The Ph.D. with a focus in Medical Family Therapy is designed for students who already have a master's degree and who show promise in advancing the filed of Medical Family Therapy and Collaborative Health Care through research, training and clinical work.
Doctoral students will learn how to work within medical systems and collaborate with medical providers as they provide mental health care to patients and their families who are experiencing physical, emotional, relational and spiritual difficulties related to acute and chronic illnesses. The training focuses on collaborative, multidisciplinary and multidimensional approaches to treatment. The biopsychosocial-spiritual model and other systematic models are emphasized as frameworks for both clinical practice and outreach.
This program of study provides students with rigorous education, training, and research experiences that prepare them as professionals qualified to work in universities, medical schools and residency programs, medical clinics, and private and public research firms. Students are mentored by faculty at both the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) and the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) as they gain experience and expertise in collaborative health care practice and research.
Students have opportunities to gain experience providing clinical work in collaborative care settings. Students are placed in outpatient medical clinics affiliated with UNMC where there is a history of collaborative care practice. In these settings, students learn from both program faculty and supervisors and medical personnel the skills needed to succeed in collaborative care environments.
Students have opportunities to gain experience in research related to medical family therapy. The program faculty have established research agendas promoting the practice of medical family therapy and the interaction between physical health, mental health and relational/family functioning. Students will be mentored by these researchers and have opportunities to participate in on-going research as they develop their own research agenda and prepare for their dissertation. The program requirements include the completion of a substantial original research project in an area related to medical family therapy under the supervision of a program faculty member (a dissertation).
Program Requirements: This 95 credit (minimum) program can be completed in 3-4 years. Students must have a master's degree prior to beginning doctoral coursework. Recommended are master's degrees and/or clinical training or experience that emphasizes the provision of psychotherapy to families and couples. Graduate of COAMFTE accredited programs are particularly well positioned for the doctoral program in Medical Family Therapy, however, those with master's degrees in other mental health professions are also encouraged to apply. Students may transfer in coursework from other institutions as approved by their supervisory committee. Refer to the Ph.D. Handbook for details about how this is done.
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Graduate Faculty: The Medical Family Therapy program includes seven full-time faculty members in the Department of Child, Youth and Family Studies (CYAF) at the UNL and the Department of Family Medicine and the Department of Internal Medicine at the UNMC. Program faculty also work closely with other faculty in CYAF who specialize in child development, family science, and family financial management. The clinical faculty members are:
Richard Bischoff, Ph.D., UNL, Professor and Interim Department Chair, Department of Child, Youth and Family Studies.
Katherine Daniels, M.S., UNMC, Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine.
Cody S. Hollist, PhD, UNL, Assistant Professor and MFT Interim Director, Department of Child, Youth and Family Studies.
Layne A. Prest, Ph.D., UNMC, Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine.
Allison M. J. Reisbig, Ph.D., UNL, Assistant Professor, Department of Child, Youth and Family Studies
The Family Resource Center (FRC), is a mental health treatment facility located on the UNL East Campus through which students receive clinical training and provide therapy. The FRC serves a clientele composed of individuals, couples, and families from Lincoln and the surrounding areas. Behavioral telehealth services are also offered through the FRC to clients in rural Nebraska counties. The FRC has four comfortable and private therapy rooms. All clinical services provided at the FRC are carefully supervised by Approved Supervisors of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Therapy rooms are equipped for supervision purposes with videotaping equipment and one-way mirrors. Opportunities exist for conducting clinical research through the FRC.
The Department of Family Medicine at UNMC has six family medicine clinics throughout the greater Omaha area in which students receive clinical experience and training. These clinics serve a diverse population seeking primary care services. Students receive experience collaborating with medical providers, participating on treatment teams, and providing mental health care to patients and their families dealing with chronic medical conditions, co-occuring mental health problems (primarily mood and anxiety disorders), and family and relationship problems. All students participate in a weekly clinic experience at Durham Outpatient Center in which they receive live supervision of their clinical work from program faculty. The Durham Outpatient Center has therapy rooms with audio-video taping equipment and closed circuit viewing capabilities, allowing for live supervision of clinical work.
The Center for Child, Youth, Families and Communities (CYFS) is a Center housed within the College of Education and Human Sciences whose mission is to advance research within the college. CYFS provides research design and statistics expertise and grant writing assistance to faculty and graduate students within the college. CYFS also provides an on-going series of workshops on research methodology that is available to both students and faculty.
The Nebraska Evaluation and Research Center (NEAR Center) is a center within the College of Education and Human Sciences who mission is to provide assistance with statistical design, measurement and research. Consultation is free to graduate students within the Medical Family Therapy program.
Research support services are also available at UNMC. Other University resources such as libraries are also available to support student work.
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