MS in Couples and Family Therapy

NEW for Fall 2014

The Master of Science (MS) in Couples and Family Therapy provides the knowledge and skills needed to become a licensed marriage and family therapist and an American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) Clinical Fellow. This program will prepare graduates to work in private practice, counseling centers, mental health agencies, hospitals, family service clinics, shelters, and state departments for children and family services.

A 15 credit graduate certificate is also available for those who want to add a concentration in a related mental health counseling program or for professional development that could lead to dual licensure as a marriage and family therapist.

For more information, visit the Counselor Education and School Psychology Department website.

Course Planning Matrix

Use the Course Planning Matrix to see when Couples and Family Therapy courses will be offered.

  • Couples and Family Therapy Component – 48 credits
  • 3
    This course is designed to help students understand the foundational models and associated techniques of relational therapy and counseling youth. Basic principles, concepts, and assumptions inherent in each of the foundational models will be explored as well as the implications for practice. Issues that affect contemporary families and youth and the associated empirically validated treatment will be explored. Required course for MS students in the clinical mental health counseling and couples and family therapy tracks. Prerequisites CO 5010 or SY 6010 and CO 5260, or permission of the instructor.
  • 3
    This course is designed to help students develop basic approaches, techniques, and advocacy for counseling children and adolescents. The course emphasizes student conceptualization of common issues, pathology, and behavior that occur in youth and the application of therapeutic skills and techniques to utilize when intervening. The course also emphasizes the therapeutic involvement of significant others with children in a variety of systems. Required course for students in the school counseling, marriage and family therapy, and school psychology programs. Prerequisite: CO 5010 or SY 6010, CO 5260, CO 5050, CO 5020, or permission of the instructor.
  • 3
    The course is designed to help students develops basic couple, marriage, and family skills and techniques. The Course expands on the couple and family therapy models presented in CO 5670. Training activities include diagnosis, assessment, case conceptualizations, case presentations, technique demonstration and application, digital recording of skill application, and case analysis. Required course for MS in Couples and Family Therapy. Prerequisites: CO 5020 and CO 5670.
  • 3
    This course covers current issues, emerging trends, and research in the field of marriage and family therapy. It explores the contemporary family and couple across cultural contexts. Lastly, the course reviews interventions utilized within contemporary relational issues, pathology, and behaviors. Required course for MS in Couples and Family Therapy. Prerequisite: CO 5670.
  • 3
    The course examines the foundational ethical, legal, professional identity, cultural competency and professional issues in couples and family therapy. It emphasizes the importance of self-awareness and its relationship to effective couples and family therapy. This course will review foundational concepts of systemic theory and their application to the professional identity of marriage and family therapists. Required course for MS in Couples and Family Therapy. Prerequisites: CO 5020 and CO 5670.
  • 3
    Recognizing that social behavior occurs within an intercultural context, Counselor Education, Couples and Family Therapy, and School Psychology students will develop the basic knowledge foundations necessary to understand and influence social behavior in a diverse society. Texts, readings and learning modules have been chosen and/or designed to facilitate the student's ability to understand the nature of social behavior cross culturally.
  • 3
    Focuses on a life-span approach to human development and looks at the constancy and change in behavior throughout life, from conception to death. Students will study human development in the context of a multidisciplinary approach and the larger ecological context of developmental events in human behavior. This course will have four major concerns: to identify and describe the changes that occur across the life span; to explain these changes in the context of maturation, early learning, and societal factors impacting development; to review research and theoretical frameworks that have affected our way of thinking and, to study the interdependence and interrelatedness of all aspects of development. There is a 16-hour service learning/pre-practicum field experience as part of this course.
  • 3
    This course is designed to familiarize students with a variety of research principles, ethical and legal considerations, research design, methodologies of research, data analyses, and principles of program evaluation. In addition, students will be able to critically evaluate research literature, understand basics of writing a literature review, and principles outlined in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. As a result, students will be prepared to understand available research, act on that knowledge in being discriminate evaluators of research and in being able to design research projects.
  • 3
    This course is designed to be a comparative and critical in-depth analysis of personality and counseling theories, including interrelationships, philosophical foundations, and practical application. Individual, familial, and systemic models are presented along with dynamics and issues that reflect cross theoretical perspectives. Students will be required to compare and contrast counseling theories and strategies, consider appropriate application of these strategies in diverse populations, and develop a personal model for providing help and facilitating behavioral change.
  • 3
    This course is designed to develop competencies in clinical interviewing, diagnostic assessment, case conceptualization, and treatment planning. Diversity considerations and current models of evidence-based practice will be emphasized. Prerequisites: CO 5010, CO 5020, CO 5260, CO 5770, or permission of the instructor.
  • 3
    The course is designed to help students develop basic counseling skills. Through role play, practice interviews, and tape transcriptions, students will have the opportunity to learn and practice basic counseling skills. The relationships among theory, case conceptualizations, and counseling interventions will be examined. Ethical and culturally responsive practices will be emphasized. Prerequisites: CO 5010 or SY 6010.
  • 3
    This course will help the student understand and interpret the principles of assessing students with and without disabilities. It includes valid evaluations and their use in eligibility determination, development of individualized education plans and monitoring student progress. Standardized and non-standardized assessment techniques will be discussed in detail, including some state and national assessments. The range of assessments include: intellectual functioning, interest inventories, achievement tests, aptitude tests, objective and projective personality assessments and non-test techniques such as observations and self-reporting. There will be a special emphasis placed upon the role of the counselor as a consultant to staff and colleagues in schools and other agency settings. Discussion of federal and state rules and regulations as they apply to the rights and ethical responsibilities of the professional and the population served by the professional. Special consideration will be given to the treatment of minority populations and children with disabilities in the assessment and consultation process and in the inclusive educational environment. Prerequisite: CO 5010.
  • 3
    Course provides a clear, balanced presentation of the psychology of abnormal behavior including current theoretical models, research, clinical experiences, therapies and controversies. Enables student to understand psychological/psychiatric disorders as discrete clinical conditions and to be able to apply differential diagnoses. Fall. Prerequisite: CO5010 or SY6010 or permission of instructor.
  • 3
    This course will examine models of addictions treatment. Students will learn how to evaluate risk factors, diagnose clients, determine and utilize resources, and apply treatment interventions.
  • 3
    Psychopharmacology and the Biological Basis of Mental Health course will explore the biological influences on mental illness. This will include an examination of the physiological basis of behavior, perception, emotion and self-regulation; the current theory and research on the relationship between biological events in the central nervous system and behavior; and psychopharmacological interventions.
  • 3
    Focuses on developing competency in a variety of areas surrounding parenting education including the following: understanding of parental issues and concerns within diverse family systems, understanding the dimensions of parenting from birth to adolescence, family, literacy, and knowledge of multicultural perspectives in parenting. This course addresses U.N. resolutions A/52/13 A Culture of Peace and A/53/243 A Program of Action for a Culture of Peace.
  • Capstone Experience – 12 credits
  • 3
    CO 5100 Practicum
    This course is a 100-hour field-based experience that focuses on developing competency in basic helping skills. Students will complete field experiences in approved community sites appropriate for their concentration and participate in group seminar as well as in required on-site and university supervision. Successful completion of at least 100 hours of field work, including 40 hours of direct service to clients and successful completion of the practicum course is required to be eligible for internship. Prerequisites: Completion of all courses in program contract and submission of Intent to Enroll form by departmental deadline.
  • 9
    A 600-900 hour couples and family therapy experience under supervision of an AAMFT Approved Supervisor and conducted in a mental health setting. Students must complete at least 300 hours of face-to-face client contact hours with individuals, couples, and families for the purpose of assessment, diagnosis, and treatment. At least 150 of the aforementioned hours must be completed with couples and families. Students must attend an on-campus seminar with fellow student interns that provide an opportunity for case presentation and professional development. This course is designed to be the culminating experience in the MS in Couples and Family Therapy program. Students must provide evidence of liability insurance. Prerequisites: completion of all required courses in the couples and family therapy program and consent of the Plymouth internship supervisor.
  • Total for MS in Couples and Family Therapy – 60 credits

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