The Mildred A. Flashman Family Therapy Certificate Program


The field of family therapy has grown and diversified in the last three decades. Building on its traditional interest in the family as a basic unit of service, social work has made significant contributions to the development of both theory and practice in the field of marital and family therapy. At this time, social workers are among the contemporary leaders in this important mental health field.

The Family Therapy Certificate Program (FTCP) offers specialized courses, colloquia, and a field placement geared toward understanding and treating children, families, couples, and individuals in a systemic context. The program allows students to focus on family-centered practice with populations of their own interest, with an emphasis on working with families in an urban environment.

The Certificate Program requires a minimum of three clinical courses in family and child or couple’s therapy. In addition, coursework on the family is required in social policy and human behavior. The second-year field placement takes place in a setting that includes working with families and receiving family systems supervision. FTCP students also are expected to participate in colloquia and meetings scheduled on Wednesdays and Thursdays throughout the academic year. The School will award a certificate of completion to students who take the required courses and complete the second-year family therapy field placement.

Family Therapy Certificate Sample Program Plan for Full-Time Students

Semester I

  • CP 759 Intro. to Clinical Prac. 3 cr
  • MP 759 Communities & Organ. 3 cr
  • HB 720 Human Behavior I 3 cr
  • WP 700 Soc. Welfare Policy I 3 cr
  • FE 801 Field Ed. I 3 cr
  • FE 800 Field Ed. Seminar 0 cr
    Total credits 15 cr

Semester II

  • CP 770 Clin. Prac. w/Individuals 2 cr
  • CP 771 Clin. Prac. w/Groups 2 cr
  • CP 772 Clin. Prac. w/Families 2 cr
  • HB xxx HB Elective 3 cr
  • WP 701 Soc. Welfare Policy II 3 cr
  • FE 802 Field Ed. II 3 cr
  • FE 800 Field Ed. Seminar 0 cr
  • SR 743 SW Research I 3 cr
    Total credits 18 cr

Semester III

  • CP 785 Family Therapy (REQ) 3 cr
  • CP 804 Clinical Practice with Childhood Trauma or 3 cr
  • HB 741 Family Violence in Society or 3 cr
  • HB 727 Child Psychopathology or
  • HB 743 Social Work with Refugees and Immigrants
  • HB 735 Racial Justice 3 cr
  • SR 744 SW Research II 3 cr
  • FE 803 Field Ed. III 4 cr
    Total credits 16 cr

Semester IV

  • CP 791 Sem. in Family Therapy (REQ) 3 cr
  • CP 787 Couples Therapy or 3 cr
  • CP 794 Clinical Practice with Children or
  • HB 723 Adult Psychopathology or
  • SP 741 SW Practice Ethics 3 cr
  • WP 706 Social Policy & Family or 3 cr
  • WP 710 Fam. Law & Child Rights or
  • WP 707 Social Welfare Policy & Programs on Children
  • FE 804 Field Ed. IV 4 cr
    Total credits 16 cr


HB 723, HB 727, HB 743, and HB 741 meet category B requirement.
CP 787, CP 791, and CP 794 each meets the category C elective requirement.

WP 706 Social Policy and the Family, WP 707 Social Welfare Policy & Programs on Children, WP 710 Family Law and Children’s Rights or a WP course approved by the FTCP Director will meet category A requirement.

Any variation from this program must have the written permission of the Director of the Family Therapy Certificate Program. A copy of the approval will be placed in the student’s file in the SSW Registration Administrator’s Office.

Field Placement

Any student in a field placement must concurrently take a clinical practice course. Any student taking a practice course must concurrently be in a field placement.

Students work closely with the director of the FTCP and the Field Education Department to find a placement that meets the needs of the student and program. Current and previous placement settings include: inpatient psychiatry or medical units for children and adolescents, outpatient family services, intensive home-based treatment programs, and adoption and foster care agencies.

Meetings & Colloquia

FTCP students meet as a group with the director on a monthly basis to discuss the interface between the field and classroom experiences. Once a semester the FTCP sponsors a colloquium focused on issues relevant for working with families. Examples from the past few years include: geriatric care management, parent-infant treatment, working with families after the September 11th community trauma, and working with Latino families.

Application & Admission

Full-time students apply to the FTCP after one semester in the School. On- and off-campus part-time students who are following the standard program plan submit applications during their second year, but should discuss their interest with the Program Director during their first year. Off-campus students must be able to enroll in courses and attend colloquia on the Charles River Campus in Boston.

The student’s grade point average must be 3.0 or above, with two positive references: one from the first field placement supervisor, and one from either an instructor or the faculty advisor.