Couple & Family Therapy

Develop specialized expertise 
in treating couples and families.

Develop specialized expertise
in treating couples and families.

Certificate in Couple and Family Therapy

The Certificate in Couple and Family Therapy (CFT) program enables qualified professionals to develop specialized expertise in treating couples and families. Professionals with a Master’s degree in psychology, social work and related mental health fields can build on prior training and experience by developing their skills in couple and family therapy. These additional skills can enhance current clinical work in a variety of mental health settings and could pave the way to licensure in marriage and family therapy in Illinois.

Students are trained to perceive individuals, couples and families from a systems perspective. The clinically-intensive course work and practicum experience provides students with strong conceptual, assessment, treatment planning and intervention skills based on the major models of couple and family therapy. The ability to work with families is particularly valuable for clinicians treating children and adolescents.

The Certificate in Couple and Family Therapy program is designed to help students meet the current academic and pre-degree training and education requirements for the Licensed Marriage and Family Therapy (LMFT) credential in the State of Illinois. Since licensure requirements change periodically and vary from state to state, it would be important for the student to plan their curriculum in order to meet the criteria for the state where they intend to practice.

Admission Requirements

  • A master’s degree in psychology, social work, or a related field from an accredited institution
  • A GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale for all undergraduate and graduate course work
  • Prerequisite graduate-level courses including the following: a minimum of nine semester hours in human development, personality theory, human sexuality, psychopathology, or behavioral pathology; three semester hours of professional issues and ethics; and three semester hours of research design, methods, and statistics
  • Coursework in basic counseling skills
  • Prior practicum and/or experience in the field is desirable though not required.

Approved applicants will be invited to a personal interview as a final step in the application process. Graduate-level course work previously completed at another college or university may be recognized for transfer of credit and will be evaluated on an individual basis by the Program Director. Students lacking any of the graduate-level prerequisite courses listed above can take Adler University courses from the Couple and Family Therapy program or the equivalent graduate-level courses at another college or university.

Certificate Curriculum

The following courses are required for this certificate. In addition, students in this program should consult with the Program Director to review previous graduate coursework and develop an individualized course of study.

  • Assessment of Treatment Planning with Individual Family Systems (3 credits)
  • Issues of Culture and Diversity in Couple and Family Therapy (3 credits)
  • Individual Life Span and the Family Life Cycle (3 credits)
  • Modern Models of Couple and Family Therapy (3 credits)
  • Post-Modern Models of Couple and Family Therapy (3 credits)
  • Family Therapy: Theory and Techniques (3 credits)
  • Therapy with Couples: Theory and Technique (3 credits)
  • Practicum I in CFT (1 credit)
  • Practicum II in CFT (if needed) (1 credit)
  • M.A. Practicum Seminar in CFT I (3 credits)
  • M.A. Practicum Seminar in CFT II (if needed) (3 credits)
  • Master’s Clinical Qualifying Exam (0 credits)

Specialized Practicum

In addition to specialized coursework in CFT, students in the Certificate in Couple and Family Therapy program will acquire and develop practical clinical skills in CFT through specialized field placements. Since the Certificate in Couple and Family Therapy is only open to students already holding a Master’s degree in a mental health discipline, it is assumed that such students have already completed a general clinical practicum and that the CFT practicum is an advanced specialty practicum.

Students should expect to spend from ten to twenty hours per week at an approved CFT practicum site and must concurrently enroll in two semesters of Practicum Seminars during their field training. A minimum of 500 clock hours of practicum is required with an emphasis on therapy with couples and families. At least 200 hours of direct clinical services with 75 hours of couple / family therapy is expected.

The Department of Community Engagement and the Director of the Couple and Family Therapy program work in collaboration with Certificate in Couple and Family Therapy students to identify clinical experiences which will meet the specialized needs of the couple and family therapy profession and the goals of the student. Additional resources are available in the Practicum Handbook and the database of CFT practicum sites available from the Training Department.