The Marriage and Family Therapy Program at Pfeiffer is designed to prepare servant leaders as marriage and family therapists and agents of positive change to work specifically with individuals, couples, and families in a wide variety of work settings. The mission of the Marriage and Family Therapy Program is to provide effective clinical and academic training to students who affirm the dignity and integrity of all individuals and who demonstrate respect for diversity through life-long learning and the competent practice of marriage and family therapy. The MFT program is intended to meet the academic and experiential requirements for licensure as a marriage and family therapist in the state of North Carolina, and to prepare students for the national examination in Marital and Family Therapy.
In collaboration with the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), the Pfeiffer University MFT Program is an accredited MFT Graduate School approved by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). A minimum of 66 graduate semester hours and a passing grade on the MFT Comprehensive Exam will be required prior to graduation. In lieu of the exit exam, students may choose to enroll in PSYC 630 and PSYC 635 to write a thesis upon faculty recommendation and the approval of the Program Director.
Student admission to the program will be determined by a structured application process and the approval of the designated admissions committee. Rigorous clinical training will be required through the completion of a supervised practicum and internships that will require a total of 500 minimum clinical face-to-face hours (250 individual & 250 relational hours) and 100 hours of supervision during a minimum of (3) consecutive semesters. Additional semesters may be required to complete the 500 clinical hours contingent upon personal schedules.
Since Marriage & Family Therapy students must be continuously enrolled every semester, students are required to enroll in a minimum of (2) courses during each fall and spring semester,
and a minimum of (1) course during each summer semester. Generally speaking, full-time and part-time students should expect to complete the program in 3 or 4 years respectively.
The required number of clinical hours will be consistent with COAMFTE standards and the North Carolina MFT licensure. The successful completion of the practicum/internship requirements is considered to be the most critical experience in the Marriage and Family Therapy Program. Students will also be expected to actively identify with the Marriage and Family Therapy profession as a student member and participate in local, state, and national conferences such as AAMFT and NCAMFT. Additionally, students will be required to furnish professional (student) liability insurance during their practicum and internship experiences. To ensure that every student continues to live up to his or her potential as an evolving therapist, all MFT students will complete (10) hours of confidential personal counseling each academic year or every (2) regular semesters while they are enrolled in the program.
There are key milestones for reviewing the performance of our Marriage and Family Therapy students which are subsequent to the admissions interview, MFT practicum/internship candidacy after 21 semester hours of designated coursework, a minimum of (3) consecutive semesters of the supervised practicum/internship experience, and a comprehensive exit exam prior to graduation. Note: All staff or faculty members who serve as clinical supervisors will be approved AAMFT supervisors or supervisory candidates in the mentoring process.
We will be recognized as the model church-related institution preparing servant leaders for lifelong learning.
Pfeiffer University is a comprehensive United Methodist-related university, with multiple campuses and delivery systems, committed to educational excellence, service, and scholarship. Within nurturing communities of learners, we value diversity and promote the attainment of full academic and personal potential through accessible undergraduate and graduate programs. It is the vision of the university that our students embrace the Christian values of human dignity, integrity, and service as they become servant leaders and lifelong learners.
Our Core Values
- We are committed to educational excellence in a learner-centered community.
- We help people realize their full potential.
- We include diverse learners in a caring, accessible community - The Pfeiffer Family.
- We value our Christian heritage and foster faith formation.
- We approach all that we do with integrity and with respect for the dignity of each person.
Marriage and Family Therapy Program
The Marriage and Family Therapy Program at Pfeiffer is designed to prepare servant leaders as marriage and family therapists and agents of positive change to work specifically with individuals, couples, and families in a wide variety of work settings. The mission of the Marriage and Family Therapy Program is to provide effective clinical and academic training in marriage and family therapy to students who affirm the dignity and integrity of all individuals and who demonstrate respect for diversity through life-long learning and competent practice of marriage and family therapy.
MMFT - 600 Emerging Cross-Cultural Issues in Families & Communities F (3 SH)
An exploration of therapy issues related to a culturally diverse population, including
societal attitudes and behaviors based on gender, race, ethnicity, age, religion,
socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, and disability status. The sensitive delivery of
interventions tomeet the special needs of clients and subsequent research on therapistclient
cultural congruence will be also be addressed.
MMFT - 601 Introduction to Family Systems F (3 SH)
This course is an introduction to the history and systemic foundations of the study and
understanding of family life with emphasis on the various theories of family process and
development. Case examples to help students visualize the complexity of couple and
family interaction and the need for both basic and specialized family counseling skills will
MMFT - 602 Family Therapy Theories S (3 SH)
A survey of contemporary, multicultural, and contextual analyses of the major models
of marriage and family therapy, the integration of various approaches in relationship
therapy, and the research outcomes which document the state of MFT effectiveness.
Prerequisite: MMFT 601.
MMFT - 603 Theory and Practice of Group Therapy F (3 SH)
This course is designed to provide students with theoretical understanding and training
in the use of groups in clinical and educational settings. Included will be an application
of effective psychotherapy skills and procedures to help prepare students to work with
children, youth,and adults in a systemic context. Additionally, students will participate in
an ongoing experiential process group throughout the semester. Prerequisites: MMFT
MMFT - 604 Diagnosis of Diagnosis of Mental and Emotional Disorders in Family Systems F (3 SH)
This course is designed to examine the DSM-IV-TR major classifications of psychological
disorders that impede healthy family functioning. Methods of assessment and diagnosis,
evidence based research, treatment, and psychopharmacology of these disorders
will be studied. Strengths and weaknesses of the current diagnostic system and a multidimensional
individual assessment and social history approach including a biopsychosocial intake and mental status exam will be presented.
MMFT - 605 Addiction in Family Systems Sum (3 SH)
This course examines the disease model vs. systemic views of addiction and treatment.
Markers of abuse and dependence are identified as well as its impact on individuals,
couples, and families. Specific attention to a systems perspective and various therapeutic
approaches for the treatment of chemical dependency and substance abuse will
serve as a critical guide to assessment and intervention efforts. Prerequisites: MMFT
MMFT - 606 Therapeutic Alliance--Pre Internship F (3 SH)
The study of theory, processes, and techniques involved in establishing and maintaining
the therapeutic alliance with individuals, couples, and family systems. This course is
designed as a pre-internship experience, specifically the transition from the classroom to
the clinical experience, and includes the application of basic attending skills, accurate
assessment, and effective treatment through laboratory demonstration and direct
supervisory appraisal to develop and maintain therapeutic alliance. Prerequisites:
MMFT 601, 602, 604, 630.
MMFT - 608 Crisis Intervention S (3 SH)
This course is intended for advanced students pursuing studies in psychology, criminal
justice, counselor education, and the human services and mental health professions.
Basic issues and strategies in the theory and practice of trauma and crisis intervention
will be addressed including the application of practical helping skills and techniques.
Special topics include normal assessment of situation stress and chronic stress, grief
and loss, lethality, suicide/homicide, mass disaster, child and elder abuse, domestic
violence, rape and assault, violence in the schools and in the work place, post traumatic
therapy and recovery, Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD), and compassion
MMFT - 610 Professional Identity & Issues in Marriage & Family Therapy Sum (3 SH)
A survey of current issues relating to professional identity and functioning in the field of
Marriage and Family Therapy including a greater understanding of self-development and
the therapist's understanding of self when working with systems. Students will be
introduced to the organizational structure of ethical practice including therapist-client
agreements, record keeping, professional liability, third party coding and billing, referral
resources for special needs, certification and licensure requirements, and the utilization
of supervision and consultation in both professional and therapeutic practice.
MMFT - 620 Couples Therapy, Theory, and Techniques S (3 SH)
This course provides theoretical and practical foundations for the practice of couples
therapy including marital and pre-marital work. Students will experience the application
of current evidence-based methods for assessing and treating relationship problems
from a systems perspective. Students will also have an opportunity to explore a variety
of dyadic relationships in which individuals are struggling with common clinical issues
that cause distress and dysfunction as well as problems in the therapeutic discourse.
Attention will be given to the influence and impact of socio-economic and socio-cultural
factors on couple relationships including gender and power, jealousy, infidelity, partner
abuse/violence, and sexual abuse. Prerequisites: MMFT 601, 602, 604, 630.
MMFT - 621 Advanced MFT Theories and Procedures F (3 SH)
Special focus will be given to advanced techniques and practical applications to
individual, marital, couple, family, and group psychotherapy in the clinical setting,
including an introduction to family mediation as an approach to helping families deal
effectively with separation and divorce. Normative family transitions and processes,
family competence, family resilience, and interactional patterns in marital success or
failure are addressed. Interventions for the enhancement of family coping strategies
also include special issues of diversity, acute relationship distress, child, spouse, and
elder abuse in the family setting, disability, death, crisis intervention, and grief and loss.
Prerequisites: MMFT 601, 602, 604, 620, 630 & 670.
MMFT - 630 Assessment and Treatment Planning in Family Therapy S (3 SH)
An advanced look at clinical theory, systemic interviewing skills, biopsychosocial history,
methods of assessment and interpretation, family assessment instruments, and systemic
interventions for working with couples and families in marriage and family therapy.
Prerequisites: MMFT 601 & 604.
MMFT - 640 Family Therapy: Children and Adolescents Sum (3 SH)
This course will present principles of healthy child/adolescent development and
techniques used in establishing effective parent-child relationships from the perspective
of marriage and family systems. Research, theory, and practice regarding childhood/
adolescent diagnostic categories of the DSM-IV-TR will also be studied. Special issues
regarding therapy with minors and creative approaches for building mutually desired
outcomes including the facilitation of play therapy will be explored. Prerequisites: MMFT
610 & 680.
MMFT - 670 Human Sexuality & Contextual Sex Therapy S (3 SH)
Introduction to the theory and practice of sex therapy will be presented to investigate
the dominant issues of dysfunctional and pathological sexual functioning, and its
effects on individuals, couples, and family systems. Appropriate assessment and
intervention methods utilizing a contextual approach will be studied. Prerequisites:
MMFT 601, 602, 604, & 630.
MMFT - 680 Legal & Ethical Issues in Marriage & Family Therapy Sum (3 SH)
This comprehensive overview stresses the ethical standards of professional therapy,
ethical and legal issues, and their applications to various marriage and family tasks.
Ethical dilemmas will be examined through a case approach and preparation and
procedure for legal processes and court testimony will be addressed.
MMFT - 690 Internship in Marriage & Family Therapy F; S; Sum (9 SH)
The central goal of this course is to assist students in applying theory, modalities, and
methods of therapeutic process to face-to-face counseling sessions. Interns will learn
the process of proper record keeping, confidentiality, intake processes, and treatment
planning. Interns will participate in the process of supervision of counseling and case
conferencing which are processes that must evolve following graduation from the MFT
program in preparation for licensure and onto clinical practice. Interns will be encouraged
to integrate theory and practice into their client sessions. This class is designed for
structured supervision of advanced students in Marriage and Family Therapy.
Appropriate placement in a clinical marriage and family therapy setting will include 500
hours of client contact hours (250 individual & 250 relational) over a minimum of 3
consecutive semesters, and a total of 100 hours of supervision by an AAMFT Approved
Supervisor or AAMFT Supervisory Candidate (30 hours of individual supervision and 70
hours of group supervision). Note: Of the 100 required hours, 50 must be live supervision.
Lab fee: $125.00 per semester. Prerequisite: Permission of MFT Program Faculty,
Clinic Director, and Program Director.
MMFT - 698 Special Topics F; S; Sum (3 SH)
Formal courses of specialized interest will be offered on a rotating basis. At least one
topic may be offered during any one semester as an elective course. A specific title will
be used for each course and will be entered on the student's transcript. The intention
of this course is to permit the student to pursue special topics in professional therapy,
e.g., Career Development and Life Skills, Analysis of the Individual, Play Therapy,
Gerontological Counseling, Art Therapy, etc.
PSYC - 600 Advanced Human Growth & Development S (3 SH)
An examination of the principles of human development and a survey of the stages
of lifespan development from prenatal & neonatal development to death and bereavement
with emphasis on the resultant issues influencing family development and its
subsequent therapeutic process. Developmental crises, play therapy, elder care,
addictive behavior, psychopathology, biopsychosocial factors, and environmental
influences are discussed.
PSYC - 610 Advanced Theories of Personality in Family Dynamics F (3 SH)
This is an advanced course designed to expose students to the most prominent
theories of personality with emphasis on the various theoretical models, the historical
context in which they were developed, and how the empirical research has been
informed by these theories. In order to establish a therapeutic alliance with clients,
students will effect therapeutic change by developing a better understanding of their
own personality and the personalities of others. Special attention will be given to
"positive psychology," and the knowledge about what makes human life most worth
PSYC - 615 Advanced Psychopathology in the Family Context S (3 SH)
This course is designed for advanced students in the helping professions who will need
a broader and firmer background in psychopathology and psychopharmacology to
administer client care at a professional level. Students will examine the interactive
processes hypothesized in the etiology and maintenance of various mental and
emotional disorders, and be introduced to effective treatment planning and the
combined effects of currently used psychotropic medications. Diagnostic dilemmas and
approaches with special emphasis on cultural and ethical considerations will be
presented with an overall focus on the development of strong diagnostic skills.
PSYC - 625 Research Methods & Program Evaluation F (3 SH)
This introductory course is designed to enable graduate level students to read and
understand existing research literature, to understand principal research methods, and
to apply research principles to the conduct of research projects. This course lays a
foundation upon which other counseling courses build during the graduate program in
preparing students for the counseling profession.
PSYC - 630 Optional: Statistical Application and Research Design S (3 SH)
This course includes an overview of statistical theory and application for students
planning to complete a master's thesis in marriage and family therapy. Students will
learn basic statistical concepts including appropriate research design, and how to
conduct research aimed at enhancing their studies in marriage and family counseling.
An original research project will be required using the SPSS computerized data analysis
method. Prerequisite: Permission of MFT Program Faculty and Program Director.
PSYC - 635 Optional: Thesis Completion Sum (3 SH)
Prerequisite: Permission of MFT Program Faculty and Program Director.
|Course|| Course Title
|MMFT 600||Emerging Cross-Cultural Issues in Families & Communities
|MMFT 601||Introduction to Family Systems||X|
|MMFT 602||Family Therapy Theories
|MMFT 603||Theory and Practice of Group Therapy||X|
|MMFT 604||Diagnosis of Mental and Emotional Disorders||X|
|MMFT 605||Addiction in Family Systems
|MMFT 606||Therapeutic Alliance -- Pre-Internship||X|
|MMFT 608||Crisis Intervention||X|
|MMFT 610||Professional Identity and Issues in Marriage & Family Therapy||X|
|MMFT 620||Couples Therapy, Theory, and Techniques||X
|MMFT 621||Advanced MFT Theories and Procedures||X
|MMFT 630||Assessment and Treatment Planning in Family Therapy||X|
||Family Therapy: Children and Adolescents
||Human Sexuality & Contextual Sex Therapy||X|
||Legal & Ethical Issues in Marriage & Family Therapy||X|
||Internship in Marriage & Family Therapy||X||X||X|
|PSYC 600||Advanced Human Growth & Development
||Advanced Theories of Personality in Family Dynamics||X
||Advanced Psychopathology in the Family Context
|PSYC 625||Research Methodology & Program Evaluation||X|
|PSYC 630||Optional: Statistical Application and Program Evaluation||X|
|PSYC 635||Optional: Thesis Completion||X|