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HAROLD ABEL SCHOOL OF SOCIAL AND BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES

MS Master of Science in Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy General Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy specialization

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Total program credits needed for graduation: 92

One academic quarter is 3 months. You will have a 3-week break between each quarter.

To learn more, call 1.866.283.8039, or email us. When you connect with Capella, we will immediately put you in touch with an enrollment counselor trained to assist you with specific questions and needs for your area of interest.

Program Course Descriptions & Requirements

Core Courses - 48 course quarter credits.

COUN5004
Survey of Research in Human Development for Professional Counselors (4 quarter credits)

This course presents theories of human development and behavior throughout the lifecycle. Learners examine approaches for researching human development, including personality and moral development theory. Learners also focus on the developing person using the theoretical lenses of disciplines such as psychology, anthropology, and biology. Must be taken during the learner's first quarter. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

COUN5106
Assessment, Tests, and Measures (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

Learners in this course examine the assessment process and the use of tests and measures in counseling. Learners also explore the evolution of assessment methods, testing strategies and interpretation, and fundamental measurement constructs.

COUN5107
Principles of Psychopathology: Diagnosis and Treatment (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

Learners in this course examine psychopathology principles, professional literature, and current issues associated with assessing and treating mental disorders. Learners critically evaluate diagnostic models, methods, and approaches used in diagnosing and treating individuals, couples, and families. Learners also explore the current DSM classifications and diagnostic issues associated with multicultural populations. Prerequisite(s): Addiction Counseling learners have completed COUN5940 and COUN-R5940. Mental Health Counseling learners must have completed COUN5930 and COUN-R5930. School Counseling learners must have completed COUN5910 and COUN-R5910.

COUN5108
Foundations of Addiction and Addictive Behavior* (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

This course provides learners with fundamental knowledge of addiction from its historical roots through contemporary issues. Learners examine theory and research that guides treatment for substance use disorders and related addictive behaviors, including the diagnosis and treatment of co-occurring mental health issues. In addition, learners review empirically supported interventions for individuals, families, groups, and diverse populations, as well as emerging issues in the field based upon current research. Learners may earn credit for either COUN5108 or CST5108, but not both. Prerequisite(s): Addiction Counseling learners must have completed COUN5940 and COUN-R5940. Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy learners must have completed COUN5920 and COUN-R5920. Mental Health Counseling learners must have completed COUN5930 and COUN-R5930. School Counseling learners must have completed COUN5910 and COUN-R5910.

COUN5214
Theories of Personality (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

In this course, learners examine the main constructs of personality by analyzing person- centered, trait, behavioral, psychodynamic, and social-cognitive personality theories. Learners also study biological, social, and cultural influences on personality and the development of personality throughout the lifecycle. Learners may earn credit for either COUN5214 or CST5214, but not both.

COUN5220
Introduction to Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

This course provides an introduction to the profession of marriage and family counseling/ therapy and its underlying systemic theoretical framework. Learners evaluate systems theories from a historical perspective and distinguish them from those of other individual based mental health disciplines. Learners also review the history, philosophy, and clinical practice theories of marital and family counseling/therapy and examine the fundamental therapeutic concepts and skills needed to work with couples and families.

COUN5222
Professional Ethics in Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

Learners in this course examine the ethical and legal responsibilities framing marriage and family counseling/therapy and related counseling professions and review the criteria for licensure in their state. Learners also analyze the impact of a therapist’s values, culture, and ethnicity on his or her practice; explore approaches to protecting clients from one’s own potential biases; and assess the role of advocacy in marriage and family counseling/therapy.

COUN5239
Theories of Psychotherapy (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

This course presents various theories of psychotherapy and their respective philosophical principles and assumptions. Learners evaluate the theoretical concepts and evidence-based practices of psychotherapy and examine appropriate application of theories and interventions to a diverse client population.

COUN5241
Group Counseling and Psychotherapy* (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

Learners in this course examine the theoretical components and developmental aspects of groups. Topics include types of groups, group dynamics and processes, group leadership and membership roles, ethical awareness in relation to groups, and crisis management within groups. Prerequisite(s): Addiction Counseling learners must have completed COUN5940 and COUN-R5940. Career Counseling learners must have completed COUN5950 and COUN-R5950. Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy learners must have completed COUN5920 and COUN-R5920. Mental Health Counseling learners must have completed COUN5930 and COUN-R5930. School Counseling learners must have completed COUN5910 and COUN-R5910.

COUN5279
Life Planning and Career Development (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

In this course, learners develop foundational career counseling knowledge and skills and engage in professional career counseling activities. Learners examine the major models of career development and the ways clients’ interests, aptitudes, lifestyle preferences, social interests, familial responsibilities, and life transitions may impact the career development process. Learners also discuss legal and ethical issues associated with career counseling practice.

COUN5336
Counseling and Advocacy with Diverse Populations (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

This course introduces theory and research related to culturally competent counseling and social justice advocacy. Learners consider the characteristics and concerns of diverse populations as they inform counseling and advocacy practices that promote optimal wellness and growth for individuals, couples, families, and groups. Learners also assess the influence of their own characteristics, attitudes, and beliefs on the counseling process; examine their roles in promoting social justice at multiple levels; and evaluate approaches for prevention of mental health issues in a multicultural society.

COUN5876
Methods of Family Research (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

Learners in this course explore the measurement of family variables and the complexities of family research design, data collection, and analysis. Topics include scales of measurement, validity and reliability, experimental and non-experimental designs, and approaches to integrating clinical research with practice.

20 course quarter credits. All academic courses listed below include specific residential colloquia, practice, or clinical experiences. Learners must complete prerequisites to be eligible to complete each course in the sequence.

COUN5920
Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy Pre-Practicum Course 1* (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

This online course reinforces the clinical marriage and family counseling/therapy skills developed in COUN-R5920, including building therapeutic relationships, performing therapeutic assessments, and applying ethical and legal standards of practice. Learners continue to integrate marriage and family counseling/therapy theories and methods with clinical practice. COUN5920 must be taken the quarter immediately following COUN-R5920. Prerequisite(s): COUN-R5920; COUN5003 or COUN5004; COUN5107; COUN5215 or COUN5222; COUN5220; COUN5239; COUN5270; COUN5271; COUN5334 or COUN5336. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

COUN-R5920
Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy Residential Colloquium Track 1* (NON-CREDIT)

The first residential colloquium includes a preparatory online courseroom and a residency experience. Learners engage in preparatory online courseroom activities to prepare themselves for the residency experience and focus on developing clinical marriage and family counseling/ therapy skills, including building therapeutic relationships, performing therapeutic assessments, and applying ethical and legal standards of practice. Learners then engage in a face-to-face residency experience that guides them as they integrate marriage and family counseling/therapy theories and methods with clinical practice. COUN5920 must be taken the quarter immediately following COUN-R5920. Prerequisite(s): COUN5003 or COUN5004; COUN5107; COUN5215 or COUN5222; COUN5220; COUN5239; COUN5270; COUN5271; COUN5334 or COUN5336. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

COUN5921
Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy Pre-Practicum Course 2* (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

This online course reinforces the advanced clinical marriage and family counseling/therapy skills developed in COUN-R5921, including building a range of therapeutic relationships; applying theory-based therapy techniques to individuals, couples, and family groups; and individual and relational diagnosis and treatment planning. Learners also explore group psychotherapy techniques for unrelated individuals and systems-oriented therapies for couples and family groups and continue to integrate marriage and family counseling/therapy theories and methods with clinical practice. COUN5921 must be taken the quarter immediately following COUN-R5921. Prerequisite(s): COUN5920; COUN-R5920; COUN-R5921; COUN5108; COUN5214; COUN5225 or COUN5232; COUN5241; COUN5254 or COUN5275;COUN5273. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

COUN-R5921
Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy Residential Colloquium Track 2* (NON-CREDIT)

The second residential colloquium includes a preparatory online courseroom and a residency experience. Learners engage in preparatory online courseroom activities to prepare themselves for the residency experience and focus on developing advanced clinical marriage and family counseling/therapy skills, including building a range of therapeutic relationships; applying theory-based therapy techniques to individuals, couples, and family groups; and individual and relational diagnosis and treatment planning. Learners then engage in a face-to-face residency experience that guides them as they integrate marriage and family counseling/therapy theories and methods with clinical practice. This residential colloquium provides 10 hours of group experience. COUN5921 must be taken the quarter immediately following COUN-R5921. Prerequisite(s): COUN-R5920; COUN5920; COUN5108; COUN5214; COUN5225 or COUN5232; COUN5241; COUN5254 or COUN5275; COUN5273. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

COUN6202
Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy Clinical Practicum* (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

The clinical practicum is an online-directed, supervised field experience during which learners practice specific clinical skills, including interviewing, assessment, intervention, documentation, and consultation in a marriage and family counseling/therapy field setting. Learners use fundamental communication and interviewing principles and perform initial assessments with individuals, couples, families and groups. This course requires 100 hours of clinical field experience; no less than 40 hours of direct client contact, 20 of which must be with couples and families; and no fewer than 12 hours of face-to-face contact with field supervisors, with a minimum of one hour per week. It is the learner’s responsibility to research and comply with the specific clinical experience requirements of their states. Prerequisite(s): COUN5920, COUN5921 with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

COUN6231
Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy Clinical Internship 1* (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

This is the first course in a sequence of two clinical internship courses during which learners fulfill 600 total required contact hours. Of the 600 total hours, learners must complete a minimum of 360 hours of direct client contact, a minimum of 180 of which must be with couples or families. For each Internship, supervision with field supervisors must include no fewer than 12 hours of weekly face-to-face contact with a minimum of one hour per week. The Internship provides learners with specific clinical skills in interviewing, assessment, intervention, documentation, and consultation in a field setting relevant to the learner’s chosen field of counseling or therapy. Grading for this course is S/NS. It is the learner’s responsibility to research and comply with the specific clinical experience requirements of their states. Prerequisite(s): COUN6202, COUN6925 with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

COUN6232
Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy Clinical Internship 2* (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

This is the second course in a sequence of two clinical internship courses during which learners fulfill 600 total required contact hours. Of the 600 total hours, learners must complete a minimum of 360 hours of direct client contact. Of those 360 hours, a minimum of 180 hours must be with couples or families. For each internship, learners must complete no less than one hour of weekly face-to-face contact with field supervisors, totaling a minimum of 12 hours of contact upon completion of this course. The internship provides learners with specific clinical skills in interviewing, assessment, intervention, documentation, and consultation in a field setting relevant to the learner’s chosen field of counseling or therapy. Grading for this course is S/NS. It is the learner’s responsibility to research and comply with the specific clinical experience requirements of their states. Prerequisite(s): COUN6231 with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

*This course has a prerequisite. Contact an enrollment counselor or refer to the course descriptions for more information.

Specialization Courses - 24 course quarter credits.

COUN5232
Systemic Approaches to Gender and Sexuality* (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

This course presents historical and contemporary perspectives of gender and sexuality and their cultural influences. Learners develop a systemic view of gender and sexuality and apply it to the assessment and intervention process with individuals, couples, and families. Learners also explore and challenge their personal beliefs, attitudes, and values associated with gender and sexuality and the ways they may impact the therapeutic process. Prerequisite(s): COUN5220; COUN5270; COUN5920 or COUN5821.

COUN5270
Family Therapy Theory and Methods (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

This course is a comparative study of the prominent schools of thought within the field of marriage and family counseling/therapy: their tenets, therapeutic strategies, and techniques. Learners also discuss structural, strategic, transgenerational, behavioral, communication, and analytical approaches to marriage and family counseling/therapy.

COUN5271
Marriage and Family Systems (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

Learners in this course study families as systems from theoretical, clinical, and research perspectives. The course emphasizes family development, transitions, assessment, and intervention. Learners also explore systems-oriented assessment models and strategies for initial interviews, hypothesis formulation, designing a strategy for intervention, and the process of termination.

COUN5273
Couple and Marital Therapy* (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

In this course, learners study systems-based couples counseling theories, methods, and practices and focus on therapeutic treatment planning and intervention. Learners also examine and interpret marriage counseling/therapy literature and examine ways to apply it to clinical practice. Prerequisite(s): COUN5270. MS Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy learners also must have completed COUN5220, COUN5920, COUN-R5920.

COUN5275
Utilizing Systemic Approaches: Infancy Through Adolescence* (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

This course is a comprehensive overview of the systemic theories and methods used to identify and resolve problems associated with the development and well-being of infants, toddlers, children, and adolescents. Learners examine the significance of contextual and systemic dynamics (e.g., gender, age, socioeconomic status, culture, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, spirituality, religion, family make-up, larger systems, and social context) on the development and well-being of infants, toddlers, children, and adolescents and study recent developments in neuroscience that provide evidence of the influence of relationships on the brain, mind, and overall development. Learners also examine standard assessment and diagnostic practices and models; practice applying developmentally sensitive practices such as play therapy, experiential role-enactment, and family of origin exploration to various cases; and review the legal requirements and limitations of working with vulnerable populations of minors. Prerequisite(s): COUN5220.

COUN6925
Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy Integrative Project* (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

In this course, learners demonstrate proficiency in marriage and family counseling/therapy by applying learning from required courses to complete an analysis of a marriage and family counseling/therapy organization or system or to propose a new application in the professional marriage and family therapy field. Prerequisite(s): COUN5006 or COUN5876; COUN5106; COUN5254 or COUN5275; COUN5273; COUN5279. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

*This course has a prerequisite. Contact an enrollment counselor or refer to the course descriptions for more information.

Graduates of this specialization are not eligible for licensure in South Carolina. Learners residing in South Carolina should check with the state licensing agency for specific requirements for professional licensure.

Capella University cannot guarantee licensure, endorsement, certification, authorization, other professional credential or salary advancement. State regulations and professional credential standards vary. It is the learner's responsibility to understand and comply with requirements for their states and professional associations. For more information on licensure, visit our licensure page. (Washington state learners are advised to go to: http://pathway.pesb.wa.gov/outofstate for more information.)

Residency Requirement

To support your academic and professional success, residential colloquia provide learning and community-building experiences in a stimulating scholarly environment. For this specialization, you are required to complete two six-day residential colloquia (COUN-R5920 and COUN-R5921).

Practicum / Internship Requirement

Toward the end of your academic program, you'll complete a clinical experience, often referred to as practicum or internship, in which you will have the opportunity to put into practice what you've learned in your coursework and residency experiences. For this specialization, you are required to complete a minimum of 100 total practicum hours and 600 internship hours.

Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy

Develop your counseling skills in real world environments with the support of your Capella Faculty and fieldwork Site Supervisor.

Learn more about the Practicum and Internship Fieldwork ExperiencePDF.

What Can I Expect?

Most students take 1 to 2 courses at a time. One course typically requires 10 to 12 hours of study per week.

Courses are divided into 10 weekly units. Each unit consists of readings, discussions, and other activities you will be expected to complete throughout the week. Assignments are due on Sundays, though not every course requires an assignment each week.

In each course, you will receive a detailed scoring guide that describes expectations for every graded assignment.

Grades are based on your participation in weekly reading discussions and completion of assignments. You will also be assessed on your ability to demonstrate an understanding of expected outcomes for your program or specialization. These outcomes are based on the needs and performance standards of your field or discipline.

Learn more about online learning at Capella.

Transfer Credits

There are many ways to reduce tuition costs, including transferring credits which can help save time and money. You can transfer up to 12 credits into this specialization.

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Whether you're completing continuing education credits, want to see if online learning is right for you, or are simply interested in a specific topic, you can enroll in many of Capella's online courses without committing to a degree program. We recommend speaking first with an enrollment counselor to discuss your goals and ensure the credits you earn now can be applied to a degree program later.

Learn more about individual courses

To learn more, call 1.866.283.8039, or email us. When you connect with Capella, we will immediately put you in touch with an enrollment counselor trained to assist you with specific questions and needs for your area of interest.

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Based on the number of transfer credits you entered above, a corresponding number of elective courses have been removed from this example course sequence plan. Actual transfer credits and required courses may vary and are determined following an official transcript evaluation. Individual time to complete and total program cost vary and are subject to individual progress, number of transfer credits, and number of courses taken per quarter.
Transfer credits entered above have been first applied to meet elective requirements followed by general education requirements. Courses have been removed accordingly in the above example. Actual transfer credit and required courses may vary and are determined following an official transcript evaluation. Individual time to complete and total program cost vary and are subject to individual progress, number of transfer credits, and number of courses taken per quarter.