March 24, 2014

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

Marriage and Family Therapy Program Earns Continued Accreditation

VALDOSTA — An 18-month extensive evaluation led to Valdosta State University’s Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) Program earning continued accreditation from the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy’s (AAMFT) Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE).

VSU’s MFT Program was first accredited by the COAMFTE in 2006.

“The COAMFTE holds high standards, and our re-accreditation affirms for me the impressive work I see students and faculty conducting every day,” shared Dr. Kate Warner, head of the Department of Marriage and Family Therapy at VSU. 

Accreditation is a voluntary process, according to the AAMFT. Its primary purpose is to ensure quality in a marriage and family therapy program, such as that offered at VSU. It provides assurance to the public that a program has undertaken extensive external evaluation and meets — and even exceeds — standards established by the profession. It also assures current and future students — as well as any prospective employers — that the program addresses the appropriate knowledge and skill areas necessary for entry into the profession.

The MFT Program at VSU began as an inter-departmental concentration within the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice nearly 25 years ago. In October 1999, following approval by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, the program transitioned to a 60-credit-hour Master of Science (M.S.) in marriage and family therapy, and today it is its own department within the James L. and Dorothy H. Dewar College of Education and Human Services.

VSU’s MFT Program prepares students to be highly qualified therapists who are able to conduct thoughtful, high-quality, effective, and creative therapy and use an active, positive approach as they help individuals, couples, families, and groups build upon their own unique strengths and resources, improve their relationships, and generate solutions to problems. The program also readies students for licensure as marriage and family therapists in Georgia and other states, for leadership roles within the profession, as well as for clinical membership in the AAMFT.

Full-time students complete VSU’s MFT Program in two years. Part-time students finish in three or four years.

Theory and practice are linked throughout the entire MFT Program experience. All students are required to accrue 600 hours of direct client contact and 100 hours of AAMFT approved supervision prior to graduation. They do this by working face-to-face with clients at FamilyWorks, a university-based, student-run clinic that helps clients of all ages find solutions for any problems they may be experiencing. First-year graduate students handle the intake process, and advanced standing graduate students serve as the therapists. Students are also encouraged to work with clients in internships through mental health and other agencies throughout the region as they develop their own therapeutic voice.

“The faculty and staff in our department work tirelessly to create a cutting edge clinical training experience where our students can learn the art and science of therapeutic change,” Warner noted. “Each day I am impressed with the dedication students and faculty members bring to the training process. I think that having a vibrant active family therapy clinic at the heart of our program and our clinical space — coupled with students and faculty who are devoted to cherishing diversity and self-determination for all people — creates an amazing synergy.”

Contact Dr. Kate Warner at (229) 293-6264 or for more information.

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Valdosta State University’s 2013-2019 Strategic Plan represents a renewal of energy and commitment to the foundational principles for comprehensive institutions.

Implementation of the plan’s five goals, along with their accompanying objectives and strategies, supports VSU’s institutional mission and the University System of Georgia’s mission for comprehensive universities.

The story above demonstrates VSU's commitment to meeting the following goals:

Goal 1: Recruit, retain, and graduate a quality, diverse student population and prepare students for roles as leaders in a global society.

Goal 3: Promote student, employee, alumni, retiree, and community engagement in our mission.

Goal 4: Foster an environment of creativity and scholarship.

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