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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

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Department News



Melanie Carminati, Health Sciences ’11, DPT ’14, was profiled in an article, “This Isn’t Your Grandmother’s Pilates” from the Huntington, New York newspaper, Record. Ms. Caminati is a physical therapist and Pilates instructor at East Northport Physical Therapy, a physical therapy, occupational therapy, athletic and training center in East Northport, New York.

Lynn C. Dunning Kaleita, MS, Nutrition Education, ’79 was recognized as the “2014 Adjunct Professor of the Year for Health Education” by Palm Beach State College.

Sherry Goodill PhD, ADTR, LPC HU ’80, MCAT, was featured in the article, “Drexel's New Clinic Explores the Role of the Arts in Health Care” on Dr. Goodill, the chair of the Drexel University Department of Creative Arts Therapy program, was quoted saying that part of a healthy society includes the arts, and part of an individual life well-lived includes the arts.

Shaun Logan, DPT ’10, was hired as a personal trainer at Philly Personal Training. Previously, Dr. Logan worked in South Jersey at privately owned sports and orthopedic physical therapy clinics.

Elaine Mustacchio, RN MSN, CRRN ‘09 received the “Nurse Manager Award” from the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses (ARN). Ms. Mustacchio is the nurse manager at Children’s Specialized Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and she has been an active ARN member for over 20 years.


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!

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