Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, part of the Yeshiva University system, has been training mental-health professionals for over 50 years. The school will introduce a new program this fall focusing on marriage and family therapy. The Marriage and Family Therapy MS (MFT) degree joins the four other highly regarded programs within the school, including: Clinical Psychology (PsyD), School Clinical Child Psychology (PsyD), Clinical Psychology Health Emphasis Program (PhD) and Mental Health Counseling Program (MA). 

The Clinical Psychology PsyD is a degree in adult psychology, while the School Clinical Psychology PsyD students are trained to work with children and adolescents in both a school and clinical setting: a unique approach, giving graduates the opportunity to work in either field. 

The Clinical Psychology program earns graduates a PhD with an emphasis on health. Ferkauf received approval for its online mental health counseling program, one of the first in the area, well before the pandemic hit, with the thought to provide greater accessibility. Of course, since COVID hit, all classes are now online. Ferkauf Dean Leslie Halpern said, “COVID has made many academics rethink education so we can keep training.”

The new MFT program is set to begin in the fall of 2021, with classes planning to meet predominantly in-person, provided the situation with the pandemic has eased. The administration may enact a hybrid model of both in-person and online classes should it be deemed necessary. Halpern explained the impetus for developing the new program: “We realized there are very few MFT programs in the metro area, and there’s a huge need. There is interest and we thought it would be good to offer. The program is licensed by the state of New York.”

The MFT is a 60-credit program, which is typical for this course of study. Students who enroll full-time can complete their degree in about five semesters. The classes consist of foundational courses covering theories. The second year arms students with advanced clinical skills, which they put to work in their internship experience. “There is a minimum of 300 hours of internship experience working directly with families and couples,” explained Halpern. “[Class] instructors have training and often their own practice, so they have hands-on experience.”

Ferkauf instructors make use of their many connections to place students in appropriate and advantageous internships and monitor their progress throughout. 

“It’s important to understand the goal is to prepare students to assess and treat psychological and interpersonal problems that disrupt marriage and family relations, Halpern emphasized. “[This program] will train to help people from diverse backgrounds to contend with many stresses of life—both adults and children. What makes this approach so unique is that it is a systems approach, greater than the individual.”

For more information on the Marriage and Family Therapy Program, or any of Ferkauf’s other programs, visit www.yu.edu/ferkauf. The school has rolling admission with deadlines of February 15 and May 14.