A personal, interactive context for study:
At the core of our doctoral study is the opportunity for one-on-one interaction with dedicated faculty who are recognized experts in their areas of study. We purposefully select faculty who work as a team and care about students. We limit enrollment to keep class sizes small and education personal.
A positive, multi-systemic approach:
As a health-sciences institution, Loma Linda University attends to the whole individual--mind, body, and spirit. The marital and family therapy program emphasizes a multi-systemic approach that addresses the medical/biological, psychosocial, and spiritual aspects of human life within a systemic framework. We believe that relationships are the context in which change occurs. As people become more connected to each other and their communities, the potential for growth and healing are enhanced.
We seek to create a diverse community for advanced study in marital and family therapy that encourages the development of individual student strengths and allows a thoughtful, holistic integration of personal practices of faith and professional work.
1) To develop scholar-practitioners who will advance theory, research, clinical practice, community involvement, and teaching in the field of Marriage and Family Therapy.
2) To prepare students for research, teaching, administration, supervisory, and clinical training positions in universities and training institutes and in health-care, school, legal, and community-based settings.
Students study the work of the original thinkers in marital and family therapy as well as the most recent developments in the field such as social constructionism, narrative and solution-oriented therapies, and reflecting teams. They will develop a critical understanding of the theoretical and philosophical foundations of MFT, critically examine the interrelationships between socio-historical factors, family structures and relationships and clinical approaches, be conversant with the current issues in the field, and contribute to the discourse regarding them.
The program encourages students to develop a more clear understanding of themselves and to reflexively consider the impact of their personal values, social positions, and contexts on their clinical and scholarly practices. Students are supported in the development of their strengths as they create an epistemological frameworks and ethical consciousness to guide their work.
Practice & supervisory skills
Students will apply a critical understanding of theory to the practice of marital and family therapy at the family, community, and societal levels, drawing on the core modalities of the field. They will develop sophistication in their personal clinical skills, supervisory skills, and skills for active multi-systemic involvement.
Students will develop research skills and a critical understanding of the process of research related to families and marital and family therapy. This includes the ability to apply research findings to clinical practice and to utilize findings in creative ways for the benefit of the general population. PhD students will develop expertise in both qualitative and quantitative research methods, leading to publication in scholarly journals and presentations at professional conferences. DMFT students will focus more on research methods pertaining to program evaluation than on doing original research.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
1) Students will develop professional identities as doctoral-level marital and family therapists.
2) Students will contribute to the ongoing development and evaluation of the theoretical and philosophical foundations of the field of marital and family therapy.
3) Students will critique and evaluate current issues in human development and family science with special emphasis on their relevance to the practice of marital and family therapy.
4) Students will demonstrate an ethical consciousness that guides their practice and contributions to the field of marital and family therapy.
5) Students will develop sophistication in the clinical practice of marital and family therapy.
6) Students will complete, or demonstrate substantial progress toward completion, the requirements for Approved Supervisory Status in the AAMFT.
7) Students will contribute to the body of knowledge that supports the field of marital and family therapy.
1. Students will develop professional identities as doctoral-level Marital and Family Therapists. They will:
2. Students will contribute to the ongoing development and evaluation of the theoretical and philosophical foundations of the field of marital and family therapy. They will:
3. Students will critique and evaluate current issues in human development and family science with special emphasis on their relevance to the practice of marital and family therapy. They will:
4. Students will demonstrate an ethical consciousness that guides their practice and contributions to the field of marital and family therapy. They will:
5. Students will develop sophistication in the clinical practice of marital and family therapy. They will:
6. Students will complete, or demonstrate substantial progress toward completion, the requirements for Approved Supervisory Status in the AAMFT. They will:
7. Students will contribute to the body of knowledge that supports the field of marital and family therapy. They will: