Marriage and Family Therapy
Marriage and Family Therapy Master of Science (M.S.)
The MFT program at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln is designed to prepare future Marriage and Family Therapists for work as ethical, systemic, and relationally-focused mental health clinicians. Many of our MFT graduates go on to work as therapists in private or group practice, or within agency, hospice, or hospital settings.
Our program has been fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) since 1993. The COAMFTE is the standard setting organization for family therapy training recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. The coursework for this degree meets the educational requirements for licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist in 49 of the 50 United States (additional coursework is required for licensure in California).
Our MFT students blend clinical course work with research training and clinical experience so they are well prepared to enter doctoral programs or practice from an empirically-validated family systems perspective, depending on which option of study they choose. The MFT program at UNL is unique in that we are one of the few master's programs in the country to offer training and certification in Medical Family Therapy. We also are pioneers in utilizing distance technology to deliver mental health treatment to underserved populations, and offer distance therapy internships to our students who display an interest in this field.
An important aspect of training in this specialization includes the skills acquired in our state-of-the-art training facility, the Couple and Family Clinic within UNL’s Family Resource Center, as a therapist-trainee. Training also includes 12 month internship placements in both urban and rural settings, which leads students to acquire a minimum of 500 direct client contact hours, 250 of which are relational. MFT students receive over 100 hours of combined individual supervision and group supervision based on live observation of client sessions, therapist report, and videotape of client sessions from a variety of AAMFT Approved Supervisors and Supervisor Candidates with diverse backgrounds and clinical experiences.
The mission of the University of Nebraska’s Marriage and Family Therapy Master’s program is to train and educate multi-culturally informed, systemic, ethically competent, highly-qualified Marriage and Family Therapists for work within the modern-day mental health field. Our program aims to train clinicians to meet the needs of underserved, rural, and minority populations in Nebraska while they utilize the inclusion of globally diverse perspectives in mental health treatment. This mission is supported by our program’s philosophy and goals, which are rooted in professional identification as MFTs and the core competencies as set forth by COAMFTE. Our program provides students with unique opportunities to serve this mission through international engagement and study abroad experiences, practicum in integrative tele-mental health services, and an emphasis on addressing mental health disparities in underserved and rural populations.
UNL’s MFT program is committed to training ethical, effective, systemic clinicians who have a strong professional identity as Marriage and Family Therapists. The program faculty believes that good clinical training can only occur through the integration of theory, practice, research, and knowledge. Special attention is paid to students’ self-of-the-therapist development as faculty guide cohort members through understanding how their own values, beliefs, and experiences have the potential to impact the way they view individuals, families, and mental health treatment. Our MFT students follow a prescribed plan of study that begins with being grounded in theory and knowledge of systems philosophy, and is incrementally augmented with clinical practice and research experience. Students are expected throughout the program to demonstrate how both theory and research inform their clinical work and client progress, as well as their understanding of human conditions. Our faculty believe a strong understanding of how cultural identity and experience impact individuals from within and between themselves and others is imperative to sound practice.
The MFT program at UNL aims to graduate Marriage and Family Therapists who successfully complete the clinical and academic training standards as informed by the AAMFT Professional Marriage and Family Therapy Principles. These include integration of the AAMFT code of ethics, the COAMFTE Core Competencies, and Nebraska state MFT licensure requirements into goals rooted in knowledge, practice, research, ethics, and diversity. Our program:
- Teaches students to use knowledge of systemic principles, theories, and research to develop a cohesive theoretical approach to treatment.
- Graduates students who are able to illustrate the effectiveness of their personalized theoretical approach in assessment, diagnosis, case conceptualization, and intervention in the treatment of individuals, couples and families.
- Creates an inclusive environment which attends to components of diversity, power, and privilege in mental health treatment. Multi-cultural competence is stressed in the areas of self-of-therapist awareness, client engagement, client assessment and diagnosis, and treatment planning.
- Instills in students the importance of and ability to maintain compliance with ethical, legal, and professional standards in the practice of MFT.
Program Diversity Statement
Our belief is that diversity is an overarching concept that is the inclusion, consideration, and respect of varying cultures, religions, sexual orientations, gender expressions, ethnicities, viewpoints, values, and experiences of the individuals who make up our world. Operating from a truly systemic framework, the MFT program at UNL emphasizes the need to be knowledgeable of those cultures which may not be represented by the student and/or faculty bodies, and how these diverse cultures need to be incorporated into academia, practice, and research.
Our current student body consists of 15 graduates, 14% of whom are male and 86% of whom are women. 20% are native to Nebraska while 79% come from various regions all over the country. One student is an international student from Malaysia. 87% identify as being of European American decent, 6.5% identifies as Hispanic, and 6.5% identifies as Asian. 27% speak multiple languages.
Of the four core MFT faculty members, 75% are men and 25% are women. 25% percent identify as Hispanic and 75% identify as being of European American decent. 50% are bi-lingual. 100% have international experience in academia, research, curriculum development, and/or clinical practice.
There are ten on-site and off-site supervisors for the program, 90% of whom are AAMFT Approved Supervisors or Approved Supervisor Candidates. 10% are considered to be of “Supervisor Equivalency.” 70% identify as being of European-American decent, and 30% identify as Hispanic. 40% are bilingual.
Not so easily documented in a demographic mark up is the wide range of values, beliefs, and backgrounds that make up our student, faculty, and supervisor bodies. We aim to teach our students how to hear, consider, and value multiple viewpoints and experiences of diverse client populations. They gain real-life experience in this practice when they work as therapists in the Couple and Family Clinic and in urban and rural community-based internships, where they see a variety of clients who may have different values and beliefs from their own. MFT students are expected to show a willingness and ability to develop the skills to work with any type of individual, couple, or family; and must be able to evaluate their own values and beliefs and how these can either support or interfere with client progress.
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Application to this program
*The College of Education and Human Sciences requires all students admitted into a campus program to complete a background check before the start of their first semester.
Cost of attendance will differ from one student to another. Please see the Graduate Studies' tuition and fees webpage for more info.
Deadline: December 1.
Required materials:Graduate Studies Application
TOELF (if applicable)
Statement of Professional Goals
Three Letters of Reference
Other Application Materials
This program can be completed in 2 years, including summers, involving 51 credit hours of course work requirements. Our Marriage and Family Therapy Policies and Procedures Manual (link below) contains detailed information on our coursework requirements, professional and developmental expectations, program calendar, and policies and procedures of the Couple and Family Clinic; however, the following is a short list of the program requirements:
Training involves academic course work (51 credits) and supervised clinical experience. Each trainee must complete a 12-month practicum experience in which the student works with clients both at the on-campus clinic and an off-campus community agency
- Students must provide a minimum of 500 direct therapy hours, 250 of which must be with couples and/or families. 100 hours of supervision must be obtained during that clinical training
- Complete a thesis or minor
Supervised Clinical Experience: The supervision of clinical experience is essential during the training phase of providing therapy to individuals and families. The majority of MFT faculty members are Approved Supervisors or Supervisor Candidates with the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). Faculty supervisors meet with the students weekly in both group and individual supervision. Supervision with faculty supervisors typically involves students presenting videotapes of their clinical work, or live observation of providing therapy. The faculty supervisors work with the community agency supervisors throughout the practicum year.
Required Core Classes
- CYAF 846 Addiction and Violence
- CYAF 865 Research Design and Methods
- CYAF 951 Theoretical Foundations of Marriage and Family Therapy
- CYAF 952 Psychopathology and Dysfunctional Interactions
- CYAF 953 Issues and Ethics for Family Professionals
- CYAF TBA Multicultural Competency in Mental Health Care
- CYAF 955 Clinical Family Therapy
- CYAF 956 Couples and Sex Therapy
- CYAF 989 Family Therapy with Young Children
- CYAF 997 Advanced Practicum in Family Therapy (a 4-course series)
- EDPS 860: Applications of Selected Advanced Statistics (may be waived if Statistics requirement was met at the undergraduate level)
Core faculty, advisors, and supervisors in this program area include: