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Articles by Legal Department Staff

The Legal Department articles are not intended to serve as legal advice and are offered for educational purposes only. The information provided should not be used as a substitute for independent legal advice and it is not intended to address every situation that could potentially arise. Please be aware that laws, regulations and technical standards change over time. As a result, it is important to verify and update any reference or information that is provided in the article.

Connect with CAMFT

Are there questions you may have for the Association that go unanswered because you aren’t quite sure where to get the answers? This article addresses
some common questions we receive from members about the Association.

Ann Tran-Lien, JD
Staff Attorney
The Therapist
September/October 2011

Are there questions you may have for the Association that go unanswered because you aren't quite sure how and/or when to ask them? Have you been on the CAMFT website to access all the information and resources made available to members? Are you getting the most out of your legal and ethical calls to the staff attorneys? Are you aware of the local CAMFT chapter events in your area? Have you reached out to CAMFT to help market your practice? This article addresses some common questions we receive from members about the Association. We hope that the answers provided here will help you take advantage of the many benefits offered by CAMFT, feel a deeper connection with CAMFT, and assist you to let your voice be heard.

CAMFT Website The CAMFT website ( is an invaluable resource available to members to connect with CAMFT. The Members Only area designed especially for members contains an abundance of useful information, including, but not limited to articles written by staff attorneys, EBSCO Host, legislative updates, workshop and conference information, local chapter links, downloadable forms, self-study exams for continuing education units, and a job board. You can also join the CAMFT Community and network with your peers!

Q: I am trying to find an article written by one of the staff attorneys last year. How can I access it?

A: Articles written by the staff attorneys are available for immediate access to members in the Members Only area of the CAMFT website. You must log in with your user ID and password to access this area, exclusively for members. If you do not have your user ID and/or password, please contact Membership Services. Once logged in, you can search for the article by using the search tool or click on "CAMFT Articles" from the Members Only Menu to search for the article by category, author, or the alpha article list.

Q: I am doing research for my school project. Can CAMFT provide me with any assistance here?

A: As a CAMFT Member, you have free, unlimited access to EBSCO Publishing Psychology& Behavioral Sciences Collection, a collection that comprises nearly six hundred peer-reviewed journals pertaining to your profession. This service, which would normally cost $35 per article, allows you to view and print the full-text article, not just the abstracts, free of charge. To access EBSCO Host, you must log in with your user ID and password. If you do not have your user ID and/or password, please contact Membership Services. Once logged in, click on "EBSCO Host" from the Members Only menu. Follow the instructions provided on how to gain access to the Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection and start researching!

Q: I don't know of many members in my area that I can network with to discuss a particular issue of interest. How can CAMFT help me connect with others?

A: CAMFT members have the benefit of joining the CAMFT Community, which is a secure, member's only, online networking tool that allows members to connect and communicate with each other. You can form groups, dialogue with other therapists, and access reference materials in the CAMFT Community. Groups that currently exist in the community include, but are not limited to: Children & Adolescent; Intern Support; LGBT Affirmative Psychotherapy; and Website Marketing. Forums such as MFT Practice Discussions; CAMFT News and Updates; Referral Exchange; Workshops and Trainings; Discussions; Prelicensed Corner; Supervisors Corner; Professional Development and Networking; Your Business Corner; Chapter Leadership; Licensing Examinations Corner; and Educator's Corner are available for members to communicate and share ideas and concerns. Members can also upload documents and articles to the Library and share with others in the Community. From the CAMFT website home page, click on "CAMFT Community" on the top right hand corner. You must log in with your user ID and password to access the Community. If you do not have your user ID and/or password, please contact Membership Services. Follow the instructions provided on how to join the CAMFT Community and explore the many networking opportunities available!

The Board of Directors The CAMFT Board of Directors consists of the elected officers (president, president-elect, past president, secretary, and chief financial officer), six directors-at-large elected by the voting members, and one director at large elected by the prelicensed membership. The Board serves to promote the advancement of marriage and family therapy as an art, a science, and a mental health profession, and the advancement of the common business interests of CAMFT members. Board members are volunteers who devote their time to represent you! They meet four weekends per year in various locations. Board Members also serve on various committees and are involved in their local chapters. Additionally, Board members build relationships with their legislative representatives to promote awareness of CAMFT.

Q: I notice what a difference the Board of Directors has made for CAMFT and the MFT profession. How can I serve on the Board of Directors?

A: We are excited that you are interested in serving on the CAMFT Board. You can find all of the pertinent information related to Board service in the Board application packet available on the CAMFT website under the "About CAMFT" tab: "Board of Directors." You may also contact Membership Services to request an application packet be emailed, faxed, or mailed to you. You must complete the CAMFT Board Candidate for Nomination Information and Background Application and return it along with your answers to the essay questions (both are provided in the application packet) to CAMFT by October 28, 2011 for the board year beginning June 1, 2012. Elections will be held March 9, 2012.

Q: Unfortunately, I was not able to attend the last Board meeting. How do I find out what happened?

A: The highlights of Board meetings are emailed to members, posted on the CAMFT website, and published in The Therapist magazine. Once the Board meeting minutes are approved, they are also available on the CAMFT website, as is the agenda for the upcoming Board meeting. The highlights, minutes, and agenda can be found on the website under the "About CAMFT" tab: "Board of Directors."

Q: I want to observe what goes on at a Board meeting. Can I attend one?

A: The Board welcomes any member to attend a Board meeting. Contact Membership Services with your intention to attend a Board meeting as far in advance as possible to ensure proper seating. You will be responsible for your travel fares and accommodations.

Q: I have a great idea that I think the CAMFT Board should consider; how can I make this happen?

A: The CAMFT Board welcomes ideas! All you need to do is submit a Board Proposal form to CAMFT. The form is available on the CAMFT website. Click on the "About CAMFT" tab. From the drop down menu, click on "Board of Directors." The form can be saved to your computer or printed out. You can also request that a copy of the form be emailed, faxed, or mailed to you by contacting Membership Services. Once you have the form completed, send it in to CAMFT to the attention of the CAMFT Board of Directors. Additionally, the Board allots a thirty-minute time period during Board meetings in which members in attendance have up to three minutes each to speak about concerns or topics for possible future agenda items.

Q: I want to present my idea to the Board of Directors at a Board Meeting. Can I?

A: Absolutely! If you would like to make a presentation to the Board of Directors at a Board meeting you will need approval from the President and/or the Executive Director of CAMFT. Please contact Membership Services and they will direct you accordingly. Please make your request well in advance of the next Board meeting to ensure that the meeting agenda will accommodate time for your presentation. You will also need to submit a Board Proposal form prior to the Board meeting (please see previous answer on how to access the form).

Legal, Ethical, and Business Calls One of CAMFT's most valuable member benefits is the opportunity to call the staff attorneys to seek guidance on legal, ethical, and business issues. These issues include, but are not limited to: BBS licensing laws, mandatory reporting, subpoenas, minor consent issues, Tarasoff, and record-keeping.

Q: I would like to speak to a staff attorney about a legal question pertaining to my practice. What can I do to make my call an efficient one?

A: Some suggestions to make the most out of your call with one of the staff attorneys include:

  • Make your call when you have at least 10 to 15 minutes available in case there is a wait due to high volume of calls. The best time to reach a staff attorney is between 8:45 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. High call volume is typically experienced during lunch hours and on Mondays.
  • Have your specific question ready before you speak to a staff attorney. This will assist the attorney in understanding what your goal is for the call.
  • When the staff attorney answers the phone, give the attorney your topic of discussion, such as "subpoena"or "child abuse."
  • Write down a list of relevant facts that will be useful for the attorney to know in order to answer your question. For instance, if you received a subpoena and do not know how to respond, some important facts might include: how were you served; the type of subpoena; whether or not a written authorization from the client was given; who was/is the primary client; and whose attorney is requesting the records.
  • Have a copy of the legal document you are calling about, for instance, if you were served a subpoena, it would be helpful to have the subpoena in front of you to reference.

Try looking up the information yourself before you call a staff attorney. Useful articles and forms areavailable on the CAMFT website in the Members Only area.

Q: My schedule is so booked that I don't have time to call to speak to a staff attorney. Where can I find the answers to my legal, ethical, or business questions?

A: Many answers to your questions can be quickly found by accessing the CAMFT website or the BBS website! On the CAMFT website in the Members Only area, articles that have been written by CAMFT staff attorneys can likely help you answer questions regarding dealing with subpoenas, reporting suspected child abuse, consenting to the treatment of a minor, managing Tarasoff situations, managing situations with suicidal patients, handling requests for treatment records, and differentiating between ethical and unethical dual relationships. Questions about the BBS, such as continuing education units and counting hours toward licensure can also be found on the BBS website at

Q: Can I retain a CAMFT staff attorney as legal counsel?

A: CAMFT staff attorneys provide in-house legal guidance to the Association and offer information to members to assist with legal, ethical, and business issues. CAMFT staff attorneys cannot be retained as a member's individual attorney and cannot provide individual legal advice or representation to a member. A list of attorney referrals can be provided in the event individual legal representation is needed. In some situations, you should also contact your malpractice insurance carrier for legal counsel.

Local CAMFT Chapters CAMFT has twenty-nine chapters through-out California to serve the interests of MFTs in different geographic areas. The chapters are autonomous entities, but provide benefits to CAMFT members at the local level. Your membership in CAMFT makes you eligible to join a local chapter.

Q: I'm interested in finding out what is happening in my area. How do I find out about a local CAMFT chapter?

A: Local CAMFT chapter information can be found on the CAMFT website. Click on the "Chapter Info" tab at the top of the homepage. From the drop down menu, click on "Chapter Location Map." A map of all the local CAMFT chapters will be displayed. You can click on the map location to view details for individual chapters, such as contact information and upcoming events. In addition, CAMFT sends out an e-mail at the beginning of each month listing upcoming chapter events. Check your inbox for the chapter event e-mails!

Q: Are local chapter membership dues included in the state CAMFT membership dues?

A: No, each local chapter has its own membership dues separate from the State CAMFT membership dues. Please contact the local chapter for more information on its membership dues and membership application process. Please see the above answer on how to contact a local CAMFT chapter. Marketing CAMFT understands the importance of marketing your practice. CAMFT clinical members in good standing can create a free profile on our electronic directory,

Q: I want to advertise my practice and heard about What is it?

A: is an online directory of MFTs and other professionals licensed to provide mental health services in California. This user-friendly tool is a resource for individuals seeking professional mental health services in California, as well as for therapists to search for colleagues in their area. As a CAMFT clinical member in good standing, you are eligible to create a profile on at no additional charge. Just recently, has gone mobile, making it even easier for individuals to search for licensed mental health professionals in their area. To create a profile listing on, visit the CAMFT website and log into the Members Only area with your user ID and password. Once you are logged in, click on "Update my Profile." On the Member Profile page, click on "" Please read the statement and follow the instructions under "How to Update Your Settings" to complete the process. You can also contact Membership Services for information.

For more answers to frequently asked questions regarding CAMFT, visit the CAMFT website and click on "FAQ" on the home page. CAMFT is your professional association. We are here for you. So take advantage of your membership and connect with us!

Ann Tran Lien, JD, is a staff attorney for CAMFT. She is available to answer member calls regarding business, legal, and ethical issues.