Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Internship?

An internship is a supervised field experience in an organization (e.g., community agency, hospital, outpatient clinic, school clinic) serving families, couples, or human systems from a relational perspective.  All students who intend to graduate from the Family Therapy Program must have this supervised field experience, which is accompanied by a weekly seminar held at the university.  To fulfill the requirements of an internship, students must work in a supervised field placement 900-hours that is spread evenly over one continuous academic year, three semesters: beginning in the Summer Sessions, continuing through the Fall Semester (September) and concluding Spring Semester (June).  The amount of time a student spends at a supervised field placement is approximately 25 hours a week. Included in the 900 hours students must also have a minimum of 300 direct client contact hours.  Students and field placement supervisors are informed that students may have to complete more than 900 hours in order to meet the requirement of 300 direct client contact hours (of which a minimum of 200 are relational hours).

What academic courses do I have to complete before I can begin the internship?

In order to begin the internship, you must have completed a minimum of 18 credits and the following courses: COU 608, COU 614, COU 621, COU 622, and COU 620 and/or 617, and a course of your choice from the family therapy curriculum. In addition, COU 606 and COU 625 must be taken prior to or concurrently with the second semester (Fall Semester of your internship)  (Note: the Handbook lists the names and corresponding number of each course). Your advisor must give approval before you apply for an internship placement.

Can I apply to the internship on my own without consulting with my advisor?

No. Your advisor, the Family Therapy Program Director, and the core program faculty will evaluate if you are ready to apply for an internship. No students should apply for an internship without written approval from the advisor and the program director. Students will attend an internship orientation in the middle of the fall semester preceding the application year to gather information and the forms that they need to fill. Readiness will be evaluated by faculty based on course performance, clear personal and professional goals, and demonstrated competencies and commitments.

How do I find an internship placement site?

The Family Therapy Program faculty members assist students in finding an appropriate internship site.  Internship sites (community and state agencies, and hospitals) are located in the Greater Boston Area. On site supervisors are AAMFT Approved Supervisors or the equivalent, and also meet state licensing board regulations.  A workshop to inform students about internship sites, and about the process of apply to a site, is offered each spring for students who plan to begin their internship in June of that year. An updated list of internship sites is published yearly.

What are my responsibilities as an intern?

The intern is responsible for regular attendance and provision of professionally sound services to clients. The university does not provide professional liability to student interns. Therefore, student interns must obtain professional liability through an insurance company, most often recommended by professional organizations such as the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Your advisor will provide further information about this requirement.

Family therapy students are required to join AAMFT as a student member immediately after they begin their studies. Proof of membership is required to apply for an internship. Joining this national organization will automatically make you a member of the Massachusetts Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Students’ members are also eligible to liability insurance.

American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy

1133 15th Street N.W. Suite 300, Washington, D.C. 20005-2710


Clinical and Supervision Experience Requirements

Contact Hours

  • Students will complete a minimum of 300 supervised, direct client contact hours.  Up to 100 hours of the required 300 may be team practice. All the hours should be completed at an internship site approved by the Program Director.
  • At least 200 (of the required 300) direct client contact hours will be with couples or families physically present in the therapy room.
  • Students will work with a wide variety of presenting problems.
  • The program will publish and adhere to criteria for determining when students are prepared for clinical practice. 
  • Published promotional materials will inform incoming students that they must complete 300 direct client contact hours. 
  • Students will have the opportunity to work with clients who are diverse in terms of age, culture, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status.  Compliance will be judged in the context of program size and location.  



  • Students will receive at least 100 hours of supervision.
  • Students will receive at least one hour of supervision for every five hours of direct clinical contact.
  • Individual or dyadic supervision will occur at least once every week in which students have direct client contact hours. 
  • At least 50 hours of supervision will be based on direct observation, videotape or audiotape.
  • Students should be given opportunities to observe their supervisors' clinical work.  In this context, "clinical work" includes therapy in progress, clinical evaluation in progress, role-playing and other demonstrations of clinical performance.
  • Group supervision is required.
  • Students should register and comply with the requirements of the COU 698 Family Therapy Internship Seminar to be able to approve the internship
  • Students should start the internship in the summer and complete three consecutive internship semesters. Students who interrupt their internship seminar should start a new internship cycle and approval process prior to re-joining the internship.