Mission, Goals, and Student Learning Outcomes

Mission

As an AAMFT accredited Post Graduate Certificate Program in Marriage and Family Therapy, Council for Relationships is charged with the responsibility of training marriage and family therapists who will then be responsible for the welfare of their clients and represent the highest standard of clinical practice. The instructors and supervisors are the gatekeepers of the MFT field. It is our mandate to provide an excellent education in systemic therapies in the realm of both didactic learning and clinical practice, and to prepare our graduates to practice ethically and competently with culturally diverse populations.  We are responsible not just for the professional growth of the therapist-in-training, but also for their personal growth, so that the graduates of the Council Post Graduate Program effectively help their clients achieve the successful resolution of their difficulties and achieve happier and more satisfying lives. The accomplishment of this goal guides the programmatic development and implementation of the Post Graduate Program. When we submit a transcript to the Pennsylvania Board of Examiners for MFT licensure, we are attesting to the intern’s successful completion of the didactic requirements and partial completion of the clinical requirements to become an independent practitioner. It is our duty and a source of great satisfaction to be on the front line, training the next generation of marriage and family therapists.

 

Goals

#1 – that students completing the program have acquired, through didactic, experiential and clinical learning modalities, a firm knowledge foundation in  relational/systemic approaches to clinical treatment that is ethical and multi-culturally informed .

#2 – that students completing the program are able to practice competently, effectively and ethically with diverse clinical and cultural populations, using a systemic orientation to their clinical work.

#3 – that students completing the program are prepared to assume professional roles in the community and to represent a high standard of clinical practice.

#4 – that students completing the program have the skills to become life-long learners, able to evaluate and incorporate new developments in the field.

 

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Students are expected to obtain competency in MFT Theory and Clinical Application by studying the following knowledge areas:

1.1 Systemic Models

Students will learn the theoretical bases and clinical applications of the current models of systemic couple and family therapy

1.2 Common factors and Integration of Models

Students will learn about common factors in marriage and family therapy and the integration of approaches into a broadly conceptualized approach to systemic practice. The Post Graduate program instructs students in the overall framework utilized at the Council for Relationships called the Intersystem Approach.

1.3 Therapeutic Alliance

Students will learn about the importance of and primary role of the Therapeutic Alliance and the role of working from the clients’ frame of reference to promote change. This includes therapist self awareness and the capacity for attunement to the clients’ experience.

1.4 Basic Therapeutic Skills

Students will learn the basic therapeutic skills that define effective therapy. These skills will be discussed clinically in supervision and the competency achieved by the student will be assessed on the Supervision Evaluation Form.

1.5 Systemic Therapeutic Interventions

Students will learn to conceptualize therapy as a process with direct impact on relational patterns based on the differentiation of content from process. Students will learn process interventions. Students will learn to use the genogram as a depiction of family dynamics and family of origin influences on current relationship dynamics.

1.6 Human Development

Students will learn about human development, both child and adult, and how development within family systems impacts both the expression of individual potential and the capacity for engagement in human relationships. Students will learn about the specifics of sexual development, functioning and engagement in intimate relationships.

1.7 Human Sexuality

Students will learn about specific problem areas in the lives of individuals, couples and families and how these problems contribute to the expression of systemic dysfunction and how they exacerbate systemic dysfunction. Students will learn how to address these problems therapeutically and when to involve other professional expertise

1.8 Diversity Factors

Students will learn about the diversity of human lifestyles that reflect differences related to gender, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, gender identity, sexual orientation, spiritual and religious beliefs, health status, disability and political beliefs. Students will learn how these diverse factors influence individual and family dynamics.

1.9 Ethics and Professional MFT Practice

Students will learn the AAMFT Code of Ethics and the guidelines for therapeutic practice that defines reputable and competent professional help. Students will also learn about governmental legislation that defines aspects of clinical practice and how legal issues define what MFTs can or cannot do under certain circumstances. Students will learn the professional and ethical definition of the field of Marriage and Family Therapy.

1.10 Self of the Therapist

Students will engage in the exploration of self in the development of competency as a systemic therapist leading to personal growth as a foundation for professional growth.

1.11 Special Topics

Students will learn about specific problem areas in the lives of individuals, couples and families and how these problems contribute to the expression of systemic dysfunction and how they exacerbate systemic dysfunction. Students will learn how to address these problems therapeutically and when to involve other professional expertise

1.12 Research

Students will learn what it means to be a research-informed clinician within the context of CFT approaches, and how to become a discerning consumer of research.  Students will learn skills needed to acquire, critically evaluate, and integrate research findings into clinical decision-making through collaborative exploration of research on common factors in CFT, outcome and process research related to various systemic models, and patient-focused research that monitors treatment progress. Students will learn to value and integrate multiple sources of empirical evidence, from research as well as first-hand clinical observations and patient feedback, and will develop a nuanced understanding of the advantages and risks of the growing trend toward “evidence-based practice” in CFT and psychotherapy more generally.

2. Students will demonstrate clinical competence in the treatment of diverse individuals, couples and families through the effective utilization of the following basic therapy skills and systemic therapy skills:

2.1 Conceptual and Perceptual Skills

2.2 Executive Skills

2.3 Professional Skills

2.4 Evaluation Skills

2.5 Personal Skills

3. Students will demonstrate cooperative classroom behavior, as well as competency in ethical and professional conduct.

4. Students will see 500 face-to-face hours with clients under licensed supervision with a systemic focus.

5. Students will participate in supervision that is based on the direct observation of raw data: video, audio or live for at least 50% of the supervision time focused on case presentations.

6. Graduates are expected to pursue professional licensure in MFT or other mental health discipline once they complete the clinical and supervision requirements that enable them to sit for the exam. Graduates will have at least a 70% passing rate for the licensure exam in MFT.