Program Overview
Program Philosophy
What People are Saying

Coursework and Internship
Current MFT Students
MFT Graduates
Physicians, Allied Health & Clergy
Course Descriptions
Time Schedule

Professional Training Seminars
Seminar Descriptions

Application Process
Apply Online

Costs & Financial Aid

Faculty & Staff

Links & Resources





1. What benefit does the Medical Family Therapy Certificate offer me? How does the certificate enhance my training or career?
The certificate offers specialized training and a full one-year internship within a medical setting. Both your skills and your resume will be enhanced by this certification. Many positions strongly prefer a minimum of one year of office work experience in a medical setting to apply for a job.

2. When are classes scheduled?
See Time Schedule and Catalog

3. Can I continue working while pursing the certificate?
Yes. Most courses are on Friday's or in the evenings and can usually be worked around. When in your medical internship, you will be at your clinic 10 hours a week. You can coordinate those 10 hours around the clinic's schedule and your work schedule.

4. Where can I do my internship?
We have several clinics we work with and who want a Medical Family Therapy intern. We work hard to find the right fit of student with clinic - considering desires, personality, and clinical experience of the student with the desires, personality and style of a clinic and its providers. If you have a clinic/provider relationship established and would like to do your medical internship there, we will do our best to accommodate you. If needed by the student, out of state medical internships can be established and accommodated.

5. What prerequisites do I need for the certificate?
A student either needs to be accepted and enrolled in the MFT program at SPU, or applying to the MDFT certificate having already obtained a graduate degree in the behavioral sciences, allied health, nursing, medicine, or theology. Post-graduate applicants with no previous coursework in Family Systems or Family Therapy will need to complete a few courses to provide a foundation for systems theory, family system interventions, and integration. For a list of pre-requisite course, please download the attached document .

6. What job opportunities are available with the MDFT certificate?
In the next few years many jobs will open up for behavioral health providers to offer services in outpatient medical clinics - family practice in particular. There are also significant changes in billing and insurance reimbursement that will open up payment channels for the treatment of mental health in all medical and non-medical settings. Here is a list of recent changes in thought and paradigm:

  • By 2006 75% of all Community Health Centers will have integrated mental health into primary care. There are over 1000 Community Health Clinics, serving over 3,500 communities and 15 million patients.
  • Mood disorders rank third in healthcare costs, first in work loss costs and second in total costs. The vast majority of people with mood disorders are seen in primary care NOT mental health clinics. Mood disorders, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and asthma account for 49% of total healthcare costs and 42% of illness-related lost wages.
  • Several health policy initiatives (nationally and locally), including the Institute of Medicine, emphasize the need for collaborative multidisciplinary services. However, these policy ideas are far ahead of actual practice in most places.
  • The Institute of Medicine Report: A New Healthy System for the 21st Century stated that interdisciplinary healthcare teams should be the central strategy in providing services.
  • The Washington State Mental Health Parity Bill passed in 2005 - opening up the opportunity for ease in collaboration and billing between mental and physical health.
  • Local insurers are encouraging training of physicians and mental health providers in collaboration and integration skills.
  • Seattle is one of less than 10 cities leading changes in healthcare reform and one of 2 cities on the west coast with specialized training for mental health providers in Medical Family Therapy.