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May 31, 2007

ULM's MFT program makes great strides; Ph.D. program accredited

The University of Louisiana at Monroe, which has housed a master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) since 1983, is now one of only 13 universities in the United States to offer both an accredited M.A. and an accredited Ph.D. in MFT.

The Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) recently granted the M.A. program an accreditation renewal for six years and granted the Ph.D. program an initial accreditation for six years.

The Ph.D initial accreditation culminates a process that MFT faculty began in 2000 when they prepared an application for accreditation to the COAMFTE.

The program achieved candidacy status in 2002, and over the next five years faculty polished the program, prepared a self-study and hosted a site visit.

Achieving that candidacy status in 2002 has significantly impacted the MFT program, said Charles Pryor, department head of Educational Leadership and Counseling. The recent initial accreditation status will only cement that, he said.

"Since 2002, a number of graduates are holding faculty positions in MFT programs around the country, such as Kelly Barnett, who was just named to the MFT faculty at Tarleton State in Kileen, Texas, or Molly Sims Govener, who was invited to present her dissertation at an international conference in Paris, France. These are just a few recent examples of how accreditation has opened doors for graduates."

Offering both the Ph.D and the M.A. will create a new standard for the program, said Lamar Woodham, director of MFT at ULM.

"Accreditation means that students will continue to receive an educational experience in Marriage and Family Therapy theory, methodology, and research that is consistent with the best models of the profession as recognized by the accrediting body," he said. "Applicants will be expected to reach and maintain a higher standard of learning."

The accreditation distinguishes faculty as well, Woodham said. COAMFTE now recognizes ULM MFT faculty as "approved supervisors of clinical training," thus identifying them as leaders in both teaching and training.

The accreditation team recognized ULM faculty for the intense supervision they provide students working in the ULM Marriage and Family Therapy clinic, located at 3404 Bon Aire Dr. Students, with the guidance of their professors, provide low-cost services to individuals, couples and families in the area. Students also provide therapeutic services to youth and their families participating in the Fourth Judicial District Juvenile Drug Court Program.

With the excellent training provided to students and the recent accreditation strides, Pryor is optimistic about the future of the MFT program. "With both accreditations fully in place, the MFT program will be able to prepare graduates to be therapist, therapists, leaders and faculty for the profession locally, nationally and internationally."

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