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Family Psychology Courses and Training Programs

Family psychologists work with families, couples, children and individuals at various stages of their lives and development. This specialty of psychology is typically studied at the graduate level. Read on to learn about the most commonly offered courses for prospective family psychologists.

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Essential Information

Applicable courses for family psychologists can be found in master's and doctoral degree programs in family psychology. These programs generally result in degrees such as a Master of Arts (MA) in Family Psychology or PhD in Family Psychology. Graduate students enrolled in these programs often complete intensive coursework, as well as many hours of supervised clinical experience.

Here are some concepts generally covered in family psychology courses:

  • Cultural diversity
  • Sexual development
  • Family therapy interventions
  • Psychological assessment
  • Research methods

List of Typical Courses

Family and Marital Counseling Course

Students get an introduction to some of the major theories and psychotherapeutic approaches to family and marriage counseling. They learn to identify various theories, approaches and ideas and evaluate how individuals and families function throughout various cultures and family structures. Students also examine family dynamics through in-class family case studies, couples diagnosis and evaluations.

Family Systems Course

This course analyzes how families develop and function as a system and discusses family therapy evolution. Students learn how to assess families and create therapy plans for them, and they may look at how religion, culture and ethnicity play roles in family dynamics. Some programs equip students with research methods specific to this topic.

Child and Adolescent Psychology Course

Enrollees become familiar with assessing and diagnosing dysfunctions and disorders in children and adolescents, whether they're emotional, behavioral or learning problems. Students will know how to use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to evaluate patients. Certain programs may divide child and adolescent psychology into their own courses.

Human Sexuality Course

This course covers the psychological and physiological variables that affect human sexuality, development, identity and behavior. Special attention is given to the connection between dysfunctional sexual behaviors and intimacy. Students aim to understand the process of diagnosing and treating sexual dysfunction within marital relationships.

Social Psychology Course

Students will discuss social dynamics in groups, organizations and local communities. Topics address group diversity, dynamics, non-verbal communication and influence as well as prejudice and stereotyping. Enrollees can learn how individuals influence environments and vice versa.

Legal and Ethical Issues in Psychology Course

Aspiring counseling professionals get acquainted with established ethical codes and legal requirements. Such topics as malpractice insurance, clinical skills and certification may be covered. Some programs require students to take an exam.

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