Marriage and Family Therapy
Degree Type: MS
The Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy (MSMFT) is a COAMFTE accredited terminal degree program. With this degree, following a period of post-graduate supervised practice, graduates can become licensed as a marriage and family therapist. The program is designed for students drawn to the field of mental health who have a passion for treating relationships.
The program prepares students by using a 21st century approach to therapy developed over 25 years at The Family Institute. Known as Integrative Systemic Therapy, this approach produces therapists who skillfully deliver family, couple and individual therapy. The curriculum and clinical training are informed by multi-cultural and social justice perspectives.
The program also emphasizes research. Courses are research informed and students learn to do progress research with their own cases. For students interested in pursuing a doctorate following graduation, research opportunities exist as does a thesis option.
The program includes a comprehensive 17-course curriculum and 6 quarters of an intensive clinical internship. During the internship students conduct therapy with clients in the Institute’s own clinic.
Students conduct 500 hours of therapy, including at least 400 face-to-face hours with clients, of which, at least 200 are conducted with couples and families. Students accrue up to 100 team hours planning and guiding team cases in the context of their supervision group. Students will also receive more than 250 hours of group and individual supervision.
This full-time program is completed in two years, including the summer following the first year.
The program is a partnership between The Graduate School and The Family Institute at Northwestern University, a world-renowned center with 50 years of experience conducting, teaching, and researching marriage and family therapy.
Marriage and Family Therapy Courses
MS_FT 400-0 Professional Identity Seminar (0 Unit)
The Professional Identity seminar is divided into two separate sections. The clinical section focuses on issues relevant to clinicians including resume writing, the job search and licensing procedures. It also describes the capstone project in depth. The clinical/research section is geared towards those interested in pursuing a Ph.D. The focus is on finding the right Ph.D. program, how to make yourself competitive for Ph.D. work and writing an application. For second year students, the focus is also on writing a Master's thesis.
MS_FT 401-0 Basic Concepts of Systems Therapy (1 Unit)
This course is an introduction to the central theoretical underpinnings of systemic family therapy, providing a basic framework for assessment and intervention in family problems. Particular attention is paid to the assumptions basic to a systemic perspective.
MS_FT 402-0 Methods of System Therapy (1 Unit)
This course introduces students to a range of methods used in systems therapy. The methods will be drawn from the integrative traditions emphasized in The Family Institute Model and will prepare students to engage, work with and terminate cases.
MS_FT 403-0 Self and Other Systems: Theory and Interventions (1 Unit)
This course's purpose is to deepen students' understanding of self and systems. Particular emphasis will be given to aspects of self-development and the therapist's understanding of self when working with systems.
MS_FT 410-0 Human Development and the Life Cycle (1 Unit)
This course utilizes a development framework to understand individual human development across the life span and the dynamic interactions of individuals within families. Physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development will be presented at each age level, including issues regarding culture, gender and sexual orientation. Commonly presented problems and therapeutic interventions will be discussed for each age group.
MS_FT 411-0 Intimate Relations (1 Unit)
This course will elaborate on The Family Institute Model for working with couples, which involves great affective intensity and subtlety of communication. The most common problems that couples present, such as intense conflict, depression, sexual difficulties, separation and divorce, will be addressed.
MS_FT 413-0 Intimate Relations II (1 Unit)
This course is a continuation of MS_FT 411-0 in order to increase therapists' competence with helping couples gain, rediscover and/or maintain intimacy within their relationship. The course brings in cutting edge interventions and theory from the scientific study of relationships and offers students the opportunity to learn from the best of the best in the field of couple's therapy.
MS_FT 414-0 Behavioral Medicine in Marriage and Family Therapy (1 Unit)
This course is designed to introduce students to areas of health psychology and behavioral medicine. The goal of behavior medicine is to understand the intersection of mental and physical health. This class will cover a range of topics that are relevant to thinking about the impact of physical health on mental health and the impact of mental health on physical health processes. In particular, we will examine basic psychological processes that influence health and illness including but not limited to perceived control, stress, factors that influence behavioral change, self-efficacy and social support. We will also examine specific behaviors, illnesses, and physical conditions that are part of the behavioral medicine domain such as diet, obesity, exercise, smoking, cancer, and diabetes. Finally, we will consider all of the above issues in the broader social context.
MS_FT 421-0 Systemic Assessment (1 Unit)
Students will learn how to define the parameters of systemic assessment and how it differs from, and can be integrated with, individual assessment. Students will learn how systemic assessment operates within the current legal and medical context. Students will learn the DSM-IV diagnostic system and how to apply it systematically. Students will learn specific models and measures of systemic assessment, including formal family assessment measures.
MS_FT 422-0 Family Research (1 Unit)
Students completing the course will develop skills to understand common MFT research methods, how research methods are applied, and how to critique research in the field of marriage and family therapy and mental health. Students will also be introduced to empirically based practices in MFT.
MS_FT 424-0 Group Therapy Internship (0 Unit)
Course includes didactic, experiential, and clinical elements. Trainees learn the theoretical basis of group therapy and develop a framework for group work, learn the fundamentals of group dynamics by participation in a group, and co-lead a group. Course also addresses the business aspects of setting up and marketing a group.
MS_FT 427-0 Family of Origin and Intrapsychic Work From a Systemic Perspective (1 Unit)
Course offers a systemic perspective on the development of intrapsychic structure and function; therapeutic approaches for individuals, couples, and families, including family of origin and transgenerational approaches.
MS_FT 428-0 Legal, Ethical and Professional Issues in Marital and Family Therapy (1 Unit)
Legal issues in the practice of marriage and family therapy. Course objectives; Competence in handling the most significant legal issues, including confidentiality, danger, malpractice, and expert testimony. Awareness of the requirements of ethical practice, including an understanding of how your own values will impact your work. Development of a professional identity as a family therapist and an understanding of how to keep that identity current.
MS_FT 429-0 Sex Therapy (1 Unit)
A multidimensional,biophysical approach to the diagnosis and treatment of sexual difficulty in individuals and couples. Sexual problems discussed include disorders of desire, aversion, arousal, orgasm, and pain.
MS_FT 430-0 Power, Privilege and Difference: Practicing Cultural Curiosity and Humility in a (1 Unit)
Effective community-based work requires a focus on strengths and a valuing of diverse perspectives and talents. The course will review strategies for understanding how culture and context influence the therapeutic alliance individual functioning, how to gather information regarding context and how to use this information to intervene with diverse clients and settings. This course covers the implementation of The Family Institute Model with under-resourced clients and community settings.
MS_FT 436-0 Family Therapy Treatment Models (1 Unit)
Exploration of various approaches to family therapy as they are practiced. Important trends and controversies in the field will be examined, including the influence of race, culture, ethnicity and gender in the assessment and treatment processes. Treatment Models is a foundation course offered concurrently with the clinical internship. It stresses the progressive integration of class and practice experiences.
MS_FT 437-0 Family Therapy with Children and Adolescents (1 Unit)
This course will provide theoretical and practical knowledge in working with families that present with Children and Adolescents. A systemic framework will be employed as the basis for developing assessments and therapeutic objectives. Specific clinical issues will be covered, such as abuse, divorce and mood disorders, with the focus on assessment and interventions.
MS_FT 440-0 Systemic Perspectives in the Treatment for Chemical-Dependency and Substance Abuse (1 Unit)
This course reviews distinctions of disease model vs. systemic views of addiction and treatment; understanding the markers of abuse and dependence; illumination of various therapeutic approaches; efficacy of family therapy approaches. Students develop working theoretical and clinical knowledge of addiction treatment.
MS_FT 480-0 Pre-Practicum in Marital & Family Therapy (1 Unit)
This course is aimed to provide practical training in systemic therapy, including interviewing skills, initial assessments, and management of professional role. Course also focuses on the role of the therapists family background, personal experience, values, beliefs, and interpersonal style in conducting psychotherapy.
MS_FT 481-0 Internship in Marital & Family Therapy (1 Unit)
Clinical internship in the Bette D. Harris Family and Child Clinic under supervision by core faculty. Students gain practical experience in providing systematic assessment and treatment for clients. Begins winter quarter of the first year and continues through the summer; 1 credit per quarter.
Prerequisite: MS_FT 480-0 Prepracticum in Family Therapy.
MS_FT 482-0 Internship in Marital & Family Therapy (1 Unit)
Clinical internship, under supervision by core faculty, for 15 to 20 hours per week, beginning fall quarter of the second year and continuing for the duration of the program.
MS_FT 495-0 Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy Capstone Project (0 Unit)
The MSMFT Capstone involves the completion of a case study process, a case presentation and a paper that demonstrate the student's acquisition of clinical competence, as well as the ability to integrate relevant knowledge and skill within the framework of Integrative Systemic Therapy and apply this integration to their clinical work. The project demonstrates the student's ability to accomplish systemic integration in their practice and, thereby, their readiness to continue their professional growth through the integration of new learnings.
MS_FT 499-0 Independent Study (1 Unit)
SEE DEPT FOR SECTION AND PERMISSION NUMBERS-Permission of instructor and department required. Course may be repeated for credit.