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    The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
  Sep 26, 2022
2018-2019 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook 
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2018-2019 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook [Archived Catalog]

M.A. Clinical Psychology, Marital and Family Therapy Specialization

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Los Angeles - Irvine - San Diego

Program Overview

The M.A. Clinical Psychology, Marital and Family Therapy (MFT) specialization provides strong preparation in the development of essential diagnostic, therapeutic and consultative skills in order to work with a variety of clinical populations- ranging from individuals, children and families, to groups and spanning the developmental spectrum from children to the elderly- and with a variety of emotional, intellectual, and psychological conditions and disorders. The program has adopted the practitioner-scholar model which is 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 Marital and Family Therapy and the ability to apply that knowledge to specific clinical situations.

Acknowledged for its commitment to diversity, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology recognizes that service to a diverse community plays a vital role in all levels of mental health care. The M.A. Clinical Psychology, MFT Specialization program embraces this commitment through the integration of multicultural education and diversity throughout its curriculum; successful students demonstrate an appreciation for and competency in this area. Likewise, the faculty reflects experience in graduate level teaching and clinical practice with diverse clinical populations.

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. Clinical Psychology, MFT Specialization 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

  • Demonstrate proficiency in the interpretation of standard assessment tools; the collection and incorporation of information from multiple sources to inform decision making and diagnosis; effective clinical inference that links gathered data with resulting diagnosis and recommendations; effective communication of assessment results and recommendations; the identification and conceptualization of client strengths and limitations; and culturally sensitive choice of assessment methods that will comprise a formal assessment.
  • Demonstrate effective presentation skills and the ability to teach others through oral or written presentation of material; the ability to provide feedback regarding a client or system issue to multiple sources; an understanding of the means of facilitating and evaluating the growth of knowledge, skills, and attitudes in a learner; effective peer consultation and constructive feedback; and the development of productive relationships within community helping networks.
  • Demonstrate the ability to develop and present plausible formulations for understanding psychological phenomenon using theory; use theory to guide formulations regarding the conditions that create, maintain, and change behavior or distress; effectively implement and revise treatment strategies; evaluate the effectiveness of a chosen intervention approach or strategy; recognize the limitations of theories as they relate to individual and system functioning and change; and adjust traditional models of treatment and treatment planning to better meet diverse clients’ needs.


  • Recognize 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.

Professional Behavior

  • 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.
  • Demonstrate the capacity to develop and maintain a constructive therapeutic alliance with clients and a constructive working alliance with others (including peers, faculty, supervisors, professionals in other disciplines, etc.); openness to feedback and accurate self-reflection; an appreciation of the use of self in a therapeutic relationship; the development of empathy, respect for others, and interpersonal relatedness; and an understanding of cultural values, worldview, and history in cross-cultural relationships.


  • 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 in the M.A. Clinical Psychology, Marriage and Family Therapy Specialization, ABA Track have the additional Program Learning Outcomes.

Professional Practice

  • Analyze behavior, design interventions, and evaluate interventions, by applying basic behavioral principles and assessment techniques to effect socially significant behavior change.


  • Evaluate the impact of diversity issues on individuals and society (as a whole in domestic or international settings,) and demonstrate sensitivity and competence while working with diverse populations.

Professional Behavior

  • Evaluate and resolve ethical dilemmas in accordance with behavior-analytic and psychological ethical guidelines.
  • Establish rapport and communicate effectively with clients, stakeholders, and other professionals.


  • Conduct behavior-analytic research and evaluate behavior-analytic and other psychological research effectively and ethically.

Licensure (All students)

The M.A. Clinical Psychology, Marriage and Family Therapy Specialization program aligns with degree, coursework, and supervised experience requirements to be eligible for licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) in California. Candidates for licensure must pass the LMFT Clinical Examination (LMCE) and the LMFT Law and Ethics Examination (LMLE). Additional post-master’s supervised experience is required in order to qualify for licensure in California. All candidates are also required to complete the application process, which may include fees and/or a background check. For further information about licensure in California, please visit the Board of Behavioral Sciences.

Licensure (ABA Track students)

BCBA® Certification & Licensure

The MA Clinical Psychology, Marriage and Family Therapy Specialization, Applied Behavior Analysis track program is aligned with degree and coursework requirements for eligibility to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA®) by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board® (BACB®). Applicants for BCBA® certification must meet additional requirements established by BACB® including supervised experience, application, examination, and background check.


There may be state professional licensure requirements to practice applied behavior analysis.  A state’s licensure board determines the specific requirements for candidates seeking professional licensure and those requirements are subject to change. The following is professional licensure information as of the date of publication:


  • Graduation from the MA Clinical Psychology, Marriage and Family Therapy Specialization, Applied Behavior Analysis track in conjunction with BCBA® certification aligns with certification requirements for professional licensure in Alabama, Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
  • Graduates who have obtained BCBA® certification may be eligible for licensure in Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada, New York, and North Dakota, and South Dakota if their master’s degree program aligns with state degree requirements.  Note that candidates for professional licensure may be required to meet additional state requirements such as application, examination, and background check.
  • A professional license is not required to practice behavior analysis in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, , West Virginia, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia. State laws on professional licensure are subject to change by their legislatures. 


It is the student’s responsibility to determine the licensure requirements for any state not listed above. The M.S. Applied Behavior Analysis may meet some or all of the requirements of states not listed, but additional state-specific approvals or coursework and/or practicum hours may be required beyond the program’s graduation requirements.  Some state licensing requirements include the following: completion of a master’s degree, post-graduate field work, certification as a board certified behavior analyst, examination, and application for license.


Due to recent and ongoing changes in state professional licensure of applied behavior analysis practitioners, students should contact the state board directly to verify information regarding professional licensure.  To assist with this research, the Association of Professional Behavior Analysists (APBA) publishes information regarding state licensure.


Admission Requirements

Application to The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s M.A. Clinical Psychology, MFT Specialization program is open to any person who has earned a bachelor degree 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.
  • Official GRE Score (Optional)
  • Generally undergraduate GPA of a 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale is required for admission to the school’s MA Clinical Psychology Marital and Family Therapy Specialization program.
  • Admissions Interview.

Applicants must submit official transcripts from all schools where a degree was earned. Applications must be submitted with the $50.00 (USD) application fee in order to be evaluated.

Applicant Notification

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology reviews applications on a rolling basis. Once review begins, complete applications will be considered by the Admission Committee and applicants will be notified regarding the admission decision. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology 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.

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 (81 credit hours for ABA Track students)
  • Successful completion of 250 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. Clinical Psychology, MFT specialization 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 MFT 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 both the BBS 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 six credit hours over three semesters during which time the student participates in a clinical training field placement where the student accumulates a minimum of 250 hours of face to face supervised clinical experience in a mental health setting. 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 second 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.

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 MM613 Practicum I, a clinical case presentation outline will be completed and turned into the instructor along with the tape and transcript. For MM614 Practicum II, 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 program requirement can be offered. Any student who fails the Comprehensive Examination a third time will be referred to the Student Affairs Committee (SAC).

The Curriculum

Required Core: 57 credit hours

Electives: 3 credit hours

Optional ABA Track: 22 credit hours

Program Total

M.A. Clinical Psychology, Marital and Family Therapy Specialization: 60 credit hours

M.A. Clinical Psychology, Marital and Family Therapy Specialization, Applied Behavior Analysis Track: 82 credit hours

Required Core

MA Clinical Psychology, Marital and Family Therapy Specialization, Applied Behavior Analysis Track

Extension Courses

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