M.S. in Counseling Psychology (MFT)

Program Highlights

Cal Lutheran's Marital and Family Therapy program has several unique features that set it apart from other programs of its kind.

Meet Yasmin.

Counseling Centers

A special feature of the Marital and Family Therapy program is a 12-month practicum placement in one of our on-site Community Counseling Center program locations.

Both centers are low-cost community counseling facilities, which provide intensive on-site clinical training experience for graduate students. The clients who are seen by student therapists at the centers 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 incorporated, and up to 750 hours applicable to the California licensing requirement are obtained.

Clinical Specializations

The Marital and Family Therapy program curriculum has been designed to include six elective units for students to select a clinical specialization of their choice. This opportunity enables students to gain extra training in a clinical area and advance their knowledge in a specialized clinical topic. Specialization courses shift from year-to-year based on trends in the field and student interest in different topics. Our current specialization courses are:

  • Latino Counseling
    This track allows bilingual students and mental health professionals to focus on counseling within the context of the Latino cultural perspective.
  • Family Mediation
    This track prepares students and licensed professionals to work as Family Court mediators by exploring mental health and child development within the context of family disputes, legal issues, and resolution models.
  • The Recovery Model
    This track offers an in-depth exploration of the varied approaches to mental illness recovery, including assessment methods, analysis, and application of behavioral and social learning principles.
  • Attachment Theory
    Through collaboration with a renowned expert on attachment and the Mandalay Clinic, which meets the needs of women and children in the Oxnard area, this track integrates community-based field work with theories on attachment. Students and licensed professionals develop expertise on attachment and provide interventions to at-risk mothers and infants in Ventura County.
  • Psychological Trauma
    In the fall semester, "Psychological Trauma: Concepts and Theories" is structured as a survey class emphasizing the fundamental concepts, models, and theories of trauma. In the spring semester, "Psychological Trauma: Treatment and Intervention" focuses on trauma treatment and related issues.

Community Outreach Project

In addition to the 60-unit program, students in practicum are required to complete one community outreach presentation during their practicum, but are highly encouraged to do additional work if possible. They may choose the topic of the presentation and which group they wish to present to (a school, agency, clinic, etc.); however, this must be approved by the Director prior to the presentation. Verification that the presentation has been completed must be submitted and will be stored in the trainee's file. The purpose of the community outreach presentation is to foster trainee professional development, strengthen student networking skills, and to educate the community of available services and resources at our Community Counseling Centers.

Comprehensive Exams

Students in the Marital and Family Therapy program are preparing to become licensed marital and family therapists. To assist with their preparation, the program comprehensive exams are modeled after the CA state licensing exam. Students are exposed to the types of questions in the state licensing exams, the computer application of the examination, and a time limit consistent with the state licensing exam. This is a unique opportunity to practice for licensing during their training.

Cohort-based Program

Students in the Marital and Family Therapy program are part of a cohort. The cohort model allows students to start and complete the program together, as well as take classes and complete clinical training with the same group of students throughout the program. It also enhances students' educational experiences by adding to the traditional professor-student model, in which students are given the opportunity to build community ties, acquire leadership skills, and network in a professional manner with peers and future colleagues.

Each incoming class is separated into cohorts based on location and start date. Each year, two cohorts are created in Oxnard and two in Thousand Oaks. (One summer and one fall cohort in each location.)

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