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Curriculum

Criteria for acceptance into the M.S. in Family Therapy include a major emphasis on applicants who are familiar with and interested in learning systemic theories and therapies. They also attend to applicants' comfort with cultural and sexual diversity and their ability to connect to people in crisis. Applicants who demonstrate significant ability to listen to others, engage in conversation, and learn from dialogue will be best prepared for admission. The admissions essay must include specific citations of family therapy literature to provide a rationale for the applicant's decision to pursue a career in marriage and family therapy.

The Master of Science in Family Therapy degree program requires 60 hours of graduate coursework and clinical practical. Training is concentrated on brief, interactional models of family therapy, preparing our graduates to practice in a time-sensitive, cost-effective manner. The program fulfills the academic requirements for state licensure in Florida and for clinical membership in AAMFT; additional post-master's clinical experience is required for both credentials.

SFTM 5310 - Introduction to Systems Theory (3 credits)

This course provides an overview of theories that use metaphors of system, pattern, interaction, and communication to describe human behavior and relationships as well as the study of the emergence of theories from cybernetics to language studies.

SFTM 5311 - Substance Abuse/Addictions and Critical Issues in Systems Theory (3 credits)

This course addresses the application of modern and postmodern ideas to substance abuse, addictions, and critical issues in the practice of therapy. Emphasis is placed on the application of modern and postmodern ideas to substance abuse, additions, and critical issues based on research, theories, practice, and treatment. Also included are other critical issues of culture, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, violence and other areas of critical concern in social systems. Prerequisites: SFTM 5400-I; 5321; Corequisite: SFTM 6300.

SFTM 5320 - Introduction to Marital and Family Therapy: Counseling Theories and Techniques (3 credits)

An introduction and review of the history of marital and family therapy and the clinical approaches of interactional therapies are included in this course. The focus is based on basic therapeutic concepts and skills to include joining, listening, and conducting the initial interview through termination.

SFTM 5321 - Theories of Marital and Family Therapy (3 credits)

This course offers a comparative study of theories of marital and family therapy, including systemic, structural, strategic, intergenerational, contextual, behavioral, experiential therapies, and others, and provides a survey of differences in clinical practices. Prerequisite: SFTM 5310.

SFTM 5322 - Clinical Practice in Marital & Family Therapy (3 credits)

This course examines applications of family therapy methods and counseling theories and techniques in specific situations including divorce, child rearing, school issues, and others and incorporates case study reviews. Prerequisite: SFTM 5400 II; Must be taken with SFTM 6300.

SFTM 5330 - Group Psychotherapy (3 credits)

This class is designed to provide an opportunity students and professionals to develop a set of core competencies in general group work from a systemic perspective. These core competencies include knowledge of group theories, common group dynamics, common group types, and legal and ethical issues. During the course students will also be introduced to various specialty/advanced competency areas in group work. The development of core skills will occur through a combination of didactic lecture in group theory, classroom discussion, and an experiential group (during the second part of each class meeting).

SFTM 5350 - Research in Marriage and Family Therapy (3 credits)

This course offers a review of quantitative and qualitative methods of inquiry, as exemplified in recent marital and family therapy research studies. The course focuses on teaching students to be intelligent, critical consumers of research in the field. Prerequisite: SFTM 5310.

SFTM 5400 - Internal Practicum I-II (3 credits)

These two supervised clinical courses consist of the application of systemic therapy ideas and practices at the Department of Family Therapy in house Family Therapy Clinic. Prerequisites: SFTM 5310; 5320; 6340.

SFTM 5700 - Course Comprehensive Exam (3 credits)

The Course Comprehensive Exam is a written exam that assesses the student's ability to apply the theoretical knowledge gained across cases and topics based on their coursework and clinical experiences.

SFTM 6300 - External Practicum I-II (3 credits)

Advanced clinical training and supervision is provided to enhance the practice of systemic therapy from strength based, solution oriented models of therapy that can be incorporated in a wide variety of community settings. Prerequisite: SFTM 5400 II.

SFTM 6320 - Assessment in Marital and Family Therapy (3 credits)

This course provides an overview of methods and instruments used to define problems and indicate solutions. Diagnosis, appraisals, assessments, and testing appropriate to the practice of marriage and family therapy are addressed. This course also includes a comparative study of interactional approaches and individual and family dysfunction assessments. Prerequisite: SFTM 5310; 5321; 5400-I.

SFTM 6331 - Diversity and Psychosocial Issues (3 credits)

Human development in the context of family transitions across the life cycle such as childbirth, childhood, adolescence, courtship, marriage, maturity, aging, and death are reviewed. This course focuses on the diversity of psychosocial development across ethnicity, class, gender, race, age, and culture with discussions and implications for interactional therapies and practices. Prerequisite: SFTD 6200 I & SFTM 6340 Legal, Ethical, and Professional Issues.

SFTM 6332 - Human Sexuality and Gender (3 credits)

This course provides a review of the psychosocial development of sexuality and gender from childhood through aging. Also addressed is a summary of clinical approaches to sexual and gender issues comparing interactional approaches with psychodynamic and behavioral models. Corequisite: SFTM 5310.

SFTM 6333 - Theories of Personality and Psychopathology (3 credits)

A review of major theories of personality and psychopathology are the focus of this course, emphasizing psychiatric diagnostic classification systems. The study of implications for treatment and comparisons with interactional approaches are included. Co-requisite: SFTM 5310.

SFTM 6340 - Legal, Ethical, and Professional Issues in Marriage and Family Therapy (3 credits)

This course offers an in depth explanation of accreditation and licensure organizations, along with the ethical codes they promote in family therapy and related fields. This includes a review of the therapist's legal responsibilities and liabilities in mental health and family law, insurance claims, and private practice management with inclusion of an overview of professional opportunities in public service and training programs.

SFTM 6550 - International Perspectives in Counseling and Therapy (3 credits)

This course is designed to review issues relevant to the practice of counseling, therapy, and human services work in an international context. Issues explored include: the adaptation of western models of therapy for practice in other countries; immigrant family experiences ad the relevance to clinical practice in the U.S.; and global ethical issues in counseling and therapy. Specific cultures reviewed include Mexico, China, Cambodia, South America, and India, and others; designed to appeal to a wide variety of students from various backgrounds. Students will learn to become more sophisticated with regard to their understanding of family functioning and the role of counseling and therapy in an international context. Prerequisites: SFTM 5310; 5320; 5321; 6340; 5400-I.

SFTM 6558 - Couples Therapy: Theory and Application (3 credits)

In this course, students will examine their own experiences, biases and values about couples and working with couples as well as the historical development of couples' therapy. Students will learn current clinical approaches to couples therapy and evidenced-based models for working with couples. Students will examine current couple and marital research as well as assessment instruments used for working with couples. Students will examine specific professional, ethical, and legal issues associated with couples work. Issues of diversity and a commitment to multicultural exploration are demonstrated and interwoven throughout all discussions as students explore specific areas of work with couples such as extra-marital affairs, intimate partner violence, divorce, step-parenting, and health and illness. Prerequisite or corequisite: SFTM 5310.

Following is a sample of a degree plan for full-time students who begin their studies in the Fall trimester. Degree plans will be modified based on a student's enrollment date and pace of study.

Table 1: Degree Plan: 60 credits hours
Year 1
Fall (September) SFTM 5310 
Introduction to Systems Theories
SFTM 5320
Introduction to Marital & Family Therapy
SFTM 5330
Group Psychopathologys
SFTM 6340
Legal, Ethical, and Professional Issues
Winter (January) SFTM 5311
Substance Abuse/Addictions and Critical Issues in Systems Theories
SFTM 5355
Human Development Across the Life Cycle
I SFTM 5321
Theories of Marriage and Family Therapy
SFTM 5400
Internal Practicum
Summer (April) SFTM 5400
Internal Practicum II
SFTM 6332
Human Sexuality and Gender
SFTM 6333
Theories of Personality & Psychopathology
SFTM 6558
Couples Therapy: Theory and Application
Year 2
Fall (September) SFTM 5322
Clinical Practice in Marriage and Family Therapy
SFTM 6331
Diversity and Psychosocial Issues
SFTM 6300
External Practicum I
Elective
Winter (January) SFTM 5350
Research in Marital & Family Therapy
SFTM 6300
External Practicum II
SFTM 6550
International Issues in Counseling and Therapy
Elective
Summer (April) SFTM 6320
Assessment in Marital & Family Therapy
Comprehensive Examination Graduation & Celebration
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