The Evolution of “Pre-Clinical”

Christine: In 2015 Tamara and I met in her basement office at Headway Emotional Health Services where we both worked. I had expressed interest in the Pre-Clinical committee and Tamara was the newly-elected representative. We brainstormed ideas for what the Pre-Clinical group could be, and how it could best support our colleagues during this phase of their professional careers. We held our first gathering at Longfellow grill that August and were surprised by the number of our peers that attended. This gathering served much as a support group as it did casual networking. We practiced sharing our professional selves as well as wrestling with many of the challenges that comes with the territory of being Pre-Clinical.

Tamara: It is neat to be able to look back at that first planning doc and reflect on our ideas, and which ones have became reality. Talking about accruing hours, taking the national and state exams, networking… actually as I write this I realize that all of our list has become reality. Is that a #humblebrag? I am really bad at hashtags.

Christine: To be clear, hashtags were not part of the original brainstorming. Here we are three years later in a great place of change. MAMFT is breaking off from AAMFT and moving in a new direction. Tamara has been elected for a second term as your Pre-Clinical representative, and I have earned the letters LMFT after my name, making me no longer a Pre-Clinical member.

Tamara: Yes, and! See that? Both/and, yes and, not a “yes but!”(I learned many things during my time under the leadership of Steve Peltier; one of them was to rid myself of “yes, but.”)

With this new MAMFT comes fresh change to the “Pre-Clinical” committee. While the status of Pre-Clinical remains the same (post-Master’s, pre-LMFT licensure) the concept and organization of the committee is going to change a bit.

We realized that the committee needs to evolve, otherwise in a year or so we might be out of members; as thankfully many of us will be completing our licensure process. As we have grown together as clinicians and colleagues over the last 3 years, we have come to see that a hard stop of participating in the committee once one reaches LMFT status does not make the most sense.

While members would still change their membership status to Clinical upon licensure, they would have the ability to continue to be a part of the Early-Career Clinicians (or whatever name we land on).

The experience of getting licensed is a transition in and of itself and needs support, encouragement, and acknowledgement. Given this and other brainstormed ideas, we are going to be expanding the Pre-Clinical committee to include recently licensed professionals. (gasp!) No gasp; This is a good change. We have a lot of exciting ideas that the committee has brainstormed collaboratively.

Here are some of them:

  • Title of committee: Early-Career Clinicians (maybe?)
  • Outreach events to students near graduation (not limited to MFT programs)
  • 2 collaborative events per year with Student committee, focused on students in practicum
  • More networking-type events
  • Continue monthly gatherings for members to initially join and continue to come as interested
    • Conversations are not only pre-licensed related. We have always discussed finding jobs, starting practices, finding our niches, and working with challenging colleagues. These issues apply across pre-licensure through licensure.
  • Targeted to first ~5ish years post-graduation, and open to longer
  • Benefits/Goals
    • Connection, renewal, passion
    • Connected to fields beyond MFT
    • Different camaraderie with fellow early-career clinicians
    • Mentorship

Part of the reason to expand beyond licensure is that we have had multiple colleagues who are licensed want to participate in our events. Whether pre-licensed or licensed, we can all benefit from spending time in the company of interested colleagues. We are excited about this evolution and the ability to stay relevant for our membership.

Christine: If you are a Student, Pre-Clinical member, or licensed clinician please reach out to Tamara and connect with us. We are ever-evolving to meet the needs of those interested in being a part of our community. We welcome you.

Tamara: Yes, please! Email me:

Tamara Statz, MA LAMFT

Pre-Clinical Representative

Christine Dudero, MA LMFT

MAMFT Newsletter Editor