Couples and Family Therapy - Clinical Mental Health Counseling Master of Arts (MA) or Respecialization Certificate(MA)

Request InformationWilliam James College now offers two options for Couples and Family training

The Couples and Family Therapy (CFT) is a Area of Emphasis in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling (MA) Program. In addition to the core requirements of the CMHC program, it requires specialized courses in Couples and Family Therapy, which brings the degree requirements to 63 credits.

Celebrating 10 Years of Counseling EducationThe Couples and Family Therapy (CFT) Respecialization Certificate helps individuals with a graduate degree in clinical psychology or counseling obtain the necessary qualifications to pursue a license as a marriage and family therapist in Massachusetts. The respecialization certificate takes a minimum of one academic year, depending on the courses students need. Each applicant’s graduate academic background will be assessed and an individualized study plan will be created. Apply for respecialization here.

Full-time Course Sequence (2 years)
Part-time Course Sequence (3 years)

We enroll new students into our Clinical Mental Health Counseling MA program evey January and late AugustClick here to see our timing and deadlines.  

What Makes Our Area of Emphasis Unique

Dual Track Degree:
Graduates of this program with the CFT area of emphasis will meet the educational and pre-master’s field experience requirements of the Massachusetts Board of Allied Mental Health and Human Services Professions to become licensed as a Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) as well as a Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT).  This dual track makes graduates highly competitive for employment. Students seeking licensure in other states must ensure that their degree program satisfies the requirements of the licensing board in the particular state. (Click here for a list of state boards for LMFT and here for a list of state boards for counseling.)

Clinical Field Experience:
Our Field Education office works individually with students to secure supervised training opportunities beginning in the first semester. Students engage in a minimum of 360-hour practicum and 600-hour internship experience where they will practice their skills in counseling and couples and family therapy.

One of the distinctive characteristics of our curriculum is that the program focuses on and integrates multiculturalism, differences in race, ethnicity, religion, physical abilities and differences, class, sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity. Culturally responsive and respectful work with families and couples in urban and other underserved or marginalized communities will be central throughout academic courses and field placements.

Distinguished, experienced faculty mentors provide a supportive learning community for students.  Click here to read about the Area of Emphasis Director, Jacqueline Gagliardi.  Please click here to connect with her if you have any questions about the program. 

Career Outlook
Job Outlook: Percent (%) Change in Employment for 2014-2024 Bureau of Labor Statistics
Marriage and Family Therapist Up 19%
Mental Health Counselor Up 19%

US News & World Report Best Social Service Jobs US News Best Jobs Logo
Marriage and Family Therapist No. 2
Mental Health Counselor No. 8

Median Salaries* Data from 2009 APA Salary Survey and US News & World Report

American Psychological Association Logo
US News Best Jobs Logo
Marriage and Family Therapist $48,040
Mental Health Counselor $48,850
* Licensed mental health professionals have the opportunity for additional income through private practice.

Career Opportunities for Graduates

Dual licensure (LMHC and LMFT) eligibility provides professionals many career opportunities in settings such as:

  • Outpatient Community Mental Health Centers
  • Social Service Agencies
  • Youth and Adolescent Treatment Programs
  • Inpatient Psychiatric Facilities-Crisis Intervention Programs
  • Residential Treatment Facilities-Substance Abuse Treatment Facilities
  • Schools
  • Private Practice

Below is a sampling of facts provided by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) about the issues that may be addressed by mental health professionals working with children, couples and families.

"Infertility is commonly defined as the inability to conceive a child or carry a pregnancy to full term. It is one of the most severe crises that a person or couple may ever face, and presents a tremendous physical, emotional, and financial challenge.

Making the important decision to adopt may be one of the most challenging and difficult decisions a person or couple can make. Family therapists can help the adoptive family to understand what impact, if any, adoption may be having, and they can help the parents to learn how they can help their child. AD/HD is a disorder of excessive inattention, distractibility, hyperactivity and impulsivity that begins in childhood and has a negative impact on an individual's performance at school, work and home. It affects roughly 6 - 8% of children, and persists into adulthood between 30 - 60 % of the time.4 -5% of American adults are afflicted.

Studies estimate that between 1 and 9 million children in the United States have at least one parent who is lesbian or gay. There are approximately 594,000 same-sex partner households, according to the 2000 Census, and there are children living in approximately 27 percent of those households.

There are approximately 7 million people in the United States who identify as mixed-race, with half of these being under the age of 18, and it is estimated that the mixed-race population in the U.S. will reach 21% by 2050. Yet, multiracial individuals and families remain marginalized and overlooked by mainstream U.S. society. As a result, the unique issues and struggles they face are often poorly understood by professionals, co-workers, friends and extended family, making it difficult to successfully manage challenges when they arise."

Student Ambassadors
Fathima AliFathima Ali
University of CT
Advanced Standing Clinical Psychology PsyD, Class of 2019
Counseling Psychology in Couples and Family Therapy MA, Class of 2015
Learn more about Fathima
For More Information on Our Counseling Programs

Would you like to learn more about our counseling programs or the admissions process? Request information here and select the track that most interests you.

Want to hear more and have the opportunity for a live Q&A with faculty and staff? Sign up for the next webinar.

Prefer to talk to someone who's been there, done that? Contact one of our Student Ambassadors for the counseling program to get a student's views.

Our Counseling Department faculty and staff are available to answer your questions. Prospective students are welcome to contact directly the Area of Emphasis Directors or the Department Chair with questions about the program or to discuss your career and academic goals.

Scholarships for New Counseling Students

How to Finance Your Education