The Ph.D. in Family Therapy program prepares graduates for careers as professors, researchers, supervisors, and senior clinicians. The Ph.D. in Family Therapy at Nova Southeastern University is fully accredited with the:
Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT)
112 South Alfred, Alexandria, VA 22314-3061
(703) 838-9808; Fax: (703) 838-9805; AAMFT
The Ph.D. in Family Therapy is a 96-credit-hour program designed for individuals holding master's degrees who wish to fully grasp both the historical as well as cutting edge theory informing the current practice of family therapy. The program is also dedicated to understanding the relationship between theoretical ideas and the variety of established and emerging schools of family therapy. The program is designed to enhance students' clinical skills in order to become top level practitioners, while at the same time demonstrating the place of qualitative and quantitative research in this pursuit. Graduates of the program should look forward to productive careers in academic, supervisory, clinic, and community-based employment settings.
The Department of Family Therapy has full time faculty and supervisors that represent racial diversity as well as diversity in gender, age, and religion. The part-time faculty and supervisors also include cultural, gender, age, sexual orientation, and religious diversity. The student body of the doctoral program reflects the rich cultural diversity of South Florida and across the nation as far as race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and age.
The core curriculum includes:
- Four courses that explore the clinical contributions of three major systems paradigms: cybernetics, language-based, and natural systems. However, brief, interactional therapies such as MRI (Mental Research Institute), Solution-Focused approaches, Ericksonian hypnotherapy, and the Milan Associates models receive the greatest exploration. Therapies based in narrative and intergenerational and multigenerational traditions are also covered.
- Four terms of continuous enrollment in clinical practicums at the Family Therapy Clinic at the Brief Therapy Institute, the DFT on-campus clinical facility. Teams of students (maximum of 6) meet weekly with a faculty member/supervisor to work with live, community-referred cases and supervision of cases throughout the calendar year. During a student's fourth practicum, they may choose a flexible practicum provided for students to see cases independently at the Clinic. The faculty supervisor must approve this independent placement.
- Four courses in research methods, two quantitative and two qualitative, which provide comprehensive coverage of marriage and family therapy research, statistics, various research methodologies, and computer analysis and interpretation.
- Two theory courses, one devoted to the cybernetic systems ideas of Gregory Bateson, the other to the language-based systems (e.g., social constructionism, feminism, and postmodernism).
- One course in the teaching of family therapy. This course prepares student learning and practice in becoming faculty in the MFT field.
- One course in the supervision of family therapy clinicians. This course fulfills the didactic instruction component for AAMFT Approved Supervisor status.
Clinical Internships designed to provide students with a supervised, full-time experience (three terms) emphasize relationally-focused practice and/or research. The majority of a student's course requirements must be completed before they can begin their internship experience. They must also have successfully completed their Clinical Portfolio.
In keeping with the interdisciplinary philosophy of the School, students have the opportunity to take electives in various specialties and across other programs within the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. Additional courses may support students in fulfilling course requirements for licensure as a marriage and family therapist in Florida and other states.
Many students choose to take electives to enhance their learning in special topics. Elective courses at the doctoral level may be taken with the permission of the Program Director. Elective courses available to doctoral students within the Family Therapy Department include Couples Therapy, Family Business, Organization Consulting, Grief and Loss, Academic Writing, International Counseling and Therapy, School Based Family Counseling, Advanced Bowen Systems, and all courses in the Family Systems Health Care (medical family therapy) graduate certificate program. Other courses offered within NSU may be considered pending approval from the Program Director.
During the Ph.D. program, students may also fulfill the academic requirements for becoming a Clinical Member and Approved Supervisor in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. The program's supervision course is approved for meeting the supervision course requirement for AAMFT Approved Supervisors. For licensed marriage and family therapists, additional training and supervision to become AAMFT Approved Supervisors is provided through the Brief Therapy Institute.