Most and Least Meaningful Learning Experiences in Marriage and Family Therapy Education

Fred P. Piercy*, Ryan M. Earl, Renu K. Aldrich, Hoa N. Nguyen, Sarah M. Steelman, Emily Haugen, Dana Riger, Ruvi T. Tsokodayi, Jamie West, Yesim Keskin, Emily Gary

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Marriage and family therapy educators increasingly emphasize training competencies. What we know less about is what makes family therapy education meaningful to marriage and family therapy (MFT) graduate students and what does not. In this study, through an Internet survey, we explored the most and least meaningful learning experiences of 68 MFT graduate students and recent graduates of Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education—accredited programs. We used thematic analysis to identify and illustrate resulting themes, which included the importance of experiential and personal components to learning, the professor-student alliance, tying theory to practice, and the experiences of students with their clients, among others. We discuss the implications of these findings to support family therapy education and offer tentative suggestions for formative discussions both within and across programs. Video Abstract is found in the online version of the article.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)584-598
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Marital and Family Therapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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