Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy

Program Rationale:
The Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) program leads to a Master's of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy (MSMFT). The program is designed to prepare students for professional careers as marriage and family therapists in a wide variety of settings and roles. First, students are taught theories and techniques of practice in individual and group counseling modalities, as well as developmental theory. The foundation of the specialized training in marriage and family therapy is systems theory, serving as the linchpin for the study of clinical theories and practices that are taught in preparation for clinical training. The philosophy of the program is that a student must integrate theories and techniques as tools for enhancing one's effectiveness as an agent of intervention and change. The program does so by interweaving theory and practice throughout the duration of the training process via graduated practical experiences while studying theory. Thus, through the process of study and practice, the student has an opportunity to incorporate a wide array of learning gradually and comprehensively. The end product of such training is a therapist who is well-grounded in theory and who has had nurturing through an on-going training and supervisory process to use him/herself effectively, professionally, and ethically as an agent of change at a variety of levels. The curriculum is designed to meet academic and clinical requirements for Connecticut licensure for marital and family therapists and AAMFT Clinical Membership.

Clinical placements and intensive faculty supervision emphasize the development of effective therapeutic skills to meet the challenges of the new climate in health care service delivery. Emphasis is also placed on the development of the "person of the therapist." A key theme of the program is respect for diversity of people and lifestyles in families. The program has been awarded accreditation by AAMFT's Commission on Accreditation for MFT Education (COAMFTE).

MFT Educational Outcomes (EO):

  1. To develop competent entry-level Marriage and Family Therapists at point of graduation
  2. To advance and disseminate the Metaframeworks paradigm as a valued systemic basis for teaching and practicing marriage and family therapy
  3. To promote culturally-informed and respectful systemic mental health practice
  4. To promote leadership in the MFT field among our students, faculty, and graduates

Student Learning Outcomes (SLO):
As a result of successful completion of the MFT program, students will:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge in the major schools of marriage and family therapy;
  2. Demonstrate proficiency in practices of systemically-oriented therapy approaches to human problems in a variety of clinical settings;
  3. Demonstrate an articulated personal model of therapy upon which they base their intervention, derived from Metaframeworks;
  4. Show professional identities as Marriage and Family Therapists through participation in activities that facilitate the process of socialization in the field;
  5. Demonstrate knowledge as consumers of MFT relevant research and ongoing professional enrichment through the valuing of continued self study and skill development;
  6. Demonstrate awareness, knowledge, and skills in providing culturally informed MFT;
  7. Demonstrate ability to apply the standards of ethical professional conduct in the field; and
  8. Show a strong and clear sense of self as an intervener in human problems.

Clinical Training in the MFT Program:

During the second year of the MFT program, students complete a practicum experience for two semesters, in which they are placed in approved clinical sites in the community for 12 hours per week and receive an hour of supervision per week by an agency supervisor. This experience provides students with basic skills and techniques in interviewing, clinical assessment, and case management. Students attend a weekly course seminar for one hour per week with a faculty instructor. There are over 60 approved training sites across the state, including mental health centers, youth service bureaus, family service agencies, hospitals, and schools.

Following the practicum, each student undertakes a 12-month, intensive (20-25 hours per week) internship in an approved clinical facility, where the intern may hone his/her skills as an "apprentice" clinician under the mentorship of an on-site supervisor and oversight of a faculty supervisor. The internship is designed to be a much more extensive experience than the practicum experience, with the intern assuming primary responsibility for 12-15 clinical cases per week. The student can expect much guidance during the internship experience, with over three hours per week spent in supervision to discuss clinical assessment, case dynamics, skill development, and use of self in the role of "therapist." By the end of the program, students must complete 500 clinical contact hours with a minimum of 100 hours of supervision of those clinical contact hours under an AAMFT Approved Supervisor.

Course and Capstone Requirements
(51 credits):
Prerequisites (12 credits):
PSY 512 Seminar in Developmental Psychology 3
CNSL 500 The Dynamics of Group Behavior 3
CNSL 501 Theories and Techniques in Counseling 6
Marriage and Family Therapy specialization (51 credits) - thesis optional:
MFT 541* Introduction to Theories of Family Systems 3
MFT 542 Professional, Ethical, and Legal Issues in Marriage and Family Therapy 3
MFT 543 The Family Life Cycle 3
MFT 544 Families in Context: Gender and Cultural Dimensions 3
MFT 551 Structural/Strategic & Behavioral Family Therapies 3
MFT 552 Experiential, Intergenerational and Psychodynamic Family Therapies 3
MFT 554 Couples therapy 3
MFT 555 Dysfunctional Family Processes 3
MFT 556 Systemic Perspectives on Mental Disorders 3
MFT 557 Action Methods in Marital and Family Therapy 3
MFT 583 Marriage and Family Therapy Practicum I 3
MFT 584 Marriage and Family Therapy Practicum II 3
MFT 585 Marriage and Family Therapy Internship (3 credits in each of 3 consecutive semesters)** 9
MFT 598 Research Methods in Marriage and Family Therapy 3
  Elective required*** 3


* This course is taken during the pre-candidacy period along with the three prerequisite courses as a condition for degree candidacy.

** See Capstone requirement (below).

*** May be any graduate course that fits coherently with the student's academic goals, on approval from his or her advisor. The Thesis course (CNSL 599) is not considered an elective (Plan A) and is an additional three (3) credits.

During the third semester of MFT 585 (Internship), on completion of a minimum of 300 of the 500 clinical hours required for graduation, all students must complete a capstone project consisting of a comprehensive written examination of a clinical case seen by the student, as well as an oral presentation of the case to MFT faculty and peers. This project is designed to help the student integrate his/her learning experiences in the program. In addition, students also may elect to complete Plan A (Thesis), which adds an additional three (3) credits in the program. Students who pursue the thesis option are also required to complete the clinical capstone during the spring semester of MFT 585. During the third semester of MFT 585 (Internship), on completion of a minimum of 300 of the 500 clinical hours required for graduation, all students must complete a capstone project consisting of a comprehensive written examination of a clinical case seen by the student, as well as an oral presentation of the case to MFT faculty and peers. This project is designed to help the student integrate his/her learning experiences in the program. In addition, students also may elect to complete Plan A (Thesis), which adds an additional three (3) credits in the program. Students who pursue the thesis option are also required to complete the clinical capstone during the spring semester of MFT 585.

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