The Center for Marriage & Family Therapy and Counseling
500 hours of direct client contact are required to fulfill educational requirements by AAMFT. One of the biggest distinctives of the MFTC program at RTS Jackson is the on-site Center for Marriage & Family Therapy and Counseling, which ministers to over 1,000 clients each year and provides a context for our student therapists to put into practice what they are learning in the classroom.
The Benefit to Our Students
In many counseling programs, students are required to find their own externship and often spend valuable time driving to and from mental health centers whose values and counseling approaches may differ widely from their own. In the MFTC program at RTS Jackson, your clients come to you. The 500 hour face-to-face clinical requirement can be met within the context of the on-site clinic. Students can see clients immediately before or after class, step into the library to do research between appointments, or benefit from the camaraderie and insight of their peers in the control room.
For every five hours our students see clients, they are required to meet with their supervisor for one hour. This usually occurs in a group setting with other student therapists where they discuss particular cases, show video clips from clients, and ask for advice. Students rotate between supervisors every three months. By the end of their 500 clinical hours, they will have completed 100 hours of supervision.
A unique feature of supervision at RTS is that all of our supervisors also teach in the program. This distinctive feature affords the student and professor the opportunity to interact directly with the material that they are learning in class and work together to see how it can be applied with particular clients.
Once per term student therapists set up a live supervision in which their supervisor and cohort of student therapists all watch the session live behind a two-way mirror. The student therapist wears an earpiece which enables the supervisor to give input in real time.
With approval from our Clinic Coordinator, some of our student therapists elect to do a limited number of clinical hours via externships. Externships provide a specialized setting that enables the student therapist to hone their counseling skills in a particular area. Standard externships include Three Oaks (outpatient treatment facility), State Hospital (inpatient treatment), and Mississippi Children Home Services (CARES), but students may investigate new opportunities in accordance with their particular interests if they wish.
The MFTC program has also begun to work closely with Mission to North America’s Disaster Relief Team (MNA is a ministry of the Presbyterian Church in America) to provide crisis counseling wherever the crisis occurs. Our students have travelled to meet with those who have experienced trauma and loss in several recent tornadoes.
The Center for Marriage & Family Therapy includes the following features:
- Fifteen therapy rooms, including two play therapy rooms
- Audio/video equipment in each therapy room to record sessions for supervision
- Computerized student/therapist control room to record session notes and prepare video for supervision
- Comfortable student lounge areas to maximize informal student to student and student to faculty interaction
These amenities make our clinic one of the best in the country.
Counseling Services are provided for issues such as:
- Pre-marital and marital decision making
- Marital and family conflict and resolution
- Singleness and single parenting issues
- Step-family issues
- Sexual abuse
- Traumatic experiences
- Crisis situations
- Anger management
- Communication skill improvement
- Parenting and child discipline
- Play therapy
- Adolescent behavior issues
- Self injury (cutting, etc.)
- Eating disorders
The Center ministers to a wide variety of people in the greater Jackson area. Among our clients, there is significant ethnic diversity, a range of incomes (low to high), and various degrees of functioning (low to high). We receive referrals from churches, the Department of Human Services, lawyers, physicians, and judges (court-ordered cases). Counseling is provided to individuals, couples, or families as appropriate.
The Center partners with Theravive to offer low-cost counseling to those in need.