Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy

Welcome to the Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy Program (MSMFT). The Family Institute at Northwestern University (TFI) and Northwestern University co-sponsor this unique program. With four decades of experience treating families, The Family Institute is ideally suited to administer the program, which is part of The Graduate School at Northwestern University from which you will be awarded your degree.

The Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). The Program has been in existence since 1992. Be sure to visit our page on The Graduate School at Northwestern University's website.

A hallmark of our program  is the integrative and systemic perspective we teach regarding couple and family therapy. Beginning in Autumn 2016, the MSMFT Program will be using our newly submitted book that fully articulates this perspective that we are now calling Integrative Systemic Therapy. Formerly known as Integrative Problem Centered Metaframeworks (IPCM), you can read about the perspective in two Family Process articles (Integrative Problem Centered Metaframeworks I [IPCM]; Integrative Problem Centered Metaframeworks II [IPCM]. Another important article articulates a practice value for working with the whole family.

We have arranged the content of the website in an effort to answer all of your questions. Below you will find the 10 things about our program that make us very proud. I invite you to then dig deeper by examining our curriculum and reading the bios of our prestigious and clinically active faculty. Be sure to also view the more than 400 publications of Family Institute staff. We also provide detailed information about our Clinical Internship, answer a multitude of questions, provide information about tuition, financial aid and debt management, explain licensure and share our open house information.

You can also learn about the MSMFT Program by reading a few of our newsletter articles. The first provides a quick overview of the Program. The second articulates the values of the Program and the third describes the training cycle of a marriage and family therapist. Cap this off with a peak at the graduation ceremony of the class of 2015.

Applications are accepted from September 1 through December 31 for the class matriculating in the fall quarter of the following year.

I hope you will take a close look at our program and encourage you to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions.

 

Sincerely,

Douglas C. Breunlin, LCSW, LMFT
Program Director
Clinical Professor of Psychology
Northwestern University

 

Ten Things That Make Our Program Great

 

 

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1. OUR INSTITUTE
The Family Institute at Northwestern University administers the Program. With over 45 years of experience, the Institute is a world-renowned center of learning about family therapy. The Institute conducts over 60,000 hours of therapy annually, engages in important clinical research and is at the forefront of family therapy education. The MSMFT Program is located at the Institute's headquarters. This state-of-the art 26,000 square-foot facility is designed to maximize student learning. It has 10 interviewing suites equipped with two-way mirrors and videotaping capability where students conduct therapy under the helpful eye of their supervisors and make recordings of their interviews for later supervision.

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2. OUR UNIVERSITY
Perennially ranked as a top 15 University, Northwestern offers top shelf educations and delivers a brand name that carries its graduates far. Northwestern is a major research institution with fabulous facilities. As a member of the Big Ten Conference, Northwestern plays host to many intercollegiate athletic events. The beautiful campus is located on the shores of Lake Michigan.

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3. OUR LOCATION
Our classes are held on the Northwestern University campus, located in the thriving suburbs of Evanston, Illinois. A short train ride from downtown Chicago, students enjoy the best of both worlds. The rich diversity of the population of metropolitan Chicago provides a rich source of referrals for learning therapy.

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4. OUR FACULTY
Our faculty are among the leaders in the field. Three sit on the editorial board of family therapy's premier journal, Family Process. Several hold or have held positions of leadership in organizations such as the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, the American Family Therapy Academy and the American Psychological Association. The faculty have made seminal contributions to the literature. All of the faculty are practicing therapists who bring a wealth of current experience to the classroom.

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5. OUR ACCREDITATION
The Commission on Accreditation accredits the Program for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). Students who graduate from an accredited program have fulfilled all graduate requirements for licensure in all 50 states. The AAMFT requirement that students graduate with at least 500 hours of clinical experience gives our graduates extensive training and a decided advantage when seeking employment.

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6. OUR STUDENT BODY AND ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
With students applying, competitively, from across the country, our faculty have the pleasure of teaching a talented, diverse, and academically advanced group of students. This environment leads to a challenging, enlightening and rewarding exchange of ideas between students. Through our Alumni Association, graduates network, support the program, and receive discounts on Family-Institute-sponsored professional education CEUs.

 
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7. OUR CLINIC
The clinical component of our training program takes place at the Bette D. Harris Child and Family Clinic that is administered by The Family Institute. The client population is highly diverse and represents many of the problems and populations family therapists will encounter beyond graduate school. The Clinic has four client sites and all have two-way mirrors and recording equipment. To further train our students and assist those who need help, we recently launched Project Strengthen, where a student is paired with a staff therapist to help meet the demand of high quality care to underserved individuals and families who suffer from multiple mental health disorders (such as anxiety and substance abuse) alongside socio-economic and cultural barriers to much-needed care.

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8. OUR SUPERVISION
Students receive extensive amount of supervision (more than double the number of hours required for accreditation). Supervision occurs in two formats: three-hour supervision groups with a small supervisee/supervisor ratio of 4:1 and individual supervision. Supervisory methods include live supervision (supervisor observes from behind a two-way mirror), videotape, audiotape and case consultation. Group supervisors are highly experienced and all are practicing clinicians, themselves. Supervisors must be either designated as "Approved Supervisors" of AAMFT or hold equivalent credentials.

books 9. OUR APPROACH TO THERAPY
Our approach to therapy is grounded in the concept of integration: that the models of therapy are best understood and used in a thoughtful and planful way. The systemic, integrative couple and family therapy, pioneered at The Family Institute, addresses emotional, behavioral and relational problems in the context of both familial and extra-familial relationships. The influences of biology, psychodynamics, gender, socioeconomic status, culture and life cycle are used to help clients understand and address their problems. A forthcoming book published by American Psychological Association Press titled Integrative Systemic Therapy will be published in 2017. Read more about our approach.
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10. OUR SCIENCE-PRACTITIONER APPROACH TO THERAPY
Although therapy will always be a blend of science and art, our approach to therapy is based on the 21st century trend to ground practice in scientifically proven methods. To prepare our students for this growing trend, we teach them to be consumers of research, and to know how to access and use this research with their own cases. The Institute research team has also developed its own research instrument designed to guide the progress of therapy. Known as the STIC (Systemic Therapy Inventory of Change), this instrument enables therapist and client to track the progress of therapy. Key measures of change are monitored, as is the crucial relationship between the therapist and client(s).

 

Student Achievement Data

As an AAMFT accredited program we report data on student achievement to our accrediting body on a yearly basis. The chart below provides evidence that our students successfully complete the program and are well prepared to pass the licensure exam and enter the profession following graduation.

 

COAMFTE Student Achievement Criteria Data for Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy Program 

The Family Institute at Northwestern University
Accredited: 1995

Minimum Program Length*: 2 years /   Advertised Program Length*: 2 years /   Maximum Time to Complete Program*: 5 years

Year Students Entered Program**

# of Student in Program

(optional)

Graduation Rate (Minimum Time)

Graduation Rate (Advertised Time)

Graduation Rate (Maximum Time)

Job Placement Rate***

National Exam Pass Rate****

FT

PT

FT

PT

FT

PT

FT

PT

FT

PT

FT

PT

2005-2006

21

NA

95.65%

-

95.65%

-

-

-

86.00%

-

100.00%

-

2006-2007

23

NA

100.00%

-

100.00%

-

-

-

91.00%

-

100.00%

-

2007-2008

22

NA

95.65%

-

95.65%

-

-

-

100.00%

-

100.00%

-

2008-2009

22

NA

96.15%

-

96.15%

-

-

-

95.00%

-

100.00%

-

2009-2010

28

NA

96.15%

-

96.15%

-

-

-

92.00%

-

100.00%

-

2010-2011

23

NA

95.65%

-

95.65%

-

-

-

100.00%

-

100.00%

-

2011-2012

21

NA

100.00%

-

100.00%

-

-

-

90.00%

-

100.00%

-

2012-2013

26

NA

100.00%

-

100.00%

-

-

-

88.00%

-

100.00%

-

2013-2014

28

NA

100.00%

-

100.00%

-

-

-

96.00%

-

NA

-

2014-2015

28

NA

100.00%

-

100.00%

-

-

-

NA

-

NA

-

2015-2016

28

NA

NA

-

NA

-

NA

-

NA

-

NA

-

FT=Full-time
PT=Part-time

*Minimum length of time is the shortest time possible that a student could complete the program (i.e., a student doubled up on coursework one semester and was able to graduate early). Advertised length of time is how long the program is designed to complete as written. Maximum length of time is the maximum allowable time in which a student could finish the program (i.e., if a student needed to take time off due to illness, family responsibilities, etc.).
**Program are only required to provide data on the past 10 years/cohort or since the program was initial accredited, whichever is shorter.
***This is defined as the percentage of graduates from the cohort year listed that are employed within 3 years of their graduation utilizing skills learned in the COAMFTE accredited program. Masters and Doctoral programs are required to provide this information. Post-Degree programs are encouraged to share this with the public.
****Master programs are required to provide this information. Doctoral and Post-Degree programs are encouraged to share this with the public. For Master’s programs only, COAMFTE has established a benchmark of 70% pass rate for each cohort.

To compare our student achievement data with comparable programs, please see data published by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education.

 
For more detailed information, contact the MSMFT Education Program Manager at 847-733-4300, ext. 206, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit the detailed links of the MSMFT Program menu.

 

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