M.Sc.(A) Couple and Family Therapy Program

This program gives students the opportunity to advance their therapy practice within the academic and research context of McGill University, along with the clinical expertise of the Department of Psychiatry at the Jewish General Hospital.

The Quebec government recognizes Couple and Family Therapy as a profession of reserved title placing it under the aegis of the Ordre des travailleurs sociaux et des thérapeutes conjugaux et familiaux du Québec (OTSTCFQ) and as a form of psychotherapy regulated by the Ordre des Psychologues du Québec (OPQ).

The M.Sc.(A) Couple and Family Therapy Program has been approved by both the OTSTCFQ and the OPQ as fulfilling the requirements for the following permits:

  • Couple and Family Therapist permit  (OTSTCFQ)
  • Psychotherapist permit (OPQ)

Educational Philosophy

This program is based on a problem-focused integrative family therapy perspective with attention to evidence-based practice. Students trained in this modality develop broad-based competencies with a broad range of practice skills to treat a diverse spectrum of family issues.

This includes:

  • theoretical integration that blends core concepts and strategies from a range of theoretical modalities into a unified conceptual framework;
  • attention to diverse levels of human experience, including biology, emotion, behaviour, family and social systems; and 
  • attention to the common factors of treatment, including therapeutic alliance, client factors and therapist characteristics.

Educational Mandate

The curriculum framework is guided by clinical requirements of the Ordre des travailleurs sociaux et des thérapeutes conjugaux et familiaux du Québec (OTSTCFQ) competency-based approach, modeled from the AAMFT (American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy) standards of practice (Référentiel des compétences des thérapeutes conjugaux et familiaux, 2005, revised 2010 ; 2012). Outcome measures will be used to assess student performance, ensuring that graduates will have a specialized skill and knowledge set transferable to a variety of clinical work settings.

Educational Objectives

General Objectives

  • Train highly competent graduates by integrating contemporary theory, research competence and varied approaches to therapy in the understanding and treatment of couples and families today.
  • Support students in developing skills and clinical competencies to work with diverse couples and families.
  • Preparing students for practice in a variety of contexts, including public social services, community-based organizations, and private practice.

Specific Program Objectives

  • Teach clinical core competencies and the foundational knowledge of psychotherapy that underpin these skills
  • Allow students to gain hands-on clinical experience under close supervision of highly experienced marriage and family therapists
  • Expose students to a variety of theoretical paradigms with a focus on the theories identified in the psychotherapy regulations: psychodynamic; systemic and theories of communication; humanistic; and cognitive-behavioral theory.
  • Increase graduates’ multicultural competences using curricula designed to reflect sensitivity to issues of race, class, gender and sexual orientation and diversity of family structures within a pluralistic, multi-cultural society.

Student performance is outcome-driven based on the requirement of Couple and Family Therapy competency-based models. Evaluation criteria support the program’s specific and general objectives, in order to produce competently trained individuals who can demonstrate the acquisition and integration of knowledge across a range of theoretical paradigms and skill development (core competencies: CC) required for effective performance of the profession, as outlined by the regulatory bodies (AAMFT; OTSTCFQ and OPQ). The knowledge and skills of the profession are the targeted outcomes of outcome-based education (OBE).