Doctoral Study in Marital and Family Therapy
Doctoral study in MFT is based on a set of core concepts that integrate the values of Loma Linda University with professional practice in marital and family therapy from a systems/relational perspective, with particular attention to larger systems and social justice.
1. Relational Systems: People are best understood within the cultural, spiritual, and relational systems in which they are embedded. Change therefore occurs in context of family, community, and interpersonal relationships. This program focuses on both the structured relational patterns of communication and interaction and on the systems of meaning that define and shape these patterns.
2. Wholeness: The program encourages wholeness by attending to the physical, mental, social, and spiritual dimensions of human experience. These dimensions reciprocally interact with each other at every level.
3. Social Forces: The program is guided by a belief that social contexts and processes influence meanings, values, and people’s understandings of self, family, and others. Research focusing on social forces relevant to the distinctive multicultural mix of families in the southern California region, collaboration among education, family, work, and legal systems, the interrelationship between faith and family relationships throughout the world, and the effects of the changing health-care system and medical technology are particularly emphasized.
4. Healing Power of Relationships: As people become more connected to each other and their communities, the potential for growth and healing are enhanced and the opportunity for making positive contributions maximized. Students are encouraged to develop their therapeutic relationship and community involvement skills such that they can co-create an environment of safety, respect, compassion, openness, and community participation.
5. Diversity: Congruent with an appreciation of the importance of social forces is an interest in and respect for the diverse experiences and perceptions of human beings. Different social contexts, such as race, ethnicity, religion, gender, and socioeconomic status, result in a wide variety of meanings and behavior patterns in marriages, families, and intimate relationships. The program seeks to create a diverse mix of students and faculty and to challenge all who are involved to learn from the richness of multiple perspectives.
6. Empirical Process: The program encourages clinical work and theory development grounded in an empirical understanding of human experience. Students are offered the opportunity to develop their capacities to utilize inductive and deductive reasoning as well as objectivity, subjectivity, and inter-subjectivity in research and therapy.
7. Education and Prevention: Connections at family, school, and community levels are important components of resilience. The program emphasizes helping individuals and families access their relational competencies as an important part of prevention, as well as the resolution of their current difficulties.
8. Spirituality: This program sees spirituality as central to wholeness and healing. Students are encouraged to integrate their practices of faith with their professional work. The program places strong emphasis on active demonstration of moral and ethical principles as exemplified by, but not limited to, Judeo-Christian teachings.
9. Worldwide Focus: The mission of the program reaches beyond the local and national communities to the international communities. This includes collaboration with people from other nations and cultures to promote mutual understanding, resolve problems, and strengthen families.