Master of Arts in Couples & Family Therapy

79 credits, 2.75 years

A Multifaith, Spiritually-Integrated Program

The Master of Arts in Couples & Family Therapy (MACFT) prepares effective couples and family therapists who integrate faith or spirituality at the clients’ request. Students are trained to assess, diagnose, consult, and treat under the guidance of licensed clinicians who are state approved or AAMFT approved supervisors. While learning about clients’ diverse backgrounds and faith traditions, students engage in self-of-the-therapist exploration and spiritual formation in order to better understand themselves as holistic beings. Graduates are prepared to clinically heal and empower diverse relationships and individuals across faith traditions and cultural locations.

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Overview 

The School of Theology and Ministry’s Master of Arts in Couples & Family Therapy (MACFT) program focuses on systemic and relational therapy. Couples & Family Therapy (CFT) programs are different from other mental health programs that emphasize individual functioning. While CFTs treat relationships and individual clients, the theories and interventions are much different from other fields of mental health/individual counseling – CFTs privilege context, relational dynamics, emotional connections, and the influence of generational patterns. Ideal applicants will have an understanding of what is unique to CFT and will articulate their desire to be in a CFT program specifically in their application.

Our students identify as spiritual, religious, or as having no faith background. Our clinicians-in-training integrate client faith traditions in clinical practice upon the clients’ request. They support their clients’ search for meaning or quest for life’s ultimate mysteries.

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Students graduate equipped to be couples and family therapists in both traditional and innovative therapy settings. Graduates work in community agencies, private practice, school settings, and other clinical realms or in a broad array of professional applications (e.g., educators, consultants, coaches). They contribute to the field of couples and family therapy by seeing clients, volunteering in the community, advocating for justice, and participating in professional organizations including the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) and Washington Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (WAMFT).

Clinical Experience

In our clinical sequence, students treat couples, families, individuals, and groups with a variety of relationship concerns and mental health diagnoses. Interns are trained to assess, diagnose, consult, and treat under the guidance of state or AAMFT approved licensed supervisors. Our students understand and adhere to the AAMFT's Code of Ethics.

Students take a year of classes before they start the 18-month clinical sequence. Our site supervisors report that interns are well prepared to see clients. The supervisors indicate that having a year and a half to complete the required number of clinical and supervision hours benefits clients and students. Interns are able to see brief and long-term clients, developing a range of skills they will utilize after graduation. Throughout the clinical sequence – from finding a site to completing hours – interns work with our clinical coordinator. For the past three years, 100% of interns completed their requirements within the required six quarters.

In the second year, students begin the clinical sequence. This 18-month internship provides experience and training in couples and family therapy. Students must accrue 500 clinical hours, including 200 relational hours (seeing couples, families, and a variety of relationship forms). Students will be at a clinical site 14-18 hours per week for face-to-face client contact, supervision, and other onsite clinical work. Students secure placements throughout the Puget Sound area.

In addition to the onsite experience, students participate in weekly three-hour faculty-led group supervision with an AAMFT approved supervisor. The program ensures supervisor sufficiency for students to receive quality feedback regarding their clinical services.

In order to demonstrate clinical readiness, students are required to pass prerequisite classes and must receive passing grades on their clinical skills rubrics. Required clinical orientations provide instruction and resources regarding site placement and clinical expectations (handbook provided). While some of our course offerings are during evenings and weekends, students will need to be available for classes and clinical work during some daytime hours.

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What it is like to study spiritually-integrated couples and family therapy?

Our courses blend systems theory, clinical intervention, ethics, social justice, spirituality, and clients’ faith traditions. Throughout the program, students are required to demonstrate practical skills in this spiritually-infused model. Specifically, students study spirituality as it relates to spiritual development across the family life cycle, systems theories, assessment, diagnosis, trauma, healing, and the ethics of spiritually integrated therapeutic conversations. Students utilize various forms of technology such as Canvas and smart classrooms. Seattle University uses Microsoft Outlook 365, a cloud-based Office Suite platform that allows all students to access Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook. Seattle University offers training and support for technology, writing, and other program requirements (e.g., library searches).

Our students have:

  • Knowledge of the marriage and family therapy profession and a desire to become a modern couples and family therapists.
  • Passion to work with diverse populations. We help students hone and develop the skills necessary to work with relationships and individuals from diverse backgrounds, including many different races and ethnicities, genders and sexual identities, and religious and spiritual traditions.
  • Field experience. Our clinical sequence requires students to provide at least 500 hours of supervised clinical treatment to clients. We have students at agencies/sites throughout the Puget Sound area.

The MACFT program has a cohort model. Classes are taught during the day, some evenings and on weekends. Many students work part-time throughout the program.

Mission

Integrating systems and psychological theories, supervised clinical experience, multifaith insight, and spiritual formation to clinically heal and empower diverse relationships and individuals across faith traditions and cultural locations.

Outcome Based Education

Program Goals

  • Graduate couples and family therapists who integrate clinical knowledge, skills, and research with multifaith insights and spiritual formation.
  • Admit and graduate a diverse student body.
  • Graduate students who pursue licensure as marriage and family therapists (LMFT).

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Students will identify as couples and family therapists who integrate clinical knowledge, skills, and research with multifaith insights and spiritual formation.
  • Students will use family systems theories to offer systemic case conceptualizations and treatment plans.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to provide multiculturally competent clinical services within clients’ social locations, including diverse races and ethnicities, genders and sexual identities, and religious and spiritual traditions.
  • Students will demonstrate legal and ethical competence by understanding and adhering to relevant laws and ethical codes.

COAMFTE Accreditation and Licensure Requirements

Our Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) accredited program is unique in its dedication to systemic clinical practice, social justice, and insight from ecumenical and interfaith dialogue. One of the many benefits of attending a COAMFTE accredited program is that it simplifies the post-graduation licensure application in many states. COAMFTE accredited program graduates meet the education requirements for Washington State licensure. In Washington, graduates can count the 500 clinical hours earned in the program towards the 3,000 hours required to become fully licensed. Washington State law requires that people practice therapy under appropriate supervision as part of their post-master’s training requirements in preparation for full licensure (LMFT, view here). Some of the supervision provided in the MACFT program counts towards this requirement.

In addition to the 3,000 hour supervised clinical experience, LMFTAs must pass the Association of Marriage and Family Therapy Regulatory Board (AMFTRB) Exam. Students in the program take the AMFTRB practice exam as part of course requirements. Of the graduates who have taken the exam, 100% passed on the first attempt. 

Requirements to achieve full licensure typically take two to four years to complete. Licensure laws vary by state. Please check the state in which you plan to be licensed to see if our educational requirements are a match. Comparison chart for state licensure available here.

Profession Memberships

Clinical students are required to become members of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) and the Washington Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (WAMFT).

Student Achievement Criteria & Transparent Policies

COAMFTE Student Achievement Criteria Data (SAC) provides graduation, job-placement, and national exam pass rates. Click below to download the MACFT data PDF or a copy of our transparent policies.

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MACFT Transparent Policies

For more information on COAMFTE's Version 12 Accreditation Standards and SAC, please click here.

Questions? 

Please reach out to Jean Adler Stean, Assistant Director of Admissions & Student Services at steanj@seattleu.edu or 206-296-5333.

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