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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: February 2, 2015 09:34 AM
From: Representative Seth M. Grove
To: All House members
Subject: Marriage & Family Therapist Title Protection Legislation
Recently, I introduced HB 2114 to provide title and practice protection to Marriage and Family Therapists licensed by the State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors to ensure that only those with a professional license be permitted to practice marriage and family therapy in Pennsylvania. I am reintroducing this proposal to streamline the bill to address solely title protection and address a discrepancy in the composition of the State Board.

Pennsylvania’s Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) are licensed by Act 39 of 1987 to assess and treat mental and emotional disorders within the context of marriage, couples and family systems and are the only mental health professionals required to receive training in family therapy and family systems, a functionality (family-based interventions) that is highly effective in treating a wide range of emotional and behavioral health problems. MFTs are licensed by the State Board of social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors and must undergo extensive education, training, clinical fieldwork and pass rigorous exams to demonstrate professional competency to meet the highest ethical standards of the profession.

Currently, Act 39 of 1987 only protects the title of “Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists”. Without expanding the title protection to include various derivatives of the title “marriage and family therapists” the general public is left vulnerable to the solicitation and delivery of this important mental health service by unlicensed, uneducated and unqualified individuals. Further protecting the title of marriage and family therapy is necessary to protect consumers against fraud but also to maintain the professionalism of these highly skilled and highly qualified mental health care providers.

This legislation will also address a loophole in the composition of the State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors to require one seat to rotate between a marriage and family therapist and a professional counselor at the end of a two-year term.

Should you wish to cosponsor this streamlined version of MFT title protection legislation, please contact Jordan Grant in my office at Jgrant@pahousegop.com or by phone at 717-767-3947.

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Introduced as HB603