Starting in fall 2014, Texas Wesleyan’s Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy program will begin.

Doctoral students will gain experience mentoring master-level counselors and serving as supervisors and classroom instructors.

The Ph.D. is a new program that will be in the counseling department under the School of Education. The Ph.D. in marriage & family therapy recently was approved by the Wesleyan board and is in the final works.

Beth Hargrove, coordinate of graduate programs, said the program is pending SACS approval.

“We’re very excited to be adding this new program thus far,” Hargrove said. “We also work with the masters in counseling students and it’s a very robust program; it’s a very active student body. So we’re really excited to have the opportunity to have some on those students stay on or potentially alumni return, of course as well as new students to Wesleyan to come into the program.”

Dr. Michael Ellison, director of the Counseling Center, said they will be gradually transferring existing faculty into the masters programs into the Ph.D program.

“We’ve had it designed in 2009,” Ellison said, “and wanted to get it to the university sooner but it was only through the sale of the Law School that enabled us to do that.”

Dr. Linda Metcalf, professor of education in the graduate counseling and director of Ph.D. in marriage and family therapy program, is the counseling faculty member who lead this initiative. Metcalf said there was a need in Texas for therapists.

She also explained the limited research in families and the Glick House on campus will be used for the students to choose a certain way of working with families and do research based on their sessions to lead students’ dissertations.

“I designed this one to be in sync with The Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education,” said Metcalf. “There was a need for a doctoral program that would produce graduates who could go on and teach in college and also conduct research.”

The program will include seminar-style sessions with guest lecturers sharing an intensive review of therapy methodologies, engaging in research and publication opportunities for students, off-campus training at facilities in the U.S. and abroad and an independent study project.

“When we thought of the Ph.D program we were all very excited because we know how our students turn out. They turn out to be very good therapists and they pass their test for licensure rather easily,” Metcalf said. “We’re excited about what we do and so we’re excited that we will turn out some really good doctors too.”

Classes will vary between traditional meeting format, seminar format, practicum and dissertation hours. There was a special Ph.D. kickoff event for Thursday, April 10, and it featured Metcalf and several others associated with the new program. The graduate program shared program information with local counselors, alumni and with prospective students.