Marriage and Family Therapy Specialization Program Overview
The MFT Program at Colorado State University (CSU) is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). The program is a clinical research preparation program that includes courses in Human Development and Family Studies, Marriage and Family Therapy, and Research. Additionally, the experience includes completing a thesis with an advisor and courses in practicum and internship in our on-campus clinical programs. MFT graduates go on to work as therapists in private practice and at mental health agencies and organizations. Some students enter doctoral programs including CSU’s Applied Human Sciences.
Marriage and Family Therapy Specialization Program Highlights
Program Missions and Goals
The mission of the Colorado State University Marriage and Family Therapy Master’s training program is to train students in accordance with the Professional Marriage and Family Therapy Principles (PMFTPS) to provide ethical, multiculturally-informed, evidence-based, and systemically oriented therapeutic services for a diverse population of individuals, couples and families within a variety of professional settings, including community, academic, and policy-making settings.
The CSU MFT training program is committed to training clinicians who understand diversity in clinical, research, academic, and policy-making settings and are skilled consumers and producers of research related to MFT. Graduates are trained to be ethically and culturally sensitive professionals who understand the societal dynamics of gender, race, class, sexual orientation, ability, ethnicity, culture, religion, etc. As clinicians, our graduates are trained to incorporate a social justice context into the therapeutic process. We are committed to training students in evidence-based practices with an understanding of the rigorous research practices required to effectively produce and consume research. At the core of the CSU MFT program philosophy is a belief that students learn best with an integration of experiential learning and academic training.
The CSU MFT program aims to graduate marriage and family therapists who successfully complete the clinical and academic training standards as guided by the PMFTPS which include the COAMFTE Core Competencies, the AAMFT code of ethics, and the state of Colorado MFT licensure regulations. The following are the program goals and student learning outcomes associated with each goal:
Goal 1: To prepare effective Marriage and Family Therapists.
- SLO1: Students will possess the competencies necessary to successfully and ethically conceptualize cases and facilitate admission to treatment.
- SLO2: Students will possess the competencies necessary to conduct effective and ethical clinical assessments and diagnoses of clients.
- SLO3: Students will possess the competencies necessary to conduct effective and ethical treatment planning and case management.
- SLO4: Students will possess the competencies necessary to employ effective and ethical therapeutic interventions.
- SLO5: Students will possess the competencies necessary to maintain compliance with ethical, legal, and professional standards in the practice of MFT.
- SLO8: Students will receive at least 500 clinical hours during the program.
- SLO9: Students will receive at least 100 hours of clinical supervision during the program.
Goal 2: To prepare Marriage and Family Therapists to responsibly serve diverse, marginalized, and underserved communities.
- SLO7: Students will demonstrate cultural competence in admitting clients to treatment, clinical assessment and diagnosis, treatment planning, therapeutic interventions, legal and ethical issues, and research and theory.
- SLO10: Students will provide therapeutic services in all community programs offered by the MFT Program that expressly serve diverse, marginalized, and underserved populations; specifically, the Center for Family and Couple Therapy, Campus Connections Therapeutic Mentoring Program for At-Risk Youth, and Center for Trauma and Resilience Assessments.
Goal 3: To prepare students to be critical consumers of and contributors to the MFT literature.
- SLO6: Students will possess the competencies necessary to apply relevant research to their clinical practice and to evaluate their own effectiveness as therapists.
- SLO11: Students will complete an original thesis research project.
Goal 4: To prepare students to be successful in accomplishing their chosen professional goals related to MFT.
- SLO12: Students will demonstrate professional identity as an MFT by becoming members of the AAMFT.
- SLO13: Graduates will demonstrate professional identity as an MFT by maintaining membership in AAMFT.
- SLO14: Graduates will pass the national or state-equivalent MFT licensure exam.
- SLO15: Graduates will gain licensure in MFT.
- SLO16: Graduates will secure employment, if desired, in the MFT field.
- SLO17: Graduates will secure employment, if desired, in other mental health organizations or other clinically-related field.
- SLO18: Students desiring a doctoral degree will secure acceptance into a PhD program.
Marriage and Family Therapy Specialization Retention Policy
We make every effort to ensure all students complete the MFT program successfully. Retention is a two-way street.
We continually strive to create a strong program so that students want to stay. This is done by collecting regular feedback from students, faculty and administrators, clients, and community partners. We use this feedback to continually improve the program. Students can refer to the MFT Policy and Procedures for Student Complaints, Concerns and Grievances in the MFT Program Clinical Administrative Manual.
We strive to provide students with a clear indication of their development and competence in all areas of the program so students will be able to successfully complete the program. If at any time a student is struggling with courses or thesis, the student and the instructor of the course or their thesis advisor will communicate about the issue and work together to resolve it. See the HDFS Graduate Handbook for further detail. During practicum and internship, all students will receive ongoing formal and informal feedback on their clinical skills. Students must be functioning at an (A) appropriately developing toward competence or (C) competent level. If at any point in the MFT program, a student is functioning at a level below (A) or (C) in any area of the AAMFT core competencies or the AAMFT Code of Ethics, the student will be given an unsatisfactory (UN) in that area and an action plan will be developed. At the beginning of the program, all students review this policy and sign an agreement that they have reviewed the AAMFT Core Competencies, AAMFT Code of Ethics, and the policy. (The blank form is saved on Canvas; the signed form is saved in each student’s Sdrive portfolio). Once a student receives a (UN), an action plan will be created with the student, the CFCT Director and the Program Director with the intention of setting goals to move toward success.
Retention is also a part of our Program Diversity Plan. A series of evaluation surveys are given to all MFT students at the end of each semester that include questions related to issues of diversity. Additionally, students are given information about advocacy and diversity support available at CSU. This information is on the CSU website, in the HDFS graduate handbook and is posted on the MFT Canvas site. Because diversity is a central value of our program, faculty and supervisors are expected to create a warm and welcoming environment for all students. Therefore, maintaining a social justice lens and attending to cultural issues are central to courses and supervision. MFT faculty and supervisors are expected to continue their cultural competence training in an on‐going fashion and diversity efforts by faculty are part of their annual evaluations with the department head. Faculty are also encouraged to be particularly sensitive to student requests that might be related to issues of identity and/or culture (i.e. issues related to religion or language). If a student leaves the program for any reason, an exit interview will be conducted. Among other questions, supervisors will assess if there was anything related to diversity issues that led to their departure.
Marriage and Family Therapy Specialization Diversity Statement
The Marriage and Family Therapy Specialization Program uses Colorado State University’s definition of diversity: “Colorado State University is committed to embracing diversity through the inclusion of individuals reflective of characteristics such as: age, culture, different ideas and perspectives, disability, ethnicity, first-generation status, familial status, gender identity and expression, geographic background, marital status, national origin, race, religious and spiritual beliefs, sex, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, physical appearance, medical diagnosis, documentation status, and veteran status with special attention given to populations historically underrepresented or excluded from participation in higher education. The University’s commitment to diversity is a longstanding one that reflects our role and mission as a land-grant institution.”
Students in the MFT program come from a variety of backgrounds and subscribe to a wide range of values and beliefs in their personal lives. They work as therapists in the CFCT and other settings where they see a variety of clients from diverse backgrounds who may have different values and beliefs from their therapists. MFT students are expected to show a willingness and ability to develop the skills to work with any type of client(s). While student therapists and their clients may not hold the same value systems, it is required that the clinical practice of our students is respectful of differing viewpoints and ensures best clinical practices in the field of MFT.
Our program is built on the Professional Marriage and Family Therapy Principles (PMFTPS). All of these require that therapists work with a variety of clients in a way that is non-discriminatory and multiculturally informed. This requires that student therapists differentiate their own personal values and beliefs from the therapeutic work they do with their clients. Faculty and clinical supervisors work with all student therapists to help them examine their own values and belief systems in ways that ensure they do not interfere with clients’ clinical progress.
2010 – 2018 Student Diversity:
- Females: 70
- Males: 16
- European-American: 70
- European: 1
- Asian-American: 4
- Hispanic-American: 5
- African-American: 1
- Malaysian: 1
- Carribean: 1
- Swedish: 1
- American-Indian or Alaska Native: 1
- No data: 1
M.S. in Human Development and Family Studies On-Campus Marriage & Family Therapy Clinical Programs
An important and highly unique aspect of the HDFS department is our on campus MFT Clinical Programs. Students acquire their 500 client contact hours and over 200 supervision hours in practicum and internship courses. All of these programs and centers serve the community in important ways while giving students opportunities to do meaningful therapy work in a variety of settings all on campus.
Center for Family and Couple Therapy
The Center for Family and Couple Therapy is a therapy center with one-way mirrors and video equipment for state of the art supervision and therapy training. Students take practicum courses where they serve as therapists in the CFCT under supervision that is “live” (using one way mirrors for immediate feedback and direction). As students successfully complete practicum hours in the CFCT, they enter internships also in the CFCT seeing clients without the live supervision model, using video and case note supervision and meeting weekly with a supervisor. Students also complete internship hours in Campus Connections and Child Trauma and Resilience Assessment Center. This practicum to internship format fully prepares students for working in agencies, private practice, and other settings upon graduation. The CFCT serves a wide variety of presenting problems and diversity of clients from the community.
Campus Connections: Therapeutic Mentoring for At-Risk Youth
Campus Connections (CC) is a program where community agencies (i.e. Youth Probation, Juvenile District Attorney’s office, Department of Human Services, School Truancy/suspended/expelled programs, Detention Centers) refer at-risk youth to a 12-week on-campus structured mentoring program. MFT students work as therapists with the youth and their families in a variety of ways in a setting that mirrors a treatment center or residential youth center. This prepares our students to work with adolescents and with broader systems in the community such as schools and the court system.
Child Trauma and Resilience Assessment Center
- Child Trauma and Resilience Assessment Center (CTRAC)is a program dedicated to providing high quality, child-centered, and comprehensive assessments to children who have experienced multiple and complex traumas. Our assessments are strength-based and collaborative in nature, and reflect the impact of trauma on a child’s neurodevelopment, relationships, self-concept and day-to-day functioning. We provide creative recommendations focused on building children’s self-efficacy, support system, and self-regulation. MFT students work in the center which prepares them to be able to identify and intervene with a variety of trauma-related symptoms and behaviors. It also prepares our students to be trauma-informed in their therapy practice.