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Scenes from the Department of Human Development and Family Studies

Masters Program in Couple & Family Therapy


Our Training Model

Our current training model is based on an outcome management (OM) protocol. Outcome management refers to the systematic collection of client feedback regarding progress and the alliance during treatment to facilitate management of the therapy toward the best possible outcome. Students routinely record and store client responses to treatment using OM software. Computerized predictions provide a basis for identifying clients who are not progressing as expected, allowing clinicians to respond accordingly. Students and supervisees adjust immediate in-session and session-to-session clinical process to maximize the chance for successful treatment. With this method, students realize rapid development of skills and improved outcomes with their clients.

Our training model incorporates four core values:

First, a collaborative model informs all aspects of supervision and therapy. Students are expected to collaborate with and support the unique strengths of client couples and families while helping them resolve their difficulties. Trainees are expected to be supportive and collaborate with their colleagues as well. Students learn to value and utilize clients' unique strengths and resources, and appreciate those of their fellow trainees. An atmosphere that enhances strengths and cooperative study and problem solving is strongly encouraged. Supervision also draws on trainee strengths. Our emphasis on obtaining and responding to client feedback represents a commitment to a collaborative and strengths focus with our clients.

Second, the program is integrative. While students are exposed to many different theories and models, they are encouraged to utilize those approaches that resonate for them. Incorporating routine client feedback provides an integrative tool to ensure that a chosen approach is providing benefit and prompt a shift to a different one when required. Outcome management serves as a centerpiece for student integration of diverse treatment models.

Third, our program is committed to diversity. Our program values diversity in its students, clients, and curriculum. We strive to recognize and address cultural and societal forces that contribute obstacles to all members of our program community. Using a client feedback system, students can put into practice what they are learning about diversity in the classroom. With client voices guiding clinical work, trainees learn from and can better assist persons whose social and cultural locations differ from their own. A process of respectful inquiry, embodied in a collaborative feedback system, helps students step outside their own worlds and understand more fully those of their clients.

Fourth, the program is committed to a practice-based research agenda. The immediate practice environment of our on-site clinic and an emphasis on continuous assessment of services offers ample opportunities for students to integrate research and clinical work. Students learn the ethics and utility of a client-informed research system by incorporating client feedback at the start, during, and after treatment. Data obtained from routine OM supplements our standard outcome and client satisfaction research. Since data is collected at each session, pre- and post therapy data is available for each client, even those who drop out or do not respond to follow-up, helping students and program faculty stay informed regarding the effectiveness of service to our client base.