Category Archives: Education

Information about our Spring Conference


The Virginia Association for Marriage and Family Therapy


Doing Therapy with Couples & Families –

Ethical & Professional Issues


Michael Gillette, PhD

Jaime Hoyle, JD
Exec Dir VA Board of Counseling

Erika Grafsky, PhD
Asst Prof, Virginia Tech

May 5, 2017              8:30am-4:30pm

Click Here to Register

Fort Magruder Hotel & Conference Center,

6945 Pocahontas Trail, Williamsburg, Virginia 23185

6 Contact Hours

(Certificate will be provided)

Systemically oriented therapists face multiple challenges in the contemporary context. With the changing dynamics in our society, the therapist is faced with increasing complexity of practice, having to navigate through: co-morbid clinical presentations, systemic formulations vs individually based diagnoses, unique familial and relationship structures, diverse cultures, law and regulation, health insurer requirements, and professional codes of ethics. This conference will address some of the questions below, as well as others. Three experts will offer their perspectives and opportunities for dialogue: Dr Michael Gillette, PhD – ethics (3 hours); Ms Jaime Hoyle, JD – law and regulation (1 ½ hours); Dr Erika Grafsky, PhD – affirmative practice with LGBTQ+ clients (1 ½ hours).

  • Who is the client? Is it the individual or the relational unit?
  • How does the therapist decide who is the identified patient? How does this affect the identified patient and the system?
  • How does the therapist reconcile labelling a symptom bearer when the dysfunction is theoretically/philosophically the system being  ‘treated’. And, what about when the dysfunction is the eco-system?
  • What sort of clinical records should be maintained, and what should or should not be reflected in them?
  • What are the implications when one party in the relational unit enters into a legal conflict with another party in the relational unit?
  • What are the implications of the therapist working with clients from diverse cultures?
  • What are the implications of the therapist not having traversed the developmental life experiences that clients have?
  • How does one create an affirmative and inclusive therapy practice for LGBTQ+ clients?
  • What are some of the ethical decisions therapists face around treating LGBTQ+ clients?
  • How does one develop and maintain competencies needed to practice marriage and family therapy?
  • What does the therapist do when their relationships are troubled? How does this affect working with couples and families?
  • What is the therapist’s framework for ethical decision-making?
  • What are therapist errors that frequently lead to ethical complaints?
  • How does the Board of Counseling balance protection of the public with rehabilitation of the practitioner?

About the Presenters
Michael Gillette, PhD, is a nationally recognized ethicist who has presented numerous keynotes and workshops on many applied ethics topics. He contracts with a wide range
of healthcare organizations and other agencies to provide ethics case consultations and policy work. Dr Gillette graduated magna cum laude from Brandeis University and he earned his master’s and PhD in philosophy at Brown University, where he wrote a doctoral dissertation on Paternalism in Psychiatric Medicine. He has taught at colleges and universities, published articles in the field of clinical ethics and received several teaching awards. Elected three times to the City Council in Lynchburg, Virginia, he also served two terms as Mayor. Dr Gillette is currently President of Bioethical Services of Virginia, Inc.

Jaime Hoyle, JD, is a graduate of the University of Richmond School of Law. She is the Executive Director of the Virginia Boards of Counseling, Psychology, and Social Work. She has served as Chief Deputy Director of the Virginia Department of Health Professions, and Senior Staff Attorney and Policy Analyst with the Joint Commission on Health Care.

Erika Grafsky, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Human Development and faculty affiliate of Women and Gender Studies and Health Sciences at Virginia Tech. Dr. Grafsky’s  scholarship is focused on the health and wellbeing of sexual and gender minority  individuals and their families and affirmative therapy practices. She uses qualitative and mixed methods designs to understand the decision-making process around disclosing one’s sexual orientation to family, as well as experiences following disclosure. She also studies the experiences of rural LGBT families. Dr. Grafsky has authored over 25 professional publications and is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy and the Journal of Family Psychology.

Costs cover workshop, handouts, certificate of attendance, continental breakfast, morning and afternoon coffee. Lunch is on your own and you can choose from a variety of local restaurants.
Contact Information

For questions about the conference please contact Shardae Washington 302-593-3487 or

The Fort Magruder Hotel & Conference Center is located at
6945 Pocahontas Trail, Williamsburg, Virginia.
The registration desk opens at 8:30 a.m. The workshop begins at 9:00 a.m. and concludes at 4:30 p.m. Attendees must sign in. Certificates are awarded only on conference  completion at 4:30 p.m.
Free parking onsite. A discounted rate of $129 per night is available. Phone the hotel directly at (757) 220-2250. Make reservations prior to 4/6/17 to receive this rate.
Registration Submission
Registration is limited to licensed mental health professionals (LMFT, LPC, LCSW, LCP,
Psychiatrists, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners), Residents/Supervisees, and Graduate Students currently enrolled in these disciplines. Enrollment is on a first come, first served basis.

If you are paying by check, please make it payable to VAMFT, and mail both your check and a registration form to:

Scott Fowler     101 Nat Turner Blvd., Newport News, VA 23606

Or, you may click here to register online through PayPal.

Cancellation & Refund Policy
Any cancellation of attendance must be made in writing and received by VAMFT no later than 4/6/17; a refund less $35 processing fee will be provided. After this date refunds are not possible, regardless of personal circumstances. It is regrettable that personal circumstances prevent attendance, including medical conditions and emergencies, weather or transportation, however the logistics of event management prevent us from assuming responsibility for these contingencies. A registration may be transferred to another clinician in toto with prior notification to VAMFT.

Understanding the Benefits of Marriage and Family Therapy

How do I become an approved supervisor?

For complete information on becoming an AAMFT Approved Supervisor, please click here.  Becoming an AAMFT Approved Supervisor meets all of the requirements to be approved by the BOC to provide MFT supervision to MFT Residents in Virginia.

In order to become a BOC approved supervisor you must:

“1. Hold an active, unrestricted license as a marriage and family     therapist or professional counselor in the jurisdiction where the supervision is being provided;

  1. Document two years post-licensure marriage and family therapy experience; and
  2. Have received professional training in supervision, consisting of three credit hours or 4.0 quarter hours in graduate-level coursework in supervision or at least 20 hours of continuing education in supervision offered by a provider approved under 18VAC115-50-96.”

The application form to become a BOC approved supervisor is available here.



How do I find an approved supervisor?

To find an AAMFT Approved Supervisor please click here.

To find a BOC approved supervisor please click here.


Coming soon: To find a list of VAMFT/AAMFT Clinical Fellows in Virginia who are available to provide supervision to Residents in MFT in Virginia please click here.

What license must a supervisor hold?

At least 100 of the 200 required supervisory hours must be provided by an LMFT.  The remaining supervisory hours may be provided by an LPC with the qualifications referenced below.

The recently revised Regulations Governing the Practice of Marriage and Family Therapy (8-24-2016) state that the MFT residency supervisor must:

“1. Hold an active, unrestricted license as a marriage and family therapist or professional counselor in the jurisdiction where the supervision is being provided;

2. Document two years post-licensure marriage and family therapy experience; and

3. Have received professional training in supervision, consisting of three credit hours or 4.0 quarter hours in graduate-level coursework in supervision or at least 20 hours of continuing education in supervision offered by a provider approved under 18VAC115-50-96. At least one-half of the 200 hours of supervision shall be rendered by a licensed marriage and family therapist. Supervisors who are clinical psychologists, clinical social workers, or psychiatrists and have been approved to provide supervision may continue to do so until August 24, 2017.”

Residents in MFT whose supervisory contracts with a clinical psychologist, clinical social worker, or psychiatrist were approved prior to August 24, 2016 and do not compete their residency or supervisory hours prior to August 2017 will be required to have a new supervisory contract approved by the BOC with a BOC approved LMFT/LPC supervisor in order to complete their residency requirements.

VAMFT strongly recommends that as much as possible your MFT residency supervisor be a Clinical Fellow of AAMFT and an AAMFT Approved Supervisor.  AAMFT Approved Supervisors must meet much more stringent requirements that those required by the BOC (a 30 hour course in MFT supervision, 180 supervised hours of MFT residents, and a minimum of 36 hours of supervision of their supervision of MFT candidates).

You can find a partial listing of AAMFT Approved Supervisors in Virginia who are available to provide supervision, AAMFT Clinical Fellows who are candidates to be AAMFT Approved Supervisors, and AAMFT Clinical Fellows who are approved as MFT supervisors by the BOC linked here in the near future.


What are the supervised practicum experience requirements?

You must complete at least two years of supervised post-graduate degree experience, during which you must complete at least 3400 hours of supervised work experience. In that time you must accrue at least:
▪    2,000 hours of clinical marriage and family therapy services

▪    including 1,000 hours of direct client contact, of which at least 500 hours must be with couples and/or families, and

▪    200 hours of face-to-face supervision with a licensed supervisor trained in the supervision of marriage and family therapy, receiving a minimum of one hour of supervision per 20 hours of supervised work experience.
The complete supervised residency experience requirements are excerpted from the Regulations Governing the Practice Marriage and Family Therapy (8-24-2016):
“B. Residency requirements.
1    The applicant shall have completed no fewer than 3,400 hours of supervised residency in the role of a marriage and family therapist, to include 200 hours of in-person supervision with the supervisor in the consultation and review of marriage and family services provided by the resident. For the purpose of meeting the 200 hours of supervision required for a residency, in-person may also include the use of technology that maintains client confidentiality and provides real-time, visual contact between the supervisor and the resident. At least one-half of the 200 hours of supervision shall be rendered by a licensed marriage and family therapist.

a. Residents shall receive a minimum of one hour and a maximum of four hours of supervision for every 40 hours of supervised work experience.

b. No more than 100 hours of the supervision may be acquired through group supervision, with the group consisting of no more than six residents. One hour of group supervision will be deemed equivalent to one hour of individual supervision.

c. Up to 20 hours of the supervision received during the supervised internship may be counted towards the 200 hours of in-person supervision if the supervision was provided by a licensed marriage and family therapist or a licensed professional counselor.

2    The residency shall include documentation of at least 2,000 hours of clinical marriage and family services of which 1,000 hours shall be face-to-face client contact with couples or families or both. The remaining hours may be spent in the performance of ancillary counseling services. For applicants who hold current, unrestricted licensure as a professional counselor, clinical psychologist, or clinical social worker, the remaining hours may be waived.

3    The residency shall consist of practice in the core areas set forth in 18VAC115-50-55.

4    The residency shall begin after the completion of a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy or a related discipline as set forth in 18VAC115-50-50.

5    A graduate-level internship in excess of 600 hours, which was completed in a program that meets the requirements set forth in 18VAC115-50-50, may count for up to an additional 300 hours towards the requirements of a residency.

6    The board may consider special requests in the event that the regulations create an undue burden in regard to geography or disability which limits the resident’s access to qualified supervision.

7    Residents shall not call themselves marriage and family therapists, directly bill for services rendered, or in any way represent themselves as marriage and family therapists. During the residency, they may use their names, the initials of their degree and the title “Resident in Marriage and Family Therapy.” Clients shall be informed in writing of the resident’s status, along with the name, address and telephone number of the resident’s supervisor.

8    Residents shall not engage in practice under supervision in any areas for which they do not have appropriate education.

9    The residency shall be completed in not less than 21 months or more than four years. Residents who began a residency before August 24, 2016, shall complete the residency by August 24, 2020. An individual who does not complete the residency after four years shall submit evidence to the board showing why the supervised experience should be allowed to continue.

10    Residency hours that are approved by the licensing board in another United States jurisdiction and that meet the requirements of this section shall be accepted.”


Are there study guides or workshops available to help prepare for the licensing exam?

Although examination preparation programs exist, neither the Board of Counseling, Association of Marriage and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB), AAMFT, nor VAMFT can endorse any.  However, you can take a practice test on the AMFTRB website by clicking here.



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