Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Outcome-based training, marriage and family therapy education, educational reform, competence, interdisciplinary collaboration, graduate training

Major Advisor

Sandra Rigazio-DiGilio, PhD

Associate Advisor

Robert Ryder, PhD

Associate Advisor

Allen Ivey, EdD, ABPP

Field of Study

Human Development and Family Studies


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


National calls began more than sixty years ago to address the gap between the therapeutic services clients need and the quality of care they receive. In the last decade, the Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) profession has begun to address those calls by instituting a shift from an input- to an outcome-based educational paradigm in its Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) accredited training programs. This dissertation study asked program directors and clinical faculty (n = 111) from those programs to: (a) describe the larger context for the educational reform; (b) discuss their program’s efforts to address the required changes; (c) critique their efforts to date; and (d) indicate interest in collaborative efforts within and across professions. An exploratory mixed methods design was used to gather participant feedback. Quantitative data were analyzed using a descriptive statistics design; qualitative data were coded using an iterative content analysis procedure to triangulate quantitative findings. Results suggest the majority of educators do not have a strong understanding of the historical reform context. Many feel unprepared and unsupported to make programmatic changes. Efforts to identify, operationalize, implement, evaluate, and revise competencies have been done with little to no collaboration across programs or with other disciplines, a finding consistent with previous research (e.g., Hoge, Tondora, & Marrelli, 2005). Despite educators’ stated desire for access to resources, however, only one participant demonstrated active interest in a collaborative, interdisciplinary post-dissertation website.