Title page for ETD etd-09132000-15100014

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Pankow, Shannon Anderson
URN etd-09132000-15100014
Title Career Practices and Training Perspectives of Marriage and Family Therapy Program Graduates
Degree PhD
Department Marriage and Family Therapy
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Johnson, Scott W. Committee Chair
  • marriage and family therapy
  • mental health
  • career
  • training
  • psychotherapy
Date of Defense 2000-09-11
Availability unrestricted
Using survey data gathered by both Internet and mailed questionnaires, 125 graduates of

COAMFTE-accredited marriage and family therapy (MFT) programs imparted information about

their perspectives on their MFT training, their current and desired career practices, and their

advice to MFT trainees and graduates about maximizing career options. The results demonstrated

that MFT graduates attach many different meanings to the training and career experiences

they've had. Marriage and family therapists work in a variety of settings, including agency

and administrative work, private practice, academia, pastoral settings, school settings,

medical administration and education, and residential treatment settings. Some graduates have

left the MFT field to pursue other career avenues. The average income for MFT graduates in this

sample was approximately $52,000 for doctoral-level graduates and $36,000 for masters-level


Although approximately 72% of the participants reported satisfaction with their current

professional position, several themes emerged in the data which indicate areas in which graduates

felt unprepared when they entered the work force. Those areas include: information about the

contemporary mental health marketplace, such as working with managed care and insurance companies

and the political ramifications of being a marriage and family therapist in a professional climate

dominated by other mental health disciplines. MFT graduates also reported lacking

sufficient training in diagnosis and use of the DSM. Among the most valuable training experiences

for participants were the clinical internship/practicum and the associated supervision received.

Implications for the training and socialization of MFTs into the world of professional practice

are discussed, along with suggestions for future research.

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