Make an Impact as a Marriage and Family Therapist

There are nearly 37 million people in California, and approximately 1 in every 6 adults and 1 in every 13 children had a mental health need or illness (data from 2009/2010). Approximately half of these adults and two-thirds of children with mental health needs did not get treatment.

The California School of Professional Psychology’s Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy Program in Irvine is for people like you who are considering dedicating their careers and lives toward helping these individuals with depression and anxiety, trauma, relational or familial issues, bereavement, addiction, and so much more.

Indeed, becoming a marriage and family therapist isn’t just a job. It’s a career. It’s a lifestyle. It’s bettering yourself to better the lives of other people.

Learn to help others with the following principles that our COAMFTE-accredited* MFT Master’s Degree Program in Irvine was built upon.

1. Impactful Curriculum

It begins in the classroom where you will receive intensive theoretical and practical skill-based training that concentrates on relational and interactional patterns in individuals, couples, and families from a systemic perspective.

You’ll gain expertise in MFT laws and ethics, individual and family life cycles, psychopathology, parent-child therapy, group therapy, trauma and crisis intervention, sex therapy in marriage and family therapy, and psychopharmacology.

Furthermore, each of our professors bring with them their own experiences, specializations, and expertise, giving you the opportunity to learn from experts of specific MFT disciplines and areas of interests. Some of these impassioned professors include

  • Manijeh Daneshpour, Professor, Site Director, and Systemwide Interim Program Director B.S., University of Utah; M.S., University of Utah; Ph.D., University of Minnesota.
    • Specialty areas and research interests: Multicultural couple and family therapy, gender relations, social justice, and third wave feminism.
  • Rajeswari (Raji) Natrajan-Tyagi, Professor – B.A., Women’s Christian College (India); M.A., Madras School of Social Work (India); M.S., Purdue University; Ph.D., Purdue University.
    • Specialty areas and research interests: Immigration issues; systems theory; cross-cultural family therapy training; qualitative research; self-awareness and self-of-therapist training; international and multicultural competency; cultural immersion programs; family therapy with South Asian population.
  • Branson Boykins, Assistant Professor – Irvine; B.A., Michigan State University; M.A., Wayne State University; Ph.D., Western Michigan University.
    • Specialty areas and research interests: Multicultural therapy and best practices when working with diverse couples and families; African American racial identity and family development; sociocultural issues involving race, power, privilege, and bias; therapist development and training.

2. Practical Experience

Next is the opportunity to take your knowledge and skills from the classroom and apply it directly in a hands-on setting. Here, you can begin making an impact on the lives of others, as they make an impact on your continued development as a marriage and family therapist.

We have partnered with various supportive, philanthropic organizations in Irvine and its surrounding areas. Through these practicum locations, our Irvine students have provided therapy for:

      • Individuals dealing with issues relating to depression, anxiety, and bereavement
      • Families facing divorce, anger, abuse, discipline issues, and other interpersonal dynamics
      • Homeless youth in individual or group settings needing help with traumas that led to their homeless status
      • Faith-based individuals and families seeking general counseling services
      • Separated or divorced parents to help build healthy communication skills with one another and their children
      • Youth affected by poverty or homelessness to help continue their development through play therapy, structured programs, therapeutic fine arts, and other social activities
      • Individuals and families of Jewish faith seeking general counseling services for depression, anxiety, grief and loss, PTSD, marital issues, and life transitions
      • Female victims of domestic violence taking shelter in a local, state-approved domestic violence agency
      • Teens, adults, and families struggling with substance abuse and addiction

3. Multicultural Competence

As a marriage and family therapist, you can treat individuals and families from a a variety of populations, cultures, religions, age groups, socio-economic statuses, and sexual orientations.

And while multiculturism is a core value for us at Alliant International University, in the marriage and family therapy program it means something a little different.

Being a multiculturally-competent counselor means being educated on other cultures’ values, beliefs, norms, and traditions. It means being able to understand what another person is going through, no matter how different they are from you. It means openly and tactfully acknowledging any differences you may share with clients from other cultures, simply to better understand a given concept foreign to you and to offer potential solutions.

Our commitment toward producing culturally competent therapists can be seen in our:

      • Curriculum – Students can learn to work with families of different cultures, values, and needs, all of which are studied in specific classes and throughout much of the MFT program’s curriculum
      • Professors’ Specialties – Our professors bring their own unique backgrounds and cultural specializations to the classroom and practicum opportunities
      • Practicum Opportunities – Many of Irvine’s MFT practicum locations work with individuals and families of many cultures, religions, and sexual orientations, with some focused primarily on one population

Mental illness doesn’t just affect those struggling with issues like anxiety, depression, addiction, or trauma; it also greatly affects their loved ones.

That’s why marriage and family therapy matters. You can be the force of change, not only in your clients’ lives, but also in the lives of their family and friends.

As a therapist, you have the opportunity to help a countless number of people, beginning with Irvine’s MFT Master’s Program. For more information, contact an Admissions Counselor today.

*The Marriage and Family Therapy Program at Alliant International University in Irvine is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE), 112 South Alfred Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314, (703) 838-9808,