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Marriage and Family Therapy (M.S.)
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Course Descriptions
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Medical Family Therapy Certificate




The medical field is developing integrated healthcare teams in medical settings to address the physical, emotional, spiritual and relational needs of patients. Due to rapid changes in the healthcare delivery system, which is struggling to provide a model to meet the needs of the consumer, payor and insurer, there is a growing need for sound training in integrative and collaborative healthcare.

Since 1995, the Lancet, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and the New England Journal of Medicine have published studies showing that an integrated treatment protocol resulted in prolonged survival rates, significant cost savings, and an increased quality of life for cancer and heart disease patients. Seattle Pacific University has seen an increase in alumni obtaining jobs in different medical centers working with infertility, cancer and diabetes. Master's level students with advanced training in medical family therapy can become a vital part of the collaborative healthcare team. This is an ideal time to join the movement toward integrated healthcare that focuses upon the needs of the whole person and family system.



SPU's Medical Family Therapy Certificate Program is the only training program on the West Coast geared to training biomedical, psychosocial and spiritual providers to work in medical settings as a part of an integrated healthcare team.

With its commitment to excellence, service and Christian faith, SPU's School of Psychology, Family and Community stands ready to offer a biopsychosocial model of specialized training in collaborative medicine. In addition, this training will the role of spirituality and faith practices in healing and health. SPU's certificate in Medical Family Therapy will prepare health and mental health providers to be leaders in the development of this field. With the training and research emphasis on the role of spirituality in health and healing, our graduates will be equipped to introduce and implement a biopsychosocial-spiritual model of care into a healthcare system struggling to be both cost-effective and healing.


There are two options for those interested in obtaining the Medical Family Therapy Certificate.

Graduate students already enrolled in the Marriage and Family Therapy program at SPU may add 15 additional credits focused on medical family therapy in order to receive the certificate. The certificate in Medical Family Therapy, can be earned during or after completion of the MFT program.  Below are links to the two approved program plans for combining the MFT M.S. Degree and the MDFT certificate.

MDFT 2 +1 Program Plan (PDF)
MDFT 3-Year Program Plan (PDF)

Professionals who have a degree in marital and family therapy will only need to complete the core courses (20 credits: see link below) to receive the certificate. Classes may be taken individually, also. The Psychopharmacology, Medical Family Therapy and Beliefs courses can be taken alone; each class earns 3 quarter credits or 30 hours of Continuing Education Units (CEUs).


Those persons who have received graduate training in social work, behavioral science, theology, nursing or medicine will need to review their prior classes. Depending upon past coursework, additional credits may be needed. For most students, the certificate can be completed over a two-year period with one class per quarter the first year and practicum the second year.



In the late summer early fall after all coursework is complete, students will be placed in a year long internship 10 hours a week in an outpatient medical clinic. Students will have a chance to discuss internship placement possibilities prior to placement. Clinics range from Family Medicine, Oncology, Rheumatology, Women's Health, and other specialty medicine sites. Students will work alongside physicians, nurses, and staff providing on-site psychosocial care. They will be actively involved in charting, consulting with medical team, program development, and clinical treatment. Clinic schedule will be determined in consideration of clinic need, space restrictions and student's availability. During the internship year students will also be enrolled in the practicum supervision course once a week on campus.


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