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    The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
  Jun 14, 2024
2020-2021 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook with Spring II Addendum 
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2020-2021 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook with Spring II Addendum [Archived Catalog]

M.A. Marriage, Couples, and Family Therapy

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Los Angeles - Anaheim - San Diego

Program Overview

The M.A. Marriage, Couples, and Family Therapy (MA MCFT) program provides strong preparation in the development of essential diagnostic, therapeutic, and consultative skills from a systemic and relational context. Students are prepared to work with a variety of clinical populations, including individuals, couples, families, children, and groups that span the developmental spectrum, as well as with a variety of emotional, intellectual, and psychological conditions and disorders. The program has adopted the practitioner-scholar model, based on the belief that a competent mental health practitioner must have both a broad knowledge of the scientific and theoretical principles in the clinical practice of Marriage and Family Therapy and the ability to apply that knowledge to specific clinical situations..

The Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) track prepares students to also work in the growing field of Applied Behavior Analysis, serving a variety of individuals, including those who may have diagnoses such as autism, behavioral difficulties, developmental disabilities, mental illness, and a variety of geriatric conditions.

Program Philosophy

The mission of the M.A. Marriage, Couples, and Family Therapy program is to prepare therapists and professional counselors who serve the mental health profession through competence, personal integrity and academic excellence. This is realized through a curriculum that integrates the theoretical foundations of psychotherapy and clinical psychology, essential diagnostic, clinical and consultative skills, and clinical field placement into appropriate practice in a variety of settings and with diverse populations. Recognizing that our students are intrinsically motivated to help others, we acknowledge the significance of promoting an environment that is sensitive to difference and preparing clinicians, who actively develop their multicultural competence. Thus, the program seeks to engage faculty and students in the preparation of therapists and counselors who meet the needs of diverse communities.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this program students will be able to:

Professional Practice

  • Foundational Knowledge. Graduates will be able to apply foundational and contemporary family theories and therapy models in the treatment of individuals, couples, and families across treatment settings.
    • Student learning outcome: Students will demonstrate a knowledge of family systems and social constructionist theories and be able to successfully apply systemic theories in clinical practice.
    • Student learning outcome: Students will qualify for state MFT Associate status necessary for continued progression toward MFT Licensure, consistent with AAMFT and CAMFT guidelines.
    • Student learning outcome: Students will demonstrate knowledge or recovery-orientated care and effective practices in community mental health.
  • Assessment and Diagnosis. Graduates will be able to provide effective diagnostic and assessment services to a diverse set of clients experiencing major mental health issues as well as common presenting problems utilizing a biopsychosocial, systems approach to family-oriented mental health care. 
    • Student learning outcome: Students will demonstrate the ability to identify the optimal entry point for intervention within a larger systemic framework.
  • Intervention. Graduates will demonstrate efficacy in providing evidence based practices with a diverse range of individuals, couples, and families, with a focus on developing competencies in evolving contemporary challenges, problems, and/or recent developments.
    • Student learning outcome: Students will demonstrate the ability to select appropriate interventions to address relational difficulties within a systemic framework.
    • Student learning outcome: Students will demonstrate awareness of social responsibility, becoming agents of relational change through an understanding of their own role as therapist within the larger community.


  • Individual and Cultural Differences. Students will develop competencies in understanding and applying knowledge of diversity, power, privilege and oppression across all cultural contexts in domestic and international settings. This will facilitate the practice of marriage and family therapy in a culturally competent frame.
    • Student learning outcome: Students will demonstrate an awareness of diversity and social justice issues, as well as demonstrate competence in working with diverse clinical populations.

Professional Behavior

  • Ethics: Graduates will exhibit professional and ethical behavior and understand legal responsibilities consistent with professional standards and code of ethics in Marriage and Family therapy. 
    • Student learning outcome: Students will be knowledgeable of and successfully apply appropriate state legal guidelines necessary for the competent practice of marriage and family therapy.
    • Student learning outcome: Students will become AAMFT and CAMFT members, abiding by the Code of Ethics for each.
  • Professional Relationships: Graduates will identify as Marriage and Family Therapists and demonstrate skills necessary to effectively communicate with interdisciplinary colleagues to coordinate client care utilizing a systemic, integrative perspective.
    • Student learning outcome: Students will demonstrate knowledge of their legal and ethical obligations within the context of the larger healthcare system and an associated understanding of their role within it.


  • Research and Evaluation: Graduates will have an understanding of foundational and current knowledge in marriage and family therapy research and evaluation methods, especially within the context of biopsychosocial health across the lifespan in families, couples, and individuals.
    • Student learning outcome: Students will demonstrate knowledge of MFT effectiveness research including evidenced based practices, empirically supported treatments, and outcome-based evaluation.
    • Student learning outcome: Students will demonstrate knowledge of the systemic changes across the lifespan and ability to apply that knowledge to effect change within the associated systems.


For information on where The Chicago School of Professional Psychology meets, does not meet, or has not determined if the program meets licensure eligibility requirements for the state in which you wish to be licensed, please visit:

Admission Requirements

For information on where The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is currently authorized, licensed, registered, exempt or not subject to approval, please visit

Application to The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s M.A. Marriage, Couples, and Family Therapy program is open to any person who has earned a bachelor degree from a regionally accredited institution and who meets other entrance requirements. Students applying to the M.A. in Marriage, Couples, and Family Therapy program must submit the following:

  • Application
  • Application Fee: $50
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  • Essay 
  • Official College/University Transcripts
    • Students must submit official transcripts from all schools where degrees have been earned. The Chicago School requires that all schools be regionally accredited higher education institutions. Official transcripts may be sent directly from the institution or with your application for admission as long as they are official, sealed, and signed across the envelope flap when they arrive.
  • Three Letters of Recommendation
    • Appropriate recommendations are from professors and/or supervisors from significant work or volunteer experiences, who can appraise your academic or professional performance. If you are mailing in your letters, they should arrive in a sealed envelope, signed across the seal. You can also submit the letters online via the applicant portal.
  • The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required, however students who have taken the exam may submit their scores to enhance their application. Scores should be sent directly to the school (GRE School Code: 1119) for consideration. Please see the application for detailed instructions and information regarding application requirements, application deadlines, and letters of recommendation.

Professional Performance Evaluation (PPE) Requirements

PPEs are completed at the end of the Summer semester for all first-year students, reflecting the faculty’s consensus regarding each student’s performance throughout their first year in the MA Clinical Psychology, Marital and Family Therapy Specialization Program. It may also be completed for any students for whom a faculty member has grade/performance related comments related to attainment of competencies, progress and comportment that should be included in the academic file for consideration in student advising and review. PPEs may be submitted at any time concerns arise. The recording of PPEs is an important way that faculty and others assist in the comprehensive evaluation of the students’ progress towards the degree requirements. PPEs also provide essential feedback to students and advisors about areas for attention and focus in advising and remediation. Any PPE score below 3 is cause for concern and may result in action up to and including a referral to the Student Affairs Committee, placement on academic warning/probation, or dismissal. The department chair and Academic Advisor will be notified when students receive a PPE score below 3.

Degree Completion Requirements

  • Successful completion of 60 credit hours (78 credit hours for ABA Track students, 63 credit hours for LPCC Track students)
  • Successful completion of 500 hours of face to face supervised clinical experience in a mental health setting.
  • Successful completion of Clinical Competency Evaluation (CCE)
  • Successful completion of Written Comprehensive Exam (WCE)


The following policies are located under Academic Policies and Procedures : Academic Calendar, Admissions Requirements, Attendance, Satisfactory Academic Progress, Service Learning, and Transfer Credit/Course Waiver. Click the link above for detailed information.

Student Professional Evaluation and Student Review Process

The course content and experiential activities offered by the M.A. Marriage, Couples, and Family Therapy program at TCSPP are designed to afford students the opportunity to advance their intellectual and professional development and functioning. Throughout the program of study, students are given feedback concerning their personal, academic, and professional strengths, developmental needs, and performance. This feedback will come from a variety of sources including faculty, supervisors, peers, and clients. Students are expected to respond and incorporate this feedback in a mature and professional manner. Throughout their matriculation in the program students are expected to explore and recognize the effects their personal beliefs, issues, emotions, and behaviors have on others and on their ability to function as a therapist or counselor and practicing clinician. Additionally, all students are reviewed annually by program faculty and administration with respect to their overall program performance during the Student Review Process.

Ethical Guidelines

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology expects that all students will be knowledgeable of and adhere to the “Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct”, as published by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, as well as the “Code of Ethics” of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. In addition, no student shall obtain part- or full-time employment that is beyond the scope of their cumulative training in the field of psychology or MCFT and shall not use titles governed by licensure statutes, unless so licensed by the state. A student who fails to adhere to this policy or otherwise fails to demonstrate the appropriate ethics required for practice in the field of psychotherapy or professional counseling is subject to discipline and possible removal.


The practicum experience is designed to meet licensure requirements as well as to enhance the learning experience of the student through practical application of didactic classroom instruction. The practicum requires a total of eight credit hours over four semesters during which time the student participates in a clinical training field placement where the student accumulates a minimum of 500 face-to-face contact hours of supervised clinical experience in a mental health setting, at least 200 of which shall be with couples and families. In addition, the student is required to attend a regularly scheduled practicum seminar during which students will participate in clinical case consultation, case presentations, and complete a clinical case report.

At the end of the fourth practicum seminar, students will complete a Clinical Competency Evaluation (CCE) which consists of a full clinical case report, tape, and transcripts, as well as a presentation of this case to the class and instructor. The CCE provides an important assessment of a student’s competency in meeting key programmatic outcomes. Students registered in this program incur a one-time $195 Experiential Learning Technology Fee.

More specific information is located in the Program Guidebook.

Clinical Competency Evaluation (CCE)

During the practicum seminar, students will conduct a formal case presentation and submit a 10-minute transcript and tape of an actual client session. In MM575 Practicum I, a clinical case presentation outline will be completed and turned into the instructor along with the tape and transcript. For MM 578 Practicum IV, students will complete a Clinical Competency Evaluation (CCE) which consists of a Clinical Case Report (CCR,) a tape and transcript as well as a formal oral presentation of the case to the class and instructor. The CCE results will determine if a student successfully passes practicum. If a student does not pass the first time, the student will be able to submit a second CCE, tape and transcript using a different interview. Students are advised to meet with their seminar instructor to review the first CCE and prepare to pass the CCE the next time. Failure to pass a second CCE means that the student has failed practicum and the student will need to complete practicum again.

More specific information is located in the Program Guidebook.

Written Comprehensive Examination (WCE)

All students are required to successfully complete the Written Comprehensive Exam. The information tested by the exam covers the program competencies. The comprehensive examination is generally administered twice a year and taken during the last year of enrollment in academic coursework. Students must be in good academic standing to be eligible to take the Written Comprehensive Examination. Additional information regarding registering, qualifying, format and dates of the exam can be obtained from the Department Chair of the program. Students who are unable to pass the Written Comprehensive Examination will be allowed to retake the exam a maximum of two additional times. The exam may be retaken during the next scheduled administration of the exam. Students will receive information from their faculty advisor concerning their performance on the examination. Assistance from faculty in constructing additional experiences and instruction aimed at enabling them to pass this pr

The Curriculum

Required Core: 60 credit hours

Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor Track: 3 credit hours

Applied Behavior Analysis Track: 21 credit hours*

*3 credit hours of ABA track coursework will be accepted as Required Core credit

Program Totals:

Coursework Only: 60 credit hours

LPCC Track: 63 credit hours

ABA Track: 78 credit hours


Required Core

60 credit hours

Applied Behavior Analysis Track

21 credit hours

Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor Track

3 credit hours

Optional Advanced Practicum

Extension Courses

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