Licensed Therapists vs. Interns: Are Interns Less Qualified?

October 15, 2019


Intern is a commonly misunderstood label in the world of therapy, so let's start there. In the field of therapy, a marriage and family therapy registered intern at minimum is someone who has completed a masters degree in counseling psychology or social work (or the equivalent thereof), has completed a practicum placement at an approved site, and has passed a thorough background check by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences and been granted a registration number and designation as an intern. Once these things are complete, the now Registered Intern must complete additional hours of work under the supervision of a licensed therapist for a grand total of 3,000 hours. In a given week, for every 10 hours of clinical work (face to face with a client or over the phone counseling) an intern must meet with their supervisor for 1 hour for case consultation and supervision. So what does all of this mean for the client being treated by an intern? It means that you are getting two sets of eyes on your treatment plan to achieve your goals.


The development of a therapist is life-long; we spend our careers learning new and better ways to help our clients. While licensed clinicians generally have more years in experience than interns, interns may have had much more recent broad exposure to current treatment modalities. From the time a person graduates from an approved degree program, they have 6 years to complete the 3000 hours needed to sit for the state board examinations, which means if you’re seeing an intern, they could have 10-15 years of experience. Each clinician regardless of licensure status brings to the table a different set of skills, training, and experience. Finding the clinician that best meets your needs is the most important part, whether they are a registered intern or a licensed therapist. 


If you would like to speak to one of our clinicians, please call us at (760) 942-8663.


Reannon Kerwood, MA, IMF 73596

Clinical Associate

Coherence Associates, Inc.

Please reload

Featured Posts

Overcoming Trauma – When the Passage of Time May Not Be Enough

July 2, 2020

Please reload

Recent Posts