The Greater Los Angeles MFT Consortium: Building the Future of the MFT Profession

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consortium founders

In the photo, Jose Luis of Phillips is on the far left. Olivia Loewy, Executive Director of CA-AAMFT, is on the far right. Standing next to Jose Luis is Marika Zaharkiv, and next to her is Carol Bishop, one of our alumna who is Tarzana Treatment Center.  Next is Stan Charnofsky, Director of the MFT Program at Northridge, Clarence Hibbs, former MACLP Program Director, Rebecca Reed MA Clinical Training and Prof Dev. Coodinator, Kathleen Wenger, Manager MA Clinical Training and Development also Founding Chair of the OC MFT Consortium, Francie Neeley, Faculty and former MACLP Program Director. 

The Greater Los Angeles MFT Consortium was founded when the BBS decided that the schools and educational programs should have greater control over the experiential training of pre-licensed MFT Trainees.  Back then, training for students in practicum was all over the map. By bringing together supervisors, agency directors and educators, the Consortium was able to come up with recommendations to the Board that satisfied all or most of the stakeholders.

The Consortium unites the regional consortia of MFT academic programs throughout California with the mission of enhancing the quality of clinical training to MFT students. MFT educators examine the various protocols schools use in preparing students for practicum training and collaborate with the community clinical sites that provide the direct clinical experience and supervision to the students. These regional consortia have been “effective in promoting the quality of practicum training for students pursuing a career in marriage and family therapy [and] in advancing the integrity of the profession and the participation of its members in local and state governance” There are now 8 Consortia throughout the state of CA and the Orange County Consortia led the way, by being the very first in the state!  Kathleen Wenger, LMFT, LPCC is the founding Chair of the OC MFT Consortium and continues to Co-chair it today (135 meetings over 24 years!)

As this year marks the Greater Los Angeles MFT Consortium’s 20th anniversary, the September 12 meeting had “Celebrating Twenty Years of Collegiality” as its theme. The event opened with a retrospective on the Consortium’s founding, entitled “Establishing a Network of MFT Schools: Events and Contributors” and presented by Consortium co-chair Jose Luis Flores. Following a celebratory lunch, Flores was joined by fellow Consortium co-chair Michele Shepherd as well as Lisa Wolfe for a presentation on the history of the Consortium, “Timeline and Chronicle of the Consortium: 20 Years of Collaboration.” After this review of the past, the event shifted to a look ahead at the possible future of the MFT profession with Sara Kashing’s “The Future of the MFT Profession: A Projective View.” Olivia Loewy and Ben Caldwell concluded the meeting with “Expanded MFT’s Role in the Health Care System: Five Forces Shaping Our Future.” Following this, the formal part of the meeting concluded but attendees continued to mingle and network, reflecting on the MFT profession’s accomplishments over the past twenty years and the bright future that lies ahead for it.

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