There are two distinct components of our MSMFT training program. The first is training our students to conceptualize and practice therapy from a family systems perspective—the hallmark of the marriage and family therapy field. This perspective emphasizes working with clients within their relational context in order to increase therapeutic efficacy and produce sustainable change.
The second is faculty involvement in student training. All of our students participate in weekly, faculty-led consultation (Pasadena) or supervision groups (Phoenix) where students present cases and receive feedback from faculty and peers. In addition, at the Pasadena campus, a number of our students train with our faculty and receive weekly live supervision in a specific therapeutic modality such as Restoration Therapy and Emotionally-Focused Therapy. However, whether at the Pasadena or at the Phoenix campus, regardless of where our students train (e.g., schools, group private practice settings, college counseling centers, church counseling centers, or Department of Mental Health contracted agencies), faculty are involved in students’ personal and professional development as marriage and family therapists.
For those in the MAFS program, students receive practical instruction in family life education, with the opportunity to pursue certification as a Certified Family Life Educator.
The Department of Marriage and Family understands the integration of psychology and faith to entail personal integrity as a Christian professional. We are therefore committed to the spiritual formation of our students through a process of group activities. Students participate in weekly small groups led by faculty during the first two quarters of the program, and student/faculty retreats at the end of the first and second years. Through these activities, students engage each other through their life stories, attending to issues of calling, giftedness, identity, and the presence of God in the storyteller’s life. The goal is for students to understand and begin taking hold of their Christian vocation of being peacemakers in God's kingdom or reign, through the personal embodiment of the biblically-based “clinical virtues” of humility, compassion, hope, and rest.
When it comes to creating and expanding your skills to become a great marriage and family therapist, nothing is more important than your initial training and supervision. At Fuller Theological Seminary, you will not only have the chance to do clinical training at a variety of community services, agencies, or community mental health sites under great supervision, you will also have the option of training directly under our core faculty at a secondary practicum site. At the Pasadena campus, half to three quarters of our students participate in weekly live session supervision of their clinical work for multiple quarters in their second year. When you receive this type of intense, honest, and constructive direction from faculty, your clinical skills increase exponentially. Our students that participate in secondary-site live supervision often receive the comment that their clinical skills are much more advanced than average beginning interns.
Your supervision from faculty is some of the best resource you will receive in your career. Jim Furrow, PhD, is the leader of the Emotionally Focused Therapy group and is a national and international trainer and writer in this popular and effective approach. Terry Hargrave, PhD, is the developer and supervisor of the Restoration Therapy group and has trained professionals for over 25 years in directing responsibility and change. Miyoung Yoon-Hammer, PhD, and Sharon Hargrave, MA, round out the secondary-site practicum trainers, and combined with Terry and Jim, they have almost 100 years of therapy experience.
At the Phoenix campus, Gloria Gabler, PhD, program director of Fuller Southwest MFT program, has over 30 years of experience as a clinician and 20 years of experience providing supervision to MFTs. She has worked and supervised in settings that range from an inpatient psychiatric facility to an inner city agency to a church based counseling center. Although she is primarily Bowenian in her approach, she has a broad range of experience with various clinical modalities.
Wendy Lehnertz, MA, associate director of clinical training for Fuller Southwest MFT program, specializes in trauma and abuse recovery, domestic violence, posttraumatic stress disorder, and intimacy recovery for couples. She is a certified Gestalt therapist, who has created various intensive and experiential programs within her practice. Also trained in EMDR, Wendy provides integrated counseling to help individuals, couples and families of faith. She has spoken locally and internationally on trauma and abuse recovery, as well as given workshops focused on couple's attachment and bonding.
When you get your clinical training at Fuller Theological Seminary, whether at the Pasadena or at the Phoenix campus, you will be trained by the best!
The greater mission of Fuller Theological Seminary is to equip women and men for the manifold ministries of Christ and his Church. The MFT program is no exception. We see all the teaching, training, and formation as opportunities to equip and empower our students to serve in various forms of marital and family ministry. For many that will be as marital and family therapists, but for others their "call" might be to family life education-inside or outside the church. Regardless, an important element of the Fuller MFT is growing in your sense of vocation or calling, and understanding how God is shaping you to use your gifts, talents, and passions to serve and build his Kingdom. From a practical perspective, the Fuller MFT student experience includes wrestling with one's growing sense of professional identity, developing a biblical understanding of families in today's world, and learning various forms of marital and family theories and therapeutic approaches that will be relevant in various settings. Our desire is to enable future therapists, leaders, and educators that can enable families to thrive and flourish.
One of the unique aspects of the Fuller MFT is the “cohort experience.” Although you apply and enter alone; you will not leave alone. We strongly believe that God has called us to be in relationship with one another, and we have designed the Fuller MFT accordingly. As much as we are committed to personal growth, we know that ultimately occurs in relationships with others. Our program is designed to last two years and is structured in such a way to build community among students. Inside and outside the classroom opportunities are created to get to know fellow students in a real and genuine manner. Academic, spiritual, recreational, and leadership opportunities allow for the opportunity for students to go deep with one another. As a program we value humility, compassion, hospitality, hope, and definitely a bit of humor! Students constantly report that the friendships made through their cohort were one of the most meaningful aspects of their Fuller experiences.