Marriage and Family Therapy

The Marriage and Family Therapy program provides high-quality education and training in a faithfully Christian context. The program is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) through the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT).

MFT students in a lecture given by Scott Edwards

Marriage and family therapists broaden the traditional emphasis on the individual to attend to the role of individuals in relationship networks. Research demonstrates the effectiveness of marriage and family therapy in treating mental and emotional disorders and health problems.

What is Marriage and Family Therapy?

MFT has been designated by the federal government as a core mental health profession (along with psychiatry, psychology, social work, and psychiatric nursing). Marriage and family therapists are mental health professionals trained in psychotherapy and family systems, and licensed to diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders within the context of individuals, marriage, couples, and family systems.

Program distinctives

  1. A holistic, systemic, and relational view of clinical care from systemic/social-ecological perspectives. You will integrate biological, psychological, social, and spiritual resources for holistic clinical care.
  2. Strong self-of-the-therapist emphasis on your understanding of the moral-values-spiritual dimensions of your own life, as well as how these dimensions interact with your clients’ lives. You become an instrument of healing through self-understanding and development.
  3. Values-based (“ORCA”) stance. You will explore the worldviews of your clients with an “ORCA” (Open, Respectful, Curious, and Accountable) relational posture.

A major strength of the program is our cohort-centered, intentionally sequenced curriculum with purposeful self-of-the-therapist development, while bringing cultural and theological sensitivity into the practice of family therapy.

Mission, goals, and competencies

“Seattle Pacific University is a Christian university fully committed to engaging the culture and changing the world by graduating people of competence and character, becoming people of wisdom, and modeling grace-filled community.”

— Seattle Pacific University Mission Statement

Congruent with SPU’s mission, the MFT program provides high-quality education and training in a faithfully Christian context. Students develop competent skills as beginning marriage and family therapists, engage with the culture through clinical training contexts, and develop an awareness of their own character issues.

While on-campus faculty and staff hold a Christian faith commitment, you are not required to share any religious perspective. The program posits that direct clinical experience in the community will best shape your integration of MFT theory, self-development, and engagement with cross-cultural experiences.

As a graduate of our MS in Marriage and Family Therapy program, you will be able to:

  • Apply family-systems theoretical models and clinical interventions to therapeutic work with diverse communities of individuals, couples, groups, and families.
  • Examine personal and professional values in an ethical practice of family therapy.
  • Demonstrate awareness of clinical interventions and research attending to sociocultural factors and professional trends that influence the practice of psychotherapy.

Program tuition

For the 2016-17 academic year:

  • The MS in Marriage and Family Therapy is $726 per credit.
  • To graduate with the MS, you must complete a minimum 70 credits.

Review additional information about costs and financial aid.

Kara Bazzi

Kara Bazzi’s Story

“As an undergraduate at the University of Washington, I decided to embark on a mission trip to Jerusalem to work in a rehabilitation center for children. As a pre-medicine student, I was expecting the trip to draw me toward the children’s physical ailments, but instead it clarified my passion for psychology.”

Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education

National Accreditation Since 1996

Our competency-based curricula is associated with the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

COAMFTE Student Achievement Data