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Doctorate in Marriage and Family Therapy (DMFT) Overview


The Doctorate of Marriage and Family Therapy (DMFT) at Chaminade University is an advanced clinical degree program with a focus on service, justice, and peace applications to couple, marriage and family therapy. The DMFT program embodies a relational/systemic philosophy, follows the practitioner-scholar model and focuses on applied skill development for use in clinical practice, supervision, academia, and administration. The DMFT is a 62 credit program (depending on student's education background) requiring three years of full time study for completion. 

The program is designed to prepare individuals for leadership roles and careers as private practitioners, agency administrators, clinical supervisors, program developers, evaluators, faculty in institutions of higher education, and senior clinicians. The DMFT is a dynamic program that is committed to the development of the self of the practitioner.

The Chaminade DMFT has been developed on a firm foundation in the Marianist Educational Values of a formation in faith; quality education; family spirit; service, justice and peace; and adaptation and change. Each of these five core values are incorporated throughout the program to help graduates develop as not only practitioners but also as whole individuals who are ready to lead and serve. 

Our aim is to prepare practitioners and leaders who think systemically, promote cultural humility and socially just-informed practices and programs, transfer knowledge to practice and policy, evaluate and practice evidence-informed couple and family therapy approaches and actively contribute to the ongoing development of the profession in Hawaii. While building the skills, individuals will be well-grounded in the ideas of service, justice, peace, and ethical practice. Special attention is given in this program to the ethical treatment and honoring of indigenous peoples and groups including Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, in addition to other diverse populations.

Students admitted into this program should have a strong desire to enhance their cultural awareness and cultural safety as practitioners and be committed to service, justice, health, and peace. Graduates of this program will be trained to systemically intervene and address mental health disparities at family and community levels. Within this program, doctoral graduates will be able to be research-oriented clinicians, clinically oriented researchers, therapist educators, and clinical supervisors.

The DMFT program has been developed as an online hybrid and residency cohort program to meet the needs of working professionals and practitioners. A combination of interactive class technologies both synchronous and asynchronous and face-to-face meetings via residencies will be used to ensure that students have positive enriching learning experiences that will enhance their clinical training and development of the self of the practitioner. This 62 credit hour program has been developed for students to complete in less than 3 years. Students will enroll in a series of ten-week courses, focusing on two-three course at a time for the first two years and then completing dissertation related courses during the latter years of the program.

There are two qualifying exams and a Dissertation for this program. The first qualifying exam, due at the beginning of the first year, is a Formal Case Presentation where students will showcase their clinical skills and evidence based practice with a real client along with a formal case conceptualization paper. The second qualifying exam, due in the 7th term of the program is the Supervisor, Educator & Leader portfolio where students will coalesce the different leadership roles and artifacts related to these roles into a portfolio to be submitted to the faculty. After these two qualifying exams have been completed a student may propose their dissertation. The dissertation must involve clinical research on a topic in the field of couple and family therapy or a closely related field (e.g., family studies, family science, psychology, human development, child development, gerontology, etc.) and include a comprehensive discussion of implications for the field of couple and family therapy. The Dissertation will be submitted as a manuscript ready for journal submission.

Mission Statement

The program's mission is based on Marianist values and focused on developing strong leaders within the burgeoning field of Marriage and Family Therapy, who value diversity, promote justice and peace, and embody adaptation and change. Drawing on the Marianist Educational Values of formation in faith; quality education; family spirit; service, justice and peace; and adaptation and change, the program promotes continuous self-reflection and personal growth for the clinical student in their development as Clinical Practitioners in their roles as scholars, therapists, supervisors, and leaders.