1932: The Beginning
In the early 1930s, a well-respected group of professionals led by Emily Hartshorne Mudd, Ph.D., envisioned and created The Marriage Counsel of Philadelphia, and in fact, they co-created the field of marriage counseling. Based on a solid commitment to provide services for all people, regardless of background or ability to pay, they established a policy of providing low-fee services that is still continued today. When relationship counseling was new, few therapists were trained in working with couples. The Council's Post-Graduate Training Program in Couples and Family Therapy grew out of a need for the specialized clinical skills necessary to handle this work effectively.
1940s: Leading the Field
CFR was considered to be a "revolutionary" organization, which began to grow with several new locations on Chestnut Street. In 1946, the organization changed its name to The Marriage Council (at that time, only lawyers could be referred to as "counsel"). In 1947, following World War II, the Navy became concerned with the problems sailors were experiencing after they returned home from the war. Family problems and marital readjustment were affecting the men's performance in the military, so the Veteran's Administration set up physician’s training residencies at the Marriage Council.
1950s: The Training Program
In 1952 The Marriage Council affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania and became an operational unit of the Division of Family Studies in the medical school. The Council introduced the country's first course on family, marriage and sex counseling and provided courses and internships for medical students. Marriage Council was 1 of only 3 training centers for marriage counselors in the country and provided post-graduate training for doctors, social workers, sociologists, psychologists and clergy. Throughout the 1950s, Dr. Emily Mudd served as President of National Conference on Family Relations and American Association of Marriage Counselors (forerunner of AAMFT), as well as directed marriage counseling courses at Swarthmore and Bryn Mawr Colleges and Temple University.
1960s and 1970s: Expanding to Research
The Council affiliated with the Masters and Kinsey research group, and developed a strong focus on sex therapy and research.
1980s and 1990s: Recommitting and Strengthening the Mission
Under the leadership of Martin Goldberg, MD, The Council shifted its focus back to marriage and family therapy, while continuing affiliations with the University of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson University, Widener University and Temple University.
Now known as The Council for Relationships, the agency has 13 offices and an extremely diverse and expert staff. “CFR” serves the community through individual, couples and family counseling, educational courses and outreach efforts that aim to bring hope and healing. Today, CFR is one of a select few national programs accredited by the AAMFT.
CFR Experts in the Media
Beating the Winter Blues
Do Opposites Really Attract?
Gender Transitioning Can Test Family Bonds
The Philadelphia Inquirer
50 Years After the Assassination: Looking Back on the Way We Lived
Polyamory, lots and lots of love
The Philadelphia Inquirer
21 Minutes to a Better Marriage
Every week, CFR's experts offer advice in the media on a variety of topics. See all media highlights.
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