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Medical Family Therapy Program

The Medical Family Therapy Program offers both a master and doctoral degree program. We offer a Master's degree in Couple and Family Therapy and a Doctoral degree in Medical Family Therapy.

Medical Family Therapy Program

The program is unique in that it is attentive not only to understanding the development of individuals through the life cycle, but also to fostering sensitivity to the family and other social contexts in which people live, learn and work.

Our Mission

The mission of the Medical Family Therapy Program is to train marriage and family therapists who are engaged in service to individuals, couples, families, and the community. Through a scholarly and reflective process, we are involved in the development of professional clinicians who understand and recognize the primacy and importance of scientific inquiry, diversity, and social justice; who respect and accept multiple perspectives; who strive to practice in a collaborative engagement with other professionals and the community.

Learning Outcomes

The Goals and Objectives and Core Competencies of the Medical Family Therapy Program

The program has established overall goals and student learning outcomes that reflect the expectations and competencies established by the profession. These learning outcomes are derived from the MedFT Program Goals & Objectives which are, in turn, derived from the five dimensions of the Saint Louis University Experience.

 Program Goals:

1. Scholarship and Knowledge. To train sound clinicians who are equipped to work with a wide variety of presenting problems and a diverse array of families.

2. Intellectual Inquiry and Communication. To foster and develop rigorous and original scholarship for both faculty and students.

3. Community Building. Students will be trained to be adept at understanding and working with clients from a variety of multicultural backgrounds, with a specific emphasis on the concerns of poor and underserved populations.

4. Leadership and Service. To educate professionals who are knowledgeable and skilled clinicians and leaders in their profession and community; and promote social justice among all people.

5. Spirituality and Values. To prepare reflective practitioners who understand themselves in relation to those they serve and who incorporate spiritual, moral, and ethical principles into their personal and professional lives.

Student Learning Outcomes:

SLO #1.A: Graduates will be able to compare and contrast the major theoretical orientations related to the field of marriage and family therapy.

SLO #1.B: Graduates will attain competency in entry-level marriage and family therapy skills.


  • Admission, Assessment and Diagnosis
  • Treatment Planning and Case Management
  • Therapeutic Interventions
  • Legal Issues, Ethics and Standards
  • Use of Supervision and Practicum
  • Social Justice Issues and Self-Awareness

 SLO #2.A: Graduates will be able to understand and use research in clinical practice.

 SLO #2.B: Graduates will be able to contribute to competent clinical services and the profession through professional and scholarly modes of communication.

 SLO #3.A: Graduates will attain an increased cultural competence in working with diverse populations.

 SLO #4.A: Graduates will be able to demonstrate personal and professional skills that promote social justice through involvement and leadership in their communities.

 SLO #5.A: Graduates will be able to effectively communicate their values and demonstrate how they guide their personal and professional lives.

MFT Core Competencies:

The program also incorporates specific MFT Core Competencies set by COAMFTE (version 12) to meet certain requirements and benchmarks in students' learning. These competencies that the program implements in the program include:

1.1.2 Understand theories and techniques of individual, marital, couple, family, and group psychotherapy

2.1.5  Understand the current models for assessment and diagnosis of mental health disorders, substance use disorders, and relational functioning.

4.3.2 Deliver interventions in a way that is sensitive to special needs of clients (e.g., gender, age, socioeconomic status, culture/race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, personal history, larger systems issues of the client).

5.2.1 Recognize situations in which ethics, laws, professional liability, and standards of practice apply.

6.3.2 Use current MFT and other research to inform clinical practice.

 Description of Faculty Roles & Alignment with Program Goals:

Core Faculty

The Medical Family Therapy core faculty serve several key roles in carrying out the mission, program objectives and student learning outcomes of the program. Faculty whose academic appointment is within the Department of Family & Community Medicine, whose workload responsibility is predominantly associated with the Medical Family Therapy Program, whose teaching responsibility is comprised of 75% teaching program courses, whose training consists of relationally-focused course work and clinical experience, and whose scholarship and research is systemically based. Core faculty have primary instructional responsibility of the MFT curriculum, demonstrate competence as MFTs, and identify primary as MFTs.  

  • Teaching - Striving to educate master’s and doctoral students who will look to become clinicians and healthcare providers providing mental health, medical and/or family services. Faculty cover a number of courses including family theories, diagnosis and assessment, evidenced-based research, law and ethics, social justice, multicultural issues, and health-related topics. Faculty aligns teaching responsibilities with all five program goals.
  • Research - Conducting quality research and scholarly work, including submission for external funding, publishing in peer-reviewed journals, conducting IRB studies and mentoring students in both their research skills and qualifying exams (e.g. dissertation proposal, dissertation defense). Faculty aligns research responsibilities with Program goals 2 and 4.
  • Clinical - Providing quality clinical services to patients, families and community members in a variety of practice settings. Faculty also serve as supervisors to students who practice in a number of mental health and medical settings during their training. Faculty aligns clinical responsibilities with program goals 1, 3, 4 and 5.
  • Service - Carrying out the mission of Saint Louis University, faculty engage in mentorship, community collaborations and volunteer work within the program, department, school of medicine and university. Faculty aligns service responsibilities with program goals 3, 4 and 5.
  • Leadership- Serving on several leadership positions across both the university and other regional/national organizations. Core faculty are encouraged to become leaders in their respective areas in the field and the communities that they serve.  Faculty aligns leadership responsibilities with program goals 2 and 4.

Adjunct Faculty

The Medical Family Therapy adjunct faculty teach several master’s and doctoral courses, including family studies, family theories, assessment and diagnosis, internship and practicum supervision.  Adjunct faculty supervise both master’s and doctoral students in their clinical work in the Center for Counseling and Family Therapy. Although adjunct faculty cannot serve as advisors for students, they can serve on dissertation committees and help consult students around papers, research and other scholarly activities. Adjunct faculty are active participants in program faculty meetings.  Adjunct faculty teach effectively and support the program’s mission, goals and outcomes.

Length of the Program

The length of the M.A. program is 2.75 years and the maximum time for completion is five years. The length of the Ph.D. program is four years and the maximum time for completion is eight years. Students can also choose a part-time option in the Ph.D. program


The Medical Family Therapy Master's and Doctoral Programs at Saint Louis University are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), 112 S. Alfred Street, Alexandria, VA 22314, 703.838.9808.

In accordance with the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) Recognition Standard 12B and Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) policies, programs must publish their Student Achievement Criteria (SAC) - Ph.D. and Student Achievement Criteria (SAC) - M.A.

View Student Achievement Criteria