April 2015 President's Message

09 Apr 2015 2:36 PM | Carol A. Bouldin (Administrator)

Master Level Intern Labor for Free

As I leave my position as President this month and a new State CAMFT Board is voted in, I think it’s important to ask, “What do you want?” and “Where are we going?”

It seems this profession has often been shaped more by therapists, who have made administrative or legal mistakes, as opposed to the heart of what we provide. CAMFT has 31,000 members and the Board is comprised of 12 members who make the decisions for the greater majority. We, who do daily do the “good work”, should be who defines us. Now is our chance to identify who we are and how we are viewed by other mental health professions and the public.

A lingering concern of mine is the lack of pay or low wages for MFT Interns. Whoever let that be a standard was not honoring the time, education, and amount of money it takes to get a Master’s degree. When I was an undergrad and being an MFT/MFCC was a male-dominated profession, there seemed to be more of an acknowledgement of the education required for the job. At that time, the hours required to take the test for licensing was 1,500 hours. When the time was doubled to 3,000 hours, it also doubled the length of time we were not being fairly paid for a master’s level education. What does that say about our profession and what it takes to get a license? I’m sure the thought behind the increased hours was a better “qualified” therapist. What other profession expects this amount of “training” with little or no pay or benefits or stipends. And when we do get our license, we are trained to do pro bono work, as part of the job.

I see graduate students, who are working on their 24 hours of counseling. Most speak of the hardship of trying to pay their bills, including me, while they work for free in their Internships.

We teach our clients, “If we don’t respect ourselves, how could we expect others to respect us?” This is a clear sign of a problem not just related to Interns, but to a lack of valuing the significance of our contribution. Whoever originally approved of this standard for not paying interns sold us all out. MFT Interns have the right to be compensated for their work because it is a reflection of who we all are and where we came from.

I hope you will speak up for what is a concern of yours because we all need each other.

Thank you,

Janine Murray, MFT

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