Doctor of Marriage and Family Therapy (DMFT)
The SHSS Doctor of Marriage and Family Therapy DMFT program is committed to academic and clinical innovation and excellence, preparing students to become proficient practitioners in therapeutic, and business arenas. Students receive comprehensive clinical supervision and mentoring that prepares them clinically to meet the needs of diverse populations including the global community. Applying a systemic perspective to teaching and supervision, we focus on the relational strengths and resources of students and clients.
The Doctorate in Marriage and Family Therapy (DMFT) is a practitioner oriented terminal degree. The primary emphasis of the DMFT degree program is different from the Ph.D. program in that it seeks specifically to produce professionals whose chief contributions will be in the clinical rather than academic sphere. Still, there is a great deal of overlap in the core curriculum between the two programs.
The DMFT is a 96-credit-hour program designed for individuals holding master's degrees that prepares graduates for careers as private practitioners, agency administrators, clinical supervisors, and senior clinicians. The DMFT program is designed to expand and enhance a student’s existing clinical skills in order to make them top level practitioners, while at the same time demonstrating the place of program/clinical research in this pursuit.
To this end, the DMFT degree requires students to complete an Applied Clinical Project (APC) rather than a dissertation. The APC requires a student to conceive, propose, implement, and evaluate the effectiveness of a particular clinical program under the supervision of a faculty member. The program should be grounded in a systems based approach to family psychotherapy, but may include large educational and/or consultation components.
Also, the DMFT program is separate from the Ph.D. program in that it is not a Candidate for COAMFTE accreditation. As the DMFT program does not have a specific dissertation requirement, it is not eligible for consideration as a COAMFTE accredited program. This means that graduates of the DMFT program will have to apply for AAMFT Clinical membership using the standard track requirements of eligibility.
The Department of Family Therapy has full time faculty and supervisors that represent racial diversity as well as diversity in gender, age, and religion. Our part-time faculty and supervisors include cultural, gender, age, sexual orientation, and religious diversity. The student body of the master’s and doctoral programs reflects the rich cultural diversity of South Florida as far as race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and age.
The 96-credit-hour program integrates systemically oriented theory, clinical practice, qualitative, and quantitative research. The core curriculum includes:
- Four courses that explore the clinical contributions of three major systems paradigms: cybernetics, language-based, and natural systems. However, brief, interactional therapies such as MRI (Mental Research Institute), Solution-Focused approaches, Ericksonian hypnotherapy, and the Milan Associates receive the greatest exploration. Therapies based in narrative and intergenerational traditions are also covered.
- Four terms of continuous enrollment in clinical Practica at the Brief Therapy Institute (BTI), the on-campus clinical facility. Teams of students meet weekly with a faculty member for live supervision of cases at BTI throughout the calendar year. Two terms enrolled in External Practica, where students have the opportunity to gain clinical experiences in real-life settings outside of the University.
- Two classes in research methods, one quantitative and one qualitative, These provide an overview of the basics of marriage and family therapy research, statistics, clinical research methodologies, qualitative approaches to clinical research, and program evaluation techniques.
- Two theory courses, one devoted to the cybernetic systems ideas of Gregory Bateson, the other to the language-based systems (e.g., social constructionism, feminism, and postmodernism).
- One course in the supervision and teaching of family therapy. This course fulfills the didactic instruction component for AAMFT Approved Supervisor status.
In keeping with the interdisciplinary philosophy of the School, students have the opportunity to take electives in various specialties, such as Family Systems Health Care, Peace Studies, and Conflict Analysis & Resolution. Additional courses may help students fulfill many of the course requirements for licensure in Florida (and other states) as a marriage and family therapist.
A student may choose to take more electives than are required. Elective courses at the doctoral level in the DCAR Department may be taken with the permission of the Department Chair. Other elective courses available to doctoral students within the Family Therapy department are Academic Writing, Teaching and/or Supervision Practicum, Independent Study, and all courses in the Family Systems Health Care graduate certificate program. Other courses offered within the University may be considered for elective status pending approval from the Department Chair.
During the program, students may also fulfill the academic requirements for becoming a Clinical Member and Approved Supervisor in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. The program's supervision course is approved for meeting the supervision course requirement for all AAMFT Approved Supervisors.
The DMFT is offered residentially and takes a minimum of three years to complete the program. Full-time enrollment is considered to be at least nine credit hours per term, including the summer. Part-time enrollment is also an option at any time throughout the program taking a minimum of 6 credit hours; however, students must be enrolled full-time for at least one term of didactic coursework. Once students begin their Applied Clinical Project (ACP), they are considered full-time when registered for at least three credit hours per term. After taking 12 credit hours of ACP, students may enroll in one ACP credit hour per term and still be considered full time in the program. Students must be continually be enrolled in classes in order to remain in the program. If a student cannot take classes due to unforeseen circumstances, they will need to apply for a Leave of Absence.
Following is a sample degree plan for full-time students who begin their studies in Fall term. Degree plans will be developed during a student’s first term and modified based on student enrollment date and pace of study.
DMFT 5001 Doctoral Seminar I
DMFT 5006 Introduction to Systems Theories
DMFT 5010 Systemic Family Therapy I
DMFT 6200 Internal Practicum I
DMFT 5001 Doctoral Seminar I
DMFT 5020 Systemic Family Therapy II
DMFT 5130 Crisis Management
DMFT 6200 Internal Practicum II
DMFT 6400 Evidenced-Based Research Methods
DMFT 5001 Doctoral Seminar I
DMFT 6325 Fundamentals of Supervision in Marriage & Family Therapy
DMFT 6558 Couples Therapy: Theory & Application
DMFT 7302 Theories of Personality & Psychopathology OR ELECTIVE
*DMFT 6600 Preliminary Review
DMFT 5002 Doctoral Seminar II
DMFT 5030 Systemic Family Therapy III OR ELECTIVE
DMFT 5140 Advanced Micro Skills
DMFT 6210 Clinical Practicum (BTI)
DMFT 5002 Doctoral Seminar II
DMFT 5040 Systemic Family Therapy IV OR ELECTIVE
DMFT 5340 Grant Writing for Funding Opportunities
DMFT 6320 Supervision Practicum I
External Practicum I
DMFT 5002 Doctoral Seminar II
DMFT 6300 External Clinical Practicum
DMFT 6320 Supervision Practicum II
DMFT 6410 Qualitative Action Research
DMFT 6750 Clinical Portfolio
DMFT 5312 Advanced Substance Abuse Training OR ELECTIVE
DMFT 6300 External Clinical Practicum
DMFT 6950 Applied Clinical Project
DMFT 6950 Applied Clinical Project II
Graduation and Celebration
|Notes: Preliminary Review is a review of a student's progress over their first year. The Clinical Portfolio provides a student the opportunity to present their advanced clinical work by the end of their second year.|
Before entering the program, all students must document at least two graduate level three-credit-hour courses covering basic family therapy concepts, as well as one course on human development and individual and group psychotherapy. Any student who has not had these courses or their equivalent must initially take and pass, as leveling courses, the following courses in our master’s program:
- DMFT 5008: Introduction to Marital and Family Therapy
- DMFT 5009: Theories of Marital and Family Therapy
- DMFT 7313: Human Development and Individual/Group Psychotherapy
Leveling courses must be completed prior to being fully admitted into the program and prior to taking the Preliminary Exam. These credit hours do not count toward the 96 credit hour degree requirement.
Details regarding Practica and the department clinic, the Brief Therapy Institute (BTI), are available in the Policies and Procedures Manual. Policies and Procedures are distributed each trimester to students attending practicum and are available online at http://shsss.nova.edu/Downloads/mtf.htm.
Nova Southeastern University and the Department of Family Therapy require that all students complete the HIPAA course requirements found on WebCT before seeing clients in the clinic. Contact the Internship Coordinator for more information.
Students progress through the four Practica is assessed each term in terms of a set of skills (described below) considered necessary for the successful practice of family therapy. These criteria are divided into three levels of increasing sophistication. A student’s demonstration of these skills is assessed on a five point scale. A "5" on an item means a student consistently demonstrated the described behavior or skill. A "4" means a student often demonstrated the described behavior or skill. A “3” means that a student inconsistently demonstrated the described behavior or skill. A “2” means a student seldom demonstrated the described behavior or skill. A “1” means a student never demonstrated the described behavior or skill. The practicum grade is determined in the following way:
A = no more than five 4s; nothing below 4
B = more than five 4s and/or up to two 3s; nothing below 3
C = more than two 3s and/or up to two 2s; nothing below 2
D = more than two 2s and/or up to two 1s
F = more than two 1s
Students in Internal Practica I-IV enroll for 3 credit hours of practicum per term and receive 1 hour of live supervision per week from a faculty member (working with a team). Students at level I (Practica I and II) must be able to consistently:
- Introduce themselves and the clinic (policies, procedures, videotaping, etc.) to clients in a warm and professional manner.
- Follow clinic policy (paperwork, follow-up, confidentiality, legal, and/or referral issues, etc.).
- Conduct themselves in a professional and effective manner (attendance, punctuality, presentation of self).
- Maintain an active caseload.
- Sensitively vary voice (tone, volume, rate, inflection) and non-verbal behavior (posture, gestures, facial expressions) to connect with clients.
- Empathically communicate an understanding of, and respect for, the experience of clients.
- Ask questions in a conversational and interactive (as opposed to interrogational) way.
- Avoid offering simplistic advice and personal opinions.
- Limit self-disclosure to occasions of therapeutic utility.
- Explore client stories with curiosity and demonstrate patience in developing possible interventions.
- Attend to larger-system issues and access appropriate resources for clients.
- Deliver supervisor/team communications with poise and sensitivity.
- Actively solicit and implement supervision as an opportunity for learning, regardless of model.
- Challenge their own premises and biases and expand their awareness and appreciation of cultural, gender, spiritual, and sexual diversity.
- Actively participate in practicum, offering and requesting constructive feedback, when appropriate.
- Demonstrate an understanding of, and respect for, multiple perspectives (clients, team, supervisor).
- Conceptualize and describe client conundrums in systemic, non-pathologizing ways.
Students at level II (Practicum III) begin to work more independently. In addition to the above, these students must be able to consistently:
- Maintain caseload of at least one case outside the formal practicum experience.
- Seek and utilize supervision appropriately.
- Assume an active role in managing all team cases.
- Develop and utilize effective methods of peer supervision.
- Receive and utilize peer supervision.
- Negotiate team differences and conflicts in a way that builds and maintains team coherence and clinical effectiveness.
- Develop and maintain themes across sessions.
- Spontaneously generate relational questions and comments in the therapy room.
- Distinguish relevant information—in relation to model, client(s), goals, previous sessions, etc.—and organize the conversation accordingly.
- Weave supervisor/team communications into the conversation in a smooth manner.
- Contribute systemic ideas to team discussions.
- Appropriately generalize from supervision on a particular case to other analogous situations.
- Discuss and describe cases concisely within a systemic framework.
- Require less detailed direction from the supervisor.
- Identify what they wish to obtain from supervision.
Students at level III (Practicum IV) must be able to integrate the skills necessary in levels one and two in a smooth and compelling manner. In addition, they must be able to consistently:
- Demonstrate professional and competent clinical handling of cases, including appropriate transfer/referral
- Take calculated risks to expand their interpersonal repertoire (with humor, creativity, play, etc.).
- Handle unexpected and crisis situations with poise and skill.
- Describe cases and interact with clients using a variety of therapeutic models.
- Move toward a collegial relationship with supervisors.
- Articulate a coherent therapeutic orientation.
- Demonstrate their orientation in practice (in team discussions, invention of ideas and/or interventions, delivery of ideas, etc.).
Students enrolled in External Practicum I and II are expected to operate at the levels described above in real world settings outside of the University environment and to be able to seamlessly integrate themselves into actual practice.
Client Contact Hours
In order to graduate, all students must document that they have a minimum of 1000 hours of appropriately supervised direct client contact hours. At least 500 of the 1000 required hours must be with couples and/or families present in the room.
Doctoral students who can document that their previous supervised clinical practice is comparable to that which would be received in a COAMFTE accredited program may petition the program to waive some or all of the required 1000 direct client contact hours. However, waiving all or part of this client contact hour requirement does not release a student from completing all of the practicum requirements of the program. In order for a waiver request to be approved, the student must also provide a copy of their supervisor’s vita or credentials. In order for their supervision to count, these credentials must indicate that the previous supervisor is an AAMFT Approved Supervisor, is a licensed MFT, received training in MFT supervision, is an AAMFT clinical member, and is recognized by a state regulatory body as being an equivalent MFT supervisor.
If a waiver request is approved, students still must document 100 in-the-room client contact hours with individuals, couples, and/or families during their time as a student in the program before beginning external practicum. At least half of these hours must be accrued at the Brief Therapy Institute (BTI) and practicum hours may be included in the total. In order to count, all direct client contact hours must be supervised by AAMFT approved or state equivalent supervisors, who will sign and document that the hours submitted are accurate. Students must follow all BTI policies and procedures.
Documentation must include the date, type of session (i.e., family, couple, or individual), length, and location of each session. Students must have access to case notes for all sessions listed. The necessary forms may be obtained program office or online. Students must submit their completed forms to the Internship Coordinator at the end of each term so that their file remains updated. Students must keep a copy of all completed and signed forms.Practicum Confidentiality and Other Considerations (DVDs and/or flash drives)
Clients seen at BTI sign a Therapy Agreement that gives student clinicians permission to record sessions for educational purposes. BTI provides students with the necessary materials to record their sessions. Students may not use their own DVDs and/or flash drives for recording sessions and all recordings must remain on the premises to ensure confidentiality. Viewing rooms are available at BTI for students to watch their own work; they may not view another therapist's work without his or her prior written consent submitted to the BTI Clinic Director for final approval. If students wish to show a recorded session in a class, or use them for their Clinical Qualifying Exam, they may sign them out for a specified amount of time. This must be coordinated through the BTI Clinic Office Manager.
If students wish to write about a case seen at BTI and need to transcribe the sessions, they may schedule times in the editing suite through the Clinic Office Manager. No identifying client information can appear on transcripts or written materials.
If students wish to show a recorded session to a professional audience outside of NSU, they must re-contact the clients seen on the DVD, explain to them what they intend to do, and obtain a release signed by them in advance of the presentation.
DVDs and portable hard drives will be made available to students. All DVD’s and portable hard drives assigned during a student’s time at BTI must be turned in to the practicum supervisor at the end of each practicum session for storage.
Concentration in Family Systems Health Care
Students in the Ph.D. program in Family Therapy may choose to pursue a concentration in Family Systems Health Care. The concentration focuses on the relationships between psychosocial medicine and biomedicine in the treatment and prevention of illness and disease. Students learn the basics of biopsychosocial theory, practice, and collaboration. The program prepares professionals to offer therapeutic services in a variety of medical settings, including private medical practices, hospitals, community clinics, primary care/specialists' offices, and agencies.
Students in the Family Systems Health Care concentration program have ample opportunities to gain practical expertise through classroom learning and hands-on clinical, research, teaching, and service experiences. Specific areas of study include: adjustment patterns of clients and their families to chronic and acute illnesses; models of collaboration between medical family therapists and other health care professionals; the role of medical family therapists in the continuum of medical services; the politics and economics of health care; understanding human systems in health care; and brief interventions and systemic assessments useful in the treatment and care of patients and their families. Additionally, the program emphasizes professional development by assisting students in strengthening their professional and personal qualities necessary for successful participation in the medical milieu.
The student's growth as a reflective practitioner is encouraged through clinical research in physician, patient, therapist, family communications, adjustments to acute, chronic, or terminal illness, social effects and ethical dilemmas of new medical technologies, and other issues that transcend historical distinctions between physical treatment and psychosocial interventions. Program faculty and students cooperate to publish research findings and clinical experiences. Also, faculty and students of the program contribute to the growth of Family Systems Health Care and medical family therapy by supporting and participating in professional groups such as the Collaborative Family Health Care Coalition, the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, Bereavement, Gerontology, and others.
In addition to degree requirements, students must complete the following coursework to receive a Concentration in Family Systems Health Care (24 credit hours):
- FSHC 5000 – Family Systems Health Care I
- FSHC 5010 - Family Systems Health Care II
- FSHC 5100 - Practicum I in Family Systems Health Care*
- FSHC 5110 - Practicum II in Family Systems Health Care*
- FSHC 5300 – Integration and Collaboration Among Health Care Systems
- FSHC 5500 - Politics and Economics of Health Care
- FSHC 6400 - Understanding Human Systems in Health Care Settings
- One Elective
* Students may choose to do their clinical internship in a medical setting to obtain the required 200 hours of face-to-face client contact for this concentration.
Portfolios and Evaluations
As a requirement of completing the doctoral program, a student must submit for faculty evaluation three separate performance based portfolios. Each of these portfolios is designed to help the student assimilate and present evidence of how they met various aspects of the program’s learning objectives and outcomes. The portfolio requirement is also designed to help students become better able to present their work in professional contexts, such as seeking employment and academic exchange. Each of the three portfolios and their requirements are described in detail below.
The three components of the Portfolio and Exam process are:
- Coursework Portfolio
- Clinical Portfolio
- Course Comprehensive Exam
Each portfolio is intended to address major training and academic goals of the program. The portfolio process represents a steppingstone experience for students as they prepare to undertake their applied clinical project work. Successful completion of each successive portfolio indicates that the student is able to plan, undertake, and complete increasingly sophisticated projects, requiring independence of both thought and motivation.
While it must be recognized that a student can complete the required portfolios in any order that they choose, the most common sequence of fulfillment is the one described below. A student must successfully complete all three of the required portfolios however before they may sign up for ACP credits.
1. Coursework Portfolio
This portfolio is an organized review of, and personal reflection upon, the collective body of work a student has produced during their progress through the course curriculum. The materials that make up this portfolio consist of a). a student “self-review”, which is a narrative the student creates to describe how they have integrated and assimilated all of the materials from their course requirements into their own professional development as a doctoral level marriage and family therapist, and b). the course based papers, presentations, PowerPoint's, and other projects or course based requirements a student produced while completing class requirements. This portfolio can only be submitted for review after the student has successfully completed all required coursework. A template outlining a completed Coursework Portfolio is available on the student resources section of the department website.
Once a student has successfully finished all of their required courses, they then will undertake to complete a “self- review” of their progress in the years since they began the program. The time frames will vary because of individual student schedules and choices, but generally students complete the course work portion of the program in between 2-4 years time. In the narrative of the self-review, the student should be sure to address in some detail each of the following issues: 1). Professional growth – including theoretical refinement and sophistication, increasing depth of knowledge about the field in general, and the development of their own professional “voice”, 2). Personal growth – addressing issues of maturity, empathy, and their own ability to manage complex situations and multiple demands on their time, and 3). Responses to Challenge - How in general the student believes they have responded to the challenges posed during the completion of the course curriculum. That is to say, how has the student responded when challenged by a course or a professor, or how has the student responded when they believe they are not being challenged enough. The self-review document should be between 5 - 15 pages in length, double spaced and in appropriate APA format as applicable.
The materials that a student has produced to meet all of their course requirements should always be saved in electronic format whenever possible, and collected in an electronic database like Microsoft OneNote for easy cataloging. These materials should be organized for faculty review by being placed in a logical or chronological order, so that the reviewer can see a progression of thought, development, and sophistication in the student’s work over time.
Once a student has prepared their Coursework Portfolio for faculty review, they then will notify the program coordinator. The program coordinator will convene a committee of two faculty reviewers to review the submitted materials. Their review will consist of two components: 1) A formal, checklist based review of the materials, to make sure that materials from each of the required courses are submitted for review. The faculty reviewers will check to make sure that all of the materials a student lists on their checklist are present, and in good professional order, and are a good representation of the student’s work in the classroom, and 2) Individualized feedback regarding the student’s “self-evaluation” statement. In this process, the faculty reviewers are free to give feedback to the student regarding issues of Professional Growth, Personal Growth, and Responses to Challenge, with a particular eye toward how these issues may have been handled in classes. How a student manages these issues in the classroom may say something about the strengths or weaknesses of the student as they work toward completing their ACP research.
The faculty review committee has a period of two (2) weeks from the time of the committee assignment for the completion of both reviews. The results of these reviews are then submitted to the Chair of the Department, with recommendations that the Portfolio is, a) accepted as is, with the student receiving only the written feedback of the faculty reviewers, b) requires further revision and resubmission on the part of the student to be professionally acceptable, or c) requires a meeting between the student, the faculty reviewers, and the Chair in order for the review process to proceed. A Coursework Portfolio is considered to be successfully submitted only when the Chair of the Department signs off on it as such.
2. Clinical Portfolio
Clinical Portfolio is intended to provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate their clinical competence, creativity, and theoretical clarity, in a manner and setting similar to that which could be expected in a job interview situation. It should be viewed as the culmination of the in-house clinical training aspect of the doctoral program, and it is designed to allow students to demonstrate the full range and depth of their clinical skills and theoretical knowledge. A student may not submit a Clinical Portfolio for faculty review until they have successfully completed the minimum of four (4) required internal practicum courses. Student’s wishing to enhance their clinical skills or theoretical knowledge may do so with additional practica, clinical work, or supervision before submitting their Clinical Portfolio. All students must submit a Clinical Portfolio for review no later than the end of their 5th year of enrollment in the program.
Clinical Portfolio Components
There are 4 components to a Clinical Portfolio, and they are:
- All of a student’s internal practicum evaluation reviews
- Statement of Treatment Philosophy (5-7 pages, double spaced and APA formatted)
- Case Study (Written, single case from inception to treatment completion / evaluation)
- Video presentation (45 min–1 Hour, professional audience)
Internal Practicum Reviews
Students as a matter of practice should always retain any and all materials related to their work and/or performance in the program. At the end of each internal practicum, students review with their instructor a practicum evaluation form, giving detailed feedback and suggestions for future development. Students need to present the collection of these practicum evaluations over a minimum of 4 internal practica as the first component of their Clinical Portfolio review. Students have the option attaching their own editorial, explanatory, or reflective comments to this document.
Statement of Treatment Philosophy
The Statement of Treatment Philosophy document should be between 5-7 pages, double spaced, and should adhere to all applicable APA formatting conventions.
In this document, students should articulate their current overall philosophy of treatment as it applies to their work in the field of marriage and family therapy. This philosophy statement assumes that the student under review is not a “fully formed” or fully finished professional, so it is allowable for the student to talk honestly and openly about the ways they assess their own current stage(s) of development. This statement may even be at odds with the case study or video materials presented in the other parts of the Portfolio, but if it is, it would be important for the statement to address how these disconnects are part of the overall development of the student. The important parts of this statement are the honesty, maturity, integrity and clarity with which the student describes their journey throughout the years of clinical training they have received in the course of the program, as well as the accuracy of any theoretical assertions they make as well. This document can, and should, serve as a jumping off point for discussions between the student and the faculty reviewers about the current state of clinical development of the student.
Single Case Study
In this section of the Portfolio, the student is asked to describe, in writing, their experience as a primary therapist with a single case, from inception and introduction to completion and evaluation. The purpose of this section of the portfolio is to allow the student to describe in great detail the how they managed a case from beginning to end, and in the process of doing so, giving insight into the theories, techniques, approaches, assumptions, supervision, and feedback that guided them through the process. This component of the Portfolio will be evaluated by the faculty review committee using a rating scale that evaluates the student based on the following criteria:
- All interactions between clients and therapist up to the point when a therapeutic contract is established. (Assesses the Admission to Treatment Core Competency Skills)
- Activities focused on the identification of the issues to be addressed in therapy. (Assesses the Clinical Assessment and Diagnosis Core Competency Skills)
- All activities focused on directing the course of therapy and extra-therapeutic activities. (Assesses the Treatment Planning and Case Management Core Competency Skills)
- All activities designed to ameliorate the clinical issues identified. (Assesses the Therapeutic Interventions Core Competency Skills)
- All aspects of therapy that involve statutes, regulations, principles, values, and mores of MFTs. (Assesses the Legal Issues, Ethics, and Standards Core Competency Skills)
Students should organize the respective sections of the written Case Study document accordingly. The Case Study document should also be written in a style that adheres to the most recent edition of APA formatting conventions.
Video Segments Presentation
This section of the Portfolio is designed to allow the student to demonstrate through video segments, the correlation between theory and their actual clinical practices. Each student is required to produce and display between 7 -10 video segments that demonstrate the connections between “what they think” and “what they actually do”. For each segment presented, the student will assign a number to the clip, then describe the theoretical concept, construct, or technique that they believe most accurately reflects the actions that the audience is about to view. The members of the faculty review committee, after viewing the clip then offer a scaled response that reflects how accurately they believe the video segment actually reflected the concept, construct, or technique listed by the student on the following scale:
5 = Very Highly
4 = Well
3 = Adequately
2 = Only Somewhat
1 = Not at All
The concepts, constructs, or techniques that the student describes and shows video clips displaying can come from any of the classes, courses, or supervision they receive during their training in the program. The clips can be arranged to represent a single clinical point of view, or they may be arranged to represent a wide variety of the clinical approaches the student has used in the course of their training. This part of the Portfolio should be representative of a range of work that best demonstrates the student’s acquisition of clinical and theoretical skills during the program, regardless of theoretical approach.
Successful completion of this exam indicates the faculty’s belief that the student is clinically prepared to perform successfully in real life situations and in outside clinical settings. It is expected that students will conduct themselves in a professional and collegial manner throughout the preparation of materials. Care should be taken regarding appropriate dress, professional demeanor, clarity of presentation, and respect for clients and colleagues.
Once a student has completed all of the 4 requirements listed above, they may then seek out the guidance of a “faculty advisor” in final preparation for their Clinical Portfolio presentation. A student can approach a current member of the full time family therapy faculty to serve in this capacity. The faculty member’s ability to serve is governed by a number of factors, including how many other such requests are being made of them in the same trimester. If the faculty member agrees to serve as the student’s faculty advisor, that faculty member may not then serve as a member of the final faculty review committee.
Once selected, the student may then present their completed materials to the faculty advisor for review. The faculty advisor shall have a two week “turnaround time” to get back to the student with feedback regarding the overall professional quality of the presentation. The faculty member may suggest changes and revisions, which the student is at liberty to accept or ignore. Approval to go ahead with the final presentation from the faculty advisor should in no way be construed as an endorsement or guarantee of final approval from the full faculty review committee. The role of the faculty advisor is simply to allow the student some kind of access to faculty guidance before the actual presentation of their clinical work. Once the student has received the comments of the faculty advisor, they may then contact the program coordinator’s office to schedule a full faculty committee review.
The full faculty committee will consist of three members of the full time family therapy faculty, selected on a random, rotating basis. Once selected, the three members of the faculty committee will also receive all of the portfolio materials for review. The review will be a public event, scheduled for a maximum of two hours time. As a professional presentation, it is important that the student allocate their time for presentation and questions accordingly. Punctuality, time keeping, and facilitation are is an important parts of professional presenting.
The review will be publically announced to the Department of Family Therapy community, and open for faculty and students to attend. It will be scheduled for a minimum two weeks after the announcement is formally made. These events are not only a review of the student’s portfolio of clinical work, but also an opportunity for active conversation with, and about, the clinical work of their colleagues.
Upon completion of the public presentation, the three members of the faculty review committee consider all of the materials presented in light of 1). the evaluation rubrics attached to those materials, 2). the manner in which they were presented, 3). the overall professionalism of the presenter, including dress, manner, tone, etc. 4). the manner and substance of the ways in which the presenter handled questions, criticisms, theoretical disagreements, or ethical concerns raised by reviewers or members of the audience during the course of the review. The faculty review committee then decides whether or not, as a consensus opinion, the student has satisfactorily presented a professionally acceptable Clinical Portfolio. If the consensus reached is not unanimous among the committee members, it is incumbent upon the dissenting opinion to inform the student of their views, and the reasons for them, in a separate report. If a majority decides that the Portfolio presented is not of acceptable professional quality, it is incumbent upon the committee to fashion a detailed report of how and where the portfolio falls short of acceptable professional standards, and to make suggestions for remediation in the future. A student may only submit one Clinical Portfolio for review per trimester, and may only resubmit a Clinical Portfolio for re-review a maximum of 2 times. Any student who is unable to submit a professionally acceptable Clinical Portfolio after this will not be allowed to continue in the program.
Portfolio Timeline Information
There is no single guideline for the order or time frame in which portfolios are submitted. However, a student doctoral student may not begin their internship until they have successfully completed their Clinical Portfolio Review, and they may not sign up for credits until they have successfully submitted all of their Portfolio requirements. All portfolios must be completed by students by the beginning of their 5th year in the program. Failure to do so means that a student is at significantly greater risk of not completing the doctoral program within the prescribed 7 year limit, and may be grounds for the Chair of the Department to call a meeting to review the overall progress of the student.
Individual Student Evaluations
Individual student evaluations are conducted at the end of each and every trimester by each instructor who has the student for class or practicum. These evaluations are based on the student’s overall performance, attitude, conduct, and preparation, and may or may not be reflective of the overall grade the student earned in the course.
Individual Student evaluations are a standard departmental form that is filled out by faculty at the end of every trimester for all the students enrolled in their class. Each student will receive a copy of their evaluations after each trimester is complete. Evaluations are based on a three system criteria.
- Green light-the student met every requirement of the class in a way that the instructor has no lingering or overall concerns regarding the above listed criteria.
- Yellow light- means the faculty member has recommendations to be discussed one on one with the student. The onus is on the student to seek out the instructor to discuss their concerns about their performance, and they should do so some time before the beginning of the next trimester. If a student and the instructor are able to amicably discuss and resolve the instructor’s concerns, the yellow light evaluation can be amended into a green light evaluation. If after this meeting there is disagreement about the issue or its resolution, the yellow light evaluation may stay in place, or it may become a Red light, in which case see below.
- Red light- means that an issue or issues between the instructor and the student has risen to the level of concern that the instructor would like to involve the Chair of the Department to become aware of the issue(s). If a student is given a Red Light evaluation, the student then must make arrangements for a meeting with the instructor and the department chair as soon as is practical.
3. Course Comprehensive Exam
The Course Comprehensive Examination is a written exam assessing the student’s ability to apply the knowledge they have gained across cases and topics based on their coursework. To be eligible to register for the Course Comprehensive Exam, students must have completed their coursework and practicum experiences and be in good standing in the program. Students will register during the Summer or Fall term of their second year. The Course Comprehensive Exam will be administered on the first Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of July. In case of a holiday, the date will be moved forward by one day. This exam is a 3 day examination, which assesses the student’s integrative skills with regard to the 9 core doctoral curriculum courses.
The exam covers the four core family therapy courses, (DMFT 5010, 5020, 5030, & 5040) Quantitative Research I (DMFT 5410), Qualitative Research I (DMFT 6430), two theory courses, Language Systems (DMFT 5110) and Thinking Systems (DMFT 5120), and Teaching and Supervision (DMFT 6310). On day one, students will answer 4 of 5 questions from the above courses in a 5-hour period. On day two, students will answer 3 of 4 questions from courses not covered on day one in a 4-hour period. On the third day of the exam, students will be asked to critically evaluate a journal article utilizing information from their course work in a 5-hour period. Each answer will receive a grade of either “3” (excellent), “2” (adequate) or “1” (inadequate). A student may receive one grade of “1” and pass the examination. If a student receives 2-4 answers of “1”, they must undergo an oral examination based on the questions they received the “1” grade on.
This oral examination will be scheduled through the office of the Program Coordinator no sooner than 6 months and no later than 1 year after the exam is taken. If students fail to receive “adequate” scores on their oral exam, they must take the full written exam the next time it is offered, either July or December. If students receive more than four “1” scores, or if they fail to schedule their oral examination at least two months prior to the end of the one year deadline, they must take the full written examination when it is given the next year. If students fail the Course Comprehensive Examination twice, they will not be allowed to continue in the program.
Applied Clinical Project (ACP)
The Applied Clinical Project (ACP) should be seen as the capstone experience of the DMFT degree process. The ACP is the student’s demonstration of his/her ability to carry out a high quality, professional program of systemically based treatment. The ACP should be a project students carry out under SHSS faculty supervision from concept, to proposal, to implementation, and finally through eventual evaluation of the effectiveness of the program. An ACP is viewed as a career launching undertaking. At the time of its culmination, students should be able to articulate and demonstrate to other mental health professionals their unique area of systems based practice expertise.
Students select a full-time faculty supervisor and one other full-time faculty reviewer of their ACP only after they have completed the majority of their course work and have successfully passed both their Clinical and Course Comprehensive Examinations. All proposals, data collection, and analysis toward the completion of the ACP must be done under faculty supervision.
At the end of the ACP, students will develop a professional quality presentation and review of their entire project to a faculty committee and the public. The faculty committee will consist of their project supervisor, one other faculty reviewer, and any other terminally degreed professionals that the student wishes to invite. However, only full time faculty of SHSS will have the final say on the acceptability of the final product and its final presentation. Students register for a minimum of 12 credit hours of Applied Clinical Project. Students must continue to register for ACP credit hours until they complete, successfully defend, and finalize their project. This may entail taking more than the minimum of 12 Applied Clinical Project credit hours stipulated in the catalog. If for some reason, students cannot continue working on their ACP, they must apply in writing to their project faculty supervisor and the Department Chair for a leave of absence, which must be in place two weeks prior to the start of a trimester. If students request a leave for longer than one term or take a second term-long leave, they may not be able, upon their return, to continue with the project supervisor with whom they had earlier been working. If a Leave of Absence is requested and approved, this does not extend the 7-year timeframe for completing the degree program.
The DMFT External Practicum is designed to provide the student with a supervised full-time clinical experience, emphasizing a relationally focused practice. The minimum time requirement to complete external practicum obligations is six to eight hours per week over the course of two academic terms. Before beginning External Practicum, students will work with the DFT Internship Coordinator to develop an External Practicum site and a contract with that site. Prior to beginning the external practicum experience, students must have a completed and signed copy of the internship contract signed by themselves, their internship site supervisor, their faculty supervisor, and the Department Chair. If proof of professional liability insurance coverage is needed for the Practicum site, a copy can be obtained from the Internship Coordinator. Practica will be evaluated by both the site supervisor and faculty supervisor each term, using the DFT program's practicum evaluation forms. Students will be invited to assess their own performance as well. These forms, designed by faculty, closely assess clinical skills and can be obtained online at our SHSS website and from the student’s faculty supervisor.
The institution sponsoring the practicum site(s) will have been in operation for at least two years. Practicum site(s) will provide adequate facilities and equipment for the intern to carry out designated responsibilities. Students are required to have an AAMFT Approved Supervisor on site to supervise their clinical hours or obtain an outside AAMFT Approved Supervisor and meet all other practicum requirements per the SHSS/DFT Contract.
The Supervision and Teaching Course and Practicum
Before taking Supervision and Teaching course (DMFT 6310), students must have successfully passed Internal Practicum II (DMFT 6200). Students may wish to take both the Teaching Practicum (DMFT 7360 and the Supervision Practicum (DMFT 6320); however, only one is required. Students must obtain faculty approval for taking either of these courses. Typically, these Practica will entail assisting a faculty member in teaching or supervising a master's level course, though in some instances, helping with doctoral courses is possible.
To obtain permission to take either supervision or teaching Practica, students should seek out the full-time faculty member they wish to work with and specify what capacity they would like to work with them. If the faculty member agrees to work with the student, the student should then email the faculty member detailing what they have agreed on with a copy to the Department Chair for final approval. Such notice should be given well in advance of that term’s registration period.
Individual Supervision for State Licensure or AAMFT Membership
There may be occasions after the completion of formal course work when doctoral students wish to seek private, individual clinical supervision from a member of the faculty. Before approaching a faculty member with such a request, students must have already successfully completed all required Practica and have successfully passed all qualifying exams. Since such supervision is not considered part of the curriculum, the contract between the student and the supervisor, including frequency of meetings, responsibilities, and costs, will be settled privately. The department stipulates that faculty may not provide private, clinical supervision for students if they serve as supervisor or reader on the student’s Applied Clinical Project.