So, I want to be a therapist in CA… What do I need to know?: Part 1

The process of becoming a licensed psychotherapist in CA can be exhausting, time-comsuming, expensive, and very, very confusing. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you how to sail through your education and  training with your income and sleep schedule intact. I can, however, help you make informed decisions about your choice to become a graduate-level psychotherapist in CA.

Doctor or Master?

If you want to see clients/patients, you’ll choose between several types of credentials, which I’ll explain below.

At the doctoral level, you’ll apply for either a clinical PhD or Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) programs. If you’re seeking a master’s degree, you’ll apply to Marriage & Family Therapy (MFT), Licensed Practical Clinical Counselor (LPCC), or Master’s in Social Work (MSW) programs*. Some psychiatric nurses and physician’s assistants also see clients. Pre-requisites vary among individual programs, so look carefully before you apply.

All  PhD, PsyD, MFT, LPCC, and MSW students must complete at least 3000 hours of clinical hours (in varying combinations of individual, couples, family, group, and child therapy; as well as training, supervision, advocacy, and more) work before sitting for licensure exams. In addition, much of the course work is similar, as are training sites and supervision. Indeed, students at various levels mingle throughout training and into their professional careers. Continue reading

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