The AAMFT Core Competencies are a list of 128 competencies (knowledge and skills) that are needed for independent practice as a marriage and family therapist.
Brief History In January 2003, the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) created the Core Competency Task Force, which was charged as follows:
The charge of the task force is to define the domains of knowledge and requisite skills in each domain that comprise the practice of marriage and family therapy…. It is anticipated that a model outlining core competencies would define knowledge and skill levels... as well as any characteristics that might be defined that would pre-dispose one for success as a marriage and family therapist. (AAMFT, 2002, p. 1) The Task Force The Task Force was composed of 50 experts in the field and lead by a steering committee of seven and AAMFT staff. ▪ James Alexander ▪ Russ Crane ▪ Ron Chenail ▪ Sue Johnson ▪ Thorana Nelson ▪ Linda Schwallie ▪ Staff: Bill Northey, AAMFT Research Specialist Competency Development Process Initial Draft: Steering Committee and Task Force ▪ Developed by Steering Committee ▪ Sent to Task Force for Revision (two rounds) Feedback ▪ All MFT Educators: Reno July 2004 ▪ All AAMFT Members: Fall 2004 Final/Current Draft ▪ December 2004
Overview of the Competencies ▪ 6 Domains: Content Areas ▪ 5 Subdomains: Types of knowledge and skills within each domain ▪ 128 Total Competencies: Specific knowledge or skills
6 General Domains ▪ 1. Admission to Treatment: Getting therapy started ▪ 2. Clinical Assessment and Diagnosis: Assessing mental health and systemic/relational functioning ▪ 3. Treatment Planning and Case Management: Developing a plan of care ▪ 4. Therapeutic Interventions: Effecting change in the therapy room ▪ 5. Legal Issues, Ethics, and Standards: Understanding legal and ethical aspects of practice ▪ 6. Research and Program Evaluation: Knowing the relevant research and how to evaluate one’s effectiveness (AAMFT, 2004; Gehart, 2007) 5 Sub-Domains ▪ 1. Conceptual: Factual knowledge—the material we expect to learn from a book ▪ 2. Perceptual: The ability to perceive or see what is happening with clients or in the therapy process ▪ 3. Executive: Skills and actions: the ability to “execute” knowledge ▪ 4. Evaluative: The ability to assess one’s own abilities and performance accurately ▪ 5. Professional: Ability to adhere to professional and ethical standards (AAMFT, 2004; Gehart, 2007)
AAMFT members can download the Core Competencies from www.aamft.org on the Resources for Practitioners page.