Resources for Success

Policies & Procedures

Student Conduct
As a professional training program, students are expected to maintain high standards of conduct in class, in the field, and with peers in any context. Students are held to standards outlined by a) the university, b) MFT professional organizations, and c) the MFT Student Code of Conduct signed upon entry to the program.
Student Professional Responsibility Agreement
To Be Distributed and Signed at First Student Orientation
All students must have a signed copy on file in the main office.

1. Register for Required Courses: I understand as a full-time MFT counseling student I am expected to register for and attend classes two afternoons/evenings per week each fall, spring, and summer term. I should enroll in the required courses during my designated enrollment period. If I wish to reduce my course load I must consult with full time programs faculty and obtain written permission from the department chair.

2. Attendance: I understand that I am expected to attend all scheduled classes. I should contact my instructors prior to an absence. I understand that absences will affect my grades and ability to pass classes. Excessive absences may also affect my ability to work with clients in fieldwork.

3. Advising Meetings: I understand that I should attend all regularly scheduled advising sessions each semester (typically the 1st or 2nd Friday of fall and spring semester) that I am in the MFT program.

4. Complete Fieldwork: I understand there is a fieldwork requirement of 600 hours that I must complete during the second and third year (minimum of 9 months) of the program before I can graduate. I understand that I will need up to two or more days per week (15-25 hours) in addition to the full time course work required during the second year to meet the fieldwork hour requirement. Additionally, I understand that I must be enrolled in practicum class during any the semester, including summer, that I am working with clients at a fieldwork site. At all times while seeing clients, I will maintain professional liability insurance with a personal policy in my name.

5. Grades: I agree to high standards in my work as a graduate student and developing marriage and family therapist. I understand that I must maintain an average of “B” (3.0) or better throughout the program; that no grade below a C may be counted toward a graduate degree at CSUN; and that graduate courses in which I receive below a C must repeated to earn a grade of C or better to replace the prior grade. Additionally, I understand that MFT students receiving a grade of C+ or C in a single course will be reviewed by the student affairs committee and recommendations made to ensure the student’s academic success. 

6. Maintain Current Contact Information: I will maintain current contact information (i.e., home address, phone number(s), and e-mail address) during my enrollment in the MFT graduate program. I will notify both a) the university and b) the EPC department office in writing of any changes.

7. Managing Technology: I understand that as a part of a professional program, I will be expected to manage the technology required to complete coursework and fieldwork including but not limited to email and Moodle.

8. Managing Confidential and Private Information: I understand that I will be responsible for professionally managing confidential information of clients and private information of peers. In cases related to client confidentiality, I will adhere to state, federal, and professional ethical standards for maintaining client confidentiality and privilege.

9. Personal Development: I understand that my personal development is a critical part of becoming an effective marriage and family therapist and agree to work to develop myself in courses, fieldwork activity, and other areas such as personal and professional growth and development. Personal development includes but is not limited to: personal therapy, membership in a professional organization, and attending workshops and conferences to become a competent and confident marriage and family therapist.

10. Professional Conduct: I understand that I must conduct myself at all times in a professional and ethical manner while at the university and any field sites. I also understand that I am responsible for handling personal crisis in a professional manner with all program faculty, instructors, staff and affiliated supervisors. I further understand that I must adhere to written and verbal policies and instructions at my clinical field sites and may be held liable for failing to do so.

11. Professional and Cooperative Communication: I will work cooperatively and non-judgmentally with peers, colleagues, faculty, staff, and other professionals from diverse cultural backgrounds. I understand that I am expected to be professional and respectful in all communications with peers, colleagues, faculty, and staff, and field site supervisors and employees including verbal, written, text, and social media.

Program Mission & Professional Conduct

Welcome
The faculty has high expectations for both ourselves and for our students. We aspire to offer an outstanding professional preparation program. To a large extent, the enthusiasm, commitment, and professionalism of students and faculty on- and off-campus determine how successful we will be. The MFT program faculty will work to provide the highest quality education and training, and a supportive, ethical, and caring atmosphere both in and outside of classes. We will provide you with comprehensive academic knowledge, and the technical, personal, and interpersonal support you will need to have an enriching educational experience and to be successful in your journey to becoming a licensed professional.

The following information is provided as guidance to help you succeed in your program.

Marriage and Family Therapy Program Mission
Our mission is to train competent marriage and family therapists (MFT) to serve the needs of individuals, couples, children, and families in the diverse communities of Southern California. We seek to provide a supportive, engaging learning environment that enables you, our students, to develop effective working relationships with diverse clients, competency in contemporary therapy theories, and a solid foundation in the field’s evidence-base. We prepare our students to provide services in community, public, and private mental health settings and to eventually serve as leaders in the field. The MFT option of an M.S. degree in counseling is an approved program and provides students with competency in the content areas required by the State Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) for licensure as a MFT and LPCC.

Respect for Diversity
In order to thrive and excel, MFTs honor the rights, safety, dignity, and well-being of all individuals no matter their race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, national origin, religious beliefs, physical, or cognitive ability. The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect in understanding that each individual is unique. To the extent possible and appropriate, graduate courses in this program will explore these differences in a safe, positive, and supportive environment. It is not always possible as a program to adequately address diversity across all courses and in all course materials, but there will be continued effort to enable students to engage in clinical practice that is more culturally sensitive.
It is the goal of the California State University Northridge and the Michael D. Eisner College of Education to support and value diversity. To do so requires that students, faculty, and staff:
• Respect the dignity and essential worth of all individuals
• Promote a culture of respect throughout the College and University community
• Respect the privacy, property, and freedom of others
• Reject bigotry, discrimination, violence, or intimidation of any kind
• Practice personal and academic integrity and expect it from others
• Promote the diversity of opinions, ideas, and backgrounds within the program and in the communities we serve.

Disclosure of Personal Information
During the course of the MFT program personal disclosures may occur. Each student should decide for him/herself what information to disclose. Students are advised to be prudent when making self-disclosures. The program cannot guarantee confidentiality of student disclosures given the group environment, although personal comments should be considered private and confidential and remain only in the classroom unless an exception to confidentiality applies.
The AAMFT Code of Ethics states in standard 4.7 (2012) that Marriage and family therapists do not disclose supervisee confidences except by written authorization or waiver, or when mandated or permitted by law. In educational or training settings where there are multiple supervisors, disclosures are permitted only to other professional colleagues, administrators, or employers who share responsibility for training of the supervisee. Verbal authorization will not be sufficient except in emergency situations, unless prohibited by law.

With this in mind, the program would like to highlight that faculty, instructors, and clinical supervisors who share responsibility for students/supervisees will share relevant information without a written waiver in an effort to provide a quality standard of guidance and supervision, to maintain coherent training throughout the program, and to ensure student and/or client care.

Student Conduct: University Policy
The University is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy living and learning environment for students, faculty, and staff. Each member of the campus community should choose behaviors that contribute toward this end. Students are expected to be good citizens and to engage in responsible behaviors that reflect well upon their university, to be civil to one another and to others on the campus community, and to contribute positively to student and university life.

It is your responsibility as a student to read and understand the standards stipulated in the CSUN Student Conduct Code, which can be found here: http://www.csun.edu/sites/default/files/standards_student_conduct.pdf

Professional Code of Ethics and Licensing Regulations
As a student in a professional preparation program, students of Marriage and Family Therapy graduate programs are expected to adhere to the profession’s Codes of Ethics, including those published by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (www.aamft.org), American Counseling Association (www.counseling.org), and the California Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (www.camft.org). In addition, MFT graduate students agree to the strictly abide by the rules and regulations for MFT trainees set forth by the California Board of Behavioral Science (www.bbs.ca.gov; the MFT licensing body). Students should understand that they are responsible to remain current with any changes related to BBS policy regarding licensure as an MFT in California. Depending on the severity of the offense, failure to comply with ethical standards or state licensing regulations may result in expulsion from the program with a single incident.

Student Affairs Committee
The Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling (EPC) has a Student Affairs Committee (SAC), which is comprised of faculty members of the EPC department. The committee’s purpose is to address issues related to student conduct and progress, addressing specifically readiness to see clients, academic performance, and ethical behavior.. The committee strives to support students in their growth as professionals and works toward a fair and appropriate resolution for all parties concerned. The department has developed formal procedures in response to unprofessional behavior and related academic concerns. Students who are referred to the Student Affairs Committee will initially receive a Letter of Concern that outlines the nature of the problem; this letter serves as a warning and is placed in the student’s academic file. Upon a second incident or with more serious first-time offenses, the faculty will also file a Request for Delay/Withdraw, which will outline requirements for remediating concerns, stipulations for a delay in the program, and/or requirement for withdrawal from the program. In such cases, students may appeal the decision, which will be heard by an appointed subcommittee.

Grievance Policy
A student or group of students of the Michael D. Eisner College of Education may appeal decisions or actions pertaining to admissions, programs, evaluation of performance, and program retention and completion. Students who decide to file a grievance should follow the student grievance procedure, or alternative ways to file a grievance outlined in the Student Grievance Policy (http://www.csun.edu/sites/default/files/agga_compprocd.pdf).

University Policies

Non-Discrimination Policy
The MFT program adheres to a strong non-discrimination policy related to human diversity, including but not limited to race, age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, relationship status, gender identity, SES, disability, health status, religion or spiritual beliefs, and/or affiliation and nation origin. Additionally, CSUN maintains a similar institutional policy: http://catalog.csun.edu/policies/nondiscrimination-policy/

The Seven Year Rule

• All courses must be completed within seven years from the date when the student first enrolled in courses that are applied to the degree.
• This time limit includes completion of thesis, project or comprehensive exam.

Leave of Absence
• Graduate students in good standing may take up to a two-semester leave of absence. Though no formal approval is required, it is suggested that students write a letter to their major department and to the Graduate Studies, Research International Programs Office, which would include reason(s) for leave and date of return. This will keep a student's file in active status for up to one academic year. Leaves of absence for more than one academic year are generally not accepted.  Students must, instead, re-apply to the university and to the department and are not automatically re-accepted.

Repeating a Graduate Course
• With prior permission of the Graduate Coordinator and/or Department Chair and Associate Vice President of Graduate Studies, a graduate student may repeat, for the purpose of improving the grade, up to 6-units of credit in which a grade of "B-" or below, or a grade of "U," was achieved. In these cases only the most recent grade will count.
• Students must submit a Course Repeat Form (OGS 25) for approval by the third week of the semester in which the course is being repeated and show proof of enrollment at that time.

Change of Address/Updating Personal Information:

• Update your information through the CSUN myNorthridge portal.
• Log in to the portal from the upper right corner of the CSUN main page. On the main portal page, find Human Resources/Employee, and click on "Update my personal information." 
o Yellow buttons indicates sections that are available for update. They are:
o Change home/mailing address
o Change phone number(s)
o Change emergency contact.

Moving Out of State Before Graduation:
• If students anticipate moving before graduation they can arrange for independent study courses if needed to meet a specific state’s requirement.

Moving out of State After Graduation:

• CSUN's Marriage and Family Therapy Program prepares you to be both an LMFT and LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor) in most of the states. However, requirements vary widely and students should research requirement for specific states.
• Students will need to apply for relevant credentials in their new state.
• Some states may require a course in their specific relevant state laws and ethical guidelines.

General Procedures for Handling Problems

• If a student has a concern regarding another student or instructor, students should always begin by speaking directly to the person in question to try to resolve the issue.
• If a student has personal or academic concern that impacting his/her ability to perform in coursework or fieldwork, the student should proactively contact involved instructors, an advisor, and/or personal therapist to help address the situation.

Managing a Problem with a Faculty Member

• The EPC faculty strives to be considerate of student’s needs and issues and are generally open to hearing from students about their concerns.
• If an issue arises, student should set up a time to speak directly with the faculty member. In most cases, issues are easily resolved with open and frank communication.
• If the student is still unhappy the student should set up a time to speak with the program’s coordinator or department chair.

Grievance Policy
A student or group of students of the Michael D. Eisner College of Education may appeal decisions or actions pertaining to admissions, programs, evaluation of performance, and program retention and completion. Students who decide to file a grievance should follow the student grievance procedure, or alternative ways to file a grievance outlined in the Student Grievance Policy (http://www.csun.edu/sites/default/files/agga_compprocd.pdf).

Department Student Affairs Committee
The Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling (EPC) has a Student Affairs Committee (SAC), which is comprised of faculty members of the EPC department. The committee’s purpose is to address issues related to student conduct and progress, addressing specifically readiness to see clients, academic performance, and ethical behavior.. The committee strives to support students in their growth as professionals and works toward a fair and appropriate resolution for all parties concerned. The department has developed formal procedures in response to unprofessional behavior and related academic concerns. Students who are referred to the Student Affairs Committee will initially receive a Letter of Concern that outlines the nature of the problem; this letter serves as a warning and is placed in the student’s academic file. Upon a second incident or with more serious first-time offenses, the faculty will also file a Request for Delay/Withdraw, which will outline requirements for remediating concerns, stipulations for a delay in the program, and/or requirement for withdrawal from the program. In such cases, students may appeal the decision, which will be heard by an appointed subcommittee.

Faculty and Supervisor Procedures for Handling Student Performance Concerns
• It is understood that faculty will routinely discuss with other concerned faculty students whose continued participation in the program be in question.
• If there is a serious concern about a student, the instructor will place a copy of a Statement of Concern (FORM A) in the student file and a copy will be given to the student describing the faculty members’ concern.
• Although no action is generally required, the instructor may require a meeting with the student and suggestions for improvement discussed.
• If the behavior or performance in question continues, a faculty member may initiate a Delay/Withdrawal Procedure.
o FORM B (Faculty Initiated Recommendation for Delay/Withdrawal From Program) will be submitted to the Department Chair.
o The faculty member will orally notify the student of this recommendation and the student will have from the date of receipt of FORM B, ten (10) school/working days to file an appeal of the recommendation (FORM B1).
• If there is no appeal, the recommendation is acted upon and placed in the student's file.

If a Student Appeals a Grievance
• Student files FORM Bl with the Department Chair.
• The Department Chair will distribute FORM C (Information Form for Faculty Initiated Delay/Withdrawal from Program) to faculty members and will be asked to complete FORM C and return it within one week period.
• Copies of forms will be forwarded to the Student Affairs Committee by the Department Chair
o Student Affairs may support the appeal or establish an Ad Hoc Examining Committee of two faculty members and one student (Alumnus).
• The Examining Committee will meet with the student and the involved faculty member(s); the student may bring an advocate or fellow student along to this meeting.
• After meeting with the student and faculty members and reading any pertinent materials (including FORMs A, B, B1, and C):
o The Ad Hoc Committee will make a recommendation in writing to the Student Affairs Committee concerning the student's Delay/Withdrawal from the Program.
o The Committee can recommend that the student:
a.    Continue in the program without delay.
b.    Continue in the program, but with certain stipulations.
c.    Is delayed from continuing in the program until the student meets certain stipulations such as gaining more experience, personal therapy, participating in special programs, etc.
d.    Delay/Withdraw from the Program.
• The recommendation of the Ad Hoc Committee:
o Is received by the Student Affairs Committee, and is forwarded to the Department Chair, along with a written recommendation by the Student Affairs Committee to accept or reject the recommendation of the Ad Hoc Committee.
o Is received by the Department Chair along with the recommendation for the Student Affairs Committee, and the Department Chair will then make the final decision concerning the student's delay/withdrawal from the program.

Final Dispensation
• The student will be notified in writing of the department Chair's decisions, including any stipulations regarding continuing in the program or re-admittance to the program.
• A copy of this letter will be placed in the student's file.
• Notice (FORM D) of the action will be sent to department faculty members.