NEIU’s Counseling Department strives to remain committed to equity, diversity and inclusion throughout our scholarship, service, advocacy, leadership, mentorship and teaching. Therefore, we seek candidates who advocate for social justice and antiracist policies, and utilize culturally relevant teaching, clinical practice, research and service. We are dedicated to preparing counselors who are leaders and advocates in social justice and who will provide professional counseling services to adults, children, youth, individuals, couples, groups and families.

The Department of Counselor Education offers a 60-credit hour program (20 courses) leading to the Master of Arts in Couple and Family Counseling. This degree fulfills the educational requirements for the two levels of licensure as a Professional Counselor and Marriage and Family Therapist in the State of Illinois: Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC), and Associate Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (ALMFT) and the Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). Graduates of this program also meet the educational requirements for Clinical Membership in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Find out more information at Counselor Education’s accreditation, licensures and credentialing page.

Couple and Family Counseling Goals and Objectives 

PROGRAM GOALS

The Couple and Family Counseling program at Northeastern Illinois University prepares students to work as counselors with individuals, couples, families, and groups from a systemic perspective to foster and maintain healthy interpersonal relationships. The program emphasizes social justice, advocacy, and structural competence, particularly to affect systemic change and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

The program delivers a comprehensive academic curriculum and supervised clinical experiences that integrates the standards of the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educations Programs (CACREP) and fulfills the requirements for professional licensure in the State of Illinois as both Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (ALMFT/LMFT) and Professional Counselors (LPC/LCPC).

With an emphasis on mastering clinical skills within a relational context, students prepare to work with diverse clients for a wide array of clinical issues including, but not limited to, conflict, parenting decisions, behavioral problems, sexuality, divorce, grief, or other family transitions.

Graduates of the Couple and Family Counseling program will be able to provide competent individual or conjoint therapy for members of a couple or family and will be eligible to work in a variety of therapy settings, such as community mental health agencies, substance abuse treatment centers, hospitals, clinics, crisis centers, court services, youth agencies/facilities, managed behavioral health care organizations, and private practice.

program Objectives

The Couple and Family Counseling program trains counselors to work as marriage and family counselors who will be knowledgeable of, and demonstrate skills in the following: 

  1. CACREP's core content areas of: professional counseling orientation and ethical practice; social and cultural diversity; human growth and development; career development; counseling and helping relationships; group counseling; assessment and testing; and research and program evaluation.

  2. Theoretical and historical foundations of culturally-competent couple, family and individual counseling, including assessment and case conceptualization from a systemic perspective that incorporates individual and family life cycle transitions.

  3. Understanding the impact of contextual factors such as poverty, trauma, socioeconomics, gender roles, addiction, culture and ethnicity, age, religion, medical/mental health issues, aging and governmental policy on individual, couple and family functioning.

  4. Systemic clinical practice with individuals, couples, families and groups, oriented toward navigating relational difficulties, including but not limited to relational problem-solving, conflict management, relational accountability and life cycle transitions.

  5. Practice management of couples and family therapy, including treatment planning, documentation and service delivery from a systemic perspective.

  6. Professional identity as a relational therapist, including credentialing, legal and ethical issues related to the practice of competent conjoint therapy with couples and families.

Curriculum in Couple and Family Counseling, M.A. 

60 credit hours

courses required to complete the Couple and Family Counseling program 

Foundation Counseling Courses

  • COUN 401 Professional Orientation & Legal/Ethical Practices
  • COUN 402 Developmental Counseling (3 cr)
  • COUN 403 Theories of Counseling (3 cr)
  • COUN 404 Assessment & Evaluation in Counseling (3 cr)
  • COUN 405 Individual Counseling Skills (3 cr)
  • COUN 406 Group Counseling (3 cr)
  • COUN 408 Research Seminar (3 cr)
  • COUN 409 Career Development (3 cr)
  • COUN 415 Children & Youth in School & Family Systems (3 cr)
  • COUN 420 Introduction to Family Counseling (3 cr)
  • COUN 425 Diagnosis & Treatment of Addictive Disorders
  • COUN 427 Diagnostic Systems for Counseling
  • COUN 430 Social & Cultural Diversity in Counseling

Couple and Family Counseling Courses

  • COUN 421 Advanced Marriage & Family Counseling (3 cr)
  • COUN 431 Couple and Family Systems Study (3 cr)
  • COUN 432 Couples Counseling & Human Sexuality (3 cr)

Elective Course

  • Elective Course #1 (consult with faculty advisor)

Advanced Clinicals

  • COUN 445 Practicum: Group Supervision in Couple and Family Counseling** (3 cr)
  • COUN 465 Internship I: Group Supervision in Couple and Family Counseling** (3 cr)
  • COUN 475 Internship II: Group Supervision in Couple and Family Counseling** (3cr)

Clinical Experience (Practicum and Internship)**

Practicum and Internship consists of 700 hours of documented field-related experience, of which a cumulative 300 hours of face-to-face counseling is required. COUN 445 Practicum: Family Counseling is a 100-hour, field-based experience requiring a minimum of 50 hours of direct contact with clients. COUN 465 Internship I: Family Counseling and COUN 475 Internship II: Family Counseling together consist of a 600-hour, field-based experience requiring a minimum of 250 hours of clinical contact with clients. A minimum of 150 of these clinical contact hours must be counseling couples and/or families.

Departmental Proficiency Examination (DPE)

All counselor education students are required to pass a comprehensive departmental proficiency examination (DPE) prior to graduation. This exam is offered annually in February, June and October. 

CFC Program Planning Guide

Use the CFC program planning guide to outline your proposed plan of study.

sample plan of study

Sample Three-Year Plan: full-time, taking courses during Practicum and Internship
Need only one elective course*

Year 1
Fall Spring Summer
COUN 401
COUN 403
COUN 420

COUN 402
COUN 404
COUN 430

COUN 405
COUN 409
Year 2
Fall Spring Summer

COUN 406
COUN 415
COUN 420

COUN 408
COUN 421
COUN 425
COUN 432
Elective*
Year 3
Fall Spring Summer

COUN 445
COUN 431

COUN 465
Elective*
COUN 475

 

Sample Four-Year Plan: part-time, all courses completed before Practicum and Internship
Need only one elective course*
Must take this course in this semester to qualify for Practicum+
Year 1
Fall Spring Summer
COUN 401
COUN 403 or 420
COUN 403 or 420
COUN 402 or 430

COUN 404 or 409
COUN 402 or 430`

Year 2
Fall Spring Summer
COUN 404 or 409
COUN 415 or 427

COUN 405
COUN 415 or 427

COUN 406
COUN 408 or 425
Year 3
Fall Spring Summer
COUN 431+
COUN 408, 425, or elective*
COUN 421+
COUN 408, 425, or elective*

COUN 432+
COUN 408, 425, or elective*

Year 4
Fall Spring Summer
COUN 445 COUN 465 COUN 475

Apply to the M.A. in Couple and Family Counseling program