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It is hard to believe that we are already in the third month of 2021. Throughout this unprecedented time, CAMFT has continued to focus on areas of growth and progress for MFTs. I am pleased to announce that we have made some real progress in one such area—updating the MFT Scope of Practice, the definition for marriage and family therapy that is recognized in the California Business and Professions code.
This legislative cycle, CAMFT is sponsoring AB 723 to modernize the MFT Scope of Practice. Assemblymember Evan Low has agreed to author this important piece of legislation for CAMFT, and we thank him for his dedication to mental health and the marriage and family therapy profession.
A large part of what CAMFT does is to educate consumers and government leaders about the breadth of work that marriage and family therapists provide. One hurdle MFTs have continued to face is the reliance on a very simplified and outdated Scope of Practice that does not explicitly outline an MFT’s ability to assess and treat mental illness. The current MFT scope contains an antiquated description of marriage and family therapy, focusing on pre-martial and couples counseling only, and ignoring the other important and skilled work that MFTs actually do on a day-to-day basis in private practice, hospitals, agencies, schools, group practices, and more. AB 723 helps to rectify this simplification and instead highlights the most common aspects of the MFT’s practice and scope.
AB 723 is the culmination of over five years of hard work by so many dedicated to advancing the marriage and family profession. I want to thank the many Board of Directors of CAMFT for prioritizing the improvement of the MFT scope. Thanks go to the Legislative Committees along the way, who kept scope in the forefront of CAMFT advocacy. I also thank the attendees of the 2018 CAMFT Connects for providing the initial feedback on how CAMFT should frame the MFT scope. And of course, thanks to the CAMFT staff who have been the backbone of this important strategic priority.
I want to give a special thank you to the Scope of Practice Task Force, including Talal Alsaleem, Ariel Cohen, Jan Mellinger, Ghada Osman, and Katie Vernoy. This group of diverse clinicians met for three years and reviewed and dissected existing law, utilized their own diverse backgrounds and work experience to develop a modern summary of what MFTs do, and provided feedback and critique as the language unfolded and was sent through the legislative stakeholder process.
I would also like to thank the Board of Behavioral Sciences for voting to support our legislation.
AB 723 is great news for the California MFT, and we at CAMFT are proud to be ushering this movement through the California legislature. Please visit our Scope of Practice information page featuring a video from CAMFT President Cathryn Leff, and stay tuned for updates on how all CAMFT members can contribute to our grassroots activities and support this important and historic endeavor.
Wishing everyone health and wellness!
Nabil El-Ghoroury, Ph.D., CAE
email@example.com | Twitter: @drnabil
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