Student Stories

Read what some of our former students have to say about their experience in the Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology: Marriage and Family Therapy program:

Contessa Ruiz

Full Service Partnership Program Supervisor
ENKI Health and Research Systems

I initially chose to participate in the MFT program as a way of exploring an alternative profession—at the time, I was set to begin a teaching credential program. As I talked to an APU professor, however, I learned that I cared more about the emotional/psychosocial development of the child than I did the academic development. I quickly left the credential program, and after much consideration, I chose to continue with the MFT program.

I chose APU because I liked the small-classroom/community atmosphere. I also was interested in learning how to incorporate faith into my work. I am so glad I chose APU. I enjoyed the small community and making friends within my cohort—I believe the format naturally lends itself to intimate relationship formation, and it allowed me to form some true friendships, ones that I have sustained.

I enjoyed the “track” concept and the fact that I never had to worry about “getting into” a class. I also enjoyed the personal nature of the professors, many of whom engaged in self-disclosure as a means of modeling what vulnerability looks like, and I was so appreciative of the feedback I received from my professors, who worked hard to share all they could with the students. I also appreciated that the program required me to undergo 40 hours of therapy, which enabled me to learn about myself while developing new skills. I was able to articulate my experience to my therapist and practice what I would like it to look like someday.

Rudy Hayek

Marriage and Family Therapist Intern
L.I.F.E. Counseling Group, Monrovia, California

I chose to pursue an MFT degree in part because after 30 years as the owner of a health and fitness coaching business, I was professionally and emotionally burned out. I wanted to do more and learn how to facilitate positive change in others through a different vehicle while continuing to discover skills and passions.

One of my fears was that my wife would have to financially support us while I refocused my attention, time, and energy on graduate school, but I had the full support of her and our two daughters, and we all grew closer as a family through it.

APU’s integration of spirituality within the context of helping people was intriguing and exciting; I chose APU primarily because of this, but I also loved having a flexible schedule. One of the things that struck me the most about APU’s faculty is that they seemed to respect each other and work well together. It felt like a family. I was impressed with their depth and breadth of experience, diversity of backgrounds and vocations, and that most had extensive clinical and real-life experience. I knew that I was in good hands.

Though I have a Jewish mother and a Catholic father, I was shown respect and deference as a “minority” in a private Christian university. I was blessed with meeting lifelong friends and colleagues who accepted me for who I was, and not by my faith. This truly embodied the APU MFT program, and that same diversity and openness are the cornerstones of becoming a great therapist.

Note: This information is current for the 2017-18 academic year; however, all stated academic information is subject to change. Please refer to the current Academic Catalog for more information.