Home About Us Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT’s)

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT’s)

Who are LMFTs?

LMFTs are comprehensive mental health practitioners who are trained to assist individuals, couples and families in resolving a wide continuum of problems including mental, emotional and interpersonal disorders.

How are LMFTs different from other licensed mental health professionals?

  1. LMFTs are the only group of mental health practitioners whom you can be sure have the training and qualifications to work with couples/families (conjoint therapy) as well as with individuals and groups. While practitioners holding other mental health licenses may have supervised clinical training in each of these areas, no other license requires that practitioners be trained in this way.
  2. Most LMFTs have special expertise in conjoint therapies. Since no other Mental Health License in Illinois requires such expertise, other Licensed Mental health professionals may or may not have it.

Why LMFTs?

  1. Since there is so much research demonstrating that treatment programs for various disorders (for example, bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, substance abuse disorders, etc.) are more effective when conjoint therapies are included, agencies and insurance companies must include practitioners who are trained specifically in the conjoint therapies.
  2. Unless practitioners are trained both to work individually and conjointly, they may fail to recognize when one format or the other is most needed.

Summary of Requirements for LMFT in Illinois

Educational Requirements
A master’s or doctoral degree in marriage and family therapy from a regionally accredited educational institution or a master’s or doctoral degree from a regionally accredited educational institution (by the U.S. Office of Education) in a related field (i.e., behavioral science or mental health) with an equivalent course of study in marriage and family therapy as set forth below, which must include 48 hours of graduate coursework:

Marital and Family Studies (3 courses: 9 semester hours or 12 quarter hours)

Marital and Family Therapy (3 courses: 9 semester hours or 12 quarter hours) The following topics must be covered:

  1. overview of major clinical theories which offer conceptualizations and methods for working conjointly with two or more clients present in therapy sessions who are in significant relationships with each other outside the therapy context. These clinical theories shall include those in major textbooks in marriage and family therapy, such as: communications, contextual, behavioral, experiential, object relations, strategic, structural, systemic, transgenerational
  2. assessment and evaluation of individuals (children, adolescents, adults), couples and families
  3. treatment and intervention methods for working with individuals (children, adolescents, adults), couples, families and groups in therapy
  4. assessment and treatment of mental, emotional, interpersonal disorders and psychopathology
  5. assessment and treatment of substance abuse, domestic violence, and sexual disorders
  6. crisis intervention
  7. coursework must balance methods for working individually (one client in a therapy session), and for working conjointly with at least two clients present in therapy sessions who are in significant relationships with each other outside the therapy context, and must include methods for working with groups

Human Development (3 courses: 9 semester hours or 12 quarter hours)

Professional Studies and Ethics (1 course: 3 semester hours or 4 quarter hours)

Research (1 course: 3 semester hours or 4 quarter hours)–research design; methods, statistics; research in the mental health field

Clinical Practicum/Internship. (300 hours)–15 hours per week, approximately 8-10 hours in face-to-face contact with individuals, couples and families for the purpose of assessment, diagnosis and treatment
Requirements for LMFT in Illinois (Based on 1998 Revisions to Rules for the Administration of the LMFT Act)

Supervised Experience Requirements
Following the receipt of first qualifying degree, completion of at least 2 years of work experience in the practice of marriage and family therapy, including at least 1,000 hours of face-to-face client contact contact with individuals, couples and families, for the purpose of evaluation and treatment. At least 350 hours of face-to-face client contact must involve working with only one client present in therapy sessions, and at least 350 hours of face-to-face client contact must involve working with two or more clients present in therapy sessions who are in significant relationships with each other outside the therapy context.

One year of work experience is defined as a minimum of 1500 hours of professional work experience providing marriage and family services.

Supervision Requirements
Supervision: An applicant must complete 200 hours of clinical supervision of marriage and family therapy. At least 100 of these 200 clinical supervision hours must occur following the receipt of the first qualifying degree. Up to 100 hours of clinical supervision accumulated during graduate training may be counted toward the required 200 hours of clinical supervision. At least 100 of the 200 hours of clinical supervision must be completed with a marriage and family supervisor who has met certain requirements.

Qualified Supervisor: At least 100 of the 200 hours of clinical supervision, whether accumulated during or after graduate training for the first qualifying degree, shall have been received from an individual(s) who, at the time the supervision took place:

  1. was certified as an approved supervisor or supervisor in training by the American Association for Marriage and Family therapy; or
  2. had held an active license as a marriage and family therapist with 5 years clinical experience providing marriage and family therapy after his or her first qualifying degree, or
  3. who held an active clinical membership certification with the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy for at least 5 years; or
  4. had
    • held an active license as a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed clinical social worker, a licensed clinical professional counselor or psychiatrist licensed under the Medical Practice Act; and
    • had 5 years clinical experience providing marriage and family therapy, and
    • had provided at least 1000 hours of conjoint therapy; and
    • either had 2 years’ experience providing clinical supervision of marriage and family therapy (including the supervision of conjoint therapy) or completed a 1 semester hour graduate course in marriage and family therapy supervision (at least 15 contact hours) or the equivalent prior to or during the supervision provided the applicant.

The other 100 hours of the clinical supervision shall have been received as part of a practicum or internship experience and/or from an individual(s) who, at the time the supervision took place, was a licensed marriage and family therapist, licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed clinical social worker, a licensed clinical professional counselor or psychiatrist licensed under the Medical Practice Act with 5 years experience in his/her discipline.