Overview | About the Program | Admission Requirements | Curriculum | MFT Blog
 

About the MFT Program


A systemic/relational perspective is at the core of the academic program, as students are exposed to foundational concepts and cutting-edge developments in marriage and family therapy. Although, the Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) program utilizes systemic/relational theories as the basis for academic learning and clinical skill development, the program also presents a broad array of theoretical frameworks for assisting individuals, couples, families, and larger systems to develop and grow.

Learning occurs on three levels: traditional academic instruction, skills training, and personal and professional growth. Lectures and assignments are always complemented by hands-on practice. Students are challenged to explore their interpersonal processes in order to develop the personal qualities of excellent marriage and family therapists. Our program respects and encourages students of diverse backgrounds to learn with and from each other and to be prepared to work in complex multicultural environments. The cohort model, in which a consistent group of students goes through the program together, provides a context in which students learn about systems by reflecting on their cohort process as well as by academic study.

In year one, the students participate in the MFT program’s signature course: Case Conference, which introduces students to the practice of marriage and family therapy. In Case Conference, students observe actual therapy from behind a one-way mirror. This training opportunity functions in collaboration with our onsite counseling center and allows students to be mentored by licensed MFTs who provide therapy to clients from our local community. Students participate through observation, co-therapy, discussion, and reflecting teams.
As students progress through the program, they begin their practicum experience. In practicum, students have support and careful advisement to locate appropriate training opportunities consistent with their clinical interests. Students are required to obtain practicum hours that provide clinical experience working with individuals, couples, families, and groups.

Phillips is both experiential and applied in our educational philosophy. All faculty are licensed, practicing professionals with diverse specializations. Their professional expertise enhances both the classroom experience and the post-graduation careers of our students.
 

Program Mission

Our mission is to create an educational experience that fosters collaborative learning and provides students with the academic knowledge, clinical competency, and professional development necessary for beginning practice as marriage and family therapists within a multicultural environment.

Students who complete the program are responsive to the many aspects of diversity that exist within human relationships. They demonstrate self-awareness, a commitment to ethical practice, and relational responsibility in service to individuals, couples, and families, to their communities, and to the profession of marriage and family therapy. Students who complete the program will have met the educational requirements for MFT licensure in California.  For more information about our program goals, see Program Goals and Student Learning Outcomes.
 

Program Schedule

The Master of Arts in Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy is a 60-unit program delivered over five consecutive semesters, including one or two summer semesters (depending on when students enter the program; fall or spring). Students typically graduate in two years; however, students may choose to develop a part-time academic plan and extend their program to six or seven semesters. Part-time academic plans are developed in collaboration with the student’s academic advisor and/or the department chair and may include enrolling in additional course work to maintain continuous enrollment in practicum. 

Full-time Academic Schedule: 
  • One full day of MFT classes either on Saturday or on a weekday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • A three-hour weekly Case Conference section for the first two semesters offered at various days and times. Students select a day/time that works best with their schedule. 
  • An Introduction to School Counseling course for the first five Tuesday evenings from 5 pm to 8 pm of the first semester.
  • Beginning as early as the second semester, students may gain practicum hours at a clinical placement site. 
    • Students should plan to spend approximately 15+ hours a week in clinical placement by the second year of the program (this is in addition to the regular class day). Students are advised to plan carefully for integrating this phase of training into their schedules. Students must be prepared for the academic and professional demands of graduate school, which for MFTs include extensive practicum experience. 


Clinical Placement Services

MFT students receive comprehensive support through our Clinical Placement Office. This resource provides students with valuable information and guidance throughout the practicum experience. Students are assisted in acquiring approved practicum sites that are affiliated with the university. Training opportunities are also available at the David H. Fox Counseling Center, the Phillips onsite community counseling center, which is a primary training site for Phillips students. For more info see Counseling Center Traineeships.

The MFT program requires students to complete 450 hours of practicum experience (as part of the academic requirement) at an approved training agency prior to degree completion. The practicum experience, part of the student’s clinical training, allows students to provide counseling services to clients under the supervision of licensed professionals. Phillips-approved training sites include counseling centers, schools, mental health agencies, and hospitals.

Students may begin their practicum experience after they have completed 13 units of course work and have been designated by Phillips faculty as trainees who are ready to begin clinical work.

While Phillips makes every effort to inform students about and prepare them for each step of the state licensing process, it is each student’s responsibility to ensure that all qualifications for licensure as a marriage and family therapist are met. The MFT program meets all licensing requirements for the state of California. Although the MFT program is aligned with the national standard for the education of MFTs, students wishing to pursue licensure in another state should meet with their advisor or the MFT department chair to explore options for licensure outside of California.
Please refer to the Phillips Clinical Placement Handbook for further information regarding required hours of clinical experience.
 

Faculty Advisement

Students will be assigned an academic advisor at the beginning of their first semester of enrollment. Students are required to meet with their advisor early in the first semester and at least once each semester until completion of their degree. In addition, the faculty at Phillips values and welcomes open communication with students. Students are encouraged to make appointments with other members of the core and adjunct faculty, who will provide consultation and support the professional development of students. The Marriage and Family Therapy program faculty are active practitioners and serve as professional mentors and models for students.
 

Workshops and/or Adjunctive Curriculum Experiences

As part of the Master of Arts in Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy program, students are occasionally required to attend daylong workshops in addition to regular classes. These are held on days other than the students’ regular class days. Information will be provided to students in advance to allow for planning.
 

Program Compliance

The Master of Arts in Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy degree is designed to meet the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) requirements for licensure as a marriage and family therapist (LMFT). Students wishing to pursue licensure as a professional clinical counselor (LPCC) are required to take six units of additional course work and work with their advisor to develop a modified academic plan to incorporate the additional course work. Detailed information regarding the California requirements for licensure for LMFTs and LPCCs is available through the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) website, www.bbs.ca.gov. Program curriculum and clinical experience hours are subject to change based on current state and national requirements. 


Requirements for Degree Completion

The degree is posted three (3) times yearly: on the last day of December (Fall Semester), May (Spring Semester), and August (Summer Semester). All of the following requirements must be met prior to degree posting: 
 
  • Completion of all 60 units of required courses with an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Completion of 450 hours of supervised clinical placement concurrent with Practicum registration
  • Verification of required hours in individual, couple, or family psychotherapy*
  • File the Intent to Graduate form with the Registration Office one (1) semester prior to the date when a student expects to meet all graduation requirements
  • Payment in full of financial obligations to Phillips Graduate University and the David H. Fox Counseling Center
  • Return of all Library materials
  • Completion of an exit interview with the Financial Aid Office (financial aid recipients only)

*Psychotherapy Requirement: In order to become an effective therapist, individuals must first be willing to work on their own issues in a therapeutic relationship. This experience is in keeping with the Phillips Graduate University philosophy of theory, experience, and application as it represents integrated learning. Therefore, all students in the MFT program are required to engage in a minimum of 24 hours of psychotherapy during their tenure in the program. Therapy may be in individual, couples, or family sessions. 





 
 

Share This Page