The 48-credit hour Master of Family Therapy (M.F.T.) Degree at Mercer University School of Medicine prepares students to become Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists in Georgia and other states and for clinical membership in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). The program of study is derived from components of the Professional Marriage and Family Therapy Principles (PMFTPs), which include the M.F.T. Core Competencies; the AAMFT Code of Ethics; the Association of Martial and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB) Examination Domains, Task Statements, and Knowledge Statements; and Georgia licensure laws. With full-time study, a student completes graduation requirements in a minimum of six semesters.
The program includes 13 classroom-based courses taught at night in Macon and during the day in Atlanta (39 credit hours), a six-semester professional development seminar series, and a year-long (nine credit hours) clinical practicum. The Mercer M.F.T. program curriculum is based upon a comprehensive and substantive understanding of human development, family dynamics, systemic thinking, interactional theories, traditional and contemporary marriage and family therapy theories, research, and the cultural context in which they are embedded. The logical structure and sequence of the curriculum represents a flow from broad context to specificity, from introductions of foundational theories and frameworks of family systems and human development to increasingly more specialized and sophisticated theory-to-practice linkages and skill development. A focus on the importance of research-informed clinical practice is evident from the first semester with course readings that present empirical studies as well as theoretical and philosophical frameworks (e.g., multicultural, feminist, biopsychosocial/spiritual).
One of the largest considerations of how to prioritize the sequence of courses involves preparing students to enter practicum placements in the community and see clients at the Mercer Family Therapy Centers. During the clinical practicum, students earn 500 direct client contact hours (200 of which are relational) and 100 hours of supervision from AAMFT-approved supervisors. Coursework is prioritized to facilitate a smooth entry into clinical practicum, recognizing that students are in a wide range of settings and dealing with very diverse presenting problems. Practicum is structured to gently guide students into direct client contact by first allowing them to observe, then role play, followed by joining real cases as team members, and then finally to building their own caseload.
Theory to practice linkages culminate in the capstone paper and presentation in which students carefully analyze their own clinical work and articulate in theoretical terms not only how they are actually conducting therapy but also why they are making the choices they make in practice.
|Professional Development Seminar Series||Credit Hours|
|MFT601||Professional Development Seminar I||0|
|MFT602||Professional Development Seminar II||0|
|MFT603||Professional Development Seminar III||0|
|MFT604||Professional Development Seminar IV||0|
|MFT605||Professional Development Seminar V||0|
|MFT606||Professional Development Seminar VI||0|
|MFT610||Foundations of Family Studies||3|
|MFT620||Diversity and Social Justice||3|
|MFT625||Theories of Family Therapy||3|
|MFT630||Assessment of Diagnosis in Family Therapy||3|
|MFT635||Foundational Skills in Practicum||3|
|MFT640||Clinical Treatment with Children, Adolescents and Families||3|
|MFT645||Addiction in Family Systems||3|
|MFT650||Ethical, Legal and Professional Practice in Family Therapy||3|
|MFT655||Couples Therapy (Pre-requisite MFT625)||3|
|MFT660||Clinical Family Therapy Research Models||3|
|Total Required Hours||36|
|Electives (One required)|
|MFT680||Special Topics in Marriage and Family Therapy||3|
|MFT681||Grief and Loss Across the Lifespan||3|
|MFT690||Foundations in Integrated Behavioral Health and Medical Family Therapy||3|
|MFT691||Cancer, Chronic Illness and Lifestyle Medicine||3|
|MFT692||Stress, Social Relationships and Ecology of Well-Being||3|
|MFT693||Practicum and Mechanisms of Change in Medical Family Therapy||3|
|Total Elective Hours||3|
|M.F.T. Practicum Sequence (three semesters minimum)|
|Total Practicum Hours||9|
|Total Degree Program Hours||48|