rate." 

I know is some states, although you are required to get supervision, you are allowed to practice independently prior to licensure. Independent practice does not qualify for this discount. 

Check out the amazing special offer he is making just for pre-licensed professionals

Submitting your hours for licensure to the California BBS

About once a week I receive a message from a MFT Intern or ACSW in California stresed out about putting their licensure application together. It is understable, you have spent years going to school, gathering hours, there is bound to be a bit of anxiety about submitting the paperwork. And, of course, we usually only hear the horror stories about the BBS. Nobody shouts from the rooftops when their application is processed quickly without any issues! However, here are a few of the things I have realized about the anxiety associated with submitting paperwork. It can lead to:
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Help! I can't get my "kid" hours in California!

"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? 
Boundary Setting
Understanding Value
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


Studying for MFT Exams

Getting licensed. It often feels like the final "hoop" for people who have gotten a Master's degree in Psychology. Whether you are pursuing licensure in California, Washington, or across the United States, the process can be very anxiety provoking. 

Know that you are not alone! 

Years ago, after failing my first exam by 1 point, and feeling completely alone, I started a free online study group to connect with other people going through the process. It was the most validating experience to realize that I wasn't alone, that my thoughts and feelings were normal, and to find support. 

Do you have support going through your exam study process? 

While the study group has morphed and changed since 2005 when I first started it, it remains active, and supportive. We are now located on Facebook. While the group started out for MFTs in California, the word has spread and has touched LCSWs, LPCs, MFCCs, MFTs, MHCs, and other designations from across the United States. 

What can you expect? 

A supportive environment to ask questions. No, people will not be sharing what is "on the exam" that would be illegal, but they will be helping one another prepare for the process, answering questions about study materials, and just providing emotional support. 

This is a place that is focused on moving forward, finding solutions, and being generally nice. So, if you are an awesome pre-licensed therapist who is nice, and wants support- come join us! Just click here and request to "Join" and we will get you set-up ASAP! 

Stop waiting for licensure: You can be successful right NOW!

Did you know you be successful as a professional right now? Did you know that your career is happening right now? Not after you finish your hours, not after you pass your first test, now after you get licensed, not after you start a private practice, not after you have a full case load. 

Your career, and your profession is happening. Right now. As. We. Speak. Do you feel helpless? Powerless? You shouldn't! You are either on your path to getting a graduate degree or already have one. You have already made the huge decision to make helping others your passion and mission. 

What would you do today if you saw yourself as a professional? If you didn't see your current state as purgatory, but as an opportunity for being amazingly successful? Here are some things I would recommend: 

  • Sit down and develop a clear 1, 5, 10 year business plan
  • Write down the areas that you want to develop in your clinical practice and take them into supervision
  • Actively seek out trainings online and offline
  • Volunteer to be on the board of your local professional organization
  • Start developing professional relationships with local businesses
  • Start developing the website and blog for your future business so Google starts to get to know you now
  • Stop isolating- start building strong relationships that are mutually beneficial for you and your colleague or mentor
  • Learn how to talk to other professionals in a way that builds long-standing relationships
  • Make financial goals and a plan to get there
  • Learn about running a business 
  • Develop confidence in setting clinical and business boundaries with clients
  • Check out this list of 50 tips I developed several years ago- it is like 4 pages long or I'd type it all up here ;0) 

What would happen if you thought of yourself as a professional today? I want you to message me at miranda@mftguide.com and tell me what you would do- and I will add it to the list! 

If you want step-by-step support in doing much of the above, desire accountability, structure, and click-by-click videos for getting things done- sign-up to be interviewed for the Business School Bootcamp. Learn more about the Business School Bootcamp here. I'm not big on selling stuff on this site, but having talked to several interns this week who felt like our program was exactly what they needed- I'd hate not to tell you about it! 


The long path to licensure, Hours, Exams, Private Practice, and FREE Webinar

This year for my thirty-ahemth birthday I started doing mud-runs. A friend convinced me it made complete sense for me to complete a 14 mile mud run with 25+ obstacles as my first ever race... I had never even done a 5k... And, of course, I completed it in the middle of a storm, hail, and 15-25 MPH winds...

I learned a lot from that experience. Mostly what I learned is that I already had what it took to do that. And, if you are going through the process of getting licensed- by the end- you will have what it takes to.

It is all about continuing the movement forward, and NEVER stopping. Notice your progress, look slightly ahead- at what is just in front of you and just KEEP MOVING!

I know there are a lot of steps, a lot of obstacles, a lot of pain between deciding to become a therapist, and actually completing your goal. But, you know what- you CAN do it!

So today, we are going to talk about having the right "gear" and a bit of the right preparation. Thankfully the gals over at Spartan Chicked on Facebook got me as prepped as I could be for my race.

1. If you live in California, but you aren't using www.trackyourhours.comto track your hours and manage your paperwork- seriously do it now. It is one way you keep moving forward. With some of the delays at the BBS- it is even more important to get your hours submitted immediately after finishing them. Start getting original signatures on experience verification forms asap. This link: https://www.trackyourhours.com/zynnyme/ gets you 3 months free! 

2. Join us on Facebook or LinkedIn for some moral support about the intern experience or getting licensed. https://www.facebook.com/groups/mftguide/ or http://www.linkedin.com/groups?home=&gid=2212173&trk=anet_ug_hm

3. Check out the upcoming new FREE webinar all about pre-licensed private practice in California. We have an organization looking to hire about 70 interns from across California that will also be doing Q & A at the end of the webinar. https://zynnyme.leadpages.net/pp-internship/

Now, I have completed two of those crazy LONG runs, and 2 others- in fact I did 3 of them in about 6 weeks. You are much stronger than you know! Go out there and finish the race guys!

Miranda Palmer, LMFT /

MFT Study Materials & Counting Hours

So exciting seeing pre-licensed therapists passing the standard written exam and the clinical vignette exam for becoming licensed as a MFT!

The old school Yahoo Group I have been hosting for several years had gotten consistently attacked by spammers, and it was difficult to keep up to date. The new Facebook group is allowing for hosting the group without headaches for me! Woohoo!

And more importantly, it is letting pre-licensed folks get together to talk about study materials, testing strategies, anxiety management, and how to become a successful professional!

People are sharing their feedback on Gerry Grossman, AATBS, Amanda Rowan, and other test prep materials so people can choose the right study materials for them! If you would like to join us, we would love to have you! Pop on over here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/mftguide/ And click on "Join Group" in the top-right hand corner.

Not ready to study for exams yet? Still counting hours? Be sure to go and grab https://www.trackyourhours.com/ It is invaluable to accurately be able to track your hours so you can submit it as soon as you are done. The application waiting period has been VERY long. It also allows you to catch issues early- like not getting enough supervision, or not being aware of maximums in certain groups and categories. (Oh and it works for California MFT and California LCSW Licensure Tracks)

In the Trenches: Good Supervision

Miranda Palmer, LMFT (Your MFTGuide) here to introduce our very first "in the trenches" post from an MFT Intern current gathering hours. I had the pleasure of meeting Michaela Renee Johnson at the 2013 California MFT (CAMFT) Conference in Sacramento, CA. I would love for you to hear her thoughts and recommendations about finding a good clinical supervisor while gathering hours for California licensure! 

When I was in Grad school, people talked about the concept of a “good” supervisor and a “bad” supervisor.

The concept was lost on me as people told horror stories of “bad” supervisors in practicum.
It wasn’t until I was half way through my practicum that I finally understood. The first supervisor I had was everything I had envisioned a supervisor to be, she was easy going, a great listener, educated, theoretical yet tactical and humorous. She was exactly what I needed in that first experience to get my bearings and build confidence at such a pivotal moment. But, I only could only fully "see" that in retrospect. 

Halfway through my practicum she announced she was moving out of State, and we would be assigned a new supervisor.

I was incredibly sad, because I’d come to appreciate and enjoy her as a supervisor and a mentor, but it wasn’t until my new supervisor was assigned that I started to truly appreciate what I’d had, and lost.

Every supervisor has a different skillset and style that they bring to the experience.

And not knowing what I didn't know- I sort of expected supervision was a standard thing. That there was a specific formula and that my new supervisor would be just like my old supervisor. 

Supervision is a very personal thing, and every supervisor has strengths, and areas that could be improved.

  • There are supervisors who are more oriented toward the technical details of being a therapist, making sure to verify your assessments match your treatment goals and that your prog notes have every “I” dotted. This can really help build your confidence with record-keeping. 
  • Then there are supervisors who are lackadaisical, letting you swim the river of BBS paperwork, insurance paperwork and clients on your own. You almost have to track them down to get five minutes outside of your weekly hour to ask questions as they come up. This will teach you to own your experience and build assertiveness skills to get what you need. 
  • There are also supervisors who are more focused on your talents and what happens in the office with your clients…you could say, your instinctual ability to be a good therapist (or a bad one). These supervisors sometimes feel like those one in a million experiences. And, that person who "gets you" just perfectly may be different for each of us! 
At some point in your clinical development, finding a supervisor who meshes with your personal style is critical to your success as a therapist. Here’s why:
  1. You aren’t going to be under supervision forever, at some point you are going to have to either work for an agency or branch out into your own private practice.
  2. Your supervisor isn’t going to be sitting next to you as you take the state exam.
  3. It’s ultimately up to you to find your personal style, theoretical orientation and beliefs about finances and insurance.
  4. A supervisor who doesn’t connect with you on a personal level, means you are missing out on a great deal of inherent learning through osmosis.
  5. A supervisor who doesn’t encourage the strengths they see in YOU means you never get the opportunity to feel confident before you are out on your own. 
  6. A supervisor who isn’t the kind of therapist you want to be, isn’t going to make a great coach or mentor.
While as therapists we may be good at letting go of judgment, finding a supervisor that is best for you, is one place you should be able to be clear about your needs and assess whether someone can meet them. At the beginning of internship, 3,000 hours feels like a life time away. I can assure you, 1500 hours  and four supervisors into the process, it goes quicker than you realize.
I have been afforded the opportunity to work with supervisors who fell into all the categories above. I’ve also turned down opportunities to work at some facilities based upon the person who would be supervising me.  
I’ve learned that sometimes we have to accept a supervisor because it’s the best financial position, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t consult with other supervisors who have more experience, or just better match with our personal goals as therapists. After all, the point of supervision is not just to have someone to bounce cases off of, but for our own personal growth.

Michaela Renee Johnson is a Board Registered Marriage and Family Therapist intern who works in private practice as well as in non profit. MichaelaRenee.com

(Would you like to submit an article for publication? We are currently accepting anonymous as well as byline pieces to share with therapists around the country. Send to miranda@mftguide.com We accept stories that tell a story, and that while they may talk about the difficult parts of this profession- offer real strategies to be successful.) 



Your MFT Resume

I went to the 2013 CAMFT conference in Sacramento, CA last week and met SO many amazing pre-licensed (and licensed) therapists.

And guess what? I met pre-licensed person after pre-licensed person who were getting paid positions, had multiple options for practicums, and were feeling excited and inspired about their career choice.

Wow! It was this strange little world where the success I see with my clients and so many interns and trainees seemed to be ultra-concentrated!

I really focused on trying to recruit some awesome, real, and recent stories to inspire you. (By the way- do you have a story to tell? E-mail miranda@mftguide.com)

Here are a few things that I noticed:

- The most successful people had a prior career (and came in to the field with resume, networking, and interviewing experience). - These successful MFT Interns and MFT Trainess (and a few LPC Interns) were committed to training and networking (that is where I met them after all!) - The attitude and energy that they had was inspiring and contagious.

So- what are you doing? Are you getting that MFT resume flowing with training and networking events? Are you learning to talk to colleagues and professionals and put yourself out there?

ZynnyMe FREE Webinar Profitable Private Practice

FREE Webinar for Therapists! ------------------------------------------------------------ Email not displaying correctly? View it in your browser (http://us4.campaign-archive2.com/?u=10551de47bde66a2ef3950530&id=f33a7dff6b&e=3e6c9e5e3c) . http://zynnyme.com/strategy-session// Hey there MFTGuide peeps! Part of becoming a successful therapist post-licensure is creating a career that you LOVE and that you get PAID for!

Our FREE Profitable Private Practice Webinar (http://zynnyme.com/webinarpp) is getting some major buzz and we are SO excited! It is happening in just a few weeks!

Have you checked out it yet? We just got back from a state-wide awesome conference- where we met two main groups of therapists- those that believed that success was possible (and probable), and those that believed it was an impossibility in the current economy.

Come one, come all and hear real stories of how therapists are becoming successful in the current economic climate, and get real inspiration for taking your business to the next level. We really want you to be there- so be sure to save your seat! This a LIVE event, no replays or recordings- just a great group of therapists, helpers, and healers getting together to learn LIVE!

Find out more and save your spot here (http://zynnyme.com/webinarpp) (and maybe find out about a special, unpublicized, FREE bonus!)

Miranda Palmer, LMFT & Kelly Higdon, LMFT http://zynnyme.com / (http://mftguide.com)

============================================================ Copyright © 2013 http://zynnyme.com, All rights reserved. You were looking for help with Miranda Palmer, LMFT through her website http://mftguide.com and/or her free online study group at http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/ClinicalVignetteStudy

Our mailing address is: http://zynnyme.com 1311 E Street Modesto, CA 95354

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Scholarship Applications for a Business Training

Wanted to pass along this message I received this morning ;0)

* 5 scholarships to the 100x100 Project for students!*

Yep. You will have access to the entire Project at no cost to you.

Details on how to apply for a scholarship are here<http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=AHolF&m=3fH0BO.YveXEccf&b=3K8B22NH0rSCAgdfJ2PZRw> .

Do I have to have supervision if I am pre-licensed in California (or in other states)?

[image: Inline image 2] I have spoken to clinicians (MFTInterns, Associate Clinical Social Workers, LPCC Interns etc.) who believe that supervision is simply there to *allow you to count your hours of experience.* While sometimes it is the case that pre-licensed therapists are working in a spot where supervision is a luxury and not a necessity-* those situations are few and far between*.

I like to use the example of a driver's license. If you wear glasses, you know that upon receiving or renewing your driver's license, an eye exam is performed to determine if you qualify for an unrestricted license. If you aren't able to pass the vision test, you receive a restricted license.

As an MFT Intern, MFT Trainee, Associate Clinical Social Worker, or LPCC Intern you have a restricted license. That means anytime you are doing psychotherapy work you have to work within the confines of that restricted license.

If you get pulled over in a car and are not wearing your glasses or contacts, you are breaking the law. If you something goes wrong and you get in an accident while not wearing glasses- you are open to *more liability. * * * So how does this relate to your restricted (provisional, pre-licensed) status? The restriction places on your license is that you must receive supervision at a specific ratio, and on a specific schedule (at least once a week when you are seeing clients in most cases). While the BBS in California is clear to share if you don't meet those requirements you can't "count hours" *it is also important to know that you in a sense driving without glasses on a restricted license! *

And guess what, if something goes wrong, and there is an accident, *even if it isn't your fault*, you are exposing yourself (and your license) to *more liability! Remember lawyers are taught to look for ways to blame you for what happened. * * * Yikes!

This is not meant to scare you, but to give you some information so you can better protect yourself and your career that you have worked so hard to pursue. You are a professional today, you follow the law, and you need to know the laws so you can better assert your needs.

What can you do today if there is an issue?

- Call your professional organization for consultation and to run through options. - Very politely express your new found knowledge and partner with your employer to find a solution. - Network with other professionals to see how they are managing this issue.

Hope this finds you well!

p.s. Currently I am not taking any new supervision or coaching clients through / You may post questions you would like featured on the blog- but I will not be providng distance support at this time. I am working hard on some cool projects over at http://zynnyme.com to help therapists create the practice they envision. I do have some fun things planned for http://mftguide.com but not until early 2014- so make sure you register for the newsletter so you can keep "in the know."

Urgent California: Is Your Job Title Social Worker?

*From the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists www.camft.org*


There is a current piece of legislation, AB 252 (Yamada), which prohibits an individual from representing himself or herself as a “Social Worker” and prohibits employers from representing a member of their staff as a “Social Worker” unless that person graduated from a school accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the Council on Social Work Education. However, there are many LMFTs, Registered Interns and Trainees who hold the title of “Social Worker” as they meet the current criteria for the specific position. CAMFT believes this change is unnecessary and could potentially limit marriage and family therapists’ ability to work in public mental health.

To bolster CAMFT’s argument on the detrimental effect this legislation could have on many of our members, we are asking that any licensee, registrant or trainee who currently holds the employment/volunteer job title of “Social Worker,” please contact CAMFT and provide us the following information:

- Job Title - Employer - County of employment

You can send your response to grassroots@camft.org by Friday, May 10, 2013.

We thank you for your help in assuring that this legislation is written in a manner that assures that no jobs are lost, and our members do not lose their ability to work in public health.

REGISTER NOW - Camarillo Networking/CEUs

Low-cost training for pre-licensed and licensed people alike. Get out there and meet people and get some advanced training!

*How Do We Talk To Our Kids About...*


*Tracy Webb*, *Los Angeles City Attorney's Office Cyber Crime & Child Abuse * *Prosecution Division *and *Dawn Reid*, *Interface Children & Family Services*

*Thursday, May 9, 2013*<http://click.icptrack.com/icp/relay.php?r=20990191&msgid=501973&act=2WFJ&c=194100&destination=https%3A%2F%2Fcirinc.wufoo.com%2Fforms%2Fhow-do-we-talk-to-our-kids-about%2F> 9:00am-4:00pm (check-in begins at 8:30am) Camarillo, CA

*Conference Registration Fee*:

Partnership Members: $30

Non-Members: $40

Coffee and Refreshments Provided. Pay online by credit card or register online and send in your check, Click here for online registration<http://click.icptrack.com/icp/relay.php?r=20990191&msgid=501973&act=2WFJ&c=194100&destination=https%3A%2F%2Fcirinc.wufoo.com%2Fforms%2Fhow-do-we-talk-to-our-kids-about%2F>. All payments must be received by April 26th.

*Continuing Education Units*: This course meets qualifications for 6 hours of Continuing Education Units for MFTs/LCSWs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, Provider #4128. Participants may register the morning of the conference. CEU's are $25.

For Paper Registration or More Information: email Nicole O'Connor at Nicole.OConnor@cirinc.org , call (805) 584-0525, or visit www.CATTACenter.org<http://click.icptrack.com/icp/relay.php?r=20990191&msgid=501973&act=2WFJ&c=194100&destination=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cattacenter.org>

Presented by The Partnership for Safe Families & Communities of Ventura County and

The Child Abuse Training and Techincal Assistance Project

CIR, Inc.

2245 First St. Ste. 210A

Simi Valley, CA 93065

Tel. 805-584-0525



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Email is not a completely confidential form of communication. I respect your right to research and determine the level of information you choose to share over e-mail. If you e-mail treatment information or questions, I will respond via email or during your next session, depending on the nature of the question.