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The Falk College Department of Marriage and Family Therapy is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE)

About the Department of Marriage and Family Therapy

The SU Marriage and Family Therapy (SUMFT) program mission is to educate and train clinicians, scholars and researchers in the profession of Marriage and Family Therapy. SUMFT carries out this mission through the “Self and Systems” training and supervision approach. This approach incorporates the integration of self-understanding of students in clinical training, with a systems framework for clinical work with clients.

SUMFT offers master of arts (M.A.) and doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in marriage and family therapy. Students gain a solid knowledge of marriage and family therapy theory and techniques. Students get extensive hands-on training, both at the Couple and Family Therapy Center, an on-campus clinical training and research facility, and at local community sites. We celebrate difference and diversity and expect all students to see clients across a broad range of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, religion, culture, age, or other difference/diversity category.

For students whose work and family schedules or financial means are not conducive to full-time graduate study, the M.A. in MFT is available as a part-time program. Working closely with the chair and faculty advisors, students carefully plan their 60-credit requirements on a part-time basis to ensure they are completed in three years.

Information about student achievement can be found on the COAMFTE website at: COAMFTE Student Achievement Criteria



Homeless youth r real sign

Falk College receives grants to assist trauma victims of neighborhood violence

Grant awards from the Community Foundation of Central New York and the John Ben Snow Foundation will support a new collaborative project, led by principal investigator, Linda Stone Fish, Falk Family Endowed Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy. The project, entitled, "In This Together," will provide workshops to help social service professionals, educators, health care practitioners, juvenile justice workers, clergy, and mental health counselors learn how to identify and address signs of trauma. The program will also provide grief counseling, healing circles, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and therapy to community members impacted by violence.


Homeless youth r real sign

Advocating for the needs of transgender families

MFT assistant professor, Deborah Coolhart was one of the first mental health professionals to work with transgender clients in Central New York. She was recently interviewed for the article, “Teens in Transition,” that appeared in The Syracuse New Times in June. Professor Coolhart, along with Professor Maria Brown, of the School of Social Work, recently released results of a research project they led as principal investigators to understand the experiences of CNY runaway and homeless LGBTQ youth.


Couple holding hands

MFT 400—Introduction to Couple & Family Therapy

In the next ten years, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the profession of marriage and family therapy will grow at an unprecedented 30 percent rate, much faster than other occupations. In MFT 400, students will get a good feel for the profession through topics including professional issues, major theories and techniques, and basic couple and family therapy skills. This three-credit course is ideal for students who will be juniors or seniors in Fall 2015 considering marriage/couple and family therapy as a profession, and for those who may work with individuals and families in other fields (e.g., child welfare, social work, education, healthcare, law).


MFT students organize donations

Clothing Drive Fills Unmet Need in Local Transgender Community

Table after table lined with hundreds of donated shirts, pants, sweaters, skirts, jackets and other clothing items were visible in one Peck Hall classroom because MFT graduate students Amy Goss and Megan O’Brien recognized an unmet need within Syracuse’s transgender community.


NSD Faculty Fellows

Falk College Announces CAS in Trauma-Informed Practice

A Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) in Trauma-Informed Practice is available through the Falk College’s Department of Marriage and Family Therapy. Comprehensive in scope, it prepares professionals to respond to trauma across a broad scope of origins, symptoms and systems. Core courses and electives address the theoretical foundations of trauma, as well as evidence-based trauma-informed practice approaches and techniques. Trauma-informed care provides a way for different agencies and groups to come together around a common concern. In a trauma-informed framework, prevention programs, human services, government agencies, and civic groups work together to create healthier and safer communities.


NSD Faculty Fellows

Stone Fish co-authors Treating Complex Trauma

In Treating Complex Trauma, clinicians Mary Jo Barrett and Falk Family Endowed Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy, Linda Stone Fish, M.S.W., Ph.D., present the Collaborative Change Model (CCM), a clinically evaluated model that facilitates client and practitionerTreating Complex Trauma Book collaboration and provides invaluable tools for clients struggling with the impact and effects of complex trauma. A practical guide, Treating Complex Trauma organizes clinical theory, outcome research, and decades of experiential wisdom into a manageable blueprint for treatment. With an emphasis on relationships, the model helps clients move from survival mindstates to engaged mindstates, and as a sequential and organized model, the CCM can be used by helping professionals in a wide array of disciplines and settings. Utilization of the CCM in collaboration with clients and other trauma-informed practitioners helps prevent the re-traumatization of clients and the compassion fatigue of the practitioner so that they can work together to build a hopeful and meaningful vision of the future.


deLara Encourages Parents to Talk with Children about Hazing


Ellen DeLara, associate professor in the Falk College’s School of Social Work, interviewed hundreds of students for a book she co-authored, “And Words Can Hurt Forever: How to Protect Adolescents from Bullying, Harassment, and Emotional Violence.” She recently spoke with Channel 9/WSYR (ABC-TV) about the problem of hazing among student-athletes and the active, on-going roles parents and other adults must play. “Adults cannot afford to pay attention to hazing only when an incident erupts,” notes deLara. “Hazing is typically a part of an organization’s ongoing culture and traditions. Consequently, adults need to be looking for it, reviewing group practices, and interviewing kids about the types of ‘bonding’ they are participating in.”


Psychology Progress features Coolhart’s work on therapy with transsexual youth & families


Deborah Coolhart, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Marriage and Family Therapy, explored therapeutic issues specific to transsexual youth and families and presented a clinical assessment tool for determining transsexual youth’s readiness for medical treatments in a recently published article. “Therapy with Transsexual Youth and Their Families: A Clinical Tool for Assessing Youth’s Readiness for Gender Transition,” was published in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, Volume 39, Issue 2, pages 223–243, April 2013, with Amanda Baker, Sara Farmer, Meaghan Malaney, and Dara Shipman.

It is currently featured as a key research article on the web site of Psychology Progress. Key research articles are selected from a wide variety of peer-reviewed journals and are judged to be of major importance in their respective fields. Psychology Progress provides its readers with the latest and most significant research in all areas of psychology. It offers a medium through which new innovations in psychology can emerge, challenging conventions and ideas regularly. It is focused on increasing recognition and visibility to researchers in the international field of psychology.



Meet Our Marriage & Family Therapy Students

The Department of Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) at Syracuse University has offered one of the longest-standing and most distinguished programs of its kind in the country for more than four decades. Opportunities as a student in the program are plentiful and diverse, spanning hands-on work at the on-site Couple and Family Therapy Center to gaining experience through numerous long-time partnerships with community agencies and organizations. Hear what some of our students have to say about their experiences.

Watch the Interviews >>


Thom deLara

Welcome to the Department of Marriage & Family Therapy

Thom deLara, M.S.W, M.B.A., serves as the department chair of Marriage and Family Therapy

Read a Message from the Chair

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