June 1, 2024, is the deadline to apply for CFR’s Fall 2024 Postgraduate Certificate Program cohort in Marriage & Family Therapy, Sex Therapy, and Clergy track. Apply here.



Council for Relationships has been an innovator and change agent since 1932.

We Got Our Start as The Marriage Council of Philadelphia

Dr. Emily Hartshorne Mudd founded the Marriage Council of Philadelphia in 1932 with the goal of helping couples build healthier relationships and providing women with information on birth control. At the time, the field was so new that there were only two other organizations doing similar work in the U.S. and no training programs existed for marriage counselors. Under Dr. Mudd’s direction the Marriage Council became the first center in the country to establish a program to evaluate the effectiveness of counseling.

Following World War II, the Navy became concerned with the problems that sailors and their families experienced upon the sailors’ return home from the war. In response, the Veterans Administration established neuropsychiatric residencies with the Marriage Council, which became an integral part of their training. A grant from the Department of the Navy also provided for the training of its chaplains in marital counseling. This is how the Marriage Council training program initially came into existence, in 1948.

“Emily Mudd encouraged and helped shape the field of marriage and family life education and was among the first to address the dimension of sexuality as a vital factor in family life care.”

William Masters

Masters & Johnson Research Group

Dr. Mudd’s tenure as Executive Director of the Marriage Council of Philadelphia helped to lay the groundwork for the field of professional marriage and family counseling. She became the first female professor at the University of Pennsylvania medical school. In 1952 the Marriage Council affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania. It introduced the country’s first course on family, marriage, and sex counseling and provided courses for undergraduates as well as courses and internships for medical students.

In the mid-1950s, the Council 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. In 1958, the Internal Revenue Service recognized the organization in section 501(c)3 of its code as organized and operated exclusively for charitable and educational purposes.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the nonprofit organization collaborated with the Masters and Johnson research group and developed a strong focus on sex therapy and research. 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 post graduate certificate program in marital and family therapy.

During the 1980s and 1990s, the nonprofit shifted its focus back to individual, couple, and family therapy while continuing affiliations with the University of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson University, Widener University, and Temple University.

Today We Are Council for Relationships

In recognition of societal changes and the increasing diversity of types of relationships, we changed our name to Council for Relationships (CFR). More than 5,000 people benefit from our programs each year. CFR has been a leader in the field with consistent growth and improvement since 1932 and will continue to grow and evolve based on the needs of the communities and people we serve now and in the future.

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