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PASPM’s 2004 John Rea Thomas Award is presented to Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary’s Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) Program

This award is being presented for the first time by PASPM in 2004 in recognition of the unique program of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary (LPTS) in preparing students for the practice of marriage and family therapy.

The Masters of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy is a two-and-one-half to three-year program, fully accredited by the Commission On Accreditation of Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) for the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) and the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC). It is a unique degree program and one of only a few seminary-based programs in the United States.

The Seminary’s MFT program expresses a vision of the human person in relational and systemic context, and frames marriage and family therapy as a professional expression of the church’s ministry of pastoral care and counseling. The program offers three distinctive educational components – theological and biblical education, marriage and family therapy training, and extensive supervised client contact. In addition to 26 hours of coursework in Bible and theology, the students learn about contemporary systems theories of family life, current clinical approaches to marriage and family therapy, individual and family development, research and professional studies.

As the student progresses through the program, classroom study is supplemented with 500 hours of client contact and 100 hours of supervision. Students are placed in clinical settings offering broad experience with diverse populations of families seeking help. Students receive individual supervision, group supervision and supervision based on direct observation, videotape or audiotape.

Each of the educational components brings a Christian dimension to the student’s work that will help address society’s needs through the ministry of pastoral counseling-marriage and family therapy. Though this degree does not lead to ordination, it can help develop a broad theological understanding that will augment students’ Christian commitment in professional life and work. Students work closely with faculty advisors who help each student relate their studies to their future plans, as well as design individual curricula. Most classes are held during fall and spring semesters with select courses being offered during a January term. Coursework and

practica count toward clinical membership in the AAMFT and provide the essential groundwork for most states’ licensing requirements.

This award is named for the Rev. John Rea Thomas, one of the founding members of PHEWA. John has had a lifetime of service through ministries in military and hospital chaplaincy, in parishes, as an instructor at Austin Seminary, in leadership roles on the PHEWA Board of Directors and PASPM Leadership Team and was President of the Association of Mental Health Clergy (AMHC), The College of Chaplains and the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE). Throughout his career, he fought for the recognition of ministers in specialized settings. In gratitude to him, we present this award.

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