Marital and Family Therapy — D.M.F.T.
Interim program director
The Doctor of Marital and Family Therapy (D.M.F.T.) program is the only program in the United States that is accredited by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). The degree curriculum adopts the practitioner-administrator-evaluator approach and focuses on applied skill development for use in clinical practice and administrative positions. The 121-unit* D.M.F.T. degree curriculum requires a minimum of three years of full-time study for completion. This includes coursework, 1000 hours of direct client contact, a doctoral project, and supervised professional development experience. The goal of the curriculum is to prepare students to apply evidence-based standards to the systemic/relational principles of marriage and family therapy as they design, evaluate, and administer programs that impact a clinical population. The program is also designed to meet the requirements for California state licensure as a Marital and Family Therapist.
*Students who have completed a M.S. degree from a COAMFTE-accredited program receive advanced standing of forty-three units, reducing the required time to complete the degree to a minimum of two years. Consideration for advanced standing will be given to students entering D.M.F.T. program with a M.A. or M.S. degree from a non-COAMFTE-accredited program on a course-by-coursel basis.
Knowledge and skills promoted
Theory and practice
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, evidence-based practice, and global perspectives. D.M.F.T. degree students will develop skills in applying marriage and family therapy principles and frameworks to public and private clinical practice settings. They will develop a critical understanding of the theoretical and philosophical foundations of marriage and family therapy, be conversant with the current issues in the field, and use this knowledge to develop programs and services.
The program encourages students to develop a clear understanding of themselves and invites reflection and consideration of the impact of their personal values, social positions, and contexts on their clinical, administrative, and program development practices. Students are supported in the development of their strengths as they create an epistemological framework and ethical consciousness that guide their approach to professional practice in their lives; and are encouraged to engage beyond their local communities to include experiences in wider cultural and global contexts.
Practice and supervisory skills
Students will apply an in-depth understanding of theory to the practice of marital and family therapy interventions and program activities at the family, community, and societal levels—drawing on the core marriage and family therapy frameworks. They will develop sophistication in clinical, administrative, and supervisory skills necessary for multisystemic engagement. As it is COAMFTE-accredited, the DMFT program offers students the opportunity to become AAMFT-approved supervisors prior to graduation.
Students will develop skills and understanding of the process of evaluation research related to marital and family therapy programs and services. This includes the ability to apply research findings to clinical practice and to utilize research findings in creative ways for the benefit of the general population. D.M.F.T. degree students will focus on evaluation of program performance and outcomes in practice-based settings.
Student learning outcomes
- Students will develop a professional identity as doctoral-level marital and family therapists aligned with national practice standards.
- Students will become adept in systems/relational practice, demonstrating sophistication as therapists, program developers, evaluators, and administrators of marital and family therapy services.
- Students will be able to use marital and family therapy, human development, and family science literature to design and evaluate programs, clinical protocols, organizational structures, and service-delivery processes.
- To further benefit families and communities, students will demonstrate the ability to use research and evaluation methodologies to improve human service program performance and outcomes.
- Students will be responsive to the societal, cultural, and spiritual contexts in which health and well-being are embedded.
- Students will develop an ethical consciousness that guides their practice in all aspects of professional work.
The Doctor of Marital and Family Therapy degree program and the Doctor of Philosophy degree in marital and family therapy are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE), 112 South Alfred Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; telephone: 703/838-9808; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applicants must meet Loma Linda University and School of Behavioral Health admissions requirements; and give evidence of academic ability, professional comportment, and mature judgment. The Doctor of Marital and Family Therapy degree curriculum represents advanced study over and above a standard master's degree curriculum in the field. Admission is based on an integrated evaluation of the following criteria:
- Five-page personal essay (guidelines included in the online application).
- M.S. degree in Marital and Family Therapy, or equivalent.
- Grade point average (3.3 minimum).
- Structured oral interview with department (one day).
- Three letters of reference (two academic and one professional).
- Curriculum vitae.
- A background check
- Health clearance
Students are expected to have basic academic preparation before entering the D.M.F.T. degree curriculum. If a student is deficient in courses, such as those listed below, a plan of study incorporating these courses will be developed to give the student a solid grounding in the foundations of the field. Transcripts will be evaluated to determine readiness or deficiency in previous course work. These courses will be regarded as corequisites in that the student will be able to incorporate them into his/her curriculum.
|Theoretical knowledge in family systems/relational therapy||13|
|Clinical knowledge in marital and family therapy||13|
|Program development and administration||8.0|
|California licensure-specific knowledge||43|
Corequisites required of students who have not completed a COMAFTE accredited master's degree
|COUN 675||Dynamics of Aging||1|
|MFAM 515||Crisis Intervention and Client-Centered Advocacy||3|
|MFAM 524||Psychopharmacology and Medical Issues||3|
|MFAM 536||Case Presentation Seminar and Documentation||3|
|MFAM 537||Case Presentation Seminar||3|
|MFAM 547||Social Ecology of Individual and Family Development||3|
|MFAM 556||Psychopathology and Diagnostic Procedures||3|
|MFAM 567||Treating the Severely and Persistently Mentally Ill and the Recovery Process||3|
|MFAM 604||Social Context in Clinical Practice: Gender, Class, and Race||3|
|MFAM 614||Law and Ethics||3|
|MFAM 624||Individual and Systems Assessment||3|
|MFAM 635||Case Presentation Seminar and Legal Issues||3|
|MFAM 638||Family Therapy and Chemical Abuse||3|
|MFAM 644||Child Abuse and Family Violence||3|
|MFAM 674||Human Sexual Behavior||3|
|Theory and practice|
|MFTH 504||Advanced Theory in Marital and Family Therapy||4|
|MFTH 506||Foundations of Systemic Practice||3|
|MFTH 546||Advances in Family Sciences||3|
|MFTH 501||Fundamentals of Supervision in Marital and Family Therapy||3|
|MFTH 502||Advanced Supervision in Marital and Family Therapy||1|
|Program development and administration|
|MFTH 524||Administration in Marital and Family Therapy||3|
|MFTH 525||Advanced Marital and Family Therapy Assessment and Testing||3|
|MFTH 555||Organizational Development and Change||3|
|MFTH 624||Program Development for Families and Communities||3|
|MFTH 625||Grant Writing||3|
|MFTH 626||Program Evaluation and Monitoring||3|
|RELE 505||Clinical Ethics (or RELE 5__ graduate-level ethics elective)||3|
|RELR 535||Spirituality and Mental Health||3|
|RELT 615||Seminar in Philosophy of Religion||3|
|MFTH 545||Research and Practice with Couples and Families||3|
|MFTH 601||Statistics I||4|
|MFTH 604||Advanced Qualitative Methods||4|
|MFTH 605||Advanced Quantitative Methods||4|
|MFTH 695||Project Research||12|
|Professional development and practice 2|
|MFTH 634||Practicum in Marital and Family Therapy 1||9|
|MFTH 785A||Begin Clinical Training in Couple, Marital, and Family Therapy||0|
|MFTH 785B||Clinical Training in Couple, Marital, and Family Therapy 1, 2, 3||4|
|MFTH 786||Professional Development Proposal||0|
|MFTH 786A and 786B total combined units 4||36|
|Professional Development in Marital and Family Therapy|
|Professional Internship in Marital and Family Therapy—Clinical|
Course repeated to fulfill total unit requirement
700-numbered courses do not count in total didactic units required for the degree
Clinical hours earned prior to entering program may be applied to meet this requirement upon approval of Director of Clinial Training.
Those MFTH 786B Professional Internship in Marital and Family Therapy—Clinical units that are completed satisfactorily will reduce the number of MFTH 786A Professional Development in Marital and Family Therapy units needed to meet total requirement of 36 at a 1:1 ratio.
Doctoral degrees in Marital and Family Therapy will be awarded when students have completed all the required course work and the following noncourse requirements:
- 1000 approved client contact hours, and
- 200 approved hours of clinical supervision, and
- A written qualifying examination, and
- An oral defense of the doctoral dissertation or project.
Normal time to complete the program
With a COAMFTE-accredited master’s degree: 2 years (7 academic quarters) based on full-time enrollment
With a non-COAMFTE-accredited master’s degree: 3 years (11 academic quarters) based on full-time enrollment