About the Program
- What is the difference
between the M.A. and the Psy.D.?
- You Set the Pace
- A Schedule that Meets Your Needs
- About Our Students
- Community Counseling Center
- Interdisciplinary Integration
What is the difference
between the M.A. and the Psy.D.?
The M.A. in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy is focused on training individuals for the primary role of psychotherapist/counselor. It is focused on clinical practice in a variety of settings, such as public mental health organizations, community mental health agencies, private practice, faith-based counseling agencies, and residential treatment facilities. Most graduates pursue licensure as an LMFT or have the option of pursuing licensure as an LPCC after obtaining their degree.
The Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Family Psychology is more extensive, focusing on training individuals to become practitioner-scholars. Practically, this means graduates of the Psy.D. program become psychotherapists but also engage in psychological assessment and clinical research. There are also opportunities for teaching, consultation, and administration. Most Psy.D. graduates pursue licensure as a clinical psychologist after obtaining their degree.
You Set the Pace
In designing your approach to MFT study, the blueprints can be laid out in a two-, three-, or four-year program. The timeline is up to you. Depending on the course of action you choose to complete this 66-unit degree, you may take 6–15 units each term.
A Schedule that Meets Your Needs
At APU, we recognize there is more to your life than graduate school. You have other responsibilities, including work. That is why the MFT Program was thoughtfully designed so you can work while completing your degree. The program offers most courses in blocks of time, typically between 4-10 p.m., reducing your required days on campus during the week.
About Our Students
The MFT program student body consists of roughly 75 percent female students and 25 percent male students. Half enter straight from undergraduate work, and approximately 80 percent work while they complete their degree. Lecture classes consist of 25-30 students, and clinical settings average 12-15 students. The enrollment includes African-American, Asian, Caucasian, and Latino students.
What Are They Doing Now?
Graduates from APU's MFT Program put their degrees to work in a variety of fulfilling careers. The following list highlights just a few of the roles they enjoy:
- Agency directors, therapists, and/or staff
- Church counseling center administrators
- Hospital staff
- Nonprofit managers
- Private practice counselors
- Professional speakers
- University administrators
- Writers/contributing editors for professional journals
Read what program graduates have to say about their APU MFT experience.
Community Counseling Center
The Community Counseling Center (CCC) at Azusa Pacific University is directly affiliated with the Department of Graduate Psychology, and is an American Psychological Association-approved clinical psychology training program. Initiated in 1989, this program continues in steady growth and development, addressing the mental health needs of individuals and groups throughout the community.
The CCC encompasses four programs, each coordinated by a clinical psychologist to ensure high-quality service and collaborative efforts. The counselors are marriage and family therapy trainees and interns, Psy.D. trainees, MSWs, and postdoctoral fellows. The center seeks to match staff members and clients according to their needs and strengths, facilitating the therapeutic process or consulting project.
Before therapy begins, clients are evaluated to determine the severity of their current dilemma and discuss the process that will lead to goal achievement. To assist the therapeutic process and ensure the quality of treatment, sessions are audio- or videotaped and reviewed under supervision. Occasionally, clients view or listen to the tapes, providing the unique opportunity to experience their therapy sessions from a third-person perspective. Developing new insight through this technique, many clients are able to contribute significantly to the progress of their treatment. To preserve client confidentiality, all tapes are kept private and erased after review or within one month after the recording session.
Azusa Pacific University has a strong Christian heritage and commitment to integrating evangelical Christian thought into the university programs. The APU Psy.D. expresses this heritage and commitment through an emphasis on the integration of psychology with ethics, theology, and spiritual formation. This unique perspective provides students with the opportunity to consider and critically examine psychological theory using ethical and theological frameworks. Students are encouraged to explore the role and importance of moral and spiritual identity formation in the process of psychotherapy.
Individuals from any religious tradition may be admitted to the APU Psy.D. Program. However, it is important for prospective students to recognize that coursework and training are structured using Christian values and principles. Students are asked to learn and thoughtfully interact with the content of courses that house the emphasis, as well as to reflect on their own beliefs and values as they relate to preparation for professional practice.
In addition to providing students with an interdisciplinary framework from which to understand psychological theory and practice, the emphasis also facilitates and enhances the development of competency with respect to addressing religious and spiritual diversity in clinical practice. The APU Psy.D. is sensitive to the reality of pluralism regarding the development of competency in the provision of psychological services to clients of diverse religious and spiritual traditions. Students often express appreciation for education they receive in interdisciplinary studies and integration, regardless of their personal religious or spiritual identity.
Interdisciplinary integration coursework provides both a programmatic conceptual framework and a systematic applied framework. The following courses specifically address these foci:
*These three courses form a foundation for advanced training in the Psy.D. As subsequent interdisciplinary courses are based on information and experiences provided in these courses, it is required that students who enter the Psy.D. program with a master’s degree in psychology audit these courses.
In addition to curricular offerings, APU sponsors two annual Voices in Interdisciplinary Integration conferences. This conference series draws to the APU campus nationally known authors, academicians, and clinicians who represent a range of perspectives on interdisciplinary studies and integration. Conference speakers have included Everett L. Worthington Jr., Mark McMinn, Don Browning, Nancy Boyd-Franklin, Ed Shafranske, and Harry Aponte. All students are required to attend these conferences.
An elective opportunity is also offered in the form of monthly brown-bag seminars hosted by graduate faculty. Held during the break between evening classes, these seminars provide students with the opportunity to interact with faculty on issues related to faith and practice. Informal case presentations are made with a focus on application of integrative perspectives in psychotherapy.