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The PsyD Marital and Family Therapy (MFT) program is based on the practitioner-scholar model of education, integrating core competencies informed by the educational model of the National Council of Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology (NCSPP) and the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). MFT Department faculty are actively engaged in practice and scholarship, and incorporate a wide variety of clinical examples into classroom activities. Students learn through rigorous coursework and completion of a dissertation. The PsyD Marital in Family Therapy program strives to provide excellent training in culturally competent service provision and to offer students a wide variety of training opportunities.
The PsyD Marital and Family Therapy program has adopted the practitioner-scholar model and the NCSPP/AAMFT Core Competency model of training. These models are predicated on the belief that competent practitioners must have both a broad knowledge of scientific and theoretical principles at the core of MFT, which includes a solid understanding of a variety of scholarly work, as well as the ability to apply their knowledge to specific clinical situations. The doctoral department does not advocate any single theoretical orientation. Rather, students learn conceptualization and technique across four general theory areas, and then choose a theoretical orientation in which to specialize. Students are continually challenged to reflect on the art and craft of professional practice, as well as on its scientific basis. Completion of the PsyD Marital and Family Therapy program does not qualify students for license.
Program Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this program students will be able to:
- Assessment: Students will demonstrate effective and ethical diagnostic and assessment services to a diverse set of clients. Students will examine techniques/methods to achieve the successful gathering together of those people relevant to the problem and its solution. Students will analyze guidelines for a successful integration of family therapy approach into social work agencies drawn from the experience of practitioners. Students will review models of family therapy and their implications for practitioners.
- Consultation: Students will demonstrate historical perspective of clinical supervision and consultation, including various evidence-based models of supervision. Students will examine ways of enhancing practice through facilitating reflection and critical thinking methods.
- Intervention: Students will provide a wide range of effective and ethical psychotherapeutic interventions to a diverse group of clients. Students Will examine common problems of infancy and early childhood. Students will examine common problem in adolescence. Students will show the influences on the problem development process. Student will Interpret clinical interviews for assessment and intervention purposes.
- Students recognize that culture is best understood from a broad perspective and includes, but is not limited to, identities related to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, religious belief, and ability. It is evidenced by the ability to articulate one’s personal culture and its impact on held values, relationships and worldview; an understanding of worldview, and the psychological impact of privilege, prejudice, oppression, culture and sociopolitical structures; the ability to differentiate between individual variation, characteristic variation across culture and human dysfunction in development, attitudes and reactions; and appreciation for the impact of culture on the historical and philosophical foundations of psychology.
- Ethics: Students will demonstrate the ability to apply ethical and professional standards to relationships with clients and with others (peers, supervisors, faculty, professionals in other disciplines, etc.); socialization into the profession through advisement, modeling and education and membership in professional organizations; an understanding of legal obligations that may or may not conflict with ethical guidelines; the development of skills in self-awareness, reflective practice and quality control; effective functioning in multiple professional roles; and commitment to life-long learning.
- Relationships: Students will demonstrate insight into personal attitudes and beliefs as they conduct clinical interviewing of clients, prepare individual treatment plans, and set appropriate psychotherapeutic goals.
- Students will demonstrate the ability to organize, synthesize and interpret scholarly information; the ability to design and critique approaches to systematic inquiry; the awareness of limits of certainty in different types of clinical inquiry; the understanding of foundational scientific knowledge in the field; and the recognition of scholarly knowledge production as a social, cultural and political process. Finally, scholarly findings should guide/direct clinical practice/interventions.
Students who enroll in the post-master’s PsyD Marital and Family Therapy program are required to have completed a license-eligible master’s degree in a mental health field from a regionally accredited institution. The post-master’s PsyD Marriage and Family Therapy program does not meet the coursework or supervised experience requirements for eligibility for licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) in California.
For information on where The Chicago School is currently authorized, licensed, registered, exempt or not subject to approval, please visit https://www.thechicagoschool.edu/why-us/state-authorization/
Application to The Chicago School’s PsyD Marital and Family Therapy program is open to any person who has earned a license-eligible master’s degree in a mental health field from a regionally accredited institution and who meets other entrance requirements.
Applicants will be judged on their overall ability to do graduate work. Factors considered in admission are:
- GPA from undergraduate and graduate schools;
- Successful work history;
- Admission essay(s);
- Three letters of recommendation from academic professors or professional or volunteer experience supervisors.
- Generally, graduate GPA of a 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale is required for admission to the school’s PsyD Marital and Family Therapy program.
- Admission interview.
Applicants must submit official transcripts from all schools where a degree was earned. must be submitted with the $50.00 (USD) application fee in order to be evaluated.
The PsyD Marital and Family (Post-Master’s) program requires specific pre-requisite qualifying courses that must be completed in a student’s master’s program or completed as part of the elective options while enrolled in the doctoral program at The Chicago School. Graduate coursework used to meet prerequisites will be considered for graduate waiver on a case-by-case basis. Based upon the evaluation of these materials, selected candidates may be invited to interview for further consideration of their application.
The Chicago School reviews applications on a rolling basis. Once review begins, complete applications will be considered by the Admission Committee and the student is quickly notified of the admission decision. The Chicago School does not share information or provide any feedback regarding admission decisions.
If a student is offered admission and in order to secure a place in the incoming class, a non-refundable tuition deposit of $250 will be required by the deposit deadline indicated in the offer of admission. The non-refundable deposit will be applied in full toward the student’s tuition upon enrollment.
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.
Professional Performance Evaluation (PPE) Requirements
PPEs are completed at the end of the Summer semester for all students in the first year of their doctoral coursework (courses with PM prefix), reflecting the faculty’s consensus regarding each student’s performance throughout their first year in the doctoral curriculum of the PsyD, Marital and Family Therapy 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 of coursework
- Successful completion of the Written Competency Exam
- Successful completion of Dissertation
The Chicago School expects that all Psy.D Marital and Family Therapy students will be knowledgeable of and adhere to the CAMFT/APA/AAMFT Ethical Guidelines as published by the American Psychological Association and the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. Sound ethical reasoning and accountability to the larger community for adherence to guidelines for ethical behavior are the two things that mark a profession as distinct from a career or job. As a result, several expectations of students are derived from the ethical code.
In accordance with California state law, no student may serve under the title of “marital and family therapist” or any closely related title or job function until granted an appropriate license by the state after the awarding of the doctoral degree. Students may, however, work as MFT trainees or interns under the supervision of a professional psychologist, marital and family therapist, social worker or psychiatrist who is duly licensed or certified by the appropriate state agency.
A student shall not perform any function that exceeds his/her level of training. Students shall ensure that the appropriate malpractice insurance is in effect prior to their commencement of any clinical practice. In addition, a student may not establish or continue psychotherapy with any department or affiliate faculty member under any circumstances or with any adjunct faculty member while registered in his or her course or while under his or her supervision. A student who fails to adhere to this policy or otherwise fails to demonstrate the appropriate ethics required for practice in the field of marital and family therapy is subject to discipline.
A second derivation of the ethical code is that of integrity. The Chicago School expects that all students demonstrate the highest form of academic integrity. This applies to all of their graduate work and studies ranging from coursework, to general scholarship, to interactions with faculty, staff, and students. Further, given that graduate students as part of their training gain access to extremely sensitive clinical information, The Chicago School expects that students show the highest form of professional integrity in their training settings. These expectations range from client contact, to professional communications, to representation as a student of the school. Integrity is taken very seriously and a violation of academic and professional standards is grounds for remediation, suspension, or expulsion.
A final derivation of the ethical code is that of professional suitability. As a field, our primary responsibility is to the public we serve. As a result, should a student show signs that he or she is likely to cause harm to those we serve, swift action will be taken to mitigate that risk for harm. Such action could range from requiring additional education and remediation for the student to disciplinary action such as suspension or expulsion. Should a student demonstrate, over time and despite efforts to remediate, that he or she is not able to assume the responsibilities of the profession, he or she may be dismissed from the school. Professional suitability is defined in part by the school, in part by the field of psychology and in part by the larger society. Should a student’s ability to engage in professional practice change, for example through conviction of a crime that prevents licensure, the department may determine that completion of the program is not possible for the student.
Consistent with training department goals and the focus on ethical behavior, it is deemed inappropriate for PsyD Marital and Family Therapy students to engage in professional activities that may infringe upon a primary commitment to training, negatively affect quality of consumer mental health services, or are inconsistent with ethical and legal standards. Students’ participation in outside work activities should be secondary to training and should also uphold and be consistent with the ethical and legal standards of the profession. Engaging in independent practice in MFT prior to appropriate licensure, as a result, is viewed as inconsistent with these training objectives.
A student may hold a valid license in another profession (e.g., Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor or Licensed Clinical Social Worker) or may obtain such a license during her/his training at The Chicago School. Such students may practice within the scope of their license consistent with the following:
- The demands of the practice in time or other resources must not jeopardize the student’s primary commitment to training in the department.
- The manner in which students represent themselves to colleagues, clients and the public (e.g. marketing materials and reports of service) should not create a belief that the practice is under the auspices of or sanctioned by The Chicago School, that the practice is part of the school’s training, or that the practice is that of a trained and licensed clinical psychologist.
A student who fails to comply with the requirements of this section will be referred to the department chair for intervention, remediation, or disciplinary action, or for referral to the Student Affairs Committee for disciplinary action and possible dismissal.
Student Disclosure of Personal Information
Self-reflection, introspection, and an ability to examine personal reactions to clinical material are considered critical skills in student development. Students will be required to examine their personal reactions and the impact of their personal histories on the clinical services they are training to provide. Students will not be required to disclose personal information related to sexual history, history of abuse or neglect, personal psychotherapy or in-depth information regarding intimate relationships in course or department related activities. However, students are expected to actively reflect upon and effectively manage their personal reactions to people who are different from themselves along these and other dimensions, especially when such personal reactions negatively impact clinical work, professional interactions, and ethical responsibilities. Such reflection may be required within the context of an advising relationship at School, or a supervising relationship on internship or practicum.
The dissertation is an essential aspect of a student’s academic experience and clinical education at the school. The dissertation provides the school with the opportunity to formally evaluate the student’s ability to contribute to the field by applying theory and research to areas of clinical psychology, thinking critically and creatively about professional psychology, and demonstrating self-direction and professional/scholarly writing. The dissertation should clearly and concisely demonstrate the student’s command of the body of knowledge in a chosen area, as well as ability to critically evaluate and synthesize this knowledge. The student’s Dissertation Committee is responsible for assessing the student’s abilities and critical thinking, determining the professional standards the dissertation must meet, and giving final approval to the dissertation.
All students are required to successfully complete the PsyD 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 final year of enrollment in academic coursework. Students must be in good academic standing to be eligible to take the 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 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 program requirement can be offered. Any student who fails the Comprehensive Examination a third time is automatically referred to the Student Affairs Committee (SAC).