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LeTourneau University adds therapy graduate program

By Christina Lane
March 1, 2012 at 11 p.m.


LeTourneau University is launching a graduate psychology-based degree program in the fall, university officials said Thursday.

The new master of arts in marriage and family therapy is a 66-hour professional graduate degree program designed to equip students to assess, diagnose and treat individuals, couples, families and groups to achieve healthy relationships, the university said. Approved by LeTourneau University trustees in November, the new degree is pending approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

"With the mounting pressures facing couples and families, the demand for well-trained, competent marriage and family therapists is expected to increase," said university Provost Philip Coyle, who himself is a licensed marriage and family therapist. "This new program will integrate Christian faith and clinical counseling practice that will enable our students to become relationship specialists."

About 1.8 million people are receiving treatment from a marriage and family therapist, officials said. They serve as counseling practitioners, educators, administrators, family life educators, ministers of family life and counseling, parent trainers, youth ministers, pastors or teachers, business and entrepreneurial leaders, missionaries, and many varied roles in which counseling and family expertise is needed.

By working with individuals, couples and families, students will develop the knowledge and skills to address a variety of issues, including: marital and family discord, sexual dysfunctions, eating disorders and other behavioral compulsions, anxiety and depression, addictions and other self-destructive patterns. Other areas include environmental and family trauma, loss and bereavement, personality disorders and phase of life distress, individual and family crises, childhood behavior disorders and spiritual and theological concerns.

Officials said the program is designed to provide graduates with the academic, practicum and internship requirements for state licensure as a marriage and family therapist or as a professional counselor. Students can choose to complete academic coursework to become eligible for dual licensure.

The degree also is designed to fulfill requirements for certification as a national certified counselor through the National Board of Certified Counselors, as well as fulfilling clinical membership requirements in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and the International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors, a professional society of the American Counseling Association, officials said.

The new degree is provided through a day program in a part-time or full-time format for two or more years, officials said. LeTourneau also offers an academic program that combines the bachelor of arts degree in counseling psychology with the new master's degree that can be completed in five years for the undergraduate and graduate degrees.

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