Marriage and Family Therapy Overview
Marriage and Family Therapy students gain expertise in family systems theory and practice, clinical assessment and the prevention and treatment of relational problems.
Students meet licensure requirements through Mercy College’s affiliated agencies, mental health facilities, hospitals and private practice settings, and benefit from supervision by highly experienced mental health care professionals.
This program qualifies graduates to sit for the National Marriage and Family Therapy licensing exam, and they are able to move toward completing the 1,500 clinical hours in a professional full-time position required for licensure, 300 of which are completed during the program.
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Marriage and family therapists work in settings including:
- Private practice
- Court systems
The Mercy Advantage
- Internationally renowned faculty
- Flexibility with full- or part-time enrollment
- Mercy graduates have post-graduate opportunities for scholarships available from the Ackerman and Family Institute of Westchester
- Internship and other real-world experiences integrated into curriculum learning
IHELP at Mercy College
Mercy College is here to help our students and communities succeed. The new Interdisciplinary Health Education Learning Program (IHELP) fellowship aims to expand internship opportunities that provide services for children, adolescents, and transitional-aged youth who are at risk for behavioral health disorders in high need and high demand areas for graduate Fellows in Mercy's School Counseling, Mental Health Counseling, Marriage and Family Therapy, or Occupational Therapy programs.
Students who qualify to particpate in IHELP can receive a stipend of up to $10,000 to assist their studies. IHELP students also have access to hands-on learning opportunities, like working at local mental health facilities as well as private practice settings.
- Baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university with a grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 or higher. Applicants with a GPA lower than 3.0 may be considered for provisional acceptance. Students must have taken at least one course in Statistics at the undergraduate or graduate level, and received a B or above
- Two (2) detailed written signed letters of recommendation from instructors in the major area of study or professional contacts. One letter must be from a professor
- An up-to-date Résumé
- A 5 page essay on the applicant’s reasons for pursuing the Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Shorter essays will not be accepted.
- The essay should detail:
- Why the applicant wants to be in the MFT program
- What personal and professional attributes the applicant brings to this endeavor
- The applicant’s career goals
- This essay should reflect the applicant’s knowledge of what the field of MFT involves, include specific ideas and demonstrate the good writing skills required in graduate school.
- The essay should detail:
By the end of this program, students should be able to:
Demonstrate knowledge of a range of contemporary models in Family Therapy
Demonstrate knowledge of a range of contemporary models of Couple Therapy
Demonstrate the ability to complete 3 generation genograms and family timelines
Write clear papers demonstrating knowledge of models of Couple and Family Therapy
Demonstrate competency in professional therapy by completing three semesters of internship, doing supervised therapy with individuals, couples and families complete 300 face-to-face clinical hours
Demonstrate in depth knowledge of one model of Family Therapy, and applying this to a case from their internship
Frequently Asked Questions
No, prior experience in psychology or counseling is not required. A background in psychology or behavioral sciences will be considered but not required. We are a program known for working with second career people, including the performing arts, case management, law, journalism, education, homemakers, and other professions.
Statistics for Social and Behavioral Sciences or Psychology is a pre-requisite course for admission, which will need to be taken prior to graduate coursework beginning.
Qualified candidates are considered for admission in the fall, spring and summer semesters.
The MFT program is offered at the Dobbs Ferry Campus in Westchester County. Courses meet once a week at either 4:15 pm or 7:15 pm. Some courses are available online and at our Bronx campus, but students need to be available at 4:15 pm and 7:15 pm, and will need to come to the Dobbs Ferry campus for the majority of their courses.
The 51-credit MFT program can be pursued on a part-time or full-time basis. Full-time students can complete the program in 2 years, including two Summers. Part-time students may take up to 5 years to complete the Masters, however, we recommend the program be completed in three years, including three Summers.
A year-long clinical placement is required for the MS in MFT. Usually in the second year, from September through August of the following year covering three semesters of coursework. 200 hours of field work per term, which includes 100 hours of direct patient contact. 300 hours of direct client contact will accrue in total. An additional 1200 hours of clinical experience can be completed post Master’s to satisfy requirements for licensure.
Yes, we have a dedicated faculty member, the Director of Clinical Internships, who works individually with each student to assist them in finding an excellent site that is a good match for them. They work on the student’s resume, letter of application, interviewing skills, and searching for a site that fits the student’s needs.
The one-year clinical internship is located in community clinics, private practice, mental health clinics, and hospitals. The placements are located in Queens, Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, and Westchester, Orange County. On a case-by-case basis, we place students in New Jersey and Connecticut.
The Interdisciplinary Health Education Learning Program (IHELP) expands learning about services for children, adolescents and transitional aged youth at risk for behavioral health disorders. Participants receive enhanced academic coursework, experiential interpersonal training along with stipend support. A limited number of students are selected. More information can be found here: https://www.mercy.edu/academics/school-social-behavioral-sciences/ihelp
Each student is mentored by an individual faculty member to complete their capstone.
The internship prepares students for post graduate clinical work and professional development. Also, students receive orientation on job searches, interviewing, and negotiating salaries. Many students, depending on job openings and fit, receive job offers from their internship sites.
There are no scholarships for students in the MFT program, except for those chosen for the IHELP program who will receive a stipend for the year in training.
Yes, post graduate scholarships are available through the Ackerman Institute. If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Evan Imber-Black: email@example.com
There are three major requirements: 1) completion of a Master's degree in MFT, 2) passing the national licensing exam for MFT and 3) accrued 1500 hours of clinical experience.
Employment of Marriage and Family Therapists is expected to grow 14% from 2021 – 2031. Our graduates do very well in receiving employment. Many receive offers from their internship site on completion.
MFT therapists work in hospitals, agencies, court systems and private practice.
Family Services of Westchester, The Veterans Administration Clinic, Equity Therapy in NYC, Roberto Clemente Family Guidance Center, NAFI-NY, Tree House, Green Chimneys, Child Center of NY, North Brooklyn MFT, and many other places around the region.
We guide our students through their program of study with four orientations spread over their course of study. Guiding them through the process of graduate studies, internship readiness and placement, teletherapy and post-graduate orientation to licensure preparation.
We also offer free workshops every semester to expand upon their clinical and professional development skills. The workshops consist of leading figures in Couple and Family Therapy.
And, we run the Relational Play Lab where students learn about systemic and relational practices by applying it to action research projects, preparing them for both clinical and research practice.
The program director, Dr. Evan Imber-Black, founded the Center for Families and Health at the acclaimed Ackerman Institute for the Family where she was senior faculty and the Urban Institute for Families and Family Therapy Training at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where she has also served as Professor in the Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Imber-Black is the author of more than 80 papers and five books and was the editor of Family Process, the premier scholarly journal in the field for eight years. She is a world-renowned expert on family rituals, family secrets, and working with larger systems.
Dr. Saliha Bava, LMFT an Associate Professor in the MFT program, is an AAMFT-approved Supervisor and advisor at the Taos Institute’s Doctoral and International Diploma Program. She was the Associate Director of the world-renowned Houston Galveston Insitute, a founding home for postmodern therapy. She is the Director of Research and Consultant to the International Trauma Studies Program and a Taos Institute Associate and advisory board member. She co-founded the International Certificate in Collaborative-Dialogic Practices and is the founding editor of the International Journal of Collaborative-Dialogic Practices. Dr. Bava served on the American Family Therapy Academy Board (2012-2017). She has numerous articles and over 100 national and international presentations to her credit in the area of Trauma, couples therapy, parenting, disaster mental health, collaborative practices, relational play, training, pedagogy, research, DEI and social justice approaches. She co-authored the Relational Book for Parenting and the upcoming Relational Practices for Workplaces. She is in private practice in NYC, working with couples and as an ADEI consultant.
Maria Vilanova, LMFT an Associate Professor and Director of Clinical Internship in the MFT program. Maria has provided clinical services to individuals, couples, and families in both the public and private sector. Maria specializes in providing therapeutic services to those who have experienced trauma and life cycle transitions using family therapy and family systems theory. Maria also specializes in cross-cultural relationships, and leadership. For the past eight years, Maria's work has been dedicated to working with our country's military personnel, our veterans, and their families struggling with mental illness and addiction. She recently joined SFCS as the agency’s Assistant Director. In her role, Maria supervises all aspects of the Scarsdale Community Youth Services Project and provides direct clinical services to adults, teens, and families through the family counseling division. She has a private practice in Westchester County.
Program Details & Curriculum
The 51-credit Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy Degree is organized as follows:
Human Development: 3 Credits
Clinical Knowledge: 18 Credits
Theoretical Knowledge: 9 Credits
Family Law: 3 Credits
Research: 3 Credits
Professional Ethics: 3 Credits
Internship: 9 Credits
Capstone Experience: 3 Credits
Total: 51 Credits
Completion of at least 21 credits, including: PSYN 605: Couples Therapy: Theory and Practice; PSYN 644 - Group Experience (cc); PSYN 654 - Psychopathology; PSYN 657: Contemporary Family Therapy; PSYN 653 - Family Systems Assessment.