Doctoral level marital and family therapy courses are designated as MFTH. They are listed below. Masters level marital and family therapy are designated as MFAM and may be taken as electives. Approved courses from other departments may also meet elective requirements.
Students who are using a marital and family therapy doctoral degree to qualify for MFT licensure in California are required to take some additional MFAM courses. They are described following the doctoral courses.
Doctoral MFT courses
MFTH 504 Advanced Theory in Marital and Family Therapy (4)
Provides a meta-perspective for the analysis and development of the systemic-relational theories guiding the practice of marital and family therapy, with special focus on a relational perspective of the "self" and the consequent implications for research and practice. Students will learn to contextualize and deconstruct the philosophical, religious, political, sociological, and ecosystemic notions that have influenced the field and to develop skills that will prepare them to contribute to the on-going critique and development of MFT theory, and to apply theory to research. The ethical and social-contextual aspects of case conceptualization and implications for recovery-based practice will be emphasized.
MFTH 505 Advanced Family Studies (4)
A critical survey of the research and theory growing out of the fields of human development and family studies. The course will provide students with a background on the social and historical factors which form the contexts within which families are defined and function. Students will make application of course material to the practice of family life education and family therapy.
MFTH 506 Clinical 1—Cybernetics (3)
Explores the philosophical underpinnings of systemic thought and its clinical application to the field of family therapy and the recovery processes in the treatment of mental health issues. Special study will be given to the role of recursive epistemology as it affects family patterns and provides methods for determining clinical interventions. The course will focus on general systems theory, Gregory Bateson and Palo Alto research group, strategic models of therapy, and the Milan systemic approach. We critique these ideas by examining contextual issues of ethnicity, power, and gender as they relate to the systemic paradigm and how they affect family relationships and recovery from mental health symptoms.
MFTH 507 Clinical 2—Meaning (3)
Explores postmodern theories and clinical application to the field of family therapy. Focus is on models of therapy influenced by social constructionist thinking with an emphasis on language and meaning as they relate to a relational understanding of mental health issues. Students learn how to work with presenting issues within a socio-contextual understanding of individual symptoms and relationship concerns. The course addresses solution-focused therapy that reflects a paradigm shift from a problem-centered approach to one of resilience. The narrative metaphor of Michael White and David Epston is also introduced as a way of facilitating personal empowerment within societal inequities and pathologizing discourses. The course concludes with the collaborative language systems approach that emphasizes therapist as partner with clients in developing a resource-based approach to the recovery process.
MFTH 508 Clinical 3—Natural Systems (3)
Examines natural systems approaches to family therapy within a multi-systemic framework that includes biological, interpersonal, family, community, school, and organizational systems. The course will emphasize the clinical application of systems principles across multiple settings as they relate to mental health issues and family relationships. Students will reexamine Bowen's family systems and structural approaches within socio-cultural and community contexts (i.e. gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation) and articulate multi-systemic approaches to recovery.
MFTH 509 Clinical 4—Clinical Issues (3)
Provides students with the opportunity to integrate theory, research, and practice as they relate to mental health recovery and family resilience. Students examine their clinical interests, personal biases, therapeutic expertise, and grasp of scholarly literature in preparation for their Qualifying Clinical Demonstration in which they show clinical sophistication in systems/relational practice and apply their personal integration to a particular clinical population or issue. This course is offered in a seminar format with discussion, group examination of work, exploration, and collaboration with the instructor. This is the capstone course that follows MFTH 506, 507, and 508 and builds on the information from each of these classes.
MFTH 515: Couples and Sex Therapy (3)
Addresses current research, models, and techniques of marital and couples therapy as applied to intimacy and sexuality issues. An analysis of frequently reported sexual issues in relationships is offered as well as a critique of common interventions. A historical overview of sex therapy and research trends will be provided. Contextual issues (i.e. culture, sexual orientation, gender, and power, etc.) that influence couple attitudes and practices will be explored as well as the influence of therapist experience and use of self. Treatment options from a variety of perspectives will be offered.
MFTH 521 E-Learning I: Construction and Design (2)
Many universities are moving toward technology based instruction. This course prepares doctoral students to design and construct online and distance education curricula. Emphasis will be on utilizing Blackboard and Desire2Learn applications. Students will create online course modules for undergraduate or master’s level instruction in a family or counseling related field of study.
MFTH 522 E-Learning II: Delivery & Management (2)
Provides students an opportunity to manage an online course designed in E-Learning I via Blackboard. Mastery of online course delivery and the creation of a virtual class community will be emphasized. Students will be responsible for all aspects of online course instruction including the maintenance of their course website, communicating with students, and assigning grades while under the mentorship of the instructor. This course provides students with actual online teaching and virtual community maintenance experience which will both offer them cutting edge advances in the field of higher education, and enhance their marketability.
MFTH 525 Advanced MFT Assessment and Testing (3)
Examines testing, diagnosis, and assessment in the practice of marital and family therapy. Emphasis will be upon how to develop a comprehensive assessment model that integrates traditional models of mental health assessment with cybernetic, developmental and interactional perspectives. Case material spans individual, couple and family assessments in clinical and research settings. Students will administer instruments and integrate findings into an overall systemic framework.
MFTH 534 Family Therapy and Medicine (3)
Examines the interface of the medical practice and family therapy in common medical family therapy settings. An understanding of the culture of medicine including usual medical practices and procedures will be explored. Adaptations of the medical model used by family therapists are outlined. Models for collaboration of Medical Family Therapists with medical practitioners will be offered. Behavioral health intervention strategies for families with health and wellness issues are addressed.
MFTH 538 Introduction to Relational Practice (2)
Examines relational practice through observation and team involvement with on-going cases. The course emphasizes the current state of the marriage and family therapy field regarding case conceptualization and clinical skills and techniques using systems/relational approaches. Students are encouraged to consider their professional identities as MFTs and the theoretical, practical, and ethical issues involved when working from a systems/relational perspective.
MFTH 544 Health and Illness in Families (3)
Examines the biopsychosocialspiritual aspects of illness and wellness, the impact on families and significant relationships. Contextual issues such as ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, religion, and socioeconomic status (SES) as they impact wellness, relationships, function, and health access, will be addressed. The impact of clinicians’ history regarding health and wellness will also be highlighted as it pertains to the provision of whole family/system intervention.
MFTH 556 Management Consulting and Professional Relations (3)
The capstone course to the system consultation and professional relations concentration in the doctoral programs in the department of Counseling and Family Sciences. Students will integrate theories, knowledge, and skills from MFTH 528, 555, and 557. This course will assist students to apply expertise in organizational assessment, behavior, and change to practical and real life settings.
MFTH 564 Social Context of Health (3)
Explores ways in which inequalities in health and illness are patterned by the social context (i.e. race, poverty, gender, etc.) and provides an overview of the mental and physical health care system in the United States. Focus will be on the social contextual and structural factors that affect individual and family health and resilience, and give rise to disparities to access and treatment within the health care system. Topics covered include medical family therapy and the health care system; history of medical institutions in the U.S.; theoretical perspectives on health and illness; social inequality in health and illness; culture and health; consequences of mental illness to individuals, families, and society; and mental health over the life course.
MFTH 601 Statistics I (4)
The first of a three-quarter sequence statistics courses that are taught in the doctoral program in marital and family therapy. It consists of one weekly lecture and one weekly computer lab sessions. In MFTH 601, the focus will be on understanding basic behavioral statistics as a foundation for MFTH 602 and other statistical related classes. Topics will include causality, levels of statistical measurement, frequencies distribution, measures of central tendency, dispersion, probability theory, normal distribution, and ANOVA. The computer lab sessions will be used to discuss problems encountered in the lectures and to refine student’s statistical computing skills. Examples will focus on family and mental health issues and clinical outcomes.
MFTH 602 Statistics II (4)
The second of three statistics courses that are taught in the Ph.D. programs in Marital and Family Therapy and Family Studies. It consists of lectures and computer lab sessions. In MFTH/FMST 602, the focus is on multivariate techniques. Topics include, ANOVA, ANCOVA, MANOVA, MANCOVA, formulation and computation of multiple regression models using scalar and matrix algebra, multivariate analysis of variance, regression diagnostics and solutions, regression with categorical dependent variables. The computer lab sessions will be used to discuss problems encountered in the lectures and written assignments and to refine student’s statistical computing skills. Experience will be provided with datasets that focus on outcomes as affected by family and mental health issues.
MFTH 603 Statistics III (4)
The final of a three-quarter sequence statistics courses that are taught in the doctoral programs in marital and family therapy as well as family studies. It consists of two weekly lectures/lab work. This course will include the following: nonlinear regression models, logistic regression, discriminant analysis, path analysis, factor analysis, structural equation modeling, as well as brief discussion about social network analysis and multilevel modeling. The computer lab (and problem sets) sessions will be used to discuss problems encountered in the lectures and to refine student’s statistical computing skills. This class will cover a range of related multivariate statistical analytical techniques as they relate to systemic issues.
MFTH 604 Advanced Qualitative Research (4)
Prepares doctoral students to conduct and evaluate qualitative research in marital and family therapy and family studies. Students are introduced to a social constructionist critique of research and learn to think broadly about research paradigms and design, considering questions such as the researcher’s role and relationship to the research process, objectivity, reflexivity, credibility, and the construction of knowledge. Students examine various qualitative methodologies including grounded theory, ethnography, phenomenology, narrative and conversation analysis, and participatory based action research. Students engage in a grounded theory research project relevant to family processes and or clinical practice.
MFTH 605 Advanced Quantitative Methods (4)
Focuses on (1) survey research design and data analysis, (2) experimental and quasi-experimental design and their application to marriage and family therapy/family studies. Topics include questionnaire and item design, measurement, sampling designs, developing research ideas and forming relational hypotheses, planning and management of a survey, measuring systemic clinical data, logic of analysis and problems of statistical interpretation. Critical examination will be made throughout the course regarding threats to internal and external validity and the control of plausible alternative hypotheses.
MFTH 606 Research in MFT: Overview and Critique (4)
Addresses current issues in marriage and family therapy (MFT) research, forming the basis for future inquiry and program development in the field. Research history, trends in the field, and evidence-based approaches to recovery will be emphasized. The course provides a forum for professional socialization into the process of designing, implementing, and disseminating research to support the field of MFT.
MFTH 624 Program Development for Families and Communities (3)
Examines core components of systemic/relational programs designed to address mental health problems within the context of families and larger systems. The course explicates the elements of systemic programming that address clinical treatment problems/populations as well as prevention and intervention issues affecting schools, neighborhoods and other communities. Using the systemic/relational paradigm of the field, students create programs reflecting their areas of interest.
MFTH 625 Grant Writing (3)
Study and practice in locating, developing, and responding to grant opportunities of interest to marriage and family therapists and the mental health populations they serve. Participants develop their own systemic/relational program, training, research, or dissertation grant ideas; locate potential funding sources; tailor applications and proposals to each funding source; and critique and refine proposals to meet professional and grantor standards.
MFTH 626 Program Evaluation and Monitoring (3)
Prepares participants to conduct formative and summative program evaluations using quantitative, qualitative, and mixed method designs. Special emphasis will be placed on evaluating programs and clinical outcomes using the systemic/relational perspective of Marriage and Family Therapy. The course will also develop participants’ abilities to collaborate with stakeholders in developing evaluation plans that ensure evaluation reports meet the intended purposes and will be used for program decision-making. Types of evaluation activities will include assessment of 1) Program Need, 2) Program Theory and Adherence, 3) Program Process and Performance, 4) Program Outcomes, 5) Program Impact, and 6) Program Efficiency.
MFTH 634 Practicum in Marital and Family Therapy (2, 2, 2)
A three-quarter practicum series on applications of systems/relational therapy to relational distress and mental health symptoms. Each section emphasizes a positive, strengths-based approach to resilience that engages clients in their natural family and community networks. Section 1 addresses gender, culture, socio-economic and political aspects of practice. Section 2 focuses on each student’s mode of systemic conceptualization and how to work with in-session process. Section 3 emphasizes religious beliefs and spirituality as client resources and addresses the moral and ethical imperatives in relationally-based practice.
MFTH 668 Qualitative Practicum (2)
Gives students the opportunity to continue to develop the skills for conducting and reporting qualitative research begun in MFTH 604. Students are expected to engage in a research project with particular emphasis on analysis and manuscript preparation.
Additional Required Courses for MFT Licensure in California
MFAM 515 Crisis Intervention and Client Centered Advocacy (3)
Experiential course that presents theory, techniques, and practice of crisis intervention and client-centered advocacy, with special attention to the development of the basic skills of counseling, treating such as: confidentiality, interprofessional cooperation, working with consumers, professional socialization, and collaboration with resources that deliver quality services and support needed in the community. Presents therapeutic tapes and covers topics such as suicide, substance abuse, domestic vilence, incest, spousal abuse, rape, treating the severely mentally ill, and disaster and trauma response. Examines the principles of mental health recovery-oriented care and methods of service delivery in recovery-oriented practice environments.
Cross-listing: COUN 515.
MFAM 524 Psychopharmacology and Medical Issues (3)
Introduces common physical and medical issues that relate to the practice of marriage and family therapy. Students learn a biopsychosocial-spiritual model to assess and intervene—with emphasis given to psychopharmacology, neuroanatomy, the mind-body relationship, and research relative to the field of medical family therapy.
MFAM 536 Case Presentation Seminar and Documentation (3)
Student trainees learn applied psychotherapeutic techniques, assessment, diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of premarital, couple, family, aging population, the severely mentally ill and child relationships; dysfunctional and function aspects examined, including recovery process, health promotion, evaluation from a systems perspective and illness prevention. Student cases are observed live in order to train them to examine the cultural, social and psychological implication of consumers socioeconomic position, legal and ethical issues, biological implications, and how to collaborate with other mental health resources and be an advocate for the severely mentally ill population. Students will learn how to document cases from a public mental health, systems, and
medical model perspective.
MFAM 537 Case Presentation Seminar (3)
Formally presentation of ongoing individual, marital, and family cases by clinical trainees. Taping, video playbacks, and verbatim reports with faculty and clinical peers. Examines and trains in applied psychotherapeutic techniques, assessment, diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of premarital, couple, family and child relationships; examines dysfunctional functional aspects, including health promotion and illness prevention. Students examine how culture, SES, poverty, social stress and biology impact the consumer’s recovery process. Students will be required to document clinical cases presented in class. This course will be given an in progress grade (IP) while students complete their epistemology paper that demonstrates an understanding of a systems model. Students will be in contact with their supervisor until they complete their epistemology paper. Limited to students in clinical training.
MFAM 547 Social Ecology of Individual and Family Development (3)
Studies human individual development and its relationship to the family life cycle from birth through aging and death of family members. Discusses biological, psychological, social, and spiritual development in the context of family dynamics involving traditional two-parent families, alternative partnerships, single parents, blended families, and intergenerational communities. Cross-listing: COUN 547.
MFAM 556 Psychopathology and Diagnostic Procedures (3)
Explores the history and development of psychopathology and how it relates to current clinical practice in general and marriage and family therapy in particular. Utilizes the multiaxial classifications of the DSM-IV as a practical basis for diagnostics.
MFAM 566: Treating the Severely and Persistently Mentally Ill and the Recovery Process (3)
The identification, treatment and referral procedures for consumers identified as severely mentally ill. The course will exam the phenomena as it relates to a diverse consumer population (culturally, age, gender, and SES). The treatment section will focus on the Recovery Process and approaches that are evidence based or agreed upon approaches in the mental health field and in particular the Marriage and Family Therapy field. Principles of etiology, diagnosis, treatment planning, and prevention of mental and emotional disorders and dysfunctional behavior are included.
MFAM 568 Groups: Process, and Practice (3)
Surveys major theoretical approaches, including individual theories, marital groups, network, and family therapy groups. Group laboratory experience provided wherein students apply theory to practice and develop group leadership skills.
Cross-listing: COUN 568
MFAM 604 Social Context in Clinical Practice (3)
Social inequalities result in unfairness, health disparities, assaults to personal dignity; and family stress. This course focuses on how one’s position with social hierarchies such as gender, social economic status, race, and sexual orientation affect psychological and relational health. Students learn how family therapists and counselors address these social contextual factors as part of a recovery-based approach that empowers people within their relationships and social systems.
Cross-listing: COUN 604
MFAM 635 Case Presentation and Seminar (2)
Clinical trainees formally present ongoing individual, marital, and family cases. Trainees accompanying clinical presentations with videotape, documentation, and an epistemology demonstrating an understanding of systems theory. Trainees presentations must demonstrate an understanding of legal, ethical, cultural, SES, spiritual, developmental issues. Trainees are required to discuss how cases support consumer advocacy, and collaboration with other mental health practitioners. Student demonstrates an integration of models and practice and discuss how this integration demonstrates evidence of change. The recovery process is examined in relation to selected epistemology. Limited to student enrolled in clinical training.
MFAM 638 Family Therapy and Chemical Abuse (3)
Examines current theories of etiology of substance use disorders and the effects of psychoactive drug use. Emphasis placed on assessment and evaluation strategies, impact on mental, biological, relational and community systems, evidence-based prevention and treatment approaches within a recovery-process orientation. Issues of regional multicultural competence, human diversity, and access to care will be explored.
MFAM 644 Child Abuse and Family Violence (3)
Definition and incidence of physical and emotional abuse, neglect, sexual molestation, dynamics of family violence; offender and non-offender characteristics. Treatment of children, adolescents, the family and adults abused as children, treatment modalities, including individual, group and family therapy. Ethical and legal issues, community resources, multidisciplinary approach to child abuse, assessment, interview techniques, and confidentiality. Examines how cultural, SES, poverty and social stress impacts a family’s mental health and recovery. Minimum of thirty contact hours.
Cross-listing: COUN 644.
MFAM 674 Human Sexual Behavior (3)
Sexuality in contemporary society from the sociopsychological viewpoint. Assessment and treatment of human sexual dysfunction, anatomy and physiology of human sexuality; reproduction, normal and abnormal sexual response, psychosexual development, and human fertility. Examines the physiological, psychological and social-cultural variables associated with sexual behavior and gender identity.
Cross-listing: COUN 674.