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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.

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

NSD Faculty Fellows

Now enrolling for Spring 2015: New marriage and family therapy course offerings for non-majors

MFT 400: Introduction to Couple and Family Therapy
Mondays and Wednesdays, 3:45pm – 5:05pm

Introduction to couple and family therapy theory and techniques, including structural, strategic, intergenerational, and experiential couple and family therapy.

MFT 600: Interpersonal Violence and Family Therapy
Thursdays, 9:30am – 12:15pm

Systemic approaches to the assessment and treatment of domestic violence, child, spousal, and parental abuse, and other forms of interpersonal violence.

NSD Faculty Fellows

Marriage and Family Therapy Presented 'Survivor Sessions'

In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Department of Marriage and Family Therapy hosted a panel presentation of survivors of sexual abuse and domestic violence on Friday, Oct. 24. “Survivors Sessions” was a guest panel of four survivors who will bravely detailed their journey from victim to survivor, including challenges of addiction and abusive relationships and the ultimate empowerment of reclaiming their lives.

NSD Faculty Fellows

Falk College Announces New CAS in Trauma-Informed Practice

A Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) in Trauma-Informed Practice is now 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.

New dual master’s degree program in social work, marriage & family therapy

The Falk College now offers a dual master’s degree program in social work and marriage & family therapy. This interdisciplinary program allows students to complete the master’s degree in two distinct professions—the Master of Social Work (MSW) and the Master of Arts (MA) in Marriage & Family Therapy (MFT). The first dual MSW-MFT master’s degree program in the country, it combines the generalist practice orientation of the MSW foundation and the advanced theory, practice and skills content of the MSW curriculum with the intensive relational clinical training of the MFT degree. The dual MSW-MFT degree will allow students to seek licensure in social work and/or marriage and family therapy in any state in the country to assume a very competitive position for employment opportunities. For more information, contact the Falk College Office of Admissions at 443-5555 or

Jesse Paez receives 2013 Chancellor’s Citation, Foundation Award honors

Syracuse University honored students, faculty, staff and community partners who exemplify SU’s commitment to engagement with the community and Scholarship in Action with the 2013 Chancellor’s Award for Public Engagement and Scholarship (CAPES) on April 24. The Chancellor’s Award for Public Engagement and Scholarship recognizes commitment to Scholarship in Action and investment in the public good. Jesse Paez, a second-year graduate student in the Department of Marriage and Family Therapy, received a Chancellor’s Citation. He has engaged in multiple advocacy trainings at SU, including the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) training, and Allies training, which is focused on how to foster relationships with those considered allies for the LGBTQ community. According to Thom deLara, chair and director of the Department of Marriage and Family Therapy, “Jesse has made an exceptional contribution to the Syracuse community and exceeded our expectations for public engagement and scholarship.”

Marriage & Family Therapy Expands Community Presence

The Falk College’s Department of Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) and its Couple and Family Therapy Center have expanded their presence in the Syracuse community with a second location at 601 E. Genesee Street, which is known throughout the community as Peck Hall. The expansion will allow the program to admit more students, ultimately increasing the number of trained professionals providing mental health services to meet a substantial need nationally and locally. Additionally, it will allow the department to increase continuing education services to practicing professionals in Syracuse and surrounding communities.

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 >>

Current MFT students share their experiences

The Department of Marriage and Family Therapy at Syracuse University was conceived 40 years ago by Bernice M. Wright, then Dean of the College for Home Economics, Robert Pickett, then Chair of the Department of Family Relations and Child Development, and Harvey Noordsy, then Executive Director of the Onondaga Pastoral Counseling Center.

Today, this program has grown to become one of the most respected graduate-degree granting programs in the field. Listen to what current students have to share about their experiences:

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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