"Knowledge emerges only through invention and reinvention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other"
- Paulo Freire
Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy with Latinas/os
The Center's Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) degree program, with a Latina/o Mental Health emphasis, is committed to training students to work with Latina/o communities. The program is dedicated to preparing students to integrate a community-based, systemic perspective, in their conceptualization and therapeutic approaches in working with underserved and unserved Latina/o communities. The training program is committed to developing strong foundations in cultural and linguistic responsiveness. We believe it is essential that our students enhance their cultural understanding of Latina/o communities, but to also develop the therapeutic Spanish skills necessary to meet the needs of isolated monolingual Latina/o community members. For more information on our training philosophy, see our Training Philosophy section.
A fundamental tenet of the Latina/o Mental Health emphasis is to assist students in developing their Spanish-language skills as future mental health providers. For many Latina/o community members, providers with Spanish-language skills prove to be a critical element in creating a strong bond between the therapist and client. According to a study done in 2009, in which nine bilingual Spanish and English therapists were interviewed, the therapists switched from English to Spanish in therapy to promote trust among their Latina/o clients. The same study also found that clients switched from English to Spanish when discussing emotional experiences or to facilitate communication. A study conducted in 2002 with 268 Latinos living/working in Orange County, 77% stated they'd rather speak to a therapist to resolve their emotional problems. The same survey also found that not only speaking to a therapist would be helpful, but speaking to a therapist in Spanish is extremely important, with 71% stating they didn't believe there were enough Spanish-speaking therapists in the area. Aliento's MFT program is committed to training students who are culturally and linguistically responsiveness in the services they provide.
In order to make the program, which is located at our Irvine Graduate Campus, accessible for students across all campuses, students are permitted to enroll in the Latina/o Mental Health emphasis from any of our three graduate campuses in Encino, Irvine, or West Los Angeles. However, all students must enroll in, and attend, the Latina/o-specific courses, which are only offered at the Irvine Graduate Campus. The program is designed to be a cohort model for two main reasons: 1) a cohort model ensures that courses will be offered one time per year, per semester, without the need to provide multiple sections of the Latina/o-specific courses throughout the year; and 2) a cohort model ensures that we create a cohort of students who will take classes on the same days each week, reducing the travel time for students who may be commuting from our other graduate campuses to Irvine and in hopes of building strong peer relationships with one another.
In order to meet the requirements for the LMFT (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist) and LPCC (Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor) designations, the Latina/o Mental Health emphasis also provides students with the educational foundation to obtain either licensure upon graduation. It is also essential that the students in the Latina/o program acquire the necessary skills needed to function and graduate with an advanced foundation in Latina/o Mental Health. Therefore, the Latina/o Mental Health emphasis will consist of specific Latina/o content and experiential language development courses. View the courses and units.