MSMFT Testimonials

"Reflecting back on my time in the MSMFT program, the most challenging and most rewarding work was the clinical work in the Community Practicum. There was an immediacy and freshness to the learning in the community sites — and some within clients' homes — that accelerated my learning and development as a therapist — and as a person. In vivo as it was, it forced me to stretch my understanding of the theory and practice taught in the courses. Community work brought the ‘metaframeworks’ (intersections of culture, gender, sequences, etc.) to life, showing them to be much more than theory or concepts. With this two-year ‘immersion experience,’ I learned to assess quickly, a skill of great interest to prospective employers at the time of graduation and of great value to me to this day. It also afforded me a host of collaborations with seasoned professionals in the field, which in turn helped me shape my own professional identity and career direction."

— Dan Gill, MSMFT, LCPC, Class of 1999
    Dan Gill Therapy LLC, Owner

“When I chose to enroll in the Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy Program through The Family Institute at Northwestern University in 2012, I knew that it would be my greatest professional investment. However, when moving through the program, I realized that it was also my greatest life decision. For one, the curriculum is beautifully designed. Where many programs might only teach a few models or theories, the MSMFT program at TFI introduces students to nearly every model of family therapy. While this may seem daunting, we learned these theories through a cutting-edge integrative framework (Integrative Problem-Centered Metaframeworks) that helps students take different aspects of theories and put them together in their own ways. Furthermore, the MSMFT program has a heavy emphasis on group, individual, and live supervision of students’ cases, which helped me learn how to theorize and practice family therapy not just from the in-depth experience of my supervisors, but also from my fellow students.

I’m currently a PhD student in Human Development with a specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy at Virginia Tech. I attribute my preparedness, clinical skill, ability to theorize, and deeper sense of who I am as a person and therapist to my time in the MSMFT program at TFI. My involvement in the program at TFI allowed me to achieve both professional and personal success, and I am forever grateful for my experience in it.”

— Ryan M. Earl, MSMFT, Class of 2014
    PhD Candidate at Virginia Tech

“I entered TFI’s MSMFT program in 2005. I was 35 years old and changing careers from fundraising to direct service. For the next two years, the MSMFT program helped me consolidate many of my existing skills into effective application in a therapeutic setting. The training and supervision I received taught me how to listen and how to really hear the things clients expressed overtly as well as the many things they were expressing in less direct, less obvious ways. My training also developed my ability to offer feedback to my clients, to hypothesize about family dynamics and to problem solve collaboratively with a couple or a family. I graduated knowing that I had transformed from an informal ‘therapist to all of my friends’ to a professional psychotherapist with a complete body of training in a therapeutic model proven to promote change in family systems.”

— Leah Brennan, LMFT, CADC, Class of 2007
    Private Practice

“I graduated from the MSMFT program in 1998. It taught me systemic thinking and gave me the foundation to grow as a clinician. Today I run a group practice and supervise MSMFT students. None of this would have been possible without my first steps at The Family Institute.”

— Josh Hetherington, LMFT, Class of 1998
    Northside Center for Relationship Counseling

“I will never forget the first time I walked into The Family Institute. It was during the late winter of 2002 and I arrived to attend an Open House. After listening to Dr. Linda Rubinowitz describe the program, I knew instinctually that this was where I was supposed to be. I had never before felt such clarity about my future and professional direction. I was accepted into and began the program in September 2003 and graduated in June 2005. My time as a clinician-in-training at TFI was a life-changing experience for me. Developing relationships with classmates who became close friends and being taught and supervised by leaders in the field played no small role in my personal development and professional success. It was, without a doubt, the best academic experience of my life.”

— Anne Brennan Malec, PsyD, LMFT, Class of 2005
    Founder, Managing Partner: Symmetry Counseling

“My experience as a student in the Marriage and Family Therapy Program transformed my identity as a clinician and a relational being. I not only learned how to conceptualize and practice as a proficient marriage and family therapist, but I learned to better understand myself in the context of various systems. The classes, supervision, community practicum, and clinic experience available within this graduate program facilitate in-depth growth, discovery, and application of concepts that allowed me to become fully immersed in the world of psychotherapy. The training at TFI prepared me to work in a plethora of work environments, from community mental health to private practice. It gave me the confidence to know that I am clinically competent while embedding in me an approach to my clients that is respectful, curious and collaborative. I am forever indebted to my experience within the MSMFT program and the ways it has shaped my career path and personal journey.”

— Hannah Smith, MSMFT, LMFT, Class of 2013
    Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, The Family Institute at Northwestern University