Marriage & Family Therapy/Marriage and Family Counselor

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A Greater Calling Deserves A Greater Education

The Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) educates candidates for careers as marriage and family therapists, and is fully accredited with the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). The curriculum and clinical training focuses on preparing you to work with diverse populations who have experienced a broad range of problems.

Fairfield University also offers a MA in Family Studies, a program within the Department of Marriage and Family Therapy. Unlike MFT, it is not a clinical degree. Rather the family studies program is an advanced educational track focusing on early childhood, interpersonal relations, family studies, and human development. Graduates may enter various human services vocations (such as development officer, case manager, grant writer) and/or pursue a doctoral degree in teaching or research.

Both programs are dedicated to providing a learning context that fundamentally values diversity and nondiscrimination. The core curriculum, the clinical training component of the program, and the fully licensed faculty, strive to address diversity, power, privilege, and social justice in all aspects of training and education. Each faculty member is committed to creating a welcoming and mentoring environment to help their diverse student body every step of the way.

Application Deadlines for the Marriage and Family Therapy and Family Studies programs are October 1st and January 15th.

Information Session

Come meet our deans and faculty to learn more about our graduate programs.

About The Program

The Master of Arts degree in Marriage and Family Therapy prepares candidates for careers as marriage and family therapists. The curriculum and clinical training at Fairfield University focuses on preparing you to work in a wide variety of professional settings with diverse populations experiencing a broad range of problems.

Two young married parents and their child.Our program is dedicated to providing a learning context that fundamentally values diversity and nondiscrimination. The core curriculum, the clinical training component of the program, and the faculty and supervisors strive to address diversity, power, privilege, and social justice in all aspects of training and education. Toward that end, the faculty are committed to creating an environment that welcomes and provides mentorship to a diverse student body by a diverse group of faculty, instructors, and supervisors.

Fairfield's program is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). All faculty members are Approved Supervisors and Clinical Members of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and licensed in the State of Connecticut. Faculty members maintain national and international recognition in the field through:

  • Published works
  • Presentations of papers
  • Service on numerous professional, state, and national committees

Upon completion of the program, students may apply for associate membership in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). Following additional post-degree clinical experience and supervision, they may apply for clinical membership in this organization and sit for Connecticut's licensing examination.

The Master of Arts in Family Studies

The Master of Arts in Family Studies is a program within the Department of Marriage and Family Therapy. Unlike MFT, it is not a clinical degree. Rather the Family Studies program is an advanced educational track focusing on early childhood, interpersonal relations, family studies, and human development. Graduates may enter various human services vocations (such as development officer, case manager, grant writer) and/or pursue a doctoral degree with the goal of becoming an educator or researcher. The program requires a minimum of 33 credits.

We invite you to learn more about our programs and the admission requirements, courses, faculty, student handbook, and conceptual framework. Have more questions? Contact us. We hope you'll find our programs challenge you intellectually and enrich your life.

Message From The Director

3936_gseap_programs_family-studies_preli_06222017.jpgDear Prospective Student,

Marriage and family therapy is a distinct mental health discipline which is regulated by licensure in the State of Connecticut. Marriage and family therapists utilize family systems theories and models. They believe that individuals and their problems must be seen in context and that the most important context is the family.

Fairfield University's M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy offers specialized training in various models of family therapy with an emphasis on structural and strategic approaches, and has contractual relationships with more than 45 placement sites in 20 neighboring communities. At these sites, you may obtain your supervised clinical experience during your four semesters of practicum and internship.

The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy (COAMFTE). The coursework and clinical training therefore prepares you to pursue membership in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), as well as for Connecticut State licensure in marriage and family therapy.

As you explore our website further, please contact me by e-mail if you have any questions or would like to schedule a time to meet with me.

Rona Preli, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Director of Marriage and Family Therapy

Career & Professional Opportunities

Upon completion of the M.A. in Marriage & Family Therapy, graduates are qualified to seek paid positions in the mental health field as marriage and family therapists. Marriage and family therapists may be employed in a wide variety of settings, including:

  • Addictions treatment programs
  • Adolescent treatment outpatient and inpatient programs
  • Child guidance agencies
  • Community service agencies
  • Counseling or mental health centers
  • Court affiliated programs or alternative to incarceration programs
  • Domestic violence programs
  • Eating disorder programs
  • Family service agencies
  • Group psychotherapy practices
  • Medical hospitals or other medical settings
  • Pastoral counseling centers
  • Provide practice
  • Psychiatric units and psychiatric hospitals
  • Religiously affiliated social service agencies and programs
  • School systems
  • Youth service programs

Learn more about how the University's Office of Career Planning  can support your post-graduate goals, and how Fairfield's tight-knit alumni network can build career and mentoring opportunities that last a lifetime.

 

Course Offerings

View course catalog

FCA 1: Foundations of Relational/Systemic Theories and Models (6 credits)

  • FT 550 Introduction to Marriage and Family Therapy
  • FT 555 Foundations of Marital and Family Therapy

FCA 2: Clinical Treatment with Individual, Couples, and Families (18 credits)

  • FT 450 Techniques of Narrative and Solution-Focused Therapy
  • FT 525 Divorce, Single-Parenting, and Remarriage
  • FT 552 Intervention in Structural and Strategic Family Therapy
  • FT 553 Family Therapy Pre-Practicum
  • FT 561 Advanced Interventions in Family Therapy
  • FT 567 Couples Therapy

FCA 3: Diverse, Multicultural, and/or Underserved Communities (3 credits)

  • FT 433 Social Justice and Diversity in Professional Practice

FCA 4: Research and Evaluation (3 credits)

  • FT 556 Research in Marriage and Family Therapy

FCA 5: Professional Identity, Law, Ethics, and Social Responsibility (3 credits)

  • FT 565 Ethical, Legal, and Professional Issues in Family Therapy

FCA 6: Bio-Psycho-Social Health and Development Across the Lifespan (3 credits)

  • FT 447 Lifespan Human Development

FCA 7: Systemic/Relational Assessment and Mental Health Diagnosis and Treatment (3 credits)

  • FT 569 Assessment Techniques in Marriage and Family Therapy

FCA 8: Contemporary Issues (6 credits)

  • FT 465 Introduction to Substance Abuse and Addictions
  • FT 470 Professional Practice with LGBTQ (or other suitable elective)

FCA 9: Community Intersections & Collaborations (3 credits)

  • FT 425 Private Practice and Small Business Management

Foundational Clinical Practice (12 credits)
The following courses must be taken in sequence and without interruption:

  • FT 559 Practicum in Family Therapy I
  • FT 560 Practicum in Family Therapy II
  • FT 580 Internship in Family Therapy I
  • FT 581 Internship in Family Therapy II

Comprehensive Exam, Capstone and Thesis

  • FT 99 Comprehensive Exam in Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Capstone Presentation
  • Thesis Seminar

 

School-Based Marriage & Family Therapy

The School-Based Marriage and Family Therapy program will prepare candidates to use their knowledge and training as marriage and family therapists to work within the public school systems in fulfillment of the certification requirements of the State Board of Education. certification.

Core Faculty

Admission

Admission Requirements

Applicants for the M.A. in Marriage & Family Therapy must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university (or the international equivalent) and give promise of meeting the standards set by the School.

Formal Admission Process

Students seeking admission must submit:

  • A completed online application
  • A Non-refundable $60 application fee paid by credit card.
  • A Professional Resume. Applicants are required to submit a current resume that includes employment and education history (submit online).
  • A Personal Statement. Students should describe why they want to undertake graduate studies in Marriage & Family Therapy (submit online).
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended demonstrating a cumulative GPA of at least 2.67 (or receive a GPA waiver from the department, available on a case by case basis). You must hold a bachelor's degree with an approved subject major or interdisciplinary major. (All foreign transcripts must be evaluated by an approved evaluating service.
  • Two Recommendation Forms and Letters, one of which must be, preferably, from a current employer or supervisor. The Recommendations are completed online. At the time of application you will need to provide your two Recommender's names and e-mail addresses.
  • Participation in a mandatory Admission Interview.
    • Please plan to be available should you be invited to the interview. You will be notified of your invitation to the interview at least two weeks prior to the scheduled date.

 

Students from Non-English Speaking Countries

Students from non-English speaking countries are required to submit a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score report. A TOEFL composite score of 550 for the paper test, 213 for the computer-based, or 84 on the Internet-based test (iBT) with a minimum score of 21 in reading and 23 in writing is strongly recommended for admission. Fairfield's ETS code is 3390.

 

All application materials for formal admission should be sent to:

Office of Graduate Admission
1073 North Benson Road
Fairfield, CT 06824-5195
Phone: (203) 254-4184
Fax: (203) 254-4073
gradadmis@fairfield.edu

 

How to Apply

Financial Aid

To be considered for financial aid, Fairfield University requires students to complete a FAFSA form. For further information, visit the Office of Financial Aid.

Frequently Asked Questions

When are applications due?

 

Is the program accredited?

The Marriage and Family Therapy Program at Fairfield University is accredited with the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). The Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) is the national accrediting body for the field of marriage and family therapy.

The COAMFTE serves under a broad mandate from the AAMFT Board of Directors to set standards for and accredit master's, doctoral, and post-degree clinical training programs in marriage and family therapy.

Accreditation is essentially a public service that aims to:

  • Ensure and improve the quality of educational programs in marriage and family therapy
  • Encourage programs' ongoing self-study and development
  • Serve as an indicator that programs are meeting established standards and their own stated objectives

Accreditation is a status granted to an educational institution or program that has been found to meet or exceed stated criteria of education quality. Accreditation is voluntarily sought.

COAMFTE accreditation provides several benefits for the University, the program, and the students. Accreditation is prestigious in that it is recognition that the program meets standards of excellence in education and training. Also, the State of Connecticut recognizes the curriculum of accredited programs as meeting the educational standards for eligibility for the licensure examination. This alleviates applicants of the responsibility of detailing their coursework and in some case, justifying how certain courses meet the curriculum requirements. Finally, graduates of accredited programs are allowed to count the 500 clinical contact hours and the 100 supervision hours obtained during their practicum or internship in the master's program toward the requirements for Clinical Membership in AAMFT.

 

Can I get licensed after I graduate?

Successful completion of our masters degree program qualifies students who have met additional postgraduate requirements to sit for the licensing exam in the State of Connecticut. Postgraduate requirements include a minimum of one year clinical work with 1,000 hours of client contact and 100 hours of supervision by a Connecticut licensed marriage and family therapist. Further information regarding licensure may be obtained from the Connecticut State Department of Mental Health.

 

What makes marriage and family therapy distinct from other mental health disciplines?

Marriage and family therapy is a distinct mental health discipline with its body of research, clinical techniques and code of ethics. Marriage and family therapists diagnose and treat nervous and mental disorders from a systemic perspective. Standard Occupational Classification of the Bureau of Labor and Statistics which states that MFTs are qualified to diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders, whether cognitive, affective, or behavioral, within the context of marriage and family systems. They apply psycho-therapeutic and family systems theories and techniques in the delivery of professional services to individuals, couples, and families for the purpose of treating such diagnosed nervous and mental disorders. They work with individuals, couples, families, and/or larger systems in a variety of contexts. Therapy focuses on interactional and relational processes and seeks to build on the clients' strengths and resources.  Marriage and family therapists help families to address and change relationships and patterns of communication so that they can work out reasonable solutions to their problems for themselves.

There are many models of practice in marriage and family therapy. Individual practitioners may vary greatly in their methods and techniques of clinical work.

 

Connecticut has several MFT programs, how do I chose?

The Conn. programs that are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Marriage and Family Therapy Education are comparable in their rigor and quality. Each program, though, has its unique emphasis. Our Fairfield University training emphasizes a structural/strategic model of family therapy. In our on-campus Family Counseling Center, advanced students see individuals, couples, and families from the community under live supervision.

 

Can I continue working full time while going through the program?

We develop individual plans of study with each student, taking into account your personal circumstances. Except during the summer semester, didactic courses are taught on weekday evenings between 4:55-9:15 p.m. or as a Friday / Saturday weekend class. However, this schedule changes profoundly when students enter the 5 semester sequence of their clinical training where they provide therapy in our on-campus clinic and in practicum / internship sites. Since students have to be available for staff meetings, supervision and client contact hours at their site and also need to accumulate 500 hours of direct client contact and 100 hours of supervision, it is close to impossible to simultaneously hold down a full time position. Additionally, according to our licensing statutes, the clinical sequence can not be interrupted.

 

How long does it take to finish the program?

Anywhere from 3 to 6 years, it all depends on how many courses you want to take a semester. Full-time students can complete the program in 3 to 3.5 years, depending on the completion of our clinical requirements.

 

What is the clinical training process, how do I find a clinical placement site, and what types of sites are available?

The clinical training component of the program consists of a sustained and intensive experience spanning 5 semesters. The student entering clinical training must commit to completing the 5 semesters consecutively and without interruption. In clinical training, students will complete 500 hours of direct client contact (250 of which must be relational) and receive a minimum of 100 hours of supervision. The process of securing a placement site begins in pre-practicum where the student begins the formalized process for selecting and interviewing for a placement site. Our off campus sites of clinical work include:

  • Addictions treatment programs
  • Adolescent treatment outpatient and inpatient programs
  • Child guidance agencies
  • Christian counseling programs
  • Community service agencies
  • Counseling or mental health centers
  • Court affiliated programs or alternatives to incarceration programs
  • Domestic violence programs
  • Family service agencies
  • Group psychotherapy practices
  • Medical hospitals and other medical settings
  • Pastoral counseling centers
  • Private practice
  • Psychiatric units and psychiatric hospitals
  • Student health services in public or private schools
  • Youth services programs

 

Contact Us

For more information about Fairfield University's graduate programs, please contact:

Office of Graduate Admission
Fairfield University
1073 North Benson Road
Fairfield, CT 06824

Call (203) 254-4184 or email gradadmis@fairfield.edu.

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