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Pepperdine | Graduate School of Education and Psychology

Courses - M.A. in Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) – Daytime Format

The Daytime Format is two academic years in length. Students enroll in courses during the Fall, Spring, and first Summer session of each of the two years of the program. Students take courses in a pre-specified sequence and enroll in between 11 and 14 units in the Fall and Spring terms of the program and between 6 and 8 units in the Summer terms, depending upon the specific term.

Core Courses

PSY 600 Diagnosis and Treatment of Mental Health Disorders (3)

This course reviews the clinical presentation, diagnosis, and treatment of mental health disorders, as defined in the DSM system. A range of treatment approaches (e.g., individual, group, psychopharmacological, systemic) are discussed, with an emphasis on evidence-based interventions and sociocultural considerations. Principles of recovery-oriented mental health care are reviewed. Students learn intake and treatment planning skills.

PSY 603 Assessment of Individuals, Couples, and Families (3)

This course examines the application of psychological instruments to the assessment of individuals, couples, and families. Fundamentals of psychological assessment are reviewed, including standardized and nonstandardized testing approaches, basic statistical concepts, and ethical and cultural considerations in assessment. Students gain experience in the administration, scoring, and interpretation of selected tests as well as in report writing.

PSY 606 Interpersonal Skills and Group Therapy (3)

This course examines group formats for therapeutic change, personal development, interpersonal skills training, and relationship enhancement. An experiential laboratory group is included.

PSY 612 Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy (3)

Major theoretical approaches to the practice of counseling and psychotherapy are examined. The course places special emphasis on the key assumptions of various applied theories, the role and basic methods of clinical assessment, the stages of therapy, the role of the therapeutic relationship, and the goals and strategies to effect change. Each theory will also be examined for its cross-cultural application.

PSY 622 Multicultural Counseling (3)

Multicultural factors, including those related to race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, spirituality, sexual orientation, gender, and ableness, are reviewed as they relate to individual, couple, and family treatment procedures. Issues of poverty, financial, and social stressors with individuals, couples, families, and communities are addressed.

PSY 623 Professional Ethics and the Law for Mental Health Professionals (3)

This course considers ethical standards for therapists and reviews legal issues that influence the professional practice of individual, couple, and family therapy. Application of legal and ethical principles to recovery oriented mental health care will be addressed.

PSY 624 Individual and Family Treatment of Substance Abuse (3)

This course investigates major approaches used in the identification, evaluation, and treatment of substance use disorders and co-occurring disorders. Individual, group, family, and recovery-oriented approaches are addressed.

PSY 626 Research and Evaluation Methods for Mental Health Professionals (3)

This course covers basic concepts in statistics, research design, and program evaluation for mental health professionals, including experimental and correlational design methods, levels of measurement, central tendency, dispersion, correlation, and the use of inferential statistics for hypothesis testing. Students are also introduced to methods of evaluating programs and clinical outcomes while considering systemic and sociocultural influences. Emphasis is given to helping students become knowledgeable consumers of research, including the use of research to inform evidence-based practice.

PSY 627 Psychopharmacology for Mental Health Professionals (3)

This course uses a bio-psycho-social and systemic model to examine the history and use of psychopharmacology for the treatment of mental disorders and includes the study of neurobiology and mechanisms of action of the major psychotropic drugs. The role of gender, culture, age, and other contextual variables on the indications, recovery principles, and use of medications and medication adherence is examined.

PSY 628 Human Sexuality and Intimacy (1)

This course includes the study of physiological-psychological and social-cultural, systemic variables associated with sexual identity, sexual behavior, and sexual disorders. Issues related to sexuality and intimacy in couple and family relationships are reviewed.

PSY 637 Techniques of Counseling and Psychotherapy (3)

Through an examination of the application of major techniques of counseling and psychotherapy, students learn how to interview, formulate clinical cases, develop treatment plans, and facilitate therapeutic processes consistent with each major theoretical approach. Students gain practical skills by means of clinical case material and supervised laboratory exercises that supplement classroom lectures.

PSY 639 Couple and Family Therapy I (3)

This course covers assessment, diagnosis, and intervention strategies for individuals, couples, and families according to the systemic application of psychodynamic, humanistic, communication, experiential, and integrative models. Sociocultural issues are addressed as they relate to the development of the field as well as assessment and intervention.

PSY 640 Couple and Family Therapy II (3)

This course continues the study of the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of individuals, couples, and families using interactional and brief models. Major theoretical approaches covered include strategic, structural, and cognitive-behavioral models as well as postmodern and recovery-oriented approaches such as narrative and solution-focused therapy.

PSY 642 Mental Health Systems, Practice, and Advocacy (3)

This course is designed to explore the evolving professional and economic climate for mental health professionals. Opportunities for practice are examined, including private and group practice, the workplace, medical settings, mediation, managed care, and community mental health, together with preferred treatment modalities. Exercises designed to help students prepare for the licensing process are included. This course also addresses community involvement, engaging consumers of mental health services, and advocacy.

PSY 658 Individual, Couple, and Family Development: A Life Cycle Approach (3)

Students study the biological, psychological, and socio-emotional development of individuals and families throughout the life span. The impacts of experiences such as having children and parenting, adolescence, marriage, divorce, grief and loss, and aging and long-term care on individuals and families are explored. Cultural understandings and contextual considerations (e.g., SES, social position, social stress, educational level, housing, poverty, etc.) of human development are addressed.

PSY 661 Preparation for Practicum (2)

This course addresses common questions and concerns students have prior to beginning clinical work at their practicum sites. Students are taught how to prepare for beginning stages of therapy, how to effectively utilize consultation and supervision, how to deal with clients in crisis, advocacy practices, and other practical skills such as completing case notes and other forms of treatment documentation. Special attention is given to recovery-oriented practices and intervention with diverse individuals, couples, families and communities, and those who experience severe mental illness. Students must register for PSY 661 one term before beginning Clinical Practicum (PSY 662).

PSY 662 Clinical Practicum (2,2,2,2)

This course focuses on professional development, self-as-the-therapist issues, consultation, and clinical case presentation skills. Students receive consultation from the instructor and feedback from other students on clinical cases from their field placement settings. Students formulate and present cases using a variety of psychotherapeutic models with attention to sociocultural and contextual issues and recovery-oriented principles. Students must register for PSY 662 for 2 units each term, over a period of four consecutive terms (8 units). Students must obtain a placement in an approved clinical setting, with a signed, written agreement, prior to the first class meeting. Clinical hours gained while enrolled in practicum count toward MFT and LPCC requirements.

PSY 668 Clinical Interventions with Children and Adolescents (3)

This course provides an overview of issues and therapeutic methods relevant to the treatment of children and adolescents. Issues distinguishing working with youth as opposed to adults are examined, along with relevant legal and ethical concerns, assessment strategies, major theoretical approaches to treating children and adolescents, and treatment strategies for common forms of childhood psychopathology. Emphasis is placed on using therapeutic methods with established efficacy and on incorporating parents, family, and other contextual factors into treatment.

PSY 669 Trauma in Diverse Populations (3)

Students are introduced to foundational and science-informed principles in trauma psychology as they are contextualized by culture. Attention is directed to an examination of multicultural competence, trauma risk reduction, and trauma intervention. The course will survey interpersonal trauma (including child abuse and partner and spousal abuse) as well as natural disasters and medical trauma. This course satisfies the BBS requirement for coursework in spousal or partner abuse assessment, detection, and intervention.

PSY 671 Career Development Theory and Techniques (3)

This course prepares students to address the intersections of career, values, and life roles in the context of career counseling and responding to career and work-related issues for majority and marginalized groups. Students will gain core knowledge of major career development theories; examine the implications of sociocultural factors on career development, work transitions, and the career counseling process; gain experience with career counseling assessments and resources; and become familiar with current career development literature.