Advanced Studies in Counseling: Couples & Family Therapy

The post-master’s graduate certificate in Advance Studies in Counseling: Couples & Family Therapy is offered at the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg. This post-master's program was developed by faculty in the Department of Counseling and College Student Personnel to meet the ongoing continuing education needs of community, mental health, and college and school counselors.

The four courses in the program, which focus on couples and family therapy, were designed to be flexible in order to accommodate the demanding schedules as well as geographic locations of counselors and mental health practitioners.

Enhancing the theory-based classroom discussions is a clinical component providing practice in couples/family therapy. These sessions will help serve clients in the Shippensburg University community clinic, Growing Edges. Under direct faculty supervision, students will practice basic and advanced counseling skills, while crafting and delivering end of session messages.

Students must have a master’s degree in counseling or an allied mental health field and complete the following four courses with at least a 3.00 GPA. The successful completion of each course will be denoted on the student’s official Shippensburg University graduate transcript.

Meeting the Needs of the Community & Your Professional Growth

In addition, the following information outlines the requirements for School & Mental Health Counselors:

  • The Professional Counselor Licensure Bill requires counselors in the field to have 60 graduate credits, most Counselor Education/Counseling graduate programs require only 48 credit.
  • In addition, school counselors in the public schools in Pennsylvania must fulfill the ACT48 professional development requirements, which can be satisfied with the completion of six graduate credits every five years.
  • Licensed Professional Counselors and National Certified Counselors must complete professional development requirements every five years.


Admission Requirements
To be eligible for admission to the Post-Master’s Graduate Letter of Completion in Advanced Studies in Counseling focused on Couples and Family Therapy you must:

Application & Enrollment Process

Application Process

If you wish to enroll in a Shippensburg University class as a non-degree student, complete the following steps:

  1. Complete the certificate application. You will need to setup a username and password, please make sure you write down this information for later use when enrolling in your class.
  2. On the non-degree application page, please select 'Certificate' from the drop-down menu as your Application Type
  3. After completion of the application, please click 'Submit' to continue and pay application fee.Your application will not be processed if you don't click 'Submit'.

* Please note:

  • After successful completion of application, you will receive follow-up directions for enrolling in your course in an email to the email address you provided on your application.
  • Please give at least two business days for review and processing of application.
  • Cancellation Policy: Shippensburg University reserves the right to cancel any courses due to insufficient enrollment or other unforeseen circumstances.


Tuition, Fees, Bills, Refunds, and Employer Payments

Course Info & Schedule

CNS 528 Assessment from a Family Systems Perspective (3 credits)
This course is not intended to explore psychometric theory but rather to introduce students to contemporary models and strategies for integrating appropriate assessment measures into work with children, couples and families. Diagnostic, evaluative and treatment assessment paradigms will be explored as they pertain to family systems based counseling. Current controversies about assessment in family systems counseling will be discussed.

CNS 527 Models & Techniques in Couples, Marital, & Family Therapy (3 credits)
This course covers the major models used in couples, marital and family therapy. In conjunction with review of these theories will be a focus on effective use of the specific techniques that accompany each model. Particular attention will be given to the role of the family therapist in each model. Ethical and cultural implications will be reviewed.

CNS 526 Brief Therapy for Marital, Family, & Couples Counseling (3 credits)
This course provides an overview of the knowledge needed to use brief therapy as a lens for systemic interventions. The primary focus is on the integration of the techniques and theoretical underpinnings necessary to effectively and efficiently create change in systems using a brief model. Particular attention is given to knowledge and awareness of the role of brief therapist.

CNS 529 Systemic Counseling with Individuals, Couples, & Families (3 credits)
This course is designed to aid students in gaining experience and competency in the use of therapeutic interventions with marital dyads, couples, and family systems. Emphasis is on the student's understanding of prominent theoretical modalities and applying the relevant techniques to classroom simulations and case studies. Students will acquire both understanding and experience in dealing therapeutically with typical marital, couple and family problematic concerns.

Faculty & Staff Support

For General & Registration Information
Office of Professional, Continuing, and Distance Education Studies (PCDE)
(717) 477-1502

For Program & Licensure Information
Marcy Douglass, Ph.D., NCC, LPC
(717) 477-1653