As an LMFT, an AAMFT Approved Supervisor, and a Virginia board-approved supervisor, I am completely in favor of this petition. The current requirement of 200/240 direct hours being relational for graduate internship places an unreasonable burden on students to find sites with 80% relational clients. Residents in Marriage and Family Therapy should have experience with both relational and individual hours to build clinical competency as a mental health professional. To require students to attain such a high ratio of relational hours hampers their overall clinical competency and severely limits their experience with applying systemic and individual theoretical models when counseling individuals. Furthermore, the board's requirement greatly exceeds the COAMFTE requirement for internships of 40% relational hours as well as the 50% relational hours required for licensure as an LMFT in Virginia.
I recommend reducing the requirement to 50% or 120/240 direct hours. This balance of 50% relational hours will ensure clinical competence for working with couples and families as well as with individual clients, be more reasonably attainable for students, and be more consistent with residency requirements.