Child and Family Elective Cluster (12 hours) | Department of Psychology

Child and Family Elective Cluster (12 hours)

The Child & Family elective cluster introduces students to psychological practice with children and families. The curriculum was designed to meet the APA Family Specialty Council's preliminary recommendations for training in the domain of couple and family psychology. Implemented in 2004, our Child & Family specialty cluster is now part of the APA Family Specialty Council and meets APA (2012)[1] criteria for a family psychology training "experience" or "emphasis," producing many counseling and clinical psychologists well qualified to provide couple and family services. Completion of 12 hours of cluster coursework meets the APA specialty training designation of "family experience," and students may choose to pursue the designation of "family emphasis" by enrolling in two additional courses or practicum that offer clinical training with children, couples, or families.

The Child and Family elective cluster is unique in offering a 3-course sequence in, adolecence, couple and family psychology. The first course is a general family psychology course and the second course combines didactic education in various theories and modalities of adolecence treatment with a heavy emphasis on role-plays and hands-on practice in the assessment and treatment options. The final course requires students to apply the knowledge gained in the previous two courses by translating therapeutic theory into actual counseling practice in a practicum experience with community couples or families. As the capstone experience, students provide services through the UNT Couple and Family Intervention Program, which offers 10 weeks of free assessment and therapy services to diverse community families with a wide range of concerns. Student clinicians work under close supervision (e.g., live supervision and video review) in conducting both pre- and post-treatment assessment and providing 8-10 weeks of couple or family therapy. They also gain clinical supervision experience by acting as peer consultants for one family/couple case. The Couple & Family Intervention Program has an excellent reputation, particularly among local school psychologists and counselors who refer families far in advance in order to ensure that the families in their schools have the opportunity to participate.

[1] American Psychological Association (2012). Education and training guidelines: A taxonomy for education and training in professional psychology health service specialties. Retrieved from

Required Cluster Courses

PSYC 5100 Psychopathology of Childhood

Normal and psychopathological development in children, focusing on intellectual, emotional and behavioral deviations and their recognition, as well as background in their etiology, dynamics and prognoses.

PSYC 5590 Diverse Family Systems

This course examines various critical topics related to the development, diveristy, and challenges of contemporary families in the U.S. with a particular focus on intersectionality and contextualization. In addition to reviewing traditional family psychology topics, e.g., family systems and subsystems, marital, parent-child, sibling interaction processes, and parenting a strong emphasis will be placed on how different contextual and identity factors interact with each other in influencing family dynamics and functioning.

PSY 6160 - Marriage and Family Therapy II

This course combines didactic instruction with applied intervention and supervision. The focus is on the application of principles of psychological counseling to facilitate constructive changes in the couple and family systems. Students conduct couple/family assessments and therapy, serve as peer consultants/supervisors, and receive ongoing weekly group supervision and live supervision. Therapeutic approaches include EFT and structural family therapy.

PSYC 6410 Adolescent Psychotherapy

Intensive course, designed primarily for advanced students in clinical or counseling psychology, concerning the nature and causes of psychopathology in adolescents and young adults, with a focus on treatment strategies.

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