Couples and Family Therapy - Counseling Psychology Master of Arts (MA) or Respecialization Certificate

William James College now offers two options for Couples and Family training

The Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology and Couples and Family Therapy (CFT)  is a 60-credit program that can be completed in two years, full-time or three years part-time. Graduates will be well prepared with a strong foundation to provide therapeutic services to individuals, couples and families, as well as to agencies and communities.

The Couples and Family Therapy  (CFT) Respecialization Certificate helps individuals with a clinical or counseling psychology degree 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 academic background will be assessed and an individualized study plan will be created.

What Makes Our Program Unique

Dual Track Degree:
The MA program in Counseling Psychology and Couples and Family Therapy meets the educational standards for the 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).  Graduates of this program will have the distinct advantages of a dual track degree and eligibility to sit for licensure as both LMHCs and LMFTs. 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 that state(s). 

Clinical Field Experience:
Our Field Education office works 1/1 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 Program Director, Jacqueline Gagliardi.  Please click here to connect with her if you have any questions about the program.

Who This Program Is For

The MA in Counseling Psychology and Couples and Family Therapy is designed to attract individuals with a passion for working with children, couples and families.  Our graduate program places an emphasis on training students to work with multi-stressed couples and families, and diverse populations.  Students must hold a BA/BS or higher degree.

While it is not required to have field experience, many students who are attracted to this program come from employment in community health, mental health, and health settings.  We also welcome students who are interested in a career change, whether currently working in business, education or another field. 

The Couples and Family Therapy Respecialization Certificate is designed for individuals with a clinical or counseling psychology degree.  This certificate provides mental health professionals the qualifications needed to pursue license as a marriage and family therapist in Massachusetts.

These programs can be completed on a full or part-time basis.

Couples and Family Therapy Class

Career Outlook
94% of Graduates receive jobs in their field within 6 months of graduating
Job Outlook: Percent (%) Change in Employment for 2014-2024 Bureau of Labor Statistics
Marriage and Family Therapist Up 15%
Mental Health Counselor Up 20%

US News & World Report Best Social Service Jobs US News Best Jobs Logo
Marriage and Family Therapist No. 16
Mental Health Counselor No. 33

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

Graduates of the Counseling Psychology and Couples and Family Therapy program at William James College will be eligible to be licensed as both a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). Dual licensure provides professionals many career opportunities.

  • 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."

Jacqueline Gagliardi Receives MAMFT Award

Jacqueline Gagliardi receives MAMFT Award