Unique Components

Unique Components

Couples and Family Therapy (CFT) programs are different from other mental health programs that emphasize individual functioning. While couple and family therapists treat individuals, training and case conceptualization focuses on relationships and systemic thinking. Couple and family therapists situate clients’ presenting problems in context and consider relational dynamics, emotional connections, and the influence of generational patterns. To maintain this systemic focus, the theories and interventions focused on in CFT programs different from those used in other mental health/individual counseling fields.  

Illustration of a brain, tree, and handshake

Clients present many aspects of themselves in therapy (e.g., gender, age, race/ethnicity, religion, spirituality). Clients’ beliefs and worldviews, which are often rooted in their familial, cultural, and faith traditions, inform their experiences of pain, healing, and growth. There is a benefit for clients when therapists are culturally attuned. 

Our courses synthesize systems theory, clinical intervention, ethics, culture, social justice, and self-of-therapist reflection. Throughout the program, students are required to demonstrate clinical skills in this holistic model. Students gain a breadth of knowledge related to the family life cycle, assessment, diagnosis, trauma, resilience, addictions, and the ethics of systemic treatment. 

Our faculty publish in scholarly journals and present nationally and regionally.

Questions about the program?

Photo of Christie Eppler

Christie Eppler, PhD, LMFT

Program Director and Professor, Couples & Family Therapy Program

206.296.6975

epplerc@seattleu.edu