M.A. MFT, African-American Family Studies Specialization

Program Description

Through the African-American Family Studies program, students explore mental health theory and practice from a deeply culture-centered perspective. Graduates gain a broad understanding of marriage and family therapy as well as specialized knowledge of the diverse mental health needs of African-American children and families. The curriculum is informed by the UJIMA model of collective work and responsibility, with the goal of developing marriage and family therapists who are highly competent in serving and advocating for the mental health needs of African-American families.

The program prepares students to use a culturally relevant approach to therapy and utilizes an historical lens in the learning style that will help individuals, couples, and families of African descent build on their strengths, improve their relationships, and generate solutions to relational problems. Students complete their clinical training hours in community agencies serving African-American families, and are supervised and mentored, when possible, by licensed African-American mental health professionals. They also complete a Master's Thesis Project focusing in an area of relevance to the mental health needs of African-American families. The student body consists primarily, but not exclusively, of self-identified African-American students, and the faculty consists primarily, but not exclusively, of mental health specialists and academics with intimate knowledge and experience of the African-American community's mental health needs. The program is open to all people who wish to specialize in serving the mental health needs of African-American families and communities.

  • May be completed in three years full time.
  • Offered in a "cohort" model in which all students progress through the program together at the same pace, creating a growing trust, intimacy, and bonding among students within the specialization.

Locations

POC:Pasadena, CA

School

Cultural and Family Psychology

Total Credits

62

Licensure

Prepares graduates to sit for the California MFT licensing exam.
Existing coursework, plus the addition of an optional elective, meets requirements for Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) Licensure.

Fieldwork Requirements

100% of students secure clinical training placements within community agencies—enabling students to complete the pre-graduate portion of the 3,000 supervised hours required for the California MFT licensing exam.

Prerequisites

  • Bachelor's degree from an accredited University
  • Credit for Life Experience: Students may be eligible to waive the bachelor's degree requirement if they have at least 10 years of verifiable work experience, have successfully completed Reflections on Life Experience coursework, submit a portfolio of student work samples and qualify for 30 units of credit by assessment of prior learning, and meet other application criteria.

Sample Courses

Advocacy in the African-American Community

This course will explore the current health status of African Americans, and in particular examines the impact of the mental health systems and their policies, practices, and structures. The role of mental health professionals in advocacy with health systems in the Black community will be discussed.

Theories of Marriage, Family and Child Counseling

This course will review the major psychotherapeutic approaches in marital and family therapy. There will be a focus on interpersonal theories, family systems theories, and feminist theory and how each informs work with individuals, couples, families, and children. The class will present an inclusive framework, so that students develop competency working with bicultural populations.

Clinical Skills in Family Therapy

This is a course for advanced students focusing on the clinical aspects in the practice of family therapy. It will provide a brief overview of family therapy and will concentrate on the experiential learning of basic family therapy skills. This class is designed to provide students with direct experiences of the family therapy milieu in the initial session/treatment alliance phase of therapy via observation and role play; assist in the development of a working knowledge of the clinical skills of family interview, joining, problem formulation, treatment contract, and family case presentation; further the students' awareness of and appreciation for the multiple psychosocial factors which impact families in treatment; and contribute to the development of a personal conceptualization of the process of psychotherapy.

POC:Pasadena, CA POC