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Professional Certificate in Family and Couples Therapy​


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Request Information

Request information

"*" indicates required fields

By submitting this form, you are giving your express written consent for Ponce Health Sciences University to contact you regarding our educational programs and services using email, telephone, or text - including our use of automated technology for calls or texts to the number you provided here. This consent is not required to purchase goods or services. You may opt-out at any time.


This certificate program provides training in family and couples therapy. It is designed to enhance the assessment, intervention and consultation skills of professionals from the behavioral sciences, medicine and other health sciences holding at least a Master’s degree and professional license.  Graduate students in a psychology doctoral program are allowed to register in the program.

Psychological therapy for couple


The primary goals of the Certificate Program in Family and Couples Therapy are:

  • To develop or enhance the competencies of licensed mental health or health professionals in therapeutic interventions with couples and families.
  • To develop or enhance the competencies of licensed mental health or health professionals in the knowledge of systemic interventions and in the cultural, ethical and legal implications of couples and family therapy practice.
    1. Master in Art, Master in Science or MD degree from an institution of higher education
    2. Professional License or registered in a Professional Psychology doctoral program.
    3. Complete a personal interview with program faculty.
    4. Submit the following documents:
    1. Official transcript from all graduate schools attended.
    2. Copy of professional license
    3. Two letters of recommendation written by individuals familiar with the applicant’s professional work and skills, using the format accompanying the application form.
    4. Certificate of No Penal Record
    5. Application processing fee of US$90.00, non-refundable

    Graduate students in Clinical, Counseling, School Psychology, Social Work or Professional Psychology, may be admitted if they:

    1. Provide evidence of one year of clinical practicum experiences.
    2. Have at least two credits in Family Therapy
    3. Sign an understanding stating that the Certificate will only be provided after completing their graduate program and submitting a copy of their professional license.

    The Program Director and faculty members select ideal candidates for admissions. Candidates demonstrating high involvement or interest in the field of couples and family therapy who evidence mental and personal maturity and the sensitivity to the psychosocial needs of others are prime candidates for admissions. In evaluating the applicants, emphasis is placed upon the following:


    1. Potential to work with individuals, analytical skills and understanding of ethical standards of the profession.
    2. Previous experience in related areas of expertise such as therapeutic interventions – añadir esta oración
    3. Motivation and emotional stability
    4. Letters of recommendation (see previous description)
    5. Interview with faculty member

    Upon acceptance, all students are required to submit the following:

    1. Written confirmation of acceptance and a non-refundable deposit of $100.00 to secure the seat in the entering class.
    2. Physical Exam (using a form provided by the Admissions Office)
    3. Evidence of up to date immunization record (must include Varicella, Td Adult, MMR and three doses of Hepatitis B).
    4. Other documents will be notified as pertinent.



    Professional Certificate in Family and Couples Therapy

  • Satisfactory completion of courses (21 credits)
  • Satisfactory completion of 100 hours of supervised practica




    PPass (100% – 70%)
    NPNot Pass (Less than 70%)
    IPIn Progress
    AWAdministrative Withdrawal
  1. This policy has been established to ensure an acceptable time frame for completion of the academic program and the minimally accepted quality of performance. This policy also ensures that the Student Financial Aid requirements set forth by federal regulations are met. This policy applies to all students enrolled in the Professional Certificate Program in Family and Couples Therapy at Ponce Health Sciences University (PHSU).


    1. Time Frame for completion of the Program

    A Student will be allowed a maximum time frame of one year of enrollment beyond the standard required for the completion of the program (one year)


    Professional Certificate in Family and Couples Therapy1 year2 years



    1. Course Requirement

    Students must complete all courses within the established time frame.  The Program requires a total of 21 credits and 100 hours of clinical practice.


    1. Performance Requirement

    A student must complete each trimester with a Passing (P) grade.


    1. Professional Behavior Requirement

    The students should conduct themselves in accordance with the norms for professional conduct set forth by Ponce Health Sciences University



In order to graduate, the student should complete all program requirements. An “I” (Incomplete) grade will only be allowed under very special circumstances as determined by the faculty. The student must remove the “I” not later than the following year.


A student failing to meet the program requirements will be dismissed. Students notified that they are to be dismissed from program, have the right to appeal the case in writing to the University President within seven working days after receiving the notification.


Students who are notified by the Program’s Academic Dean a decision of the Students Promotion Committee that he/she must repeat failed courses during the next academic year or to be dismissed from the program, have the right to appeal the decision within seven working days after receiving the notification.


The appeal or due process presented below must be followed.


The student will appeal in writing to the Students Promotion Committee (SPC) and include all relevant documentation to support the request.  The Committee will evaluate the reasons and evidence submitted to determine if they change their initial decision.  After the meeting, the SPC has 48 hours to submit its decision to the Program’s Academic Dean, who will notify the decision to the student.


If the SPC sustains the adverse decision, the student has the right to appeal to the Dean of Behavioral and Brain Sciences (SBBS). The appeal must be submitted in writing within seven working days after receiving the notification.  The SBBS’ Dean will evaluate the appeal and the student’s academic record. The SBBS’ Dean can appoint a three-member Ad-Hoc Committee to re-evaluate all evidence. Rejection of the appeal by the Dean is final.


If an Ad-Hoc Committee is appointed, they will notify the student in writing of the date and the time when the appeal will be evaluated. After the meeting, the Ad-Hoc Committee has forty-eight (48) hours to submit a recommendation to the SBBS’Dean. The Dean will consider the Ad-Hoc Committee recommendation and make the final decision within forty-eight (48) hours.


Any decision will be reported to the student in writing. The decision made by the Dean of the SBBS is final.


The same process described above will be followed in the case that the adverse decision made by the Committee is for non-academic reasons, such as unacceptable professional behavior. The SBBS’  Dean,  or the VP for Student Affairs will refer the case to the SPC. If the recommendation of the SPC is to dismiss the student, the appeal process described above may be activated.


In the event that an adverse decision is made due to non-academic reasons and the SBBS’s Dean sustains the decision after the appeal process, the student may appeal to the Vice-President for Academic Affair. Any additional appeal should be submitted to the PHSU President.


Financial Aid eligibility is contingent upon satisfactory academic progress.

It is the student’s responsibility to request reinstatement of financial aid.


The Office of the VP for Student Affairs shall have primary responsibility for overseeing this policy and will provide all students upon admission to PHSU, a copy of this document.

For more details of PHSU tuition and fees please refer to: Cost of Attendance

Trimester I          

CodeCourse TitleCredits
TFP 900From the Individual to the System: Introduction to Systemic Thinking3
TFP 901Theories and Methods of Family and Couples Therapy3
TFP 902Legal and Ethical Issues in Family and Couples Therapy1


Trimester II                                        

CodeCourse TitleCredits
TFP 903Families and Couples in Transition and Distress4
TFP 905*Methods of Intervention and Practice in Family and Couples Therapy I5


Trimester III                                                       

CodeCourse TitleCredits
TFP 906*Methods of Intervention and Practice in Family and Couples Therapy II5

* Requires 50 hours of practice



This course provides an in-depth examination of systemic thinking and the theories fundamental to the discipline of family therapy.


This course presents an overview of the major models of family and couples therapy and discussions of the assessment methods of each model. The students will critically analyze the applicability of the models within the Puerto Rican and Latino American contexts. The student will analyze his/her own development within his/her family context.


Exploration and discussions of ethical, legal and professional issues involved in working with families and couples. The course examines laws, rules and legal decisions relevant to families (e.g., child abuse, domestic violence). Discusses the role of the family therapist in legal courts and the basic principles for writing reports.


Discussion and analysis of social problems in the cultural/family context and their interactions. Study the particulars of non- traditional families such as step families and gay families. Exploration of the impact upon families of situations such as violence, additions, loses, mental diseases, eating disorders, poverty and discrimination. Study and assessment of the appropriate systemic interventions to treat each condition. Discussion and analysis of common problems in couples’ relationships such as separation, divorce, sexuality, infidelity, communication problems and others. It studies some appropriate interventions for each situation.


In addition to require 50 hours of direct clinical practica with families and couples, this course includes a didactic component with emphasis on case presentations and intervention methods. Students assist families and couples in dyads and receive live supervision through the one-way mirror.


This second course requires 50 hours of supervised clinical practice and also includes a didactic component centered around the discussion of clinical cases. In this course students work individually with families and couples and receive live supervision.

Ponce Health Sciences University is pleased that you have selected our institution to continue with your academic and professional goals. The Office of Student Financial provides you with the information and tools to assist you in reaching educational goals. Please take your time to navigate through the various links we have provided and feel free to contact the Financial Aid Office if you need more information:
Financial Aid Application Process Links
Important Links (External):

Important Links for PHSU application forms and manual

PHSU Financial Aid Application – click to download the form
– Request for Aid and Loans
– Student Authorization
Click here to download your
– Student Financial Aid Manual
Federal Financial Aid Programs

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loan: students who meet the requirements established by the US Department of Education may receive a Direct Loan, according to the academic program: graduate and professional students are eligible to receive up to $20,500 per academic year. As an institution that previously participated in the HEAL Programs our MD, Doctorate and PhD in Clinical Psychology, as well as certain Master Degree Programs might be eligible for additional amount of loan. The amount is established annually by Federal Regulations. The Financial Aid Office provides orientation about the application process for student loans, the student’s qualifying requirements and the specifics regarding interest rate, orientation fess, repayment process, etc. The student must submit an agreement form known as a Master Promissory Note, and complete electronic entrance counseling, both on-line:
  • Direct Loan-Plus Graduate Loan: This is a federal fixed-interest loan for graduate and professional students, beyond the DL Unsubsidized award, to cover any additional cost of attendance. The interest rate and origination fee, which is annually fixed by the Federal Government, begins to accrue from the date of the first disbursement. The loan qualifying process requires a credit check verification, on-line entrance counseling and an on-line submission of a Master Promissory Note:
  • Private Loans (Alternative Loans). These are credit-based loans that may be used to supplement other types of financial aid programs. The loan amounts vary according to amount requested and approved for the student. The interest rate is variable, accrued while in school and usually based on the current “Prime Rate” plus a lender’s predetermined interest rate. Repayment may be up to 20 years. These Private Alternative Loans provide funds to complete the remaining need after the student is awarded other financial aid. Due to the high interest rate that these loans represent, the student should consider these loans as a last resource to their financial need. PHSU does not recommend any specific lender, the evaluation and selection is a student’s individualized decision.
  • Historical Private Lender List
    PHSU does not deny or otherwise impede the student’s choice of an alternative lender or cause unnecessary delay in loan certification of these loans. The following is a list of the three private loans that have been most commonly selected by our students during last two previous academic years, however, we reiterate that the student may select any other lender they esteem will meet their financial need.

Other Financial Aid Options:
Military Scholarship Programs: Students interested in a military career may consider apply for one of the scholarships programs for healthcare professions offered by the US Army, the US Air Force, Navy or the National Guard. The students must contact the desired program:

National Health Services Corps Scholarship Program: available for students in the primary health care specialties and committed to serving part or their entire career in federally designated health professional shortage area. Learn more about this program at:
Financial Aid Application Process
Direct Loan Application Process
Students interested in applying for a Direct Loan must comply with the federal requirements and following requirements:

      1. Have financial need.
      2. Be an US Citizen or an Eligible Non-Citizen.
      3. Have a valid social security number.
      4. Enroll in an eligible program as a regular student working toward a degree.
      5. Meet satisfactory academic progress standards.
      6. Register (or have registered) with the Selective Service if you are a male between the ages of 18 and 25.
      7. Certify that are not in default on a federal student loan and that do not owe money on a Federal student grant.
      8. Student cannot exceed the aggregate loan limit established by the Department of Education.
      9. Comply with the Entrance Interview/Counseling.
      10. Provide all the documents and information required by the Financial Aid.

Students must fill the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the corresponding academic year, in order to be evaluated to determine eligibility for federal and state funds. It must be submitted on line at no later than last working day of April. The PHSU school code is G24824. Students need a pin number, which can be obtained at
Once the student submits the FAFSA, the Department of Education will send an Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) to the school, which will be used for evaluation and analysis.
Students with a FAFSA application selected for verification by the Department of Education will be required to submit the following documents:

  • Complete a Verification Worksheet (provided by the Financial Aid Office)
  • Copy of the Tax Return (IRS or PR tax return form) or
  • W-2 form(s) (if apply)
  • Evidence of wages, salaries, tips, etc., reported on the FAFSA
  • Others

If the student (student’s parent or spouse) is not required to file income tax return, he/she will be required to complete and sign a Certification of Income, provided by the Financial Aid Office, among other documentation. Note: No loan will be process until the verification process is completed.
As part of the evaluation, the Financial Aid Office will take in consideration the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is the amount that the student should contribute towards his/her cost of education, and it is determined by the Federal Government. The need analysis consists of the following basic calculation: Cost of Attendance minus EFC equals Financial Need. As part of the analysis, it will be considered any other expected financial aid (external funds such as Vocational Rehabilitation, Veteran Administration, military scholarships, and any other grant or scholarship). Note: A student cannot receive financial assistance in excess of the determined Financial Need.
Awarding and Notification
The next step is the awarding of financial aid amounts by PHSU and preparing the award notification for the student. Once the awarding process is completed, a Notification of Award is sent to each student.
Return Policy and Requirement for Withdrawal and Return of Federal Financial Aid (see PHSU catalog refund policy section)
Suspension of Eligibility for Drug-Related Offenses
If convicted of any offense involving the possession of a controlled substance, a student’s eligibility for Title IV Financial Student Aid Program will be denied for:

  • One year after the first conviction
  • Two years after the second conviction
  • Indefinitely after the third conviction

Eligibility may be restored if the student partakes of an approved Federal Government Rehabilitation Program.
Please refer to the Student Financial Aid Manual for specific information regarding all the dynamics of financial aid as it applies to new and continuing students.
Financial Aid Contact Information:
Financial Aid Personnel:
Mrs. Myrian Gaud Maitín, MBA
Financial Aid Manager
Mrs. Nicole Vázquez Colon, MSS
Financial Aid Officer
Ms. Mariannette Cruz Rentas, BS
Administrative Assistant
Office Hours
Monday to Thursday: 8:00-11:30 am – 1:00-4:30 pm
Friday: Administrative Work (By appointment only)
Financial Aid Office Contact Information
Phone Number: (787) 840-2575 ext. 2134, 2135 or 2136
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 7004, Ponce. Puerto Rico 00731
Physical Address: 388 Zona Ind. Reparada 2 Ponce PR 00716-2347


Applicants must submit the following documents:

  • Official transcript from all undergraduate and graduate universities attended
  • Letter of Recommendation Format – Written by individuals familiar with the applicant’s professional work and skills
  • Certificate of No Penal Record (Criminal Background check)
  • USD $90.00 Application Processing Fee (check or money order payable to Ponce Health Sciences University)
  • Essay

Procedure to Apply

Readmission Application

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