Home > Professional Programs > Post Graduate Program in Couple & Family Therapy


Thank you for your interest in our Program. The Post-Graduate Certificate Program in Couple and Family Therapy is an outgrowth of the pioneering work of Emily Mudd, Ph.D., in the field of sexual and marital counseling. In 1932, she helped found the Marriage Council of Philadelphia, which initially focused on providing women with information on birth-control. Under her direction the Marriage Council, now the Council for Relationships, became the first center in the country to establish a program to evaluate the effectiveness of counseling.

In the mid-1950's, it was one of three centers in the nation with an accredited training program for marriage counselors. Dr. Mudd was a founding member of the American Association of Marriage Counselors and presided over the organization from 1954 to 1955. The training program initially came into existence in 1948 as part of a grant from the Department of the Navy to train its chaplains in marital counseling. As the Council grew into a full fledged couple and family therapy treatment center over the next two decades, the training program grew with it, and in 1972 received accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE ) of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT)as a certificate program in marital and family therapy.

The mission of the program is to train clinicians who are prepared to function on an independent level as relationship and family therapists. They are expected to understand the importance of context in organizing human behavior and to possess and demonstrate the key conceptual, perceptual and intervention skills, as well as, the personal values required for practice as a systems oriented therpaist. They are to be well grounded in the legal and ethical issues of the field of marital and family therapy. They are to be prepared for licensure as a marriage and family therapist and for clinical membership in AAMFT.

The treatment and training model that guides our integrated approach to couple, sex and family therapy is the Intersystems Model. This is an integrated multi-systems approach that attends to individual, interactional, intergenerational and larger systems dynamics. The model was developed by the training faculty of the Council for Relationships through a half century of clinical practice.

The program is comprised of three tracks, mental health, clergy and sex therapy. All interns in the mental health and clergy tracks are expected to complete a total of 13 courses covering models of marriage and family therapy, the integration of therapy models, child and adolescent development from a systems perspective, sex therapy, diversity, ethics and research. Mindfulness Stress Management has been added to the academic program as a requirement. The Sex Therapy track requires 3 courses; two SARS and multiple workshops (see Sex Therapy Program for further details). The program offers specialization in the areas of relationship and sex therapy with an offering of three courses in each of these areas. All courses include material on diversity and non-discrimination and are taught from a systemic perspective. In addition the Post Graduate Program offers 13 Intensive Workshops on special topics in the field of MFT. These courses are offered on a ten week trimester basis. Most students take courses on a part-time basis and finish in two to four years. The Sex Therapy Program which is a track within the broader program, takes one year to complete.

The training program provides extensive clinical supervision with emphasis on each student developing his/her unique therapeutic voice. Students are assigned to individual supervisors for a two 5 month long semester over the academic year. Thus they experience multiple supervisory and clinical approaches. The supervisory modalities of videotape and live-supervision are heavily emphasized with students expected to demonstrate their clinical work on a regular basis. In addition there is a required for all intern to take the 15 week Live Supervision Course.

Please feel free to contact me directly with any questions you may have about the training program or other training opportunities at the Council for Relationships.

Bea Hollander-Goldfein, PhD, LMFT
Director of Training

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