Graduates contribute to the field of couples and family therapy by seeing clients, volunteering in the community, advocating for justice, and participating in professional organizations (AAMFT, WAMFT). All (100%) of our 2017 graduates are Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Associates (LMFTA). This continues our history of having the majority of graduates achieve full or associate-level licensure soon after graduation. All (100%) of our graduates who have taken the Association of Marriage and Family Therapy Regulatory Board (AMFTRB) national exam passed on the first attempt.
MACFT graduates are employed in mental health agencies, private practices, social services, and K-12 settings. The couples and family therapy profession is predicted to grow. The Bureau of Labor Statistic’s Occupational Outlook Handbook estimates that in the next five years, the MFT profession will grow 19%. This growth rate is much faster than other professions and is commensurate with other mental health professions. In Washington, there is one licensed marriage and family therapist for every five licensed mental health counselors (Department of Health).
Like many students at the School of Theology and Ministry, Couples & Family Therapy student Spencer Byl didn’t have a direct path to his graduate studies. With a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, Spencer experienced a shift in vocation when he left his engineering job to work as a supervisor at an inpatient mental health facility. Although his work at the facility was extremely challenging, it awakened a desire in him to be in a healing profession. He says without both of these experiences, his life may have looked very different.
With the call to pursue counseling work and pastoral care, Spencer was pleased to find that the Master of Arts in Couples & Family Therapy at Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry did both. He was struck by the diversity of the school—the variety of programs it offered, and the different voices and views of the students and faculty. He also got the sense that this was a place that didn’t simply give answers, but challenged students to find their own. Ultimately, it was the supportive environment he experienced when he visited the school that really drew him in. Spencer reflects:
“On my initial visit, I met with faculty, staff, and students who all wanted to see me succeed, regardless of who I was, where I came from, or what I believed. I felt welcomed and supported from the moment I walked in the doors.”
The Master of Arts in Couples & Family Therapy program integrates systems and psychological theories, supervised clinical experience, theological education, and spiritual formation in order to clinically heal and empower diverse families, couples, individuals, and groups from any faith and culture. Spencer appreciated the holistic approach to couples and family therapy, and shortly after visiting the school, felt that the program fulfilled both parts of his vocational call.
Spencer’s clinical internship focused on working with adolescents and teens. As an intern therapist at Bainbridge Youth Services, he offered free therapy to students and their families in the Bainbridge School District.
Ultimately, Spencer wants to pursue full licensure as a Couples and Family Therapist, and he knows that the education he is receiving has taught him more than he needs to get started. Although he knows the learning never stops for a couples and family therapist, he says:
“I feel prepared to enter the field in a way where I can follow any direction, be it working with different age ranges, presenting problems, cultures, families, couples, individuals, and more.”