Course Descriptions

Family Systems  
MF 503  |  3 semester hours

Marriage and family therapists emphasize the systemic viewpoint of human functioning, which holds that the individual is influenced in important ways by the family, the extended family and the society surrounding him or her. This course studies the family as a system, including family life cycle stages, tasks and difficulties. Communication patterns and interpersonal perceptions and expectations make up a large part of the therapeutic focus of marriage and family therapy. Students will be able to articulate how the systemic viewpoint differs from individual models of human functioning, and how the systemic model would conceptualize the goals of therapy, the process of change and the role of the therapist.

Models of Marriage and Family Therapy
MF 518  |  4 semester hours

This course is designed to introduce students to traditional and contemporary models of marriage and family therapy. Traditional approaches include structural, strategic, Bowenian, intergenerational, contextual, communications, behavioral, cognitive and object relations approaches. Contemporary approaches include post-modern approaches (solution-focused, narrative, collaborative language), experiential and emotion-focused approaches. If a student has not taken an undergraduate course in theories of counseling and psychotherapy, supplemental reading will be expected. Students will be able to conceptualize cases from each perspective, stating the goals of therapy, the process of change and the role of the therapist.

Human Development and the Family
MF 524  |  3 semester hours

This course is designed to emphasize how developmental issues impact systems, especially families. The course will emphasize the family life cycle and family subsystems. Students will be able to describe their own developmental path, as well as the predicted outcome of several developmental issues. The influence of diversity and cultural influences will also be discussed.

Microcounseling
MF 545  |  3 semester hours

This experientially based course will review the values, knowledge and skills necessary to work therapetically with individuals, couples and families. The primary focus of the course will be the practice of therapeutic techniques and skills with peers and volunteers. Students will demonstrate skill in using listening skills and basic influencing skills. 

Pre-Practicum in Marriage and Family Therapy
MF 546  |  3 semester hours

This course is designed as an orientation to the clinic, including observation by video cameras and/or behind a one-way mirror, discussion of cases and discussion of ethical issues. Students will be able describe the intake process, demonstrate skill at conducting an intake interview and in writing case notes. Prerequisite: MF545

Human Sexuality
MF 550  |  3 semester hours

The course is designed to emphasize how normal and abnormal sexuality develops and affects family systems, including sexual addiction, asexuality, paraphilias, sexual communication, etc. Students will be able to describe the categories of sexual disorders and interventions to address them as well as describing normal relational sexual development and sexual enrichment strategies. 

Ethical and Professional Issues in Marriage and Family Therapy
MF 569  |  3 semester hours

This course deals with ethical, legal, and professional responsibilities of MFT counselors. The ethical code of the AAMFT will be examined and ethical dilemmas will be discussed. Students will examine legal responsibilities and liabilities of MFT’s, issues in independent practice and the role of the professional organization. Students will be able to state the categories of ethical concerns and apply ethical principles to hypothetical cases. They will be able to state legal responsibilities of MFT’s and apply the law to hypothetical cases.

Models of Couples Therapy
MF 582  |  4 semester hours

This course focuses on the dynamics and characteristics of dyadic relationships. A variety of therapeutic interventions and therapeutic models intended to enhance and improve couples' relationships will be examined. Special attention will be given to Evidence Based Methods (Gottman and Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, Johnson). Marital enrichment and premarital programs will also be considered. 

Practicum in Marriage and Family Therapy I, II, III
NOTE: Each Practicum runs for 15 weeks and must be taken consecutively
MF 590, MF 690, MF 692  |  4 semester hours

The practicum courses are intended to place the student in a professional counseling setting where they will provide direct client services under the supervision of a licensed mental health care provider. Students will be encouraged to develop sites that are of particular interest to them or to choose from a list of approved sites. Students will be required to accumulate 300 direct client contact hours providing therapeutic services and a minimum of 60 hours of supervision over the course of three years. In addition to on-site supervision, students will receive supervision in a week group supervision section at the University. Prerequisites: MF 503, MF 518, MF 545, MF 569, MF 582

The Cross-Cultural Family
MF 602  |  3 semester hours

This course will examine the impact of culture on individual and family functioning. The course will emphasize the family in social context, both historically and contemporarily. It will study the impact of changing social conditions on individual and family functioning. Students will be able to describe how culture has impacted him/herself, as well as hypothetical clients.

Neuroscience for Marriage and Family Therapy
MF 603  |  3 semester hours

This course will introduce students to the basic facts of developmental neurobiology, brain structure, relation of structure to function and the physiological and psychological effects of environment on the brain. Special emphasis will be placed on the reciprocal influence of relationships on brain development and the influence of brain development on relationships and their effects on couples and families. 

Psychopathology and the family
MF 626  |  4 semester hours

This course is designed as a graduate seminar to supplement material taught in PS306 Abnormal Psychology (or equivalent). This course will provide systemic and relational perspectives for the DSM-IV, which is the primary classification system for psychopathology in use in America today. A biopsychosocial and systemic framework will be utilized to conceptualize and understand the cause and effect of mental illness. Students will be able to describe the symptoms of major categories of mental illness and state at least 2 interventions for each one. 

Research Methods for Marriage and Family Therapy
MF 640  |  3 semester hours

This course will introduce students to basic research methods in the social sciences. If a student has not had an undergraduate research methods course, supplemental reading will be expected. Students will be able to access, read and interpret research articles in primary counseling journals in order to evaluate evidence based best practices in counseling and therapy.

Spirituality and the Family
MF 655  |  3 semester hours

This course will explore the place of spirituality in family functioning and family therapy. A variety of spiritual modalities will be explored including, mindfulness, meditation, spiritual disciplines and forgiveness. The role of spirituality in mental health treatment, addictive behavior and treatment, substance abuse, preventative treatment, and health and well-being will be explored. Interventions with a spiritual focus will be addressed. Students will be able to describe and reflect the place of spirituality in their own lives and in their roles as marriage and family therapists. Students will also be able to demonstrate the use of spiritual interventions and sensitivities in working with individuals, couples and families. 

Therapeutic Techniques with Parents and Children
MF 671  |  3 semester hours

This course covers interventions in families with children and teens. Students will be trained in assessment of children and adolescents, and in therapeutic techniques in families, such as parent education, behavior modification and play therapy. Students will be able to conceptualize cases from each perspective, including describing interventions from that perspective.

Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Medical Family Therapy
MF 678  |  3 semester hours

This course will introduce students to the basic theoretical and practical dimensions of Marriage and Family Therapy in acute and chronic medical settings. Acute and chronic medical situations present high levels of stress for families and the medical professionals who are working with them. These larger system phenomena provide opportunities for which MFTs are uniquely trained and situated to be helpful. As health care seeks to become more holistic and integrative the need for individuals adept at systems thinking and the development of holistic views such as MFTs will become critical.