Child and Family Elective Cluster (15 hours) | Department of Psychology

Child and Family Elective Cluster (15 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 15 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 one additional semester of external practicum that offers clinical training with children, couples, or families.

The Child and Family elective cluster is unique in offering a 3-course sequence in 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 couple and family therapy with a heavy emphasis on role-plays and hands-on practice in the assessment and treatment of families. 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 Psychological Aspects of Marital and Family Interaction

This course examines health and dysfunction in the family system and subsystems, including marital, parent-child and sibling interaction processes. Emphasis is on family development in the context of normative transitions and non-normative stressors. Implications of these factors for marriage/family counseling and parent training are considered.

PSY 6150 - Marriage and Family Therapy I

This course examines health and dysfunction in the couple and family systems. A core focus is the assessment of the family as a behavioral system and the application of principles of psychological counseling to facilitate constructive changes in the couple and family systems. Major theories of marital and family therapy are explored. Two of these theories are emphasized: Johnson's emotionally focused couples therapy and Minuchin's structural family therapy.

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.

Choose one course from the following:

PSYC 5350 - Counseling for Sexual Dysfunction and Other Psychosexual Disorders

Study of the origins and treatment of sexual dysfunctions and other psychosexual disorders. The study includes physical and psychological considerations in etiology, diagnosis and treatment.

PSYC 5890 - Psychological Counseling for Late Maturity and Old Age

Study of the predictable and normal dependencies of aging; techniques of individual, family and group counseling applied to later life, with emphasis on problems of retirement, health and bereavement.

PSYC 6020 Child Psychotherapy

Theories, techniques and methods of psychotherapy with children. Emphasis on working with a child within the context of the family system.

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.

Thinking about UNT?

It's easy to apply online. Join us and discover why we're the choice of over 38,000 students.

Apply now