Applicants who have a degree in family studies, human services, psychology, sociology, social work, or the equivalent have met any program prerequisites. Applicants who do not have a degree in any of these areas are required to complete a minimum of 15 semester hours (22.5 quarter hours) in family social sciences, human services, psychology, sociology, or social work.
The MFTH program is looking for individuals who have professional goals consistent with the program, volunteer or professional experience in the social services, the ability to handle the academic rigor of the program, and the personal qualities required of couple and family therapists. Our goal is to have a student body highly diverse in spirituality, age, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and also inclusive of international students. To be considered for admission, applicants must: have a bachelor’s degree, submit transcripts of all undergraduate work, have a specific interest in MFTH, provide a current résumé, obtain two letters of recommendation, complete an application, and prepare a career statement.
The comprehensive career statement (maximum of five double-spaced typed pages) should address the following questions:
- What significant cultural experiences have most influenced your present development and your desire to be a couple and family therapist?
- What are your professional career goals after completing your degree?
- What are your strengths that will help you achieve your professional goals?
- What do you consider to be areas for personal growth that may need the most attention during your training as a therapist at Pacific Lutheran University?
This statement replaces the required goal statement on the application form.
Based on a committee review of applicants’ written materials, a pool of applicants to be interviewed is established. The primary purpose of the interview is to determine the fit between the applicants’ professional goals and the purpose and mission of the MFTH program.
Application Deadline for Fall
Application file completed in Office of Admission: January 31 Interview Notification: Mid-February through end of April. Interview date: To be determined.
Accepted applicants must make a non-refundable $300 advanced tuition deposit to confirm their acceptance of an offer of admission within three weeks of their acceptance date.
47 semester hours
- MFTH 500: Human Development (4)
- MFTH 503: Systems Approach to Marriage and Family Therapy (4)
- MFTH 504: Family Development (4)
- MFTH 505: Research Methods in Marriage and Family Therapy (3)
- MFTH 507: Comparative Marriage and Family Therapy (4)
- MFTH 510: Human Sexuality, Sex Therapy, and Couples Therapy (4)
- MFTH 511: Systemic and Mental Health Assessment, Diagnosis, and Treatment (4)
- MFTH 512: Professional Studies in Marriage and Family Therapy (4)
- MFTH 519: Practicum I (2)
- MFTH 520: Theory I (2)
- MFTH 521: Practicum II (2)
- MFTH 522: Theory II (2)
- MFTH 523: Practicum III (2)
- MFTH 524: Theory III (2)
- MFTH 525: Practicum IV (2)
- MFTH 526: Development of a Personal Integrated Theory (2)
- MFTH 527: Extended Practicum V (2)
- MFTH 590: Graduate Seminar (1 to 4)
- MFTH 598: Graduate Research Project (4)
Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy Courses
MFTH 500 : Human Development
This course provides an overview of the various theories of human development during childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, and helps students assess the influence of their intersecting identities on their own development. In particular, students will study how a particular life event (e.g., death), a particular historical context (e.g., 9/11 or Katrina), or a specific social identity (e.g., gender, sexual orientation) may influence development. Students will also learn about the ways therapists work with clients across the developmental spectrum. (4)
MFTH 503 : Systems Approach to Marriage and Family Therapy
This course is an introduction to the field of marriage and family therapy and will also help students gain an understanding of traditional and contextually informed cybernetics and general systems theory. In addition, the course considers postmodern ideas, the feminist critique of systems theory, and common factors versus evidenced based approaches. Students will learn to apply a systemic lens personally and professionally. Strategies for systemically conceptualizing therapy will be taught. (4)
MFTH 504 : Family Development
This course studies family interaction from a systemic, contextually developmental viewpoint. Contemporary developmental theory recognizes that families’ social contexts determine how family relationships are affected and how they develop through time. The course also explores stages of family development, integrating these ideas into the overarching principles of systems theory, including a non-normative stance. Students will participate in an “immersion” project to help in the development of a contextual understanding of families. (4)
MFTH 505 : Research Methods in Marriage and Family Therapy
This course focuses on helping students understand research methodologies related to assessment, quantitate research, and qualitative research. Contextual considerations are used to assess the strengths and limitations of these different methodologies. This course emphasizes understanding and evaluating existent research. (3)
MFTH 507 : Comparative Marriage and Family Therapy
This course is an intensive comparative study of the major theories within the field of marriage and family therapy that have been developed based on the systemic paradigm. By the end of the course students have an up-to-date view of the many therapy models used by marriage and family therapists. Prerequisite: MFTH 503. (4)
MFTH 510 : Human Sexuality, Sex Therapy, and Couples Therapy
This course will explore a sex positive approach to sex therapy, minimizing the negative messages around various forms of sexual expression. Basic principles and strategies of treatment for common sexual dysfunctions will be considered. The nature of sexual health, a brief review of the anatomy and physiology of the sexual response cycle and the biological and psychological determinants of sexual functioning will be considered. Students will learn to conduct a sexual history, considering the impact of larger contextual issues. Models of couples therapy will also be taught with attention to addressing sexual issues as another form of couple process. (4)
MFTH 511 : Systemic and Mental Health Assessment, Diagnosis, and Treatment
This course is designed to provide both a traditional and relational (systemic) understanding of the major behavior health disorders described in the DSM-5, including information on epidemiology, etiology, treatment models, and techniques for these disorders. Students will gain an understanding of the process of traditional assessment using the DSM-5, as well as other forms of assessment and diagnosis of behavioral health disorders. Attention will be given to contextual considerations as it relates to assessment and diagnosis. (4)
MFTH 512 : Professional Studies in Marriage and Family Therapy
This course teaches AAMFT professional ethics and Washington State laws which affect the clinical practice of marriage and family therapists. Topics will include family law, legal responsibilities, rules of confidentiality, licensure and certification, contributing to the professional community, crisis intervention, and the intersection of marriage and family therapists and the larger mental health community. Students will consider the impact of their personal values on ethical decision-making. (4)
MFTH 519 : Practicum I
First semester of practica required as part of the continuous process toward developing specific therapeutic competencies in work with individuals, couples and families. (2)
MFTH 520 : Theory I
First semester of theory taken in conjunction with MFTH 519. (2)
MFTH 521 : Practicum II
Second semester of practica required as part of the continuous process toward developing specific therapeutic competencies in work with individuals, couples, and families. (2)
MFTH 522 : Theory II
Second semester of theory taken in conjunction with MFTH 521. (2)
MFTH 523 : Practicum III
Third semester of practica required as part of the continuous process toward developing specific therapeutic competencies in work with individuals, couples, and families. (2)
MFTH 524 : Theory III
The three semesters of theory taken in conjunction with MFTH 519, 521, and 523 constitute an in-depth study of one approach toward marriage and family therapy with an emphasis on applying theory in practice. (2)
MFTH 525 : Practicum IV
The four semesters of practica are part of a continuous process toward developing specific therapeutic competencies in work with individuals, couples, and families. The practica present a competency-based program in which each student is evaluated regarding: (a) case management skills; (b) relationship skills; (c) perceptual skills; (d) conceptual skills; (e) structuring skills; and (f) professional development skills. Practica requirements include 100 hours of supervision of 500 client contact hours. Faculty are AAMFT-Approved Supervisors or the equivalent and use live supervision and video tapes of student sessions as the primary methods of clinical supervision. (2)
MFTH 526 : Development of a Personal Integrated Theory
The fourth semester of theory taken in conjunction with MFTH 525 is an in-depth study of the student's preferred ideas, style, methods, and values. Students develop an integrated personal approach to marriage and family therapy that synthesizes their learning in the program. (2)
MFTH 527 : Extended Practicum V
For students who wish to complete their required practica in five rather than four semesters. This course is an extension of the previously described practica courses. (2)
MFTH 590 : Graduate Seminar
Selected topics as announced. (1 to 4)
MFTH 598 : Graduate Research Project
Students will work independently with faculty to develop, design, and complete (including a publishable research paper) a research project targeted for journal publication. (4).