Marriage & Family Therapy/Marriage and Family Counselor

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.

 

Fairfield University Student Achievement Data

 



 

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_director-image_rona-preli_06292016Dear 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

Advisory Board

The Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) Advisory Board was created in 2010 to support the growth of the MFT program, as well as further the vision and mission of the Kathryn P. Koslow Center for Marriage and Family Therapy.

Members

Trevor Mahony Crow

 

get to know Trevor →

Trevor Mahony Crow is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, in private practice in Southport, Conn. Having received her Masters Degree at Fairfield University along with a Certificate in Emotionally Focused Therapy, Trevor has expanded her use of systems theory, approaching family therapy with a strong emphasis on attachment theory.

Trevor is also the host of talk radio show "Keeping Connected with Trevor Crow" on WSTC WNLK, 1350 1400 in Norwalk, Conn., airing live Tuesday evenings from 8-9 p.m. EST. The show is about connections and healthy emotional relationships. She holds a Masters of Business Administration from Harvard Business School. Having graduated from Wellesley College, Trevor majored in Art History. She also holds a Bachelor of Science from the Parsons School of Design in Interior Design.

Trevor has also served as a board member of the Ackerman Institute for the Family. Ackerman is a leader in research and training for Marriage and Family Therapists globally. Additionally, Ms. Mahony Crow served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Domestic Crisis Center of Norwalk, where she co-chaired the annual spring luncheon of 2009.

Presently, Trevor is board member of the Pequot Library and serves as Secretary of the Executive Committee. Trevor is honored to be serving on the Advisory Board for Fairfield University's Marriage and Family Therapy Masters Program and as a board member of the Fairfield Villages Wellesley Club.

Trevor is single mom with a blended family of 4 children. She practices yoga as much as possible, and loves to ski and take family vacations. A long time ago, Trevor was a competitive figure skater.

"My job is deeply meaningful to me. The practice of Marriage and Family Therapy or helping my clients to live together in a loving and supportive way, is the most rewarding job I can imagine. I feel honored every time I am in session. There is no better feeling for me than seeing a couple be able to look into each other's eyes with love and compassion once again after years of fighting. I am so grateful, honored, and happy to do what I do!"

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Laura Fishman

 

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After serving in a variety of professional and community roles, Laura Fishman has settled into the deeply fulfilling work of being a Marriage and Family therapist. She is currently an outpatient clinician at Child Guidance Center of Mid-Fairfield County in Norwalk, Conn. She also serves as a commissioner on the Town of Westport's Human Services Commission, which closely collaborates with the town's Department of Human Services.

Laura was raised on New York City's Upper West Side, where cultural diversity was the norm. She attended both Bowdoin College in Maine and Wesleyan University in Connecticut, from which she received a B.A. in art history. After working at several not-for-profit arts organizations, Laura transitioned into the business world as a salesperson and trainer for a software company that served the needs of philanthropic organizations. Deciding to add business credentials to her resume, Laura obtained an MBA in marketing and management of organizations at Columbia University's School of Business.

Shortly after graduation from business school, Laura had two sons and moved to Connecticut. She spent four years as PTA president at her sons' elementary and middle schools in Westport. In 2008, Laura enrolled in Fairfield University's Marriage and Family Therapy Program, graduating in May 2011. Laura worked as a graduate assistant in the MFT Department, which gave her an understanding of the complexities of the academic program as well as the diverse ways that MFTs apply their training in the field. Committing to MFT training has been both professionally and intellectually satisfying. Since graduating, she has continued to study and grow in her knowledge of the field.

"As a lover of Audiobooks, movies, and hiking with friends and family I realize that what draws me to these things is a love of stories, sharing stories and making meaning of life experiences. My training as a Marriage and Family therapist enhances my understanding of, and appreciation for, human interactions in all of their complexities - especially those in our most intimate relationships. Before entering the MFT program, I wrestled with endless questions about people and their relationships. I was often uncertain, though, about how to frame those questions. Now I use the framework of systems theory to help clients develop a curiosity about things that challenge them and willingness to explore alternatives. Essentially it is an exciting opportunity to collaboratively reassess and re-story their lives.

I serve on the MFT Advisory Board in order to maintain a connection to the faculty and staff and support the groundbreaking work that takes place in the Koslow Center. The faculty collectively provide, in a supportive setting, an ever-growing number of students with the unique and invaluable launching pad of in-vivo clinical training."

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Robin Johnson

 

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Robin Johnson is the department's student representative on the Advisory Board. After a long career in the business side of media, including positions as the president of the Financial Times in the Americas, president of Time Inc. Asia, and publisher of The Atlantic Monthly as well as three search engine start ups, he decided to shift gears and become more involved in social justice and counseling. Robin is halfway through the program and serves as a graduate assistant within the department.

Robin's undergraduate degree is in engineering, and he graduated from Princeton University with a BSE. He has two sons, two cats, and a right brain. He's found the experience of going back to graduate school in MFT very engaging and rewarding. Recently, Robin has volunteered as a science teacher in a middle school, and is on the board of a teen counseling program called LEAP. He lives in Fairfield.

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Kathryn P. Koslow

 

Get to know Kathryn →

After deciding to make a career change, Kathy began attending Fairfield University's University College in 2001. After graduating Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Sociology, she enrolled in Fairfield University's Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions and finished her degree in Marriage and Family Therapy in 2013. Prior to beginning studies at Fairfield University, she worked in ad sales for a major publisher in New York City and later was the Business Administrator for KX Industries, L.P.; the world's largest manufacturer of activated carbon water filters.

"I am very proud to be connected to the Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) program at Fairfield University; it consistently produces highly skilled professionals who are committed to their field. Its family counseling center has been a wonderful resource for clinical services to the residents of many of the surrounding towns and cities in Fairfield County. Working with Fairfield University administrative staff, MFT faculty and the MFT Advisory Board have brought to fruition the newly opened state-of-the-art Koslow Center for Marriage and Family Therapy; this has been an inspiring and extremely gratifying effort. The Center has substantially enhance the already rich MFT Program through superior clinical training, mentoring, and research. I look forward to working with Fairfield University and the MFT program for many years to come."

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Michael Becker

 

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Michael Becker is an attorney who practices divorce mediation in Westport, Connecticut. In addition to his law degree, Michael also holds an accounting degree, as well as a Master's Degree in marriage and family therapy. Michael is one of the most experienced divorce mediators in Connecticut, having practiced divorce mediation exclusively for almost 20 years.

Michael Becker is a founding Director and two-time President of the Connecticut Council for Divorce Mediation. He is an Association for Conflict Resolution Advanced Practitioner Member, which is the highest level designation. Michael is currently Adjunct Professor at Fairfield University, and before that, he was an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Connecticut School of Law and at Quinnipiac University School of Law.

Michael Becker has written for and been featured in numerous publications, among them Connecticut Magazine, the Connecticut Post, the American Journal of Family Law, and Financial Planning Magazine.

Michael Becker is charter member of the Fairfield University Marriage and Family Therapy Advisory Board. A James W. Cooper Fellow of the Connecticut Bar Foundation, Michael holds licenses to practice law in both Connecticut and New York.

"I serve on the advisory board because of the very positive educational experience I had at Fairfield, and I want to give back to the program. Specifically, I would like the board to become a vehicle to better connect the Fairfield University MFT alumni with each other, as well as with the school. I also have chosen to serve on the board to help the MFT program make use of the new Koslow Center, both as a way to offer clinical services to the greater Fairfield Community as well as enhanced clinical training opportunities to Fairfield University MFT students. I also very much enjoy the collegiality of the board, as well as learning from my colleagues and the faculty who serve on the board.

"The MFT program has provided me with an important skill set as a mediator, in addition to the legal and financial background and experience I bring to the work."

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Paula Levy

 

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Paula Levy is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Family Divorce Mediator in private practice in Westport and Ridgefield, Connecticut. She has a B.S. in Accounting and was a Certified Public Accountant in her firsr career. Paula received her Master's Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Fairfield University and is a certified Imago therapist. She has been helping individuals, couples and families create intimacy and connection for over 15 years.

Paula has written for and been featured in numerous publications including Money magazine, Parent Magazine and Bride Magazine. She has presented at professional venues including the Ackermann Institute for the Family, the AAMFT annual conference and the National Association of Social Workers statewide convention. She is the Chairman of the Election Committee for CTAMFT and a founding member of the Collaborative Divorce Team of Connecticut.

She has been recognized by the Governor of Connecticut for her work with 9/11 families. She has also received the "Service to Organization Award" from CTAMFT.

Paula is married for over 30 years and has 4 children.

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Jennifer Salkin

 

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Jennifer has an interest in alternative healing modalities and holistic living. Jennifer earned her master's in Marriage and Family Therapy from Fairfield University, a master's in English from Western Connecticut State University and an undergraduate degree from Georgetown University. She is also a RYT 200 certified yoga instructor and community herbalist. She works at the New Learning Therapy Center in Southport, Connecticut.

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The advisory board also includes:

Dan Geller

Ingeborg Haug

Irma Camacho

Reverend Sara Smith

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

Theoretical Foundations (6 credits)

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

 

Clinical Practice (27 credits)

  • 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
  • FT 569 Assessment Techniques in Marriage and Family Therapy
  • FT 433 Multicultural Issues in Counseling
  • FT 562 Human Sexuality and Sexual Dysfunction
  • FT 465 Introduction to Substance Abuse and Addictions

 

Individual Development and Family Relations (3 credits)

  • FT 447 Lifespan Human Development

 

Professional Identity and Ethics (3 credits)

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

 

Research (3 credits)

  • FT 556 Research in Marriage and Family Therapy

 

Supervised Clinical Practice (12 credits)

(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

 

Additional Learning

(can include the following to complete the 57-credit requirement if waivers are accepted)

  • FT 450 Techniques of Narrative & Solution Focused Therapies
  • CN 466 Spirituality and Counseling
  • SE 441 Parents and Families of Individuals with Disabilities
  • FT 568 Special Topics in Family Therapy
  • FT 99 Comprehensive examination in Marriage and Family Therapy (0 credits)

 

Area of Specialization in School-based Marriage and Family Therapy

Required Courses

  • ED 442 Educational Psychology
  • ED/PY 534 Theories of Learning
  • FT 447 Lifespan Human Development
  • FT 555 Foundations of Marriage and Family Therapy
  • SE 405 Exceptional Learners in the Mainstream
  • SE/SL 419 Special Learners in the Bilingual/ESL Classroom or SL 477 Culture and Second Language Acquisition
  • FT 570 School-based Practicum in Marriage and Family Therapy

 

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

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Rona Preli

Associate Professor

Marriage & Family Therapy

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Nicole O'Brien

Assistant Professor

Marriage & Family Therapy

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Maryann Hayes LaBella

Instructor of the Practice

Marriage & Family Therapy

Erica Hartwell

Assistant Professor

Marriage & Family Therapy

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

For detailed admission requirements, please refer to the links below:

 


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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