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Couple and Family Therapy Department

Diversity Thrives Here

Internationally recognized faculty train culturally aware and culturally sensitive therapists dedicated to serving a diverse client base.

Individual, Couple and Family Therapy Department

The Individual, Couple and Family Therapy Department prepares students to succeed in today's mental health environment through quality education and clinical preparation. 

We train therapists to be both culturally aware and culturally sensitive. Through our programs, students build an excellent foundation on which to build their future careers in couple and family therapy within the context of a highly culturally diverse marketplace.  

Our internationally recognized faculty are highly respected with expertise in areas such as Culture, Trauma, Medical Family Therapy, Health Policy, Supervision and Training, Forensic Family Therapy, Divorce Mediation, Substance Abuse, Youth and Family Violence, Sex Therapy, Interdisciplinary Healthcare Initiatives, LGBT and Mixed Orientation relationships and EFT.

We invite you to explore the degree programs and certificate programs offered through this department that will help you begin or elevate your career in individual, couple and family therapy. Please explore our web pages for a wealth of information about our programs, students, faculty, research and clinical practice.


Master of Family Therapy Degree Program
Family therapy: from family of origin to the global community.

Post-Master's Certificate Program in Couple and Family Therapy
Continue your education in couple and family therapy with Drexel's innovative professional training programs.

Post-Graduate Certificate Program in Medical Family Therapy
The Post-Graduate Certificate Program in Medical Family Therapy bridges gaps in the healthcare system.

Doctoral Degree Program in Couple and Family Therapy
The PhD Program in Couple and Family Therapy will prepare you for a career in academia, research, and behavioral healthcare.

Individual, Couple and Family Therapy Faculty

View Profiles

Department News



National Depression Screening Day, which took place on October 9, is held each year during Mental Illness Awareness Week and has roots in connecting individuals across the nation with support services and mental health education. Guy Diamond, PhD, is the Director of the Center for Family Intervention Science and of the Couple and Family Therapy PhD Program at the College of Nursing and Health Professions

Have you ever felt down, blue or sad?  Yes, of course. We all have.  We might even say we are depressed. But clinical depression is something more.  When people have depression they might have a hard time sleeping at night, either falling asleep or staying asleep. Or, even after a good night of sleep, they still feel tired all day. Sometimes they eat too much or too little. Sometimes they find ourselves crying a lot, or getting overly irritated even over small things. People struggling with depression may also feel hopeless about life, critical about themselves, and might even think about suicide. 

Many people might feel some of these symptoms some of the time, but for people who are seriously depressed, they will feel many of these things at the same time and for longer than two weeks. These problems will also begin to affect their functioning. The depression may cause problems with school, work, friends, and family. In fact, depression can have a big impact on those around you. Friends and family are all affected when one person struggles with clinical depression.

So what do you do if this is you or you know someone who feels like this? The best thing to do is to get screened by a professional. It might be your medical doctor or a mental health provider. Now lots of people say, “Oh, going to a doctor is a sign of weakness. I can get through this on my own.”  Maybe you can. Some episodes of depression seem to run their own course.  But that could mean 9 to 12 months of feeling so sad you are unable to get things done that you used to, or you lose interest in things that you used to like doing. This suffering is old school. Maybe our parents’ generation was embarrassed about mental health challenges. But we now know that it is a medical problem like many other problems and can be successfully treated.  That is, people who are depressed no longer have to suffer as they once did. There are very effective treatments for this problem. Medication, cognitive behavioral therapy and couples or family therapy have all been effective for treating depression.

If you do go to a professional, they will ask you a few questions about the kinds of struggles I have mentioned here.  First, they will want to get a better understanding of your symptoms and some of the personal or interpersonal problems that might be contributing to the depression. If you seem to have enough of these problems that have persisted for a while, then there might be a discussion about treatment. Medical doctors can prescribe medication but do not usually provide therapy.  Some form of talk therapy is usually recommended as the first level of treatment. If after 6 to 8 weeks things are not getting better, medication can be added to the treatment. For severe depression, a combination of medication and talk therapy- usually cognitive behavioral therapy- has been shown to be more effective.

Fortunately there are two new mental health services at Drexel that can provide talk therapy.  The Couple and Family Therapy Department and the Psychology Department now both have student and public mental health programs that can provide services for depressed students or adults. The Couple and Family Therapy Department can be reached at 215.571.3409 or Couple and family therapists work with clients on a variety of concerns, including family relationships, blended and stepfamilies, cultural identity, communication, divorce, parenting, grief and loss, anxiety and depression, trauma, addiction, sexuality, anger management, school concerns, life transitions, and body image/eating. The Drexel Psychological Services Center can be reached at 215.553.7128.

In addition to these services, Drexel University also offers free, confidential counseling services to currently enrolled full-time undergraduate and graduate students at the Counseling Center, which can be reached at 215.895.1415.

On this National Depression Screening Day, we are reminded that no one needs to suffer alone with depression. There is a lot of good help out there and we recommend anyone who wants to learn more should contact one of the resources above.


Lauren Pitts, MS Couple and Family Therapy ’13, EdD ’17, will be traveling to Barbados to study the impact of father-daughter communication on adolescent daughters’ sexual decision-making. Pitts was the recipient of the Couple and Family Therapy Department’s Ivan Boszomenyi-Nagy Social Justice and Clinical Excellence Award as well as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/Health Resources and Services Administration Scholarship. She is one of two 2014 Fulbright Scholars from the College of Nursing and Health Professions.

Chartings: What led you to Drexel?

Lauren Pitts: In 2009, after residing in Florida for almost 10 years, I returned home to Southern New Jersey. I was really disappointed because I had not been accepted into the programs to which I had applied in Florida. My mother suggested I explore to see if one of the schools in Philadelphia offered a program. As fate would have it, Drexel was the first school she told me to look into. Drexel not only had the program I was looking for, but it is considered one of the top programs in the country. I never looked at any of the other universities to determine if they had a Master’s in Family Therapy (MFT) program. The panel interviews were rigorous but more importantly, the information that came forth and the embrace I received throughout the admissions process further affirmed for me that I wanted Drexel to be my home for my advanced degree pursuits. The experience, stellar education, support, and guidance I received in my Master’s program made me certain I wanted to pursue my doctoral degree at Drexel also.

Chartings: Describe what kind of student you are.

Pitts: I often joke with my family and friends that I entered the MFT Program emotionally obese. The MFT Program served as a vehicle instrumental to my personal healing and added tremendous value to me as a professional. It truly was an extraordinary time personally and professionally. Dr. Aponte’s POTT (Person of the Therapist) training was influential  in helping me to use what used to be life’s stumbling blocks as life’s stepping stones. Throughout the entire program everyone made it clear we were valued for our humanity as well as for our scholarly potential. Each of my professors made me feel embraced; however, Drs. Harry Aponte,  Eric Johnson, and Christian Jordal consistently held me accountable for pursuing my best self. The MFT Program created a platform that I believe directly contributed to my selection as a Fulbright Scholar. My training better prepared me to be a stellar candidate personally and professionally.

Chartings: How did you react when you found out you were awarded a Fulbright Scholarship?

Pitts: Being awarded the Fulbright was humbling and staggering. My hometown of Salem, New Jersey has been recognized for a wealth of negativity and social dysfunction for many years. As a resident of Quinton Township, Salem County, New Jersey, a graduate of the Salem City School District, and being reared in a single-parent, impoverished home, this opportunity is not just about me. Receiving such a distinguished and prestigious honor serves as a voice of hope to my family members, friends, and members of my community who believe that Salem is representative of the best life has to offer. Furthermore, this award positions me to embrace my passion of helping underprivileged and underserved youth globally.

Chartings: Tell us about your research project.

Pitts: My research project is examining how the absence, or the presence, (father-daughter attachment) of the Barbadian father in the adolescent daughter’s life may affect her decision-making about educational attainment, sexuality, and reproductive health. My research is being conducted from varying perspectives in that a portion of my observation is being conducted in a residential treatment facility serving men and women struggling with substance addiction.

Chartings: Do you enjoy the topic? What led you to this project?

Pitts: This area of research is near and dear to my heart. It is my life’s story and the story of so many young women of color. Conducting this research not only provides me the opportunity to be empathic to these young women, it is also an opportunity for me to offer help and hope. This work is my life’s work and happy and overjoyed aren’t descriptive enough words to express my feelings.

Chartings: What advice do you have about students embarking on research projects?

Pitts: Remain open to platforms that go beyond what you envision for your proposal. People here have been extremely supportive and have expressed great interest in my study. As a result, many individuals have provided a wealth of additional resources I had not considered for the purpose of ensuring rich and valuable data can be obtained. Also know it is okay to ask for help and to be transparent about any concerns or additional considerations you may have. Lastly, stay grounded because it is very easy to get caught up in all the assistance that is being offered. It is imperative to remain focused.

Chartings: How would you rate your experience as a Drexel graduate student?

Pitts: OUTSTANDING! Obtaining my MFT and doctoral degrees from Drexel positions me for an extraordinary career. What is also interesting is, when speaking with family and friends in similar fields, they concur that my education at Drexel is unsurpassed! GO DRAGONS!


September 16, 2014- CNHP Alumni Network Meeting
Join us at 6 p.m. in the Bellet Building, 1505 Race Street, Philadelphia, for our first CNHP Alumni Network meeting of the new academic year. Refreshments will be served. Please contact Laura Valenti, Executive Director for College Engagement, with questions about the Alumni Network: or 215.762.2041. Please also save the date for our subsequent meetings: November 18, 2014; March 10, 2015; and June 16, 2015.

October 9, 2014- Fall Career Fair
Drexel will be hosting one of the largest university career fairs in the Philadelphia area on October 9 from 10 am- 3 pm in the Armory. Drexel students of all majors and degree levels are invited to attend. More than 200 (co-op and full-time career) employers are expected to attend.

October 17, 2014- Reception for Alumni and Friends: American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
Please save the date and join us for a special reception for alumni and friends of the College to be held in conjunction with the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapist Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

November 1, 2014- Reception for Alumni and Friends: Delaware Association of Nurse Anesthetists
Please save the date and join us for a special reception for alumni and friends of the College to be held in conjunction with the meeting of the Delaware Association of Nurse Anesthetists in Rehobeth Beach, Delaware.

November 5, 2014- Grand Celebration of Our New Clinical Practice and Research Site: Parkway Health & Wellness
Please save the date and join the College of Nursing and Health Professions as we formally celebrate and introduce our new clinical practice and research site, Parkway Health & Wellness. The event will take place in the Three Parkway Building located at 1601 Cherry St., 2nd Floor, Philadelphia, PA. The event is scheduled from 5 pm to 7 pm. Invitations to follow.

November 8, 2014- Creating Integrated Health Care for People with Autism Spectrum Disorder
This special one-day event is brought to you by the Drexel College of Nursing and Health Professions, Drexel University Online, and by the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute. The conference, which will take place from 8 am to 5 pm on Drexel’s Campus, is sponsored by the NIH/Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The keynote address will be delivered by Catherine Rice, PhD, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Click to register.

November 18, 2014- CNHP Alumni Network Meeting
Join us at 6 p.m. in the Bellet Building, 1505 Race Street, Philadelphia, for our first CNHP Alumni Network meeting of the new academic year. Refreshments will be served. Please contact Laura Valenti, Executive Director for College Engagement, with questions about the Alumni Network: or 215.762.2041. Please also save the date for our subsequent meetings: March 10, 2015 and June 16, 2015.

November 20, 2014- The Farnese Symposium- Aging in Place: The Dream, The Reality, The Possibilities
Please join us for The Farnese Symposium, for which the College is partnering with Casa Farnese, Inc. The half-day symposium will take place 8 am-12:30 pm in the Bossone Enterprise Research Center’s Mitchell Auditorium, 3125 Market Street, Philadelphia. Attendance is free, but pre-registration is required. To register and for updates, visit For information, call 610-733-0955 or email

December 4, 2014- CNHP Alumni Network Holiday Party, Tir Na Nog
Please mark your calendars and save the date for our highly anticipated annual Holiday Party! More event details to come.

March 7, 2015- 2nd Annual Self-Care for Healers Workshop
Please save the date for the 2nd Annual Self-Care for Healers Workshop. Back by popular demand, this alumni-led one-day event includes sessions on self-care for healthcare professionals. Registration and further details will follow.

May 1-2, 2015 Alumni Weekend 2015
Save the date for Alumni Weekend! If you are interested in learning more or in getting involved gathering your classmates for the festivities, please contact Laura Valenti: 215-762-2041 or

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