Couple and Family Therapy

Major: Couple and Family Therapy
Degree Awarded: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Calendar Type: Quarter
Total Credit Hours: 82.0
Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code: 51.1505
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code: 21-1013

About the Program

The PhD program in Couple and Family Therapy (CFT) aims to develop the next generation of couple and family therapy scholars with a particular focus on research related to family based psychotherapy, families and health and health disparities. Students are trained to advance the knowledge base of couple and family therapy through education, research and clinical services with a particular emphasis on evidenced informed treatment modalities.

Graduates of the Couple and Family Therapy PhD program will serve as researchers in public and private institutions, faculty in graduate programs of couple and family therapy, psychology, social work or medical schools, and as clinicians in mental health agencies or private practice.

The PhD program in Couple and Family Therapy is rooted in relational and systems theories and therapies. Emphasis is on specialized training in couple and family therapy theories such as Attachment-based Family Therapy and Emotionally Focused Family Therapy and Medical Family Therapy approaches. Students are expected to demonstrate critical and analytical thinking with respect to the broad areas of systems theory and therapy, and have a primary interest in research and scholarship. The Couple and Family Therapy Department is committed to attracting minority scholars as well as training students to be aware and sensitive to contextual issues such as race, class, gender, spirituality and sexual orientation, as well as power and privilege.

For additional information about the PhD in Couple and Family Therapy, visit the program's Couple and Family Therapy Department web site.

Degree Requirements

Students are required to complete the standard curriculum in couple and family therapy before pursuing the doctoral curriculum. The standard curriculum is offered in the COAMFTE- accredited Master of Family Therapy and Post-Master's Certificate programs at the University. A minimum of 82.0 post-master’s quarter hours are required for the PhD program.

The curriculum includes study in the following areas:

  • Theory and research in couple and family therapy
  • Research methodology, including statistics, research design, and computer applications
  • Evidenced informed and specialized instruction in couple and family therapy
  • Diverse family structures,
  • Supervised clinical experience
Required Courses
CFTP 712Family Theory3.0
CFTP 713Introduction to CFT Clinical Research 3.0
CFTP 720Couple Therapy Theory & Practice3.0
CFTP 729Diverse Families and Communities: Intervention Strategies 3.0
CFTP 735Family Healthcare Policy3.0
CFTP 752Independent Study in Couple and Family Therapy7.0
CFTP 757Attachment, Emotions and Psychotherapy3.0
CFTP 758Dyadic Analysis and Longitudinal Causal Modeling in CFT3.0
CFTP 759Psychotherapy Outcome and Process Research 3.0
CFTP 760Teaching Practicum 2.0
ARTS 714Qualitative Research Methods I3.0
NHP 762Health Professional Education3.0
RSCH 759Foundations of Biostatistics3.0
RSCH 770Foundations in Research Methods3.0
RSCH 811Intermediate Biostatistics3.0
RSCH 815Scientific Inquiry and Writing3.0
Elective3.0-4.0
Internship - Minimum of 27 credits *27.0
Couple and Family Therapy Internship
Dissertation * 37.0
Couple and Family Therapy Dissertation
Couple and Family Therapy Dissertation Defense
Total Credits118.0-119.0
*

Internship (CFTP 801): Students are required to complete at least three terms of internship  during the third or fourth year of the program. They must register for 9.0 credits per quarter to cover this activity. Most internships will be done in 3 quarters (27.0 credits), but we have set the expectation that the internship will be completed after 4 quarters (36.0 credits) to give the student some flexibility.

Dissertation (CFTP 802):  Students should begin their dissertation in year three or four of the program. We expect this project will take four quarters (36.0 credits).  For each of those quarters the student must register for 9.0 credits of CFTP 802. If the project takes longer than four quarters, the student may continue to sign up for 9.0 credits ofCFTP 802 each quarter.  We anticipate, however, that all students will complete their dissertations after 8 quarters (2 years, 72.0 credits).

Dissertation Defense (CFTP 803): Students are required to defend their dissertations when they are complete. To defend, a student must register and pay for one credit of CFTP 803.


Students must be actively engaged in clinical practice throughout the program. Before graduating from the PhD program, all students are encouraged to complete at least 1,000 hours of direct client contact  hours.

Internship
All students are required to do an internship. Internship supervisors must be clearly senior in experience to the student intern. The purpose of the internship is to provide students with a supervised full-time clinical, research, academic or administrative experience of at least nine months duration. Clinical and alternate internships must emphasize relationally focused practice and research. For the clinical internship, it is to ensure that students meet the 1,000 direct client contact hour standard.

Students should contact the Couple and Family Therapy Department for additional information about the qualifying exam and the dissertation.

Sample Plan of Study

Term 1Credits
CFTP 712Family Theory3.0
CFTP 713Introduction to CFT Clinical Research 3.0
RSCH 759Foundations of Biostatistics3.0
 Term Credits9.0
Term 2
CFTP 720Couple Therapy Theory & Practice3.0
RSCH 770Foundations in Research Methods3.0
RSCH 811Intermediate Biostatistics3.0
 Term Credits9.0
Term 3
ARTS 714Qualitative Research Methods I3.0
CFTP 757Attachment, Emotions and Psychotherapy3.0
NHP 762Health Professional Education3.0
 Term Credits9.0
Term 4
CFTP 735Family Healthcare Policy3.0
CFTP 759Psychotherapy Outcome and Process Research 3.0
Elective3.0-4.0
 Term Credits9.0-10.0
Term 5
CFTP 752Independent Study in Couple and Family Therapy3.0
CFTP 758Dyadic Analysis and Longitudinal Causal Modeling in CFT3.0
RSCH 815Scientific Inquiry and Writing3.0
 Term Credits9.0
Term 6
CFTP 729Diverse Families and Communities: Intervention Strategies 3.0
CFTP 752Independent Study in Couple and Family Therapy4.0
CFTP 760Teaching Practicum 2.0
 Term Credits9.0
Term 7
CFTP 801
or 802
Couple and Family Therapy Internship
Couple and Family Therapy Dissertation
9.0
 Term Credits9.0
Term 8
CFTP 801
or 802
Couple and Family Therapy Internship
Couple and Family Therapy Dissertation
9.0
 Term Credits9.0
Term 9
CFTP 801
or 802
Couple and Family Therapy Internship
Couple and Family Therapy Dissertation
9.0
 Term Credits9.0
Term 10
CFTP 801
or 802
Couple and Family Therapy Internship
Couple and Family Therapy Dissertation
9.0
 Term Credits9.0
Term 11
CFTP 801
or 802
Couple and Family Therapy Internship
Couple and Family Therapy Dissertation
9.0
 Term Credits9.0
Term 12
CFTP 801
or 802
Couple and Family Therapy Internship
Couple and Family Therapy Dissertation
9.0
 Term Credits9.0
Term 13
CFTP 801
or 802
Couple and Family Therapy Internship
Couple and Family Therapy Dissertation
9.0
 Term Credits9.0
Term 14
CFTP 803Couple and Family Therapy Dissertation Defense1.0
 Term Credits1.0
Total Credit: 118.0-119.0

Couple and Family Therapy Faculty

Stephanie Brooks, PhD, LCSW, LMFT (Drexel University) Department Chair and Director, Post-Master’s & Medical Family Therapy Certificate Programs. Associate Clinical Professor. Forensic family therapy, couple and family therapy supervision and training, person of the therapist, racism and stress, couples living with ADHD, trauma and violence, and sex therapy.
Maureen Davey, MFT, PhD, LMFT (Syracuse University). Associate Professor. Development of culturally sensitive family-based interventions for historically under-served populations.
Guy Diamond, PhD, MA (California School of Professional Psychology) Director, PhD program and Center for Family Intervention Science. Associate Professor. Attachment Based Family Therapy (ABFT), youth depression and suicide
Stephanie Ewing, PhD, MPH (University of Delaware). Assistant Professor. Promoting healthy emotional development and resilience in children and adolescents, attachment and care-giving relationships, impact of trauma on parenting and attachment, developmental and contextual risk factors for depression and suicide risk in youth, evidence based treatments for depression and suicide risk, research methodology.
Kenneth Hardy, PhD (Florida State University). Assistant Clinical Professor. Challenging society to think critically about the hidden but significant connections that often exist between trauma and issues of oppression.
Christian Jordal, PhD, LMFT (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University) Coordinator of Student Experiential Learning. Assistant Clinical Professor. Mixed methodology; LGBT and mixed orientation relationships, marital commitment, behavioral health outcomes, medical family therapy, sex therapy.
Marlene F. Watson, PhD, LMFT (Virginia Polytechnic and State University). Associate Professor. Forensic family therapy, siblings, race, class, gender and health policy issues.
Erica Wilkins, PhD, MFT (Texas Tech University). Assistant Clinical Professor. Clinical Coordinator. Residual effects of slavery on African Americans, HIV/AIDS, treatment of post-traumatic stress, grief counseling, substance abuse and the family, culturally competent services, and contextual therapy.
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