Clinical Skills

Advanced Clinical Skills in Relational-Systemic Psychotherapy: Couple and Family Therapy

As a student you will learn to work with couples, families, and individuals from relational-systemic leading edge Couple and Family Therapy approaches including: narrative, solution-oriented, emotionally focused, and dialogic models. In all these clinical approaches you will work within a strength-based, client-responsive, resiliency-focused framework, paying close attention to relational processes and the broader sociocultural context in which people live. You will also be familiar with the assessment and diagnostic criteria for major mental health issues (DSM-5).  By graduation, you will be competent in both brief and longer term therapy approaches.

You will graduate with a broad understanding of relational/systemic psychotherapy practice and specialized knowledge of "family" and other relationships (couple, parent-child, peer, work, etc.) as well as broader systemic influences. As a trained Couple and Family Therapist, you will learn to consider the intersection of various dimensions of social location (gender, ethnicity, class, age, migration and indigenous status, physical or cognitive abilities, for example) in the lives of the clients with whom you work and on your own self-awareness, perspectives, and assumptions as a therapist; as well as how these various intersections influence therapy interactions.

  • Close supervision alongside your practice experiences mean that you will learn by doing, and, in particular, you will gain advanced expertise in looking for, understanding, and working with the relational and systemic dimensions of Couple and Family Therapy.
  • You will finish the MSc.CFT program having worked with couples, families, and individuals of all ages who are from diverse economic, ethnic, and religious backgrounds, sexual identities, and family or relationship configurations.
  • You will learn how to work collaboratively with clients in understanding their experiences in a broader social context and in making changes at the level of their own relationships.
  • You will learn to engage critically with your own and others’ taken-for-granted assumptions and the dominant social discourses that may serve to limit the potential solutions or changes available to persons who struggle.
  • As a student Therapist-Intern, you will provide therapy services for clients who are dealing with many issues including those related to:  couple conflict, couple separation and divorce, intimacy and sexuality,  parent-child conflict, sexual abuse trauma,  grief, anxiety,  depression, partner abuse, coming out issues, family transitions, aging parents, co- and sole-parenting, remarriage/re-partnered families, and self-esteem, etc.
  • You will graduate with clinical experience equivalent to a minimum of 1,500 hours of practicum.

Practice Ready Graduates

As a graduate of the MSc.CFT program in the Dept. of Family Relations & Applied Nutrition (FRAN) at the University of Guelph, you will be a highly competent and specialized clinical practitioner-scientist with skills in understanding, producing, and applying contemporary research findings.

You will be knowledgeable with respect to the latest ethical practices, theories, and interventions in the field of psychotherapy with specific competencies in the area of systemic, relational practice.

You will be employable in hospitals, family health teams, and community mental health and social service agencies where you will fit easily into multi-disciplinary teams. You may join the ranks of other graduates who have gone on to advanced supervisory positions within their agencies, or, if you complete a thesis, to complete a doctoral degree in the social sciences and enter academia. You may join graduates who have started very successful private practices and, in addition, have become recognized educators and consultants. As a graduate of the MSc.CFT program in FRAN you will be among many who make a valuable contribution to the community, and to other health professions.

MSc Couple and Family Therapy Home