CSPP’s Marriage and Family Therapy program—at both of the offered degree levels—exists today as part of the legacy of psychology greats that have brought their talents as psychologists and educators to Alliant. Like the rest of CSPP’s illustrious, 50-year legacy, the MFT program has had some of the biggest names in this field pass through its doors, such as Jay Haley, Dr. James Framo, and Dr. Susan Johnson, to today’s faculty, like Dr. Sean Davis, Dr. Manijeh Daneshpour, and Dr. Scott Woolley. It is this long-term, foundational commitment to making the field’s leaders and trailblazers into our faculty is the reason our MFT programs are held in such high regard both nationally and worldwide.
It is this history that is the largest and most prominent differentiator between CSPP’s MFT programs, and those offered by other schools around California and the rest of the country, so, let’s dive a bit deeper into CSPP’s MFT legacy of impact.
Dr. Sean Davis
Sean Davis, PhD, is the most cited early-career distinguished professor in the field of marriage and family therapy. He is the winner of the Article of the Year Award from the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy, twice over, co-authored the field’s most widely-used theory textbook, and is a distinguished professor of Couples and Family Therapy at Alliant’s Sacramento campus, in addition to being the Online MFT Program Director.
His passion for the field, his dedication to his students, and his prolific publications make him the perfect partner for students who wish to present at conferences or publish their work during their studies.
Dr. Susan Johnson
Dr. Susan Johnson is not just CSPP faculty, she is one of the foremost experts in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) working today—and she should be, as she is one of the developers of this therapy type. EFT is a short-term psychotherapy approach to working with individuals, couples, and families based around the dynamics of long- and short-term interpersonal relationships between people. Not only is she a founder of EFT therapy, she is also co-founder of the International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy (ICEEFT), a non-profit research and therapist training institute, where she also serves as its Director. She has also published several books as recently as this year, and her titles include: Attachment Theory in Practice: EFT with Individuals, Couples and Families; The Practice of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy: Creating Connection; and Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy with Trauma Survivors, among others.
Dr. Manijeh Daneshpour
Dr. Daneshpour is a current-faculty distinguished professor MFT at Alliant International University’s Irvine campus. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist with 20 years of academic, research, and clinical experience, but that is just the tip of the iceberg of her history in our MFT program, and in her career. Working mainly in the fields of diversity, multicultural couples and families, and immigrant and refugee families, Dr. Daneshpour has given talks and presentations around the world centered on issues of multiculturalism, social justice, third wave feminism, premarital and marital relationships, and Muslim family dynamics. She is a world-renowned expert on Muslim families and Muslim family relations, choosing to study them not as a religious group but as individuals, members of family units, and a distinct group within their own societal context. She has recently published a book titled, Family Therapy with Muslims in which she studies the use and efficacy of classic and contemporary family therapy theories in working with Muslim families cross culturally.
Jay Haley was an unlikely candidate to become a founder of the early family therapy movement. Yet, if you ask family and brief therapists who most inspired them, chances are his name will be among the first mentioned, and if you ask which figure inspired the best arguments about therapy, you will probably get the same result. Haley, like Dr. Framo, was also fundamental in the development of the practice of strategic therapy, in which the doctor actively identifies concrete problems, sets goals, designs specific interventions, and checks constantly to see if all this activity is actually working. Today, Jay Haley’s ideas are commonplace, and are part of the core curriculum of our MFT programs.
Dr. Scott Woolley
Dr. Scott Woolley is a Distinguished Professor in the Couple and Family Therapy program, has served for nearly 17 years as the system-wide director of the MFT Master’s and Doctoral programs, is the executive director of the Alliant Couple and Family Clinic, and is a founder and Director of the San Diego Center for Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) and the Training and Research Institute for EFT at Alliant (TRI EFT Alliant).
Dr. Woolley has trained therapists in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy in many areas of the world, including Canada, Chili, England, Finland, Guam, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Norway, Russia, Sweden, Taiwan, The Netherlands, and throughout the U.S., and works closely with Dr. Susan Johnson, founder of EFT. He has also worked with Family Therapy Founders Jay Haley and James Framo earlier in his career
Dr. James Framo
Dr. James Framo was part of CSPP’s faculty during a large chunk of the 1980s and 1990s. He is considered to be one of the earliest advocates for marriage and family therapy and was a firm believer in treating the source of the problems plaguing these marriages and families, rather than working to mitigate the outcomes of these problems—which was rather revolutionary in the 1950s and 1960s when he was developing these theories and practices. As unorthodox as it was 60 years ago, Dr. Framo encouraged these family members to come together to work through their conflicts and receive treatment as a group, which has now become a foundational idea of MFT treatments. Dr. Framo is also one of the founders of Intergenerational Family Therapy, which suggests behavior is both often informed by and inseparable from the functioning of one’s family of origin, and that treatment for such behavioral issues requires treatment of the structure and behavior of the broader relationship system of the family that forms these relationships.