The Couple and Family Therapy Program helps adult students pursue a rewarding and meaningful career that enhances the lives and relationships of individuals, couples, and families.
By focusing on a family systems perspectives and pairing the traditional classroom setting with comprehensive clinical training and onsite internships, you will be better prepared for licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist in Washington State.
This degree is offered by AU Seattle.
The Couple and Family Therapy (CFT) Program mission is to prepare knowledgeable, skilled, self-aware, ethical, and culturally responsive clinicians for the practice of individual, couple, and family therapy.
The CFT Program is dedicated to meeting the needs of the students which is reflected in the following figures:
- 100% of graduating students indicated they were glad they chose to receive their training in the CFT Program (2016 Graduation Survey Report, n=43)
- 100% of alumni indicated they passed the national exam for licensure (Alumni Survey Report 2016, n=45)
- 98% of alumni indicated they are currently working in the field of therapy, and it took them an average of 2 months to find a job (Alumni Survey Report 2015, n=49)
The CFT Program has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) since 2005, which is the highest level of accreditation in marriage and family therapy. This allows graduates to use their internship hours toward their post-graduation licensure requirements, which ultimately makes licensure attainment easier and faster.
Client populations for couple and family therapists include children, teens, and adults, as well as couples and families. Couple and family therapists primarily work with clients from theoretical perspectives that are more interpersonally and systemically oriented. In this sense, CFT practitioners concentrate more on the relational, social, and cultural experiences of their clients while taking into account the context of their inner world.
The CFT Program demonstrates its commitment to the advancement of social justice by preparing therapists to think critically about power, privilege, and multicultural issues in order to best serve clients and communities. Consistent with a systemic perspective we believe that by empowering our students with relevant knowledge as well as clinical and advocacy skills, the requirements of social justice will be served for clients and within the larger community.
The educational philosophy of the CFT Program is based on a model of adult learning that is student-centered and competency-based. The student-centered aspects of this model emphasize establishing learning environments characterized by collaboration, self-direction, and self-reflective practice. In this way, our courses emphasize experiential learning rather than focusing on lectures and testing. Students are evaluated on their therapeutic abilities rather than their ability to take a test. Along these lines, we do not utilize the GRE in our admissions process.
Students in the CFT Program can receive additional training by specializing in Art Therapy, Drama Therapy, Sex Therapy, Multicultural Therapy, and Play Therapy.
Students are allowed to choose the pace they move through the program. While the average time to graduation is 3 years, some students graduate in 2 years, and others choose to take up to 6 years. It’s up to you.
- Minimum: 2 years (8 full-time quarters)
- Maximum: 6 years
- Average: 3.0 years (12 part-time quarters)
The CFT program requires completion of 75 quarter credits including 56 credits of required coursework, 12 elective credits, and 19 credits of Internship. To accommodate working adults, our schedule allows students to work during the day and take classes in the afternoons and evenings as well as all day on Friday.
- Family of Origin Systems
- Multicultural Perspectives
- Communication and Counseling Skills
- Counseling Individuals in the Family System
- Systems Perspectives in Family Therapy
- Theories and Practice of Family Therapy I and II
- Human Sexuality
- Human Development in the Family Life Cycle
- Psychodiagnostics and Treatment Planning
- Ethics and Professional Issues
- Ethics in Family Practice
- Research Methods: Introduction or Advanced
- Research in Family Practice
- Competency Assessment I, II, III
The CFT Program affords you the flexibility to individualize your studies based upon your professional goals and interests. Student may choose four courses to satisfy their elective requirements. These include:
- One elective in Family Practice Series including:
- Play Therapy
- Clinical Treatment of Children
- Clinical Treatment of Adolescents
- Clinical Treatment of Sexual Abuse
- Effective Parenting
- Gottman Couples Therapy Levels I & II
- Fundamentals of Sex Therapy
- One elective in Multicultural Counseling Series including:
- Counseling African Americans
- Counseling Asian Americans
- Counseling Clients with Disabilities
- Counseling LatinX Communities
- Counseling Jewish Clients
- Counseling Native Americans
- Diversity in Sexual Expression
- Internalized Oppression
- One elective in Abusive Relationships or Addictions
- Survey of Addictions
- Three other general elective credits including:
- Group Therapy
- Grief and Loss
- And many more
- Internship Case Consultation
All students participate in an internship in a professional setting. This experience will enable you to validate and clarify the theory you acquire in the classroom as you develop your own role as a clinician. Examples of internship sites include the following:
- Youth and family service centers
- Public mental health clinics
- Grief and Loss Agencies
- LGBTQIA Agencies
- ADHD Centers
- College counseling centers
- Group homes
- Homeless shelters
- Community centers
- In-patient psychiatric hospitals
For detailed curriculum, degree requirements, and course descriptions, please visit the AUS catalog.
According to a 2014 AAMFT report on the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are currently over 11,000 jobs for marriage and family therapists (MFTs) with employment projected to grow 29% between 2012 and 2022. MFTs can thrive in a range of work environments, including mental health centers, hospitals, substance abuse treatment centers, schools, private practice, and many other settings. The following is a list of possible jobs (some require additional post-master’s education):
- General Psychotherapist
- Specialist (Military Family, Domestic Violence, Childhood Sexual Abuse, Child Abuse Prevention, Parenting, Marital, Family, Adult, Infant Specialist, Bilingual Mental Health, Inpatient, Adolescent Specialist, Group, Hospital-Based, Multicultural Specialist, LGBTQIA, Sex, Contracted, Substance Abuse, School-Based, Corporation-Based, Eating Disorder, Hoarding Disorder, Play, Pastoral, Parent-Child Interaction Therapist, Wraparound, In-Home, Triage and Crisis Team, Outreach, Deaf and Hard of Hearing)
- Early Childhood Mental Health Clinician
- Clinical Supervisor
- Research Assistant
- Agency Director
- Private Practice
- Group Practice
- Therapist Trainer
- Teletherapy provider
- In-Home Therapist Supervisor
- Child Protective Services Professional
- Political Advocate
- Mental Health Professional
- Behavioral Health Provider
- Utilization Review Coordinator
- Program Director
- Instructor in a Bachelor’s Program or Master’s Program
The CFT program:
- Prepares competent couple and family therapists
- Demonstrates a commitment to diversity
- Prepares students to pass the MFT national exam
- Prepares students for employment in couple and family therapy
CFT students demonstrate:
- Knowledge relevant to individual, couple, and family therapy
- Skills relevant to individual, couple, and family therapy
- Ethical behavior
- Awareness and sensitivity regarding diverse populations