Marriage & Family Therapy
The Master of Science degree in Marriage and Family Therapy was offered for the first time in the fall of 1993. Harding’s goal has been to provide quality training that prepares its MSMFT graduates to serve as therapists in agencies, inpatient psychiatric or residential settings, counseling ministers in congregations, as counselors in private mental health practices and in various other capacities in psychotherapeutic settings.
- The Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy consists of 60 semester hours course work, 500 hours of face-to-face direct-client-contact therapy (with at least 40% being with couples and families), and 100 hours of faculty supervision (of which 50% or more should be individual supervision). Recommendation for the granting of the MSMFT degree requires the completion of prescribed course work with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and completion of the client contact and supervision hours.
Students seeking to become Licensed Professional Counselors in Arkansas (and other states) are encouraged to take six (6) additional hours, which are offered by our program, thus meeting the academic requirements for LPC as well.
- Students are required to demonstrate working knowledge of the DSM-5 prior to beginning practicum. Students must indicate A or B level of competence in MFT 611 or satisfy remedial work approved by the program director. Practicum in the Clinic may begin during the latter part of the spring semester. Beginning date is determined by client load and contact hours of the second year class.
- Third semester initiates clinical practicum (3 hours) and nine (9) hours of academic course load. Students will continue practicum for four semesters, and are evaluated continuously during that period.
- In addition to completion of course work and 500 hours of therapy, students are required to demonstrate pre-professional competence in the following areas before final approval for graduation: personal maturity and integrity, adherence to Harding University’s Code of Conduct, conceptual understanding of personal and interpersonal behavior, familiarity with marriage and family theory and therapy literature, coherent therapeutic methodology, insight into own personality, and sound ethical judgment culminating in a satisfactory internship experience.
Semester 1 (fall)
General Systems Theories
Basic Counseling Skills
Diagnosis of Abnormal Behavior/DSM/Psychopathology
Life Span Development/Parent Child Interaction
Semester 2 (spring)
Theoretical Foundations of MFT
Domestic Abuse (Physical & Sexual)
Ethical, Legal & Professional Issues
Communication & Language Models
Semester 3 (summer)
Group Processes (Intersession)
Research Methods in MFT (Summer 1)
Human Sexuality & Therapy (Summer 2)
Practicum (Summer 2)
Semester 4 (fall)
Substance Abuse Counseling
Semester 5 (spring)
Whitaker and Brief Solution Focused Models
Seminar in Professional Practice
Semester 6 (summer)
Psychological Testing (Intersession)
Psychopharmacology (Summer 1)
Social & Cultural Diversity* (Summer 2)
Practicum [if needed] (Summer 2)
*Course required for LPC
600. GENERAL SYSTEMS THEORY. (3) Fall.
A study of the historical development of systems theory and cybernetics as these relate to human interactions. An integration of these principles with clinical concerns and practical treatment issues. A conceptualization of the critical epistemological issues in marriage and family therapy.
601. THEORETICAL FOUNDATIONS OF MFT. (3) Spring.
Major theories of marital and family relations and their therapeutic implications are examined. Attention is given to dysfunctional manifestations within family systems and factors related to family strengths. Students will be given a comprehensive survey of the major models of system change that will include but not be limited to: structural, strategic, intergenerational, contextual, behavioral, experiential, and systemic.
613. MARITAL THERAPY. (3) Fall.
A focus on two major interdependent components: diagnosis/assessment and treatment processes. Within the context of marital and family systems, students will learn to diagnose and treat both dysfunctional relationship patterns and nervous and mental disorders within the marital dyad. An emphasis will be given to premarital counseling, human sexuality and treatment of sexual dysfunctions, dyadic interventions from a social-learning perspective, divorce, and remarriage.
614. WHITAKER AND BRIEF SOLUTION FOCUSED MODELS. (3) Spring.
Theoretical underpinnings and clinical application of the Bowenian, Experiential, and Brief solution focused family therapy models.
616. DOMESTIC ABUSE (PHYSICAL & SEXUAL). (3) Spring.
A study of Marriage and Family Therapy with family abuse. Emphasis is on spouse and child abuse which includes physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. This course will address therapeutic approaches that address intervention in ongoing abuse as well as healing in the aftermath of abuse.
620. ETHICAL, LEGAL, AND PROFESSIONAL ISSUES. (3) Spring.
Students will be assisted in the development of a professional identity as a Marriage and Family Therapist and/or counselor. Areas of study will include professional organizations and their utility in the practice of therapy; licensure and certification; legal responsibilities and liabilities of clinical practice; Family law; confidentiality and privilege; AAMFT’s and ACA’s code of ethics; and inter-professional cooperation. The content of this course will be specific to the practice of mental health therapy.
630. LIFE SPAN DEVELOPMENT/PARENT CHILD INTERACTION. (3) Fall.
Theories and research in parent/child interaction and individual development throughout the life span.
631. HUMAN SEXUALITY & SEX THERAPY. (3) Summer.
A study of gender and sexuality as they relate to marital and family therapy. An emphasis will be placed on an introduction to the field of sex therapy; understanding sexual dysfunction; and on working with couples presenting with sexual difficulties.
690. PRACTICUM. (3) Summer.
691. PRACTICUM. (3) Fall.
692. PRACTICUM. (3) Spring.
693. PRACTICUM. (3) As needed if hours are incomplete.
Clinical training integrates didactic and clinical material. Each of these practicums is a part-time clinical experience which is completed concurrently with didactic course work. A practicum typically results in five-ten direct contact hours per week and includes such activities as supervision, staff meetings, community relations, and record keeping. Both in-house practica with intense supervision by core MFT faculty, and off-site practica, are provided to insure diversity of clientele and supervision.
*Upon completion of one semester, graduate students will be reviewed by the MFT committee and assess preparation for clinical practica. Students will be notified, in writing, if additional preparation is required prior to beginning the first clinical practicum.