1 1 Marriage and Family Therapy Master s of Arts Program Handbook Mount Mercy University Revised 08/2014
2 2 Welcome Letter Welcome to the Marriage and Family Therapy Program at Mount Mercy University. You are about to embark on an educational journey that is intended to touch every aspect of your life while preparing you for a career as a Marriage and Family Therapist. The faculty members are excited to welcome you into the program and look forward to joining you on this journey. This handbook is important to your progress in the graduate program. It introduces you to important policies and procedures, and contains useful information to guide you through coursework and other requirements for successful degree completion. Please review this information thoroughly and refer to this handbook when future questions arise. This handbook is meant to supplement the University Catalog and other Mount Mercy publications. Each of these publications is updated annually and can be found on the Mount Mercy web page. Although written information is helpful and should be referenced to as needed, there is no substitute for personal contact. You are encouraged to seek assistance as needed from faculty and staff as you progress through the program. As Program Director for the Marriage and Family Therapy Program, I will serve as your academic advisor throughout your enrollment in the Master s program. Please know that my door is always open to you. Sincerely, Randy Lyle, Ph.D. MFT Program Director
3 3 Faculty and Staff Randall R. Lyle, Associate Professor Director of Marriage and Family Therapy Program B.A., Loretto Heights College, Denver M.Div., Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, Chicago Ph.D., Iowa State University Contact: Jacob D. Christenson, Assistant Professor Clinical Director of Marriage and Family Therapy Program B.S., California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo M.S., Brigham Young University Ph.D., Brigham Young University Contact: Ashley N. Merritts, Associate Professor B.A., University of Iowa M.S., Iowa State University, Ph.D., Iowa State University Contact:
4 4 Contents Welcome Letter... 2 Faculty and Staff... 3 Student Learning Outcomes... 7 Chapter 1: Progression through the Program... 7 Step 1: Admission... 8 Table 1: Admission Categories... 8 Step 2: Determination of Degree Plan... 8 Step 3: Candidacy Review... 9 Step 4: Clinical Practicum... 9 Step 5: Final Review Step 6: Graduation Post-Graduation: Professional Licensure Chapter 2: Academic Requirements for MFT Program Program of Study Table 2: Summary of MFT Program Requirements Chapter 3: Completion of MFT Theory and Practice Portfolios Purpose of Portfolios Portfolio Review Committee Portfolio Review for Candidacy Products Required for Candidacy Portfolio Review Table 3: Portfolio Products at Candidacy Review and Corresponding Program Outcomes Final Portfolio Review Additional Products for Final Portfolio Review Table 4: Student Learning Outcomes and Corresponding Portfolio Products at Final Review Clinical Demonstration and Position Paper Opening Thoughts Position Paper Outline (Use these headings in your paper) Clinical Demonstration Project Process Additional Guidance and Requirements... 20
5 Chapter 4: Clinical Practicum Definitions of Hours for Mount Mercy and AAMFT Client Contact Hours Supervision Hours Site Selection Evaluation in Practicum Continued Enrollment in Practicum Table 5: Registration Schedule for Internship Enrollment after 3 rd Practicum Chapter 5: Graduate Policies and University Resources Graduate School Calendar of Events Correspondence from the Program and the University Student Membership in Professional Organizations Writing Guidelines and Avoiding Plagiarism Academic Honesty Graduate Student Grievance Procedure APA Writing Style Academic Center for Excellence Appendix A: Requirements and Process to Become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) in Iowa Appendix B: Core Competencies of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy Domain 1. Admission to Treatment Domain 2. Clinical Assessment and Diagnosis Domain 3. Treatment Planning and Case Management Domain 4. Therapeutic Interventions Domain 5. Legal Issues, Ethics, and Standards Domain 6. Research and Program Evaluation Appendix C: Suggested Schedules of Courses, by Semester of First Enrollment Appendix D: MFT Program Thesis Requirements Thesis Format/Structure Pages/Sections: Student Tasks and Responsibilities Committee Composition
6 6 Thesis Chair Tasks and Responsibilities Committee Member Tasks and Responsibilities Unable to complete on time or Failure to Complete Appendix E: Live Interview and Live Interview Evaluation Live Interview Live Interview Evaluation Typing Instructions: Use APA format Appendix F: Competence Evaluation Instrument Trainee-Report Appendix G: Trainee Evaluation Form Supervisor Report Appendix H: Application for Practicum Appendix I: Practicum Agreement University Responsibilities/Clinical Director: Practicum Site Responsibilities: Trainee Responsibilities: Practicum Site Information Appendix J: Practicum Site and Supervisor Evaluation... 64
7 7 Educational Outcomes The MFT Master s program is designed around an outcomes-based educational philosophy. All coursework and program experiences are intended to foster student development and contribute to the following outcomes: Student Learning Outcomes 1. Students will demonstrate familiarity with the major MFT models of therapy. 2. Students will develop research skills necessary to read and evaluate MFT literature. 3. Students will demonstrate knowledge of ethical and practice issues in the field of marriage and family therapy. 4. Students will develop interpersonal skills necessary to work successfully with individuals, couples, families. 5. Students will develop couple and family therapy skills necessary to assess, diagnose, and treat mental health problems. Students progress toward these outcomes will be evaluated at multiple points across the program. Students will receive ongoing feedback regarding their progress toward the student learning outcomes from faculty and supervisors. Students are also expected to be active participants in their learning processes and seek feedback regarding their progress toward student outcomes. Program Outcomes 1. Students will successfully complete the curriculum and graduate. 2. Alumni and employers will express satisfaction with the training offered in the MFT program. 3. MFT program graduates will identify themselves as professionals in this field and seek related employment. 4. The MFT program will seek and maintain external accreditation through COAMFTE. 5. The MFT program will contribute to the betterment of society through a commitment to the ideals of the Sisters of Mercy. Faculty Outcomes 1. Faculty will be actively engaged in the practice of marriage and family therapy. 2. Faculty will engage in regular professional development activities that strengthen their knowledgebase. 3. Faculty members will exhibit a commitment to excellence in teaching and scholarship. 4. Faculty will demonstrate a commitment to the betterment of the university and the profession of MFT through active service.
8 8 Chapter 1: Progression through the Program There are six general steps involved in successful completion of the Marriage and Family Therapy Master s Program. Familiarity with these steps and the actions required by students to complete each step will facilitate timely progression through the program. Step 1: Admission Students admission applications are considered complete after the Graduate Admissions office has received and processed the following elements: 1. Completed Admission Application Form (or online application form) 2. Transcripts from all colleges and universities previously attended showing the granting of a Bachelor s degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better (applicants with less than a 3.0 should address the reasons for the lower GPA and why they should be considered for admittance. Exceptions can be made at the discretion of the Program Director.) 3. Two Professional Letters of Reference 4. A personal interview with the Program Director or members of the faculty Students application materials are reviewed by department faculty and Graduate School representatives to determine admission status. Students may be admitted into two distinct admission categories (see Table 1). Table 1: Admission Categories Admission Category When Granted Action Required Regular Bachelor s degree from an None required accredited college or university meeting the 3.0 GPA standard; positive interview. Special Non-degree students seeking to transfer credit to another university or fulfill requirements for licensure or certification. Students taking courses to complete licensure requirements should file a letter stating which courses they need to take and consult with Program Director. Step 2: Determination of Degree Plan After attending the New Student Orientation, MFT Master s students should complete a degree plan under the guidance of the MFT Program Director, who serves as their academic advisor throughout their enrollment in the Master s Program. Degree plans serve several purposes. First, they enable the department to make course projections for block schedules. Second, they facilitate students progression through their degree programs, and lastly they are used by the student for registration each term. Suggested programs of study are included in this Handbook, and most students will follow these course sequences. Students who need a custom degree plan (due to part-time enrollment, transferred coursework, etc.), should make an appointment to meet individually with the MFT
9 9 Program Director as early as possible after enrollment. Degree plan templates are available on the Graduate Programs website. Completed degree plans should be approved by the MFT Program Director and included in students academic records to facilitate academic advising throughout the program. Degree plans should be on file with the MFT Program Director by the end of the students first Term of enrollment and any changes must be approved by the MFT Program Director. Step 3: Candidacy Review At Candidacy, the Department affirms a student s clinical potential and declares that she/he is a candidate for the degree. At Candidacy Review, MFT Master s students submit a portfolio of their academic work to date for collective review by the MFT program faculty. The deadline for Portfolio submissions is published at the end of Block 4 and students are notified by . It should be noted that the Program reserves the right to exit anyone from the program at any time at its own discretion (See Chapter 5). To be eligible to submit a Portfolio for Candidacy Review, students must meet the following requirements: 1. Completion of 20 graduate credits with a GPA of 3.0 or better 2. Completion of MF 503, MF 518, MF 545, MF 569, MF 546 and MF Fall within the Regular admission category Satisfactory review at Candidacy will result in students continuation in the program and enrollment in the MFT Practicum courses. Unsatisfactory review at Candidacy will, depending on nature of areas in which student has not demonstrated competence, result in requirement of remedial coursework/student activities OR the student s dismissal from the program. All students will receive formative feedback through the Candidacy Review to foster continued personal and professional development. Specific elements of the portfolios, as well as detailed information about portfolio evaluation, are described in Chapter 3 of this Handbook. Step 4: Clinical Practicum After completion of coursework focused on theory and basic clinical skills offered during the first year of the program, students then enroll in a 12-month practicum experience (concurrently with continued coursework) to further advance and refine their clinical competence. The clinical practicum within the MFT Master s program includes three 4-credit hour courses (MF 590, MF 690 & MF 692) that should be completed consecutively. Students are responsible for making arrangements for an off-site practicum placement, and should begin locating a site at least four months prior to when they plan to begin the practicum. Students should remain in communication with the MFT Clinical Director to ensure they obtain a site that meets program requirements and is the best fit for individual student needs. See Chapter 4 for a detailed description of policies and procedures for the MFT Master s Program Practicum.
10 10 Note: Students will not be allowed to graduate until all client charts have been resolved; meaning, the client chart has either been closed or transferred to a continuing student. Step 5: Final Review In order to assess students attainment of Student Learning Outcomes at the completion of the Master s program, students submit a completed Portfolio of MFT Theory and Practice to the Portfolio Review Committee during their final 15-week block within the program. The completed portfolio should include documentation of students attainment of all Student Learning Outcomes, and serves as the Comprehensive Examination for the program. See Chapter 3 of this Handbook for complete information about Portfolio submission. To be eligible to submit a Portfolio, a student must: 1. Be maintaining matriculation or enrolled in their last 15-week block of course work 2. Not be on academic probation or suspension 3. Have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher 4. Have been admitted to Candidacy 5. Attend a Portfolio Review Orientation meeting Step 6: Graduation To be eligible for graduate students must complete the following: 1. Successfully completed all course work with a minimum GPA of 3.0 (See note below) 2. Successfully completed portfolio review 3. Completed 300 hours of direct client contact with 75 of those hours being relational (as documented by the Clinical Director) 4. Completed 60 hours of clinical supervision, 30 of which will be based on raw data 5. Completed an application for graduation Note: All students are required to achieve a minimum GPA of 3.0. Only two C grades are permitted in the graduate program. A third grade of C or below will result in suspension or dismissal from the program. No MFT Specialization course (see Table 2 below) can be accepted with a grade below B-. A student receiving a C+, C-, or C may repeat a graduate course once. A maximum of two courses may be repeated. Additionally, students have a maximum of six years from the entrance date to complete the program and graduate. Students must apply for graduation within 6 months of their anticipated graduation. Applications for graduation are found on the web page and are available from the registrar s office. Graduation fees will appear on your bill from the university. Even if you do not plan to participate in graduation activities (e.g., commencement) you must still apply for graduation. Information will be sent to you regarding ordering hood, cap and gown. Master s candidates are invited to attend a graduation hooding ceremony where you will ceremoniously receive your master s hood. You will receive your diploma at the University commencement ceremony which
11 11 is held the same weekend as the hooding ceremony. The University holds one commencement ceremony a year. Students graduating in December of the preceding year, February, May or August are invited to attend that ceremony. Post-Graduation: Professional Licensure The vast majority of students entering the MFT program desire to provide direct mental health care services to individuals, couples, and/or families upon graduation. In order to practice as a marriage and family therapist within the State of Iowa, as well as most other states in the US and countries abroad, one must obtain a license through a government agency. In Iowa, the Iowa Department of Public Health, Board of Behavioral Science, Bureau of Professional Licensure administers licensure for MFTs (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, LMFT). MFT program graduates are required to pass a written examination and accumulate significant post-graduate, supervised clinical experience to be eligible for full licensure. See Appendix A for a summary of the LMFT licensure processes.
12 12 Chapter 2: Academic Requirements for MFT Program The MFT master s program is a 60-credit-hour program of study, including an intensive 12-month practicum of at least 300 client contact hours. Marriage and Family Therapists are employed in a wide variety of settings, such as social service agencies, churches, private family therapy practice, and mediation/consultation companies. The Master s program in MFT is focused on developing students skills for direct clinical work with individuals, couples, and families. The MFT Master s program operates from a competency-based educational philosophy, with the goal of facilitating students development toward demonstrating clinical competence and obtaining the designation of Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. The Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) has recently published a comprehensive description of the core competencies for MFTs at the time of licensure (see Appendix B for complete list of the 128 core competencies). These core competencies are closely related to the Practice Domains of the Association for Marriage and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB), the body that governs the national examination process for LMFTs (see Appendix A for licensure information). Within each course in the MFT program, students will be expected to demonstrate attainment of specific competencies; course grades will reflect students developing competence. The practicum experience then becomes the capstone of the Master s program, allowing students to put into practice the theory and skills they have learned under the close supervision of faculty. Students then continue their professional development and attainment of competencies during the postgraduation clinical experiences and supervision necessary to fulfill licensure requirements. This is most often accomplished in the context of full or part-time employment in the mental health field. Program of Study The Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy is a 60-credit-hour thesis or non-thesis program. Table 2 contains the courses required for the MFT program. See Appendix C for suggested schedules of courses for full time students throughout program completion. Part time students, and others with unique scheduling needs, should schedule a meeting with the MFT Program Director as early as possible upon entering the program in order to determine the best degree plan design to meet student needs and program requirements. (Suggested part-time degree plan may be found in Appendix C.)
13 13 Table 2: Summary of MFT Program Requirements Courses Credit Hours MFT Specialization Courses Required for Practicum MF 503 Family Systems 3 MF 518 Models of MFT 4 MF 569 Ethical and Professional Issues in MFT 3 MF 582 Models of Couples Therapy 4 MF 545 Micro-counseling 3 MF 546 Pre-practicum 3 Total 20 Hours General Courses MF 524 Human Development 3 MF 550 Human Sexuality 3 MF 626 Psychopathology 4 MF 602 Cross Cultural Families 3 MF 640 Research Methods 3 MF 671 Therapeutic Methods with Parents & Children 3 Total 18 Hours Elective Courses (3 Required) MF 571 Play Therapy (Elective) 3 MF 678 Intro to Medical Family Therapy 3 MF 605 Neuroscience for MFT 3 MF 655 Spirituality and the Family 3 MF 695 Thesis Direction* 3 Total 9 Hours Clinical Courses MF 590 Practicum I 4 MF 690 Practicum II 4 MF 692 Practicum III 4 MF 700,701, 702, 703 Practicum IV (hours completion) Total 12 Hours Total Program Requirement 60 Hours *Students wishing to do a Thesis may replace one of the electives with the Thesis Direction course. See Appendix D and speak with the Program Director for more information.
14 14 Chapter 3: Completion of MFT Theory and Practice Portfolios Purpose of Portfolios MFT Theory and Practice Portfolios serve four primary functions: 1. Demonstration of students minimal competence at two milestones (candidacy and final review) within program 2. Opportunities (at candidacy and final review) for formative feedback to facilitate students development 3. Summative evaluation of students competence at final review 4. Formative feedback for program faculty and instructors as themes and patterns of learning are observed over time Portfolio Review Committee A Portfolio Review Committee, composed of MFT program faculty and/or instructors of core MFT specialization courses (MF 503, MF 518, MF 545, MF 569, MF 546 & MF 582), will convene to evaluate portfolios of students seeking candidacy or graduation. Students to be reviewed will submit portfolios to the MFT Program Director through Live Text prior to the deadline. Late portfolios will not be accepted. Upon completion of the review process, portfolio feedback will be inputted in the LiveText program. A copy of feedback given to the student and a Portfolio Approval Form will be inserted into the student s record to indicate the outcome of the portfolio review. Portfolio Review for Candidacy Satisfactory review at Candidacy will result in students continuation in the program and allow for enrollment in the MFT Practicum courses. The candidacy portfolio is due at the end of the student s first year on the 15 th of July. Unsatisfactory review at Candidacy will, depending on the nature of areas in which the student has not demonstrated competence, result in a requirement of remedial coursework/student activities OR the student s dismissal from the program. All students will receive formative feedback through the Candidacy Review to foster continued personal and professional development. At Candidacy Review, students portfolios should demonstrate preliminary achievement of Student Learning Outcomes identified by the MFT faculty as indicative of clinical potential and success within the practicum process. A list of the required products is found below. Table 3 lists required content for the Portfolio at Candidacy, along with the Student Learning Outcomes the item should demonstrate. Students should note that earning an acceptable overall grade for a given course does not necessarily mean that the Portfolio product completed within the course is adequate to demonstrate Student Learning Outcomes. Grades for courses within the Department are generally assigned based on a combination of products, including exams, papers, participation, etc. Students are offered feedback on all course products and should, therefore, incorporate this feedback into
15 15 revisions of Portfolio products if necessary to demonstrate achievement of the identified Student Learning Outcomes prior to submission of the Candidacy Portfolio. Products Required for Candidacy Portfolio Review The following product and materials should be included in the candidate s submitted portfolio for candidacy. 1. Clinical assessment, case conceptualization, and treatment plan from MF 503 Family Systems. 2. Seven synopses of the major models of MFT from MF 518 Models of MFT. 3. Vignette, theory paper, case conceptualization, and treatment plan from MF 518 Models of MFT. 4. Professional development plan from MF 569 Ethical and Professional Issues in MFT. 5. Live interview and live interview evaluation from MF 545 Micro-counseling. (See Appendix E for the specifics of this assignment.) 6. Clinical assessment, case conceptualization, treatment plan, and clinical evaluation of skills from MF 546 Pre-practicum. (Clinical evaluation must be completed by both student and supervisor, see Appendix F and Appendix G). 7. Proof of AAMFT student membership. Table 3: Portfolio Products at Candidacy Review and Corresponding Student Learning Outcomes Portfolio Products Student Learning Outcome Demonstrated Clinical assessment, case conceptualization, and treatment plan from MF 503 Family Systems and MF 546 Pre-practicum SLO1: Students will demonstrate familiarity with the major MFT models of therapy. Seven synopses of the major models of MFT from MF 518 Models of MFT Clinical evaluation of skills from MF 546 Pre-practicum Clinical assessment, case conceptualization, and treatment plan from MF 503 Family Systems and MF 546 Pre-practicum Professional development plan from MF 569 Ethical and Professional Issues in MFT Documentation of AAMFT Student Membership Clinical assessment, case conceptualization, and treatment plan from MF 503 Family Systems and MF 546 Pre-practicum Live interview and live interview evaluation from MF 545 Microcounseling SLO3: Students will demonstrate knowledge of ethical and practice issues in the field of marriage and family therapy. SLO4: Students will develop interpersonal skills necessary to work successfully with individuals, couples, families.
16 16 Portfolio Products Clinical evaluation of skills from MF 546 Pre-practicum Clinical assessment, case conceptualization, and treatment plan from MF 503 Family Systems and MF 546 Pre-practicum Seven synopses of the major models of MFT from MF 518 Models of MFT Live interview and live interview evaluation from MF 545 Microcounseling Clinical evaluation of skills from MF 546 Pre-practicum Student Learning Outcome Demonstrated SLO5: Students will develop couple and family therapy skills necessary to assess, and treat mental health problems. Final Portfolio Review Satisfactory final review will result in students approval by the MFT program for graduation, upon completion of required clinical contact hours. The final portfolio is due at the end of the student s second year on the 1 st of July. The final review serves as a summative evaluation of students demonstration of clinical competence and all Student Learning Outcomes. Further, students will receive formative feedback from faculty to facilitate their postgraduate professional development and progress toward licensure. Table 4 links the Student Learning Outcomes to Portfolio products. Additional Products for Final Portfolio Review All products from the candidacy review will be carried over to the final review. The following additional products (Table 4) and materials should be added to the candidate s portfolio for the final review. 1. Clinical demonstration and position paper. (See description below for this paper.) 2. Childhood problem video synopsis from MF 671 Therapeutic Methods with Parents and Children. 3. Research proposal from MF 640 Research Methods. 4. Experiential journals from MF 602 The Cross-cultural Family. 5. Demonstrated minimum average rating of three on rubrics across all case conceptualizations, clinical assessments, and treatment plans. 6. Evaluations of clinical competence from MF 590 Practicum I and MF 690 Practicum II. 7. Demonstrated successful completion of MF 524 Human Development, MF 550 Human Sexuality, MF 605 Neuroscience of MFT (elective), MF Psychopathology, MF 655 Spirituality and the Family (elective), MF 678 Intro to Medical Family Therapy (elective), and/or MF 695 Thesis Direction (optional).
17 17 Table 4: Student Learning Outcomes and Corresponding Portfolio Products at Final Review Additional Portfolio Products Clinical Demonstration and Position Paper. Demonstrated minimum average rating of three on rubrics across all case conceptualizations, clinical assessments, and treatment plans Evaluations of clinical competence from MF 590 Practicum I and MF 690 Practicum II Clinical Demonstration and Position Paper Research proposal from MF 640 Research Methods Clinical Demonstration and Position Paper Demonstrated minimum average rating of three on rubrics across all case conceptualizations, clinical assessments, and treatment plans Clinical Demonstration and Position Paper Demonstrated minimum average rating of three on rubrics across all case conceptualizations, clinical assessments, and treatment plans Evaluations of clinical competence from MF 590 Practicum I and MF 690 Practicum II Clinical Demonstration and Position Paper Demonstrated minimum average rating of three on rubrics across all case conceptualizations, clinical assessments, and treatment plans Evaluations of clinical competence from MF 590 Practicum I and MF 690 Practicum II Student Learning Outcomes Demonstrated SLO1: Students will demonstrate familiarity with the major MFT models of therapy. SLO2: Students will develop research skills necessary to read and evaluate MFT literature. SLO3: Students will demonstrate knowledge of ethical and practice issues in the field of marriage and family therapy. SLO4: Students will develop interpersonal skills necessary to work successfully with individuals, couples, families. SLO5: Students will develop couple and family therapy skills necessary to assess, and treat mental health problems. Clinical Demonstration and Position Paper The Clinical Demonstration and Position Paper (CDPP) is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your own personal integrated approach to therapy, which you will have developed over the course of the program. The CDPP is due at the end of the student s second year on the 1 st of June. The CCDP
18 should be theory driven and illustrate how you apply the major models of marriage and family therapy to assessment, intervention, and determining outcomes with clients. In the process of developing your position, you will also have the opportunity to reflect on (and integrate) your approach to handling ethical concerns and demonstrating cultural competence. This is a major paper that you should be working on throughout your time in the program, beginning with your first classes in your first year. Opening Thoughts The MFT program faculty is interested in seeing specifically how you integrate ideas, concepts, and models into a coherent approach to therapy. The process by which you arrive at your preferred model requires conceptualizing client problems, intervening accordingly, and evaluating the outcomes and fit of that process with your personality over time, while making adjustments and ultimately starting the process all over again. It is not expected that you will have a solid and sure model of therapy at the time that you write this paper, or even when you leave this program. A practitioner s model of therapy develops as he or she gains more and more experience over the course of years, not months. Accordingly, the final paper is a snapshot of your progress at the time of graduation, not a capstone of your professional development. Keep this in mind as you struggle to develop a well-rounded, clear, and articulate description of your model of therapy. Position Paper Outline (Use these headings in your paper) Orienting views. This section is used to establish the lens through which the student prefers to see the world, and which influences their choice and use of specific theories. In this section students should articulate their views about human nature, value systems, how we know things, etc. This can be accomplished by identifying and elaborating on a preferred worldview, such as post positivism or constructionism. For students in this program, this section must at least provide a description of the underlying assumptions and concepts that arise from the application of systems theory. In addition, in this section students should outline what constitutes healthy human and relational functioning (i.e., How do we know a person/relationship is healthy?). This section will educate the reader about what you bring to the table before trying to apply theory to your work with clients. Theory of therapy. This section of the paper is where an integrated model of therapy is delineated. The theory of therapy can represent and integrate more than one model of therapy; however, for this to be effective the integration should reveal a coherent approach to therapy without conflicting assumptions. This section should be oriented around three major subsections. 1) How do problems develop and what do you assess to determine whether these problems are present; 2) What interventions do you use to address these problems in the therapy session; and 3) What do you look for to determine whether change has taken place after intervention? Application. As Thomas Edison said, The value of an idea lies in the using of it. Students will need to show how their model of therapy outlined above was used with two unique clients systems, at least one of which must be relational (i.e., couple, family, etc.). While the model of therapy section exhaustively details the core assumptions and practices of your approach to therapy, this section only requires that student demonstrate which aspects of the model were applied to these specific 18
19 clients. Please outline what you actually did with these clients and how it fits with your model (not what you should have done or wished you could have done). As needed you should include other aspects of client care such as medication management, collaborative care, ethical issues, cultural competence, etc. Strengths and weaknesses. Include a subheading where you frankly discuss your weaknesses and strengths as a therapist at this point in your development. Keep in mind that all therapists have weaknesses and awareness of them is much more important than exorcising them immediately. Outline your strengths as well, showing what you believe are the assets you possess that will allow you to become an effective therapist. Also, discuss what the next steps are in your personal professional development. Clinical assessment, case conceptualization, and treatment plan. For the relational case described in narrative form above, also include a clinical assessment, case conceptualization, and treatment plan, using the forms provided by Gehart. The information contained on these forms should be consistent with, and provide support for, the narrative versions included in the paper. Students are not required to include a genogram of the client system. Clinical Demonstration The last two weeks of MF Practicum III will be reserved for the presentation of the CDPP. This presentation will be limited to 30 minutes or less and must be based on live video data that is used to demonstrate how your theory was applied to key aspects of therapy (i.e., assessment, intervention, termination) for one client unit. The demonstration clips do not need to be extensive (usually three to five minutes each is enough) and must be supported with contextual information provided by the student therapist during the discussion portion of the presentation. Live video data is defined as one of the following: 1) Video recording of a client session with the therapist; 2) Transcribed content from a video or audio recording of the session acted out in a video role play; or 3) Written content reconstructed from notes or memory of the session and acted out in a video role play. Students will provide each member of the practicum class with a copy of the CDPP for review prior to the presentation. All students and faculty are invited to the clinical demonstration. Project Process The CDPP is developed throughout your time in the marriage and family therapy program. During the first two courses (MF 503 and MF 518) students are exposed to material that can be used to write the Orienting Views section of the paper. These courses also provide the knowledgebase for selecting a model of MFT that can be applied to your work with clients. MF 602 includes opportunities for reflection on your cultural competence and MF 569 will help you determine how to approach ethical issues in therapy. Likewise, the practicum experience will provide ample opportunity to apply models of MFT, as well as to assess, conceptualize, and plan cases. Students should become familiar with the requirements of the CDPP early in the program and be mindful early in the practicum experience of what clients might best illustrate the application of their model of therapy. It would be useful to ask How can the material I am learning be used to support my position paper? during each class that students complete. 19
20 20 Additional Guidance and Requirements Do not use abbreviations for adult female (AF) and adult male (AM), etc. in the body of the paper. Instead provide a pseudonym for the client and use this consistently. This greatly improved readability. Students may use the abbreviation in the clinical assessment, case conceptualization, and treatment plan if they so desire. The paper should be at least pages. The page limit for the body of the paper is 20 pages. Becvar & Becvar and the Nichols texts are excellent references that can be used to develop the content of your paper. However these should not be considered primary sources to support your understanding of models. APA Style (6th edition) is required for this paper. Include a list of references at the end of your paper. This should indicate knowledge of the primary sources that support you model of therapy, as well as any other sources used to support your arguments. Students who have difficulty with writing should seek outside help before submitting a final copy. The university provides writing support through the ACE office. A final copy, with supporting documentation, must be posted to your portfolio on LiveText.
21 21 Chapter 4: Clinical Practicum MFT students begin practicum during the second year of the program. Although all courses serve to prepare students for clinical practice, six courses contain specific prerequisite knowledge for the MFT practicum: MF 503, MF 518, MF 545, MF 546, & MF 569. Any clinical deficiencies are addressed and remediated through on-going instructional activities and course evaluations in the six clinical preparation courses. Students who have not demonstrated minimal clinical competencies necessary to begin work with clients will not be permitted to enroll in practicum courses. Once all requirements and approvals have been fulfilled students must submit the Application for Practicum (Appendix H) and the Practicum Agreement (Appendix I). Students may request an exception to the above stated policy, with the intent of starting practicum before all prerequisites have been completed. In such a case the student must be at least registered for any remaining pre-requisite courses and will submit a formal letter to the Program Director or Clinical Director explaining the circumstances that require an exception and documentation of his/her qualifications that would support a positive decision. The faculty will review the letter and return a decision to the student indicating whether an exception will be granted. Students are expected to complete a continuous 12-month practicum experience in a clinical facility approved by the program. Supervision is a critical element of the practicum process. Interns will receive weekly supervision from an on-campus supervisor as well as a supervisor affiliated with any offsite placement. The University supervisors will be AAMFT-approved supervisors or meet state LMFT supervision requirements or the equivalent in order to provide supervision for MFT students. Supervision is provided individually and in group formats utilizing live observation, video or audiotape recordings, and case report modalities. Successful completion of the MFT practicum includes documentation of 300 client contact hours and 60 hours of supervision. 75 of the client contact hours must be relational therapy (i.e., couple or family is the focus of therapy and multiple family members are present in the session). The 60 hours of supervision must include 30 hours of individual supervision (1-2 trainees present) and 30 hours of supervision based on raw client data (e.g., live observation, video, or audio recording). Requirements for practicum will be reviewed in the practicum orientation process before the start of the first 15-week practicum block. Attendance at the practicum orientation meeting is mandatory. Students are strongly encouraged to communicate regularly with their supervisors and program faculty about any practicum questions. Students are responsible for recording and getting verification of client contact and supervision hours and turning in all required documentation at the end of each practicum block (see Appendix F, Appendix G, and Appendix J). The deadline for Practicum I paperwork is December 1 st ; for Practicum II the deadline is April 1 st ; and for Practicum II the deadline is August 1 st. If students do not submit all practicum paperwork on time they will be subject to the following: 1. If the required practicum forms due are not received (plus uploaded to LiveText) by the final due date students will receive an in progress grade for practicum.
22 22 2. In accordance with MMU policy students will then have 30 days to complete any outstanding course work (in this case the practicum forms). 3. If after 30 days the forms have not been received the student s grade will automatically be changed to an F. 4. If the grade is changed to an F the student will be required to take that practicum course over again before being approved for graduation. As a "student therapist," you can be held responsible for the results of your professional activities. Each practicum student must obtain professional liability insurance, which is designed to provide coverage for suits of malpractice error or omissions in the performance of your duties whether actual or alleged. Students must have insurance prior to signing up for practicum courses. Students must provide the Clinical Director with verification of liability insurance before the first practicum. No student therapist may see clients without having insurance. Insurance may be obtained through a number of agencies; however, as a benefit of membership in the AAMFT, students enrolled in a MFT program will receive their liability insurance at no cost. Membership and insurance applications are available on the AAMFT website ( follow Professional Liability Insurance link under Family Therapists and Mental Health Practitioners heading). Definitions of Hours for Mount Mercy and AAMFT Client Contact Hours Individual Therapy. Therapy with one person (a child or an adult) in the room. Couple Therapy. Therapy with a couple in the room (two people who are either married or in a romantic relationship). Family Therapy. Therapy with at least two members of a family present in the room. Individual Group Therapy. Therapy with a group of individuals (children or adults) who are not related to each other. Couple Group Therapy. Therapy with at least two couples (two people who are either married or in a romantic relationship). Family Group Therapy. Therapy with at least two families (who are not related to each other) in the room. Team Practice Therapy. Therapy where there is an on-going and collaborative therapeutic effort, in which all team members have a shared responsibility for a case to be treated, and a shared authority to make treatment decisions (subject to supervisor approval). Clients should understand that they are being treated by a team rather than an individual. Supervision Hours Case Report Individual Supervision. One or two students discussing cases with a supervisor, based on case notes and verbal reporting of client status. Supervision of up two students simultaneously (dyadic supervision) can be counted as individual supervision. Case Report Group Supervision. Up to six students discussing cases with a supervisor, based on case notes and verbal reporting of client status. Group supervision cannot exceed six students per group, regardless of the number of supervisors present.
23 Live Individual Supervision. When a supervisor is conducting live supervision, the therapist(s) (up to two therapists) in the room with the client may count the time as individual supervision regardless of the number of students who are observing. When a student is simultaneously being supervised and having direct clinical contact, the time is counted as both supervision time and direct clinical contact time. Live Group Supervision. Students observing someone else's clinical work may receive credit for group supervision provided that (1) at least one supervisor is present with the students, (2) there are no more than six students altogether, and (3) the supervisory experience involves an interactional process between the therapist(s), the observing students, and the supervisor. Team Practice Therapy. Therapy where there is an on-going and collaborative therapeutic effort, in which all team members have a shared responsibility for a case to be treated, and a shared authority to make treatment decisions (subject to supervisor approval). Clients should understand that they are being treated by a team rather than an individual. Note: If a supervisor and no more than two supervisees are physically present in the treatment room (i.e., doing co-therapy), the supervisee may receive client contact (if the supervisor and supervisee are co-therapists), or supervision, but not both. The role of the supervisor (supervisor or co-therapist) should be clearly defined prior to the session. Site Selection Students may be expected to provide clinical services in Practicum at an off-campus clinical facility. The Program Director and Clinical Director will provide guidance in selecting Practicum sites; however, it is the student's responsibility for securing a site. A website has been developed by the program to provide information helpful in selecting and establishing a practicum site, Selecting the most appropriate site is essential for gaining the most benefit. You may wish to visit some of the sites early in your program to gain information about potential placements for the future. Students are expected to commit to one off-campus practicum site for the twelve months of practicum, regardless of how long it takes to accumulate 300 hours of client contact. This gives the sites greater benefits from the training opportunities they are providing and allows them to plan more effectively. If interns encounter difficulties or a lack of fit with the site, arrangements can be made with the Program Director and Clinical Director to change sites. Students must inform the Clinical Director of any decisions involving changes to the student s practicum site arrangement. MFT practicum sites must meet accreditation requirements for supervision and type of client contact available for students. After students have identified sites of potential interest, they should call or the contact person for the practicum site to find out if the site is accepting interns at that time. If the site is accepting interns, students should follow the site s application process. This process will likely include the submission of a resume and an interview meeting. Students should approach this process as a job interview (e.g., dress professionally; arrive on time, follow-up interview with a thank you note, etc.). 23
24 24 If a student wishes to complete his or her practicum requirements at a site other than those recognized by the program, he or she should work closely with the MFT Program Director and Clinical Director to develop a practicum site and ensure that the practicum meets all program requirements. Evaluation in Practicum MFT practicum courses are graded on a pass/fail scale. Students are evaluated based on, engagement and participation in supervision experiences, demonstrated professional and personal growth, demonstration of clinical competence and their timely accumulation of client contact hours. Students will also produce a Clinical Demonstration and Position Paper in the last practicum course before graduation. Students who do not complete the required number of client contact hours will be given an IP (in progress) grade until the hours are completed. Depending on the number of hours remaining, students may have to register for another term of Practicum (Table 5) or complete their hours within a prescribed period of time and then get a change of grade. In order to have the IP removed and the grade changed to a Pass, students must schedule a meeting with the supervisor who assigned the IP grade. Students should bring a grade change form and documentation of fulfillment of course requirements to the MFT Program Director. Students will receive ongoing feedback from supervisors throughout their practicum experiences. Supervisor feedback is intended to be constructive and facilitate students professional and personal development. At the end of each 15-week block of practicum, a written evaluation of trainee s developing clinical competence is also completed by both the supervisor and by the student therapist. (Appendix F and Appendix G) These evaluations are intended to provide students with feedback about their developing clinical competence, which facilitates the formulation of goals within the next supervision course. In addition, client feedback will be incorporated into student therapists evaluations. Students will also provide feedback about their practicum experience at the end of each practicum block (Appendix J). All forms are also available on the MFT program s practicum website, Continued Enrollment in Practicum A Satisfactory evaluation in MF 692 MFT Practicum III, signifies completion of all internship requirements for the MFT Master s program. Students who have not completed all requirements will receive an IP (in progress) grade for MF 692 and be required to register and pay for additional practicum credits based on the cut-off points in Table 5. Table 5: Registration Schedule for Internship Enrollment after 3 rd Practicum Client Contact Remaining Register for Course Credit Hours 100 or more MF 703, MFT Practicum IV MF 702, MFT Practicum IV MF 701, MFT Practicum IV 1 <29 MF 700, Matriculation 0
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