Marriage and Family Therapy has been designated as one of the five core mental health disciplines by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The St. Mary’s University M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy is accredited by the Commission of Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). The Veterans Administration now posts jobs specifically for family therapists graduating from accredited programs.
Marriage and family therapists are employed in social service agencies, churches, and counseling offices. Some are using their skills in careers such as nursing, teaching, ministry, personnel management or social work.
Program of Study
The master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy is a 54-hour program of study that includes an intensive 12-month internship. Students are able to meet the requirements for 500 direct client contact hours and receive live supervision by AAMFT approved clinical supervisors at the Family Life Center, which offers counseling services for the public, and at local community agencies.
Graduates of this program meet all academic requirements for licensing by the Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT). In addition, students may take additional courses (beyond the 54-hour program) in order to qualify their program of study to meet the license requirements for the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors (LPC). Students can also increase their knowledge of play therapy by taking additional courses beyond their 54-hour program.
This degree can be completed in two years for full-time student and three years for part-time students.
Program Mission Statement
The mission of the Master of Arts (M.A.) program in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) is to produce clinician-scholars who provide quality clinical services in the field of Marriage and Family Therapy. Specific to this mission, the MFT masters program works to educate culturally sensitive and socially just MFT clinician-scholars prepared to meet the needs of diverse populations in South Texas and nationally.
Professional counselors work as clinicians in public and private schools, community and mental health agencies, alcohol and drug abuse programs, family counseling centers, child and adolescent programs, social service agencies, or in private practice. Marriage and family therapists are employed in social agencies, churches and counseling offices. Many have entered private practice. Some are using their skills in careers such as nursing, teaching, ministry, personnel management or social work. Others have created new positions for themselves in areas which previously were without a marriage and family therapist. Since the field of marriage and family therapy is relatively new, career opportunities are still developing.
Teaching is another option available to those who receive graduate degrees. Most college and university positions are restricted to those with doctoral degrees.
The academic requirements for licensure as a professional counselor in the State of Texas and for Clinical Membership in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy can be met by completion of the appropriate program. Students desiring licensure should ask the graduate program director to design their degree plan to ensure that they meet the academic requirements for licensure.
The field of counseling is concerned with helping individuals and people in organizations, schools, and groups gain their optimal level of personal, social, and vocational functioning.
Prior to graduation, students are expected to:
- Understand the essential elements of the counseling profession and related human services professions and the distinctive contributions of each in meeting the needs of the various client populations.
- Understand the principles of effective counseling and the processes of bringing about positive change within the counseling setting.
- Understand theories, skills, techniques, and philosophical foundations of clinical counseling.
- Demonstrate the counseling competencies necessary to work in a professional capacity with a broad range of client populations and client problems.
- Understand the characteristics of various social, cultural, and ethnic groups and the impact these characteristics have on the counselor and the counseling profession.
- Understand the responsibilities inherent in the roles and functions of the professional counselor and the social, legal, and moral obligations created by the professional counseling relationship.
- Demonstrate the ability to work effectively with human services professionals from a variety of human service disciplines (psychology, psychiatry, social work, pastoral counseling, etc.)
- Demonstrate the skills required for effective client evaluation and assessment, treatment planning, implementation of appropriate counseling strategies and techniques, and follow-up.
- The goals/objectives for the doctoral program in counseling build on the goals established for the entry level program. Goals for the doctoral program in counseling include all of the goals for the masters program, plus the following:
- Demonstrate competence with design of experimental and non-experimental research and the collection and analysis of data (through formal instruction and actual research activities).
- Develop academic and psychological potential by working closely with faculty in teaching, research, and scholarly efforts. The faculty will have assisted the student in developing a synthesis of personal philosophical beliefs and values within the disciplines of teaching, research, and counseling.
- Conduct inquiry into a question of personal/professional significance which will have an impact upon the larger human services community.
- Demonstrate the formulation of a personal theoretical and philosophical position or model as derived from formal and informal learning experiences and applied work.
- Understand the historical development of counseling as a profession, and the various philosophical and theoretical positions, social forces, and traditions which have shaped the profession.
This school offers programs in:
Last updated June 21, 2016