Marriage & Family Therapy-Houston

Our Lady of the Lake University's campus in the The Woodlands offers a Master of Science (MS) in Psychology with a specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT). The Woodlands students complete a portion of their practica requirements at Houston area clinics and agencies. The MFT concentration prepares practitioners to treat individuals, marital and family relationships, as well as larger systems from a systemic perspective.

The program meets the academic requirements for licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) through the Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists, and licensure as a Professional Counselor (LPC) through the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors


The Houston MS in Psychology with a concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family therapy Education (COAMFTE) of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). The Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) is responsible for establishing standards for competence in clinical education for the profession of marriage and family therapy, and for the review and recognition of programs successfully meeting these standards.

Student Achievement Criteria

From the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy website

The Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Consistent with CHEA Recognition Standards, accreditation organizations must establish standards that require accredited programs "to provide consistent information about academic quality and student achievement and thus to foster continuing public awareness, confidence, and investment" (Recognition of Accrediting Organizations: Policy and Procedures p.4). COAMFTE has established Accreditation Standards that require programs to report on student achievement. Additionally, COAMFTE collects student achievement data on graduation rates, exam pass rates, and licensure rates. Accredited programs are required to report student achievement criteria data on an annual basis.

Accredited programs report student achievement criteria data for each cohort in the program. A cohort is defined as the students who entered a program between a given time period (example: the students in the fall 2005-spring 2006 cohort, entered their respective programs between the fall of 2005 and spring of 2006).

The following link will lead to the AAMFTE COAMFTE page describing student achievement criteria of all accredited programs.

Notes about the program at Our Lady of the Lake University-Houston Campus:

We are a cohort model program. Students enter the program and follow the degree plan as a group. Therefore, there is no way to finish the program in less than the three years that is the advertised length of the program (therefore, the minimum time to completion and the advertised time to completion are the same). In addition, depending on the year and semester, our students take between six and nine hours per semester. Therefore, all are considered part time students, though six hours is sufficient to be eligible for financial aid. Our program was awarded initial accreditation in November 2014. Therefore, the first cohort of students on which we have the data are those students who began the program in fall 2013, and were enrolled in the program at the time of accreditation. Most of our students graduate in August. Therefore, students who entered the program in fall 2014 are not yet scheduled to graduate. The data on that cohort is partial as of the completion of the document (linked below) in July 2017 (e.g., national exam pass rate only reflects the percentage of students who have passed the national exam who have already taken it -- some students in this cohort have not yet taken the national exam).

View 2017 Student Achievement Data

Approach and Orientation of the program

Students in the MS program are taught a wide variety of theories and professional skills. However, the program emphasizes a particular set of therapy models. These models are described in various ways, such as: Relational Strengths-Based, Postmodern, Collaborative, Social Constructionist, and Competency-Based. While there are variations among these collaborative models, all of them have in common:
  • an emphasis on each person's strengths, resources, and unique perspectives
  • an emphasis on a non-pathological view with skepticism regarding the usefulness of psychiatric diagnoses
  • an emphasis on collaborative practice in therapy
These Collaborative, Social Constructionist, and Competency-Based models include:
  • Collaborative Language Systems
  • Solution-Focused Therapy
  • Narrative Therapy
  • MRI Strategic Family Therapy

These theoretical models are taught in our Systemic Approaches to Counseling courses, and strongly influence the perspective of many of our other courses.

In addition to these emphasized theories, students are provided a working knowledge of several other common and classical models of therapy (e.g., Cognitive-Behavioral, Interpersonal, Psychodynamic, Structural) and are taught necessary diagnostic skills to allow them to function as independent therapists.

Learning PODS:

Students at The Woodlands campus are required to meet weekly in assigned small groups (PODS), which are scheduled outside of class time.

Community Counseling Service

OLLU's campus-run counseling service



View Psychology Department faculty