As Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary begins the 2004-05 academic year, it does so with full accreditation of its award-winning Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy
The Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) found the Seminary’s program to be in compliance with all program standards and voted July 29 to grant renewal of accreditation to the program for another six years. Following the accrediting board’s site visit in March 2004, the commission’s initial report praised the Seminary’s program for subsidizing and making the counseling services available to Seminary students; for the level of organization within record keeping and communication between students, supervisors, and faculty; and for the abundance of supervisor contact hours which students have found invaluable.
In its grant of reaccreditation, COAMFTE provided one recommendation or stipulation that the Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy program give students increased exposure to psychopharmacology. Seminary Dean Dianne Reistroffer indicated that the Marriage and Family Therapy faculty are “already working to address this
concern and will be making the required follow-up report by July 2005.”
This good news about the MFT program has come directly upon the heels of receiving two national awards recognizing the merits of the program’s overall instruction and its contribution to the preparation of students in a specialized ministry.
First, the Institutional Accreditation Committee of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC) selected Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary to receive the 2004 Distinguished Program Leadership Award for its Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy program along with the Doctor of Ministry in Pastoral Counseling degree. The award, presented at its annual meeting, recognizes the center or training program that best exemplifies the values and purposes of AAPC and shows outstanding program leadership.
Then, during the meeting of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) in Richmond, Virginia in June,
this same program received the first John Rea Thomas Award for its outstanding leadership in preparing students for specialized ministry in marriage and family therapy. The award was presented by the Presbyterian Health, Education, and Welfare Association (PHEWA).
“This has been a banner year for the MFT program,” said Reistroffer who commended the faculty, supervisors, staff, and students for their outstanding work and this level of recognition. In particular she congratulated the current faculty, Professors Carol J. Cook, Loren Townsend, and Nancy J. Ramsay; Dr. James Hyde, interim director of the
MFT program, Ms. Becky Timerding, assistant to the director, and Rev. Jay Close, who directs the Louisville Seminary Counseling Ministry.
A fairly young program, the MFT degree was established in the early 1990s under the leadership of Dr. David A. Steere, now professor emeritus of pastoral counseling. Since the first graduating class in 1993, the program has become one of the most popular degree programs at Louisville Seminary, enrolling near capacity numbers each year. It remains one of the most ecumenically represented and diverse programs on the campus.
The MFT program, one of only two accredited, seminary-based programs in the nation, offers three distinct educational elements: theological and biblical instruction, marriage and family therapy training, and closely supervised client contact. As a part of the program’s requirements, students must complete 500 practicum hours. “We have seven clinical staff members employed by the Seminary to provide individual help with students, on and off campus. Typically students work at two or three practicum sites as part of their studies,” said James Hyde.
The on-campus Louisville Seminary Counseling Ministry is one of those sites and a training ground for many MFT students. While providing students with client contact, the Counseling Ministry also provides counseling resources for those seeking to make referrals to a trusted care facility. In this way, the program has proven to be a valuable resource to pastors, schools, hospitals, and other agencies. Since 1993, more than 100 students have contributed more than 50,000 hours of therapy to individuals, children, and families in the community and on campus.
For more information about the Louisville Seminary Marriage and Family Therapy program, visit Seminary Degrees
. To contact the Louisville Seminary Counseling Ministry, call 502.894.2289.