M.S. in Counseling Psychology (MFT)

Marital and Family Therapy

Program Details

The focus of this program is on developing an integration of academic knowledge and clinical skills.

The Master of Science in Counseling Psychology (MFT) is a 60-credit program, which prepares the student to become a professional Marital and Family Therapist. It is designed to meet the 2012 requirements (SB 33) for the California state license in marital and family therapy.

Licensing by the California Board of Behavioral Science Examiners requires a master's degree with specified content, supervised counseling experience, a post-master's internship, and written and oral examinations.

A Complex Undertaking

Marital and family therapy has been described by the American Association of Marital and Family Therapists as "one of the most delicate and complex undertakings in the whole field of the helping professions."

It requires all the skills taught in the usual academic training program for counseling and therapy, and in addition, a considerable amount of preparation in the dynamics of interpersonal interaction within marriage and the family setting.

Also required is a thorough understanding of the varied roles of husband and wife, and the understanding of the psychodynamics of the individual and his/her perceptions of him/herself as a marital partner and member of the family.

In addition, the family therapist needs specific preparation in the issues of child and adolescent clients as well as issues arising from the early life of adult clients.

Academic Knowledge & Clinical Skills

The Counseling Psychology (MFT) program is designed to prepare the student for this undertaking from a perspective which takes into account the human being as a whole person with physical, mental, emotional and spiritual dimensions, and which focuses on the family as an interactive system.

The focus of this program is on developing an integration of academic knowledge and clinical skills so that, at the time of graduation, students are well prepared as beginning marital and family therapists. In addition, students develop personal insights and communication skills to enable them to work effectively in a wide variety of settings.

Over the years, graduates of the CLU program have an outstanding record of obtaining internships, passing the state licensing examinations, and establishing successful practices in both private and institutional fields.

Counseling Practicum


A special feature of the California Lutheran University Counseling Psychology (MFT) program is a 12-month practicum placement in the Community Counseling and Parent Child Study Center.

The Center is a low-cost community counseling facility, which provides an intensive on-site clinical training experience for graduate students.

The clients who are seen by student therapists at the Center provide experience in working with a full range of marital, family and child problems. Individual supervision, group supervision, staff training, peer support and shared learning experiences, in an atmosphere designed to facilitate growth as a therapist, create exceptional opportunities.

Each student therapist experiences a variety of client types, client problems and therapeutic approaches. Work as a sole therapist and as a co-therapist is included, and up to 500 hours applicable to the California licensing requirement are obtained. A fee is required in addition to tuition for the counseling practicum experience.

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