American Board of Couple and Family Psychology

The candidate will be able to demonstrate competency in the following Foundational and Functional Competency areas as defined below.


(Note: Successful candidates demonstrate all relevant foundational competencies in each of the functional competencies)

  • Assessment: CFP assessment encompasses a broad range of both traditional and systemic methods and content domains that address the system levels of individuals, dyads, families, and their broader contexts, including those associated with cultural diversity. Successful candidates seek multiple perspectives on the presenting problem, consider reciprocal influences over time, and situate assessment within the overarching construct of systemic case conceptualization. They demonstrate: (a) foundational assessment knowledge, including the nature, scope, and psychometrics of CFP assessment methods; (b) application of methods, including the use of multiple methods and the ability to apply findings to case conceptualization; and (c) a client-centered assessment perspective.
  • Intervention: Successful candidates possess knowledge about a broad range of CFP interventions, and demonstrate skills in the selection, provision, and evaluation of interventions designed to improve client and/or relationship health according to a systemic case conceptualization. Interventions are applied with a high level of skill and fidelity to the treatment model or theory. Successful candidates understand data about the efficacy and effectiveness of CFP interventions, and monitor their clients’ treatment progress.
  • Consultation: CFP consultation is the provision of specialty psychological consultation services to individuals, groups, programs, or organizations (at any level of the system or subsystem) based on a systemic epistemology in order to assess needs, give recommendations, and engage in interventions to achieve desired outcomes. This definition encompasses consultation to education programs and businesses in addition to that offered to healthcare teams. Successful candidates demonstrate knowledge about specialty consultation theory, research findings, roles, assessment, and methodology. They conduct effective CFP consultations, including a systemic needs assessment yielding a report and recommendations, and effective interventions.
  • Research/Evaluation: This competency domain will be addressed only for those candidates who engage in research, scholarship, or program evaluation that contributes to the CFP field. Successful candidates demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate the theoretical and research literature related to their area of expertise. They conduct research, guided by a systemic epistemology, that contributes to the scientific and professional knowledge base in CFP, develops or evaluates healthcare programs, or facilitates quality improvement in healthcare services. Successful candidates are familiar with CFP research methods relevant to their inquiry, including measures and procedures for assessing complex family processes, as well as statistical analyses for examining sequential processes and participants with co-varying behavior.
  • Supervision: This competency domain will be assessed only for those candidates who engage in supervision. CFP supervision is focused on enhancing and/or developing the clinical service provision of a specific trainee or group of trainees. Successful candidates demonstrate: (a) knowledge of supervision models and CFP competencies; (b) skills in providing effective supervision using a systemic epistemology, and facilitating trainee development; and (c) commitment to professionalism and to growth in self and others. Successful candidates develop a productive supervisory alliance, conduct a skill assessment, monitor supervisee progress, provide formative feedback, and identify and develop a remediation plan for improving skills deficits.
  • Teaching: This competency domain will be addressed only for those candidates who engage in teaching or didactic instruction of students, trainees, or other professionals in a classroom, seminar, or lecture format. Successful candidates demonstrate understanding of the theory and science of CFP, and are familiar with the limited research on teaching a systemic epistemology in higher education. They also have an advanced understanding of competencies in CFP, the specialty curriculum, and national models for specialty education. Successful candidates value lifelong learning and demonstrate skills in: (a) facilitating understanding and adoption of a systemic orientation and specialty scientific methods; (b) creating a comprehensive specialty curriculum, (c) developing a course reflecting CFP research and methods that fits within a comprehensive specialty curriculum; and (d) applying teaching-learning methods appropriate to the specialty in instructional venues.
  • Management/Administration: This competency domain will be addressed only for those candidates who engage in management/administration activities. Successful candidates demonstrate appropriate knowledge and effective practice of management and administration activities within programs, organizations, and/or agencies. This knowledge includes familiarity with professional roles in management and administration of health care research, services, and systems; leadership development; and application of specialty foundational competencies to management and administration.
  • Advocacy: This competency domain will be assessed only for those candidates who engage in systematic advocacy activities. Advocacy is defined as the leveraging of scientific knowledge in CFP to promote change at institutional, community, professional, or societal levels. Examples of specialty advocacy include behavioral health workforce development, dissemination of evidence-based systemic interventions, promotion of policies and healthcare re-design based on relationship science, and efforts to assess, prevent, and eliminate disparities in access to CFP interventions. Successful candidates demonstrate an ability to establish strategic, respectful, ethical, collaborative, and professionally appropriate relationships with stakeholders (e.g., government agencies, professional organizations) for the purpose of effecting change, and demonstrate an ability to develop, implement, and evaluate action plans for targeted change or progress toward specific advocacy goals. 


  • Relationships: Successful candidates demonstrate: (a) knowledge of systems theory and research about interpersonal relationships; (b) a commitment to facilitating positive and constructive therapeutic relationships; and (c) interpersonal, affective, and expressive skills in applying the knowledge and attitudes to facilitate communication and manage interpersonal conflict in all professional interactions.
  • Individual and Cultural Diversity (ICD): Successful candidates demonstrate knowledge of: (a) how self is shaped by ICD factors; (b) the range of reciprocally determined individual, interpersonal, and macrosystemic factors that shape the experience of individuals, couples/families and organizations; and (c) theory and empirical literature relevant to providing CFP clinical services to multicultural populations. They engage in culturally centered professional activities, including clinical services and education/training. Successful candidates display awareness of how they have been shaped by ICD factors, including how their own individual, interpersonal, and contextual characteristics shape their perceptions of ICD factors in others. They maintain a culturally centered perspective, including a commitment to social justice.
  • Ethical and Legal Standards/Policy: Successful candidates demonstrate: (a) command of ethical and legal knowledge related to CFP, (b) application of an ethical decision making model and relevant ethical and legal principles, and (c) commitment to ethical development and improvement in the competency. They articulate how they resolve the unique ethical and legal considerations in treating multiple persons simultaneously.
  • Professionalism: Successful candidates behave in ways that reflect the values and attitudes of all CFP competencies. They value and communicate to the public and other health professionals their specialty training and identity as CFP candidates (to become CFP specialists). Successful candidates value collaboration with other health professionals, and are committed to principles of safe, effective, client-centered, timely, and equitable health care.
  • Reflective Practice/Self-assessment/Self-care: Successful candidates engage in ongoing self-assessment, conducted with personal and professional self-awareness, attending to one’s health behaviors and well being and their potential impact on specialty practice and self-care. They appropriately address gaps in competencies and engage in self-care. In health care settings, candidates reflect on their individual and collective (i.e., healthcare team) performance to improve team functioning and maintain an environment that fosters professional growth.
  • Scientific Knowledge and Methods: Successful candidates demonstrate advanced understanding of the systemic concepts, theories and knowledge comprising the scientific foundation of the field of CFP. They recognize and apply these concepts and findings in clinical practice, particularly with systemic case conceptualizations of presenting problems.
  • Interdisciplinary Systems: Successful candidates demonstrate understanding of and apply core competencies for interprofessional practice in a manner consistent with the foundational CFP Relationships In health care settings, they are knowledgeable about the health care systems and service delivery models providing a context for patient care, and their implications for CFP practice. They engage in effective interdisciplinary collaboration within and across healthcare teams to optimize patient care consistent with other CFP competencies.
  • Evidence-based Practice: Successful candidates integrate evidence-based practice into all of their clinical activities. They are aware of the current literature on CFP evidence-based models and specialty interventions, as well as the limitations of available Successful candidates apply CFP research on evidence-based practice to make key clinical decisions by: (a) using an evidence-based treatment model when applicable to the presenting problem and context; (b) flexibly using conceptualizations and techniques from multiple evidence-based protocols (i.e., common factors) to guide clinical interventions; and (c) evaluating treatment outcome.