Family Psychology Graduate Studies
The Family Psychology Master's Program is designed to prepare clinicians for job opportunities in clinical settings that involve therapeutic services to families, individuals, and couples. It is built upon the philosophical and theoretical tenets inherent in the rich heritage of individual, marriage, and family therapy. This multi-dimensional approach to understanding human beings is greatly enhanced through the use of the unique Hardin-Simmons Four-Dimensional Model, depicted by a visual pyramid-shaped structure. This model, developed by former faculty, has allowed our students to more fully appreciate the biological, social, psychological, and existential-spiritual dimensions of their clients, thus facilitating the integration of these aspects into their clinical work.
The HSU Four-Dimensional Model incorporates the following:
- Biological - recognizing the heritable, developmental, and functional aspects of being physically human
- Social - recognizing the generational, organizational, and transactional aspects of relationships among human beings within systems
- Psychological - recognizing the intra-psychic cognitive (thinking), affective (feelings/emotions), and behavioral (actions/doing) aspects of being human
- Meaning - recognizing the existential and spiritual need of human beings for connection, mastery, and valuing themselves and others
Integration of Faith & Education
One of the joys of teaching at Hardin-Simmons University is that it is truly an "education enlightened by faith." Thus, our faculty enjoys the opportunity to purposefully weave their Christian faith into the courses that they teach. This intentionality exemplifies our belief that one's faith cannot be separated from anything that we do in life, including earning a graduate degree.
For our graduate program in Family Psychology, this integration means continually asking ourselves and our students, "How as Christians do we minister to our clients while also incorporating the very best theories and interventions psychology has to offer?" We understand the process of counseling for a Christian therapist to be one of counseling others in a manner that is faithful to God and His revelation while also employing the knowledge gained from the field of psychology. As one might expect, the balancing and blending of these two areas is not achieved without a great deal of questioning and discussion. The answers achieved through this quest for integration are as unique and individualized as our students. The joy comes, then, not in our total agreement but in the rich discussions that arise from our striving to attain such integration.
Family Psychology Center
The Family Psychology Center, located on the campus of Hardin-Simmons University, offers individual, couples and family therapy. Our clientele consists of HSU students as well as individuals and families from the greater Abilene community. Our Center routinely receives referrals from local mental health agencies, such as MHMR, various in-patient psychiatric facilities, and various private out-patient facilities.
The Family Psychology Center thus provides our graduate students with an extensive opportunity to gain experience in providing a wide range of clinical services. Beginning with their second semester in the program, our graduate students, under intensive individual, group and live supervision provided by our credentialed faculty, engage in clinical work with clients who have accessed our center. By the end of their graduate work in our program, our graduate students will have accumulated a minimum of 700 clinical hours, at least 250 hours of which are direct client hours.
Alumni Comments About Program
"I was surprised to find I was more knowlegeable than my peers regarding different theories and their use in therapy."
~ Phyllis Howard, M.A. Rivercrest Hospital, San Angelo, Texas
"The training I received from the professors in the Family Psychology Masters Program fully equipped me to work as an LPC/LMFT in an established faith-based counseling center."
~ Jennifer Smotherman, M.A. Ministry of Counseling and Enrichment, Abilene, Texas
"My employer felt my supervised experience in therapy, as well as my training in psychological testing, was unequaled by many other applicants, even those coming from more well-known universities."
~ Marshall Lyles, M.A. Therapist/Diagnostician, The Office of Jan Ford Mustin, Ph.D., Austin, Texas
The intense clinical training, hours of direct client services required and the knowledge of psychological assessment has prepared me well for my current doctoral work."
~ Shelly Sommerfeldt, M.A. Doctoral Student, Alliant International University, Los Angeles, California