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Couple & Family Therapy

Individuals participating in the Couple and Family Therapy Program at Thomas Jefferson University must have essential skills to perform successfully as a student. These requirements apply to classroom, supervision and clinical environments. A student must be able to perform the following cognitive/intellectual tasks with or without reasonable accommodation:

  1. Acquire, process retain and apply knowledge through a variety of instructional methods such as written materials, lecture, video, clinical experience, supervision and independent learning.
  2. Complete reading and written assignments in standard and organized English, search and analyze professional literature, apply information gained to guide clinical practice.
  3. Process large amounts of complex information, apply theoretical concepts to clinical practice and perform clinical problem solving in a logical and timely manner.
  4. Apply basic statistical skills to evaluate research findings.
  5. Participate positively in cooperative group learning activities; actively participate in class discussions and as a member of team.
  6. Orally present information in class and in professional and clinical situations in an organized and coherent fashion.
  7. Take and pass tests/quizzes in a variety of formats.
  8. Apply knowledge and judgment required to demonstrate ethical reasoning and behavior.
  9. Apply safety and judgment to a variety of situations.
  10. Comply with practica site rules and regulations.
  11. Demonstrate mastery of core foundational, advanced theoretical and empirical information in the areas of human development, systems theory, family development, models of family and couple therapy, couple and family therapeutic process, human sexuality, gender, diversity, psychopathology, couple and family therapy research, ethics and other areas deemed relevant by the faculty to the field of couple and family therapy.
  12. Apply clinical reasoning and judgment necessary for development of appropriate clinical assessments and development of appropriate treatment plans.
  13. Demonstrate judgment necessary to establish clinical priorities and develop and use effective clinical strategies.
  14. Form a collaborative relationship with clinical supervisors. Students must possess sufficient interpersonal, communication and professional behaviors to adequately perform the following clinical skills and competencies:
  1. Engagement Competencies
    1. Engage the client(s) in treatment in a systemic way.
    2. Foster a feeling of trust and hope in the therapeutic process.
    3. Maintain a balanced therapist-client(s) alliance.
  2. Problem Identification/Assessment Competencies
    1. Obtain all the necessary information about the present problem or problems.
    2. Observe and become aware of the emotional process (es) currently at work in the client(s).
    3. Identify and explore relationship problems, including maladaptive interactional patterns such as triangulation, collapsed hierarchies, boundary issues, intergenerational legacies, attachment styles, destructive entitlement, etc.
    4. Identify individual psychopathology, its role in the system, and implications for treatment.
    5. Use both formal and informal assessment tools to identify individual and relational problems.
    6. Integrate assessment with treatment.
  3. Case Formulation and Goal Setting Competencies
    1. Describe the case within a systems perspective (individual, interactional, intergenerational).
    2. Formulate and test hypotheses about the system.
    3. Describe orally and in written format the functioning of the system from several theoretical perspectives.
    4. Establish realistic and workable goals in collaboration with the client(s).
    5. Change goals as a function of stage of therapy and needs of the client(s).
  4. Change/ Facilitation Competencies
    1. Modify maladaptive interaction patterns using appropriate therapeutic techniques including-pacing, boundary modification, reframing, clarifying cognitive distortions, unbalancing, structuring, creating therapeutic focus and themes, creating enactments, affect regulation, assigning tasks and therapeutic homework, confront or work with resistance, etc.
    2. Clarify how actions may lead to consequences which constitute problems for the client(s).
    3. Help the client(s) to identify alter emotional factors that may block attempts to achieve better functioning.
    4. Alter cognitive factors that may block the client(s) attempts to achieve better functioning.
    5. Help the client(s) implement new, adaptive patterns of interaction.
    6. Helping the client(s) mobilize outside resources.
    7. Identify and build on client strengths in the service of change
  5. Termination Competencies
    1. Assess the situation when a client(s) initiates the termination process.
    2. Assess the need for termination and initiating termination when this is appropriate.
    3. Concluding treatment constructively.
  6. Behave in ways that conform to the AAMFT Code of Ethics.

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Leadership LIVE is a leadership development program for all Jefferson students that consists of workshops, special events, and community service opportunities. Learn more about Leadership LIVE on their website.

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