While you are browsing for therapists, you may have come across someone labeled as an AMFT. What does it mean to be an AMFT? It stands for Associate Marriage & Family Therapist.

Being an associate means being in the process of accumulating hours towards licensure. States have differing requirements to be a licensed therapist, and these individuals are on the way to becoming one!

child therapist in Thousand Oaks, ca, 91320 working with child through play therapy

They are registered as marriage and family therapists in the state. However, they need to accumulate hours to become independently licensed.

You may feel hesitant to work with an AMFT, feeling like they are not competent or experienced enough. You may view them as amateurs and not real therapists. However, AMFTs are professionals; trained and supervised by licensed psychologists.

It’s understandable for you to be unfamiliar with the term AMFT, but hopefully this blog can clear it up for you. Only wanting the best therapist for yourself or a loved one, you may be turned off by someone who is not yet licensed.

However, it’s important to consider the hands-on experience and educational curriculum they work hard for! Their end goal is to become licensed, and without accumulating hours, they wouldn’t be able to make it official. 

We like to see providers labeled as professional or experienced after decades of dedication to the service. It’s common that we may view someone with 10 years of experience under their belt as “more qualified” than someone with a few years of experience. 

AMFTs are trained, ethical professionals with a budding passion to work with you and your family. 

Are AMFT qualified to provide services?

Yes, AMFTs are very qualified to provide services. They have years of training and experience prior to becoming an AMFT. You will feel good knowing they are just as professional and passionate as someone who may already be licensed. 

male therapist in Thousand Oaks, ca, 91320 offering in person therapy sessions

AMFT are trained for years through internships. This is at local mental health clinics or therapy groups that range from providing low-cost therapy to the public or working in a high risk environment. IOP programs, for example. (intensive outpatient program). 

Did you know that in graduate school, it is highly unlikely that they will be paid for their services? Oftentimes, these therapists are volunteering and interning for little to no funds. This is a great way for them to selflessly participate in their communities, engaging in something they are passionate about. 

Our AMFTs at Simi Psychological Group have a passion and dedication to continuing their knowledge.

Meet Nvard Mkrtchyan. She has a strong passion for working with children, adolescents, and couples. With a special interest in trauma, Nvard is your go-to for a devoted trauma therapist. Here to stay by your side and help you process your trauma every step of the way. 

woman in stripped shirt wearing glasses

Nvard uses an integrative approach including cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamic and family systems. She wants to ensure that clients feel safe and comfortable in the room. She makes sure to meet them where they are while challenging them when the right opportunities arise. 

Approaching each session with an open mind and with a strong commitment helps clients achieve their goals. She feels very confident in helping clients explore ways to increase their confidence and overcome obstacles while embracing their true selves

Looking for a therapist holding online therapy sessions in Simi Valley, Ca? Contact Nvard Mkrtchyan.

How long does it take an AMFT to become licensed?

An AMFT becomes licensed after a certain number of hours. These hours are direct services provided as talk therapy sessions, facilitating group therapy sessions, and more. According to California state resources, an AMFT needs a minimum of 1,750 hours to apply for licensure.

This can take a few years to complete based on their caseloads. While in their graduate school program, they may have 500 or more hours already under their belt. 

Once an AMFT has completed their hours needed, they will go on to take a licensure exam. This can vary from state to state. In California, they will need to pass this exam to become labeled and have their own number.

After licensure, therapists can go on to work in mental health clinics or start their own practice. This can look like starting a practice, hiring more therapists, and being a supervisor to another associate.

Why should I trust an unlicensed therapist?

You should trust an unlicensed therapist because they are ethical, professional, and working towards their goal of licensure. Being labeled an “associate”, it makes sense why some people would be skeptical.

It may come off as “amateur” or “novice”. However, due to their accumulating hours both in graduate school and after, they are far from amateur. With combined experience working hands-on with various different populations, from young children to adults struggling with addiction, they are also constantly learning from the program’s curriculum. 

As an AMFT, you need to be supervised. At Simi Psychological Group, we have doctors on site for this. What does that mean, you ask?

Supervision is where the two therapists meet on a regular basis to discuss client care, progress, and treatment goals. When you seek therapy from an AMFT, it’s sort of like a 2-for-1. You are getting both the AMFT expertise as well as expertise from the licensed psychologist/therapist. 

It can be scary to trust someone you’re skeptical of. Call us today to hear about why our AMFTs would be a great fit for you.

female therapist for teen therapy in Thousand Oaks, ca, 91320

Will I receive the same quality of care as a licensed therapist would provide?

Yes! You will receive the same quality of care. AMFTs can be more eager to prove themselves to be professional, competent therapists. They want to show you how dedicated they are to the practice and their clients.

Licensed therapists had to start somewhere, and that’s as an AMFT. Your AMFT be dedicated to providing you with the highest quality of service. They will maintain professionalism, compassion, and holding themselves to the ethical standards at all times.

Going into the career field of being a therapist is a praise-worthy job. Your AMFT is dedicating their time and life into helping others prosper, find themselves, and work through tough issues. Our therapists at Simi Psychological Group have a passion for helping individuals through anxiety, depression, trauma, and grief. 

We work with all age ranges and value the relationship and connection built with our client and their families. At a group practice, we make sure to collaborate and communicate frequently with our team about our clients. 

You can count on Simi Psychological Group when trusting one of our AMFTs. 

We are taking on new clients now! Call us today at (805) 842-1994 extension 1 to hear more about our valued AMFTs and how they can make real change in your life.

Now Offering Online Therapy in Los Angeles and Online Counseling Ventura County 

At our therapy practice in Simi Valley, Ca we offer Child therapy and family counseling, Teen therapy, Anxiety Treatment, Depression Therapy, Marriage Counseling, and Neuropsychological Testing