Who are Marriage and Family Therapists?
The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy defines MFTs as mental health professionals trained in psychotherapy and family systems, and licensed to diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders within the context of marriage, couples, and family systems (AAMFT.org). Research studies repeatedly demonstrate the effectiveness of marriage and family therapy in treating a wide range of mental and emotional disorders and health problems. MFTs treat individuals, couples, and families from a holistic perspective emphasizing resiliency and strength.
The mission of the Marriage and Family Therapy Master's Program is to prepare students in the application of family therapy practice and knowledge in a variety of professional and community practice. We strive to prepare competent mental health professionals dedicated to improving the human condition through both prevention and intervention. The program emphasizes a multilevel systemic perspective that begins with individual internal relationship levels of processes and sequences and culminates with cultural levels of meanings and constraints.
The strengths of the Marriage and Family Therapy Program at the University of Southern Mississippi include the following:
•Broad-based clinical training utilizing both modern and postmodern methods and interventions
•A biopsychosocial perspective with an emphasis on resiliency and strength
•Opportunities for clinical practice in community mental health centers, psychiatric hospitals, youth courts, alcohol and drug treatment facilities
•On site therapy clinic that serves the needs of Mississippi's high-risk children, youth and families
•Strong faculty-student mentoring
•Success in preparing students for advanced graduate degrees
•Excellent demonstrated success in preparing MFT students for the National MFT Licensure Examinations.
Diversity encompasses many areas including culture, race, ethnicity, gender, class, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, physical and mental abilities, religious and spiritual values, and belief systems. The marriage and family therapy program at Southern Miss is committed to faculty and student exposure to diverse people and ideas through classroom activities, clinical experiences, and professional development opportunities. Information and experiences acknowledging issues of diversity and discrimination are integrated throughout the MFT curriculum. Presentations by a diverse group of speakers are integrated into MFT coursework, thus expanding student exposure to a variety of viewpoints that stimulate critical thinking skills. Faculty strives to obtain grants that place students in diverse community settings. The University Clinic for Family Therapy, the on campus training clinic, allows MFT students the opportunity to provide therapy services to a diverse community population. The faculty strives to assist students in the expansion of their world view, facilitating their ability to provide meaningful therapeutic experiences.