MA in Marriage & Family Therapy
Table of Contents:
- What Makes an MAMFT Degree at Evangelical Unique?
- New! Earn Your MAMFT Degree Online
- 52 Questions You Should Be Asking
- Helpful MFT Videos Created by Our Faculty
If you are passionate about helping others build healthy relationships and strong families, then God may be calling you to start your journey toward a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy (MAMFT). Our program will help you develop competent professional skills as beginning marriage and family therapists, and prepare you for Pennsylvania State Licensure (as well as any other state with similar requirements to PA).
Download a copy of our COAMFTE Student Achievement Criteria Data.
Where Relational Formation Flows
Through Presence, Person, & Practice
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The distinctions of our program include:
- COAMFTE accredited (aamft.org)
- 65 credits plus 300 or 500 supervised practicum hours, (depending on student’s goals)
- Cohort-based classes Tuesdays and Thursdays, late afternoon and evening
- Student intern placement at one of our counseling centers or collaborative sites during the first year of practicum
- Integration of biblical principles and Christian faith with marriage and family theories
- Only one of a very few faith-based programs in the United States
The cohort model helps to foster a safe and supportive environment where you will develop close relationships with other students and your professors. As you address your personal foundations from within this framework, you will find yourself transformed and well equipped to serve as a beginning professional marriage and family therapist.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: The online version of our program is now COAMFTE accredited! Both on-ground and online students take the exact same courses and both versions are now accredited by the prestigious COAMFTE accreditation.
- How much money does a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) make?
- If I become an LMFT and work from a Christian perspective, will the state keep me from practicing my faith?
- What kind of jobs do MFTs and LMFTs do? Who hires them?
- What is the job outlook for marriage and family therapists?
- What is Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT)?
- What is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT)? Is it important to be licensed?
- Can I “practice” marriage and family therapy (MFT) without a license?
- How long does it take to become a licensed MFT? What’s the process for getting your license?
- Is there reciprocity of licenses between states?
- Who is allowed to call themselves a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT)?
- What does an MFT do? What does a typical day look like?
- What is the difference between counseling and therapy?
- What’s the difference between a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)?
- What’s the difference between a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)?
- Can I “practice” marriage and family therapy without a degree?
- What is a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy degree?
- What does “practicum” mean in a masters-level MFT program?
- How does one accumulate hours toward practicum?
- Do I have to find my own practicum site?
- What is the difference between doing the program part-time or accelerated part-time?
- What does “supervision” mean in a masters-level MFT program?
- What does “cohort” mean?
- What does it mean for a master of marriage and family therapy program to be accredited?
- What does it mean for a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy program (MAMFT) to be COAMFTE accredited?
- What’s the difference between COAMFTE and CACREP accreditation?
- What is required once I graduate with my masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy? What else is needed and what does it cost?
- Once I graduate, can I begin to see clients and “practice”?
- Once I graduate, will I get licensed right away?
- Once I graduate with a MA in MFT, what can I call myself?
- Can I get a MAMFT without a bachelor’s degree?
- What are the best Master of Arts in MFT/CFT programs?
- Are there MFT programs for chaplain candidates?
- How many credits is a typical master’s-level MFT program? What about a Christian program?
- How do I choose the right MFT program for me?
- How can I pay for my MAMFT degree?
- What subjects will I study while getting my MFT degree?
- What is a Christian MFT program?
- What makes the Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy program at Evangelical unique? What are its distinctives?
- How long does it take to complete the MAMFT degree?
- How is scripture and faith integrated into the classroom?
- When and where are classes held?
- Can I do the program even if I work?
- How difficult are the courses in the program?
- Is your program “Biblical?”
- Does your program integrate secular theories/therapy/psychology into courses, and if so, why?
- How much of the program is online? Is there an option to do the program completely online?
- Do you need a certain background or degree in order to qualify for entrance into Evangelical’s MAMFT program?
- What are the ages of the students in your program?
- Is the Seminary accredited? What about the MFT program?
- How many credits is the program? How long does it take to complete?
- What is the teacher/student ratio in the classroom?
- What is the experience and philosophy of the MFT faculty at Evangelical?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other websites, the average starting salary for an MFT varies somewhat but is around $48,790, with a range from $35,000 to $67,000 depending on location and experience. For a LMFT, the average salary is around $58,973, with a high of around $81,960 depending on location and experience.
If I become an LMFT and work from a Christian perspective, will the state keep me from practicing my faith?
Like all Americans, MFT’s are protected from undue governmental interference, as stated by our First Amendment rights, which read: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech” (see www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/first_amendment). Unless a therapist is behaving in an inappropriate fashion, the “state” will not interfere in his/her expression of faith.
Nevertheless, therapy is never to be used as a platform for proselytizing. Therapist’s must always respect the faith of their clients, and discuss in an upfront and respectful fashion whether and/or how faith issues are to be incorporated into the therapeutic process, in service of the client’s movement toward health/recovery.
A typical entry level position for a new, unlicensed graduate is often as a “mobile therapist” or “family based therapist” within an agency. These positions work in a team format and visit the homes of their client families where therapy is given in a variety of ways.
MFT’s typically work in and are hired by the following places of employment:
- Outpatient Care Centers
- Offices of Health Practitioners
- Social Service Agencies
- Private Practice
- Churches and Religious Settings
- Substance Abuse & Addiction Treatment Centers
- Medical Centers and Mental Health Centers
- Other possibilities might include the government, the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, the military, HMOs, and legal and correctional systems.
The job outlook is very strong according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Their projection is a 23% growth rate between 2016 and 2026, much faster than the average of all other occupations! A driving force behind this increase is the increasing integration of mental health and medical.
MFT has been designated by the federal government as a core mental health profession (along with psychiatry, psychology, social work, and psychiatric nursing). A family’s patterns of behavior influences the individual and therefore may need to be a part of the treatment plan. In marriage and family therapy, the unit of treatment isn’t just the person – even if only a single person is involved – it is the set of relationships in which the person is imbedded.
In Pennsylvania, the “practice of marriage and family therapy” means: The professional application of psychotherapeutic and family systems theories and techniques to the evaluation, assessment, diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional disorders, whether cognitive, affective or behavioral. The term includes the evaluation and assessment of mental and emotional disorders in the context of significant interpersonal relationships and the delivery of psychotherapeutic services to individuals, couples, families and groups for the purpose of treating such disorders (Act 76 of 2018).
LMFTs are those who hold a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy, who are mental health professionals trained in family systems and psychotherapy, and licensed by the state to diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders within the context of individuals, marriage, couples, and family systems. MFTs treat a wide range of serious clinical problems including: depression, marital problems, anxiety, individual psychological problems, and child-parent problems.
It is important to be licensed, because in most states, including Pennsylvania, a person must be licensed (or working toward licensure) in order to call him/her-self a marriage and family therapist. Without being licensed, an individual is unable to refer to him/her-self, in any way, as a MFT. When licensed, an individual is also able to work with insurance companies by becoming one of their “providers” who can then bill an insurance company for payment.
This varies from state to state, but many if not most states have what is called a “Practice Act” for MFT. This means that there are regulations set by each state that determines who is able to Practice MFT and who may call themselves a marriage and family therapist.
In Pennsylvania, a person does not have to have a degree in order to do “therapy” or “psychotherapy.” However, no one is able to call him- or her-self a marriage and family therapist/counselor without having a degree in MFT AND who is actively working toward becoming a LMFT.
In Pennsylvania, a recent law, Act 76 (Senate Bill 539), went into effect on October 24, 2018. Act 76 of 2018 prohibits the independent practice of marriage and family therapy without a license as a marriage and family therapist (LMFT). “Independent practice” means that the individual: 1) styles him or her-self as a marriage and family therapist; 2) regulates and is responsible for his or her own practice and treatment procedures; and 3) is not affiliated with any other practice, health care facility, government agency or government-regulated social service agency. For MFTs, those practitioners who have completed their education to obtain a license to practice marriage and family therapy and who are actively working toward licensure as a marriage and family therapist by accumulating the required 3,000 of “supervised clinical experience” as set forth in the Board’s regulations at 49 Pa. Code § 48.13(b) are not considered to be engaging in “independent practice” as defined in Act 76 of 2018 if they are receiving regular supervision by a supervisor who meets the Board’s regulations on “Qualifications for Supervisors” as outlined in 49 Pa. Code § 48.3 and the “Standards for Supervisors” as outlined in 49 Pa. Code § 48.14. These practitioners must continue to receive the required supervision until they are issued a license to practice marriage and family therapy by the Board.
Act 76 of 2018 can be viewed at the following link.
In Pennsylvania, a person is able to apply for a license after having spent a minimum of 2 years, but not more than 6 years, in acquiring the required 3000 clinical hours and 150 supervision hours needed for licensure.
Once a person has graduated from a master’s program, she or he is able to begin to accumulate the required clinical hours by providing therapy to clients, while under supervision with a supervisor who meets the state board’s requirements for supervisor. The required 3000 clinical hours and 150 supervision hours must be accrued within 2 to 6 years from the date the person began to count the hours. After meeting the requirements, the person must then apply and be approved for licensure before being able to take and pass the national exam. Once the exam has been successfully passed, a license will be issued.
At this point in time, there is little actual reciprocity between states. Each state sets its own requirements for licensure, with some states having higher standards than other states. Just because one is licensed in one state as a LMFT does not automatically mean that the license will be accepted for transfer to another state. However, there is a movement across the USA to make “portability” of licenses (LMFT, LPC and LCSW) more possible, meaning that when licensed in one state (sometimes for a certain length of time) obtaining a license in another state would be possible. Needless to say, each state has its own rules and regulations on portability.
In order to be able to call oneself a MFT in Pennsylvania, one will have needed to graduate with a Master’s degree in marriage and family therapy AND be actively pursuing licensure as a LMFT, meaning that the graduate is receiving supervision, from a supervisor who meets the Commonwealth’s requirements for a supervisor, for the clients for which the graduate is providing therapy. (See Act 76 and Senate Bill 837) Not just anyone is able to call him- or her-self a MFT, since this is protected by a “Practice Act” (Senate Bill 837 of 2015).
According to Senate Bill 837, “Only individuals who have received licenses as marriage and family therapists under this act may style themselves as licensed marriage and family therapists, marriage and family therapists, family therapists, marriage therapists, or couples therapists and use the letters “L.M.F.T.” or “M.F.T.” in connection with their names. It shall be unlawful for an individual to style oneself as a licensed marriage and family therapist, marriage and family therapist, family therapist, marriage therapist, or couples therapist or use any words or symbols indicating or tending to indicate that the individual is a licensed marriage and family therapist without being licensed as a marriage and family therapist in good standing under this act.” This shall not apply to a person who is working to meet the supervised experience requirement to become a licensed marriage and family therapist and whose duties are supervised by a licensed marriage and family therapist or other licensed mental health professional, as long as the person does not represent himself or herself as a licensed marriage and family therapist.
MFT’s, like other helping professionals (social workers, professional counselors, psychologists), will be engaged in all aspects of therapy work with clients, including such tasks as assessment, diagnosis, and creation of treatment plans. MFTs will help clients who seek assistance for a variety of behavioral, emotional, and relational issues such as depression, anxiety, couple conflict, family matters, etc. In most cases, the “average day” of the “average MFT” will include hour long sessions with individuals, couples and/or family clients, assisting them toward accomplishing their goals, in resolving their problems.
Counseling is the application of wisdom, in the context of care, against the problems of life. Simply stated, it is the process by which a counselor helps an individual understand and solve problems to help him or her cope with mental or emotional stressors. This tends to highlight the wisdom of the counselor and, to that degree, is limiting and may create dependence on that counselor. Therapy, on the other hand, usually involves talking about a situation/problem in order to gain more understanding about that issue/problem so as to regain health. Therapy, as derived from the Greek word “theraeuo,” is restoration toward wholeness, restoring that which is broken to it’s original whole state. Therapy seeks to assist clients in finding THEIR inner strengths and God-given abilities, and with help/coaching from the therapist, access those strengths so that that the client can move from states of inadequacy toward agency and empowerment.
What’s the difference between a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)?
While both are considered mental health practitioners, and approach mental health from a broad environmental perspective, these disciplines grew out of different traditions. While there may be some overlap, with LCSWs providing counseling in a relational context, they are employed in a wider variety of settings and roles than LMFTs are, and have broader training, while LMFTs have a more specialized training. Clinical social work is based on theories and methods of prevention and treatment in providing mental-health/healthcare services, with special focus on behavioral and bio-psychosocial problems and disorders, along with case management. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists are “relationship experts” whose approach is from a “systemic” perspective, which broadens the traditional emphasis on the individual to attend to the nature and role of individuals in other relational networks (work school, community, etc), especially the primary relationship networks of marriage and the family.
What’s the difference between a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)?
While both are considered mental health practitioners, who assess, diagnose and treat patients for a variety of mental health issues, their underlying philosophies, and how they approach a situation, are vastly different. LMFTs are generally considered “specialists” and operate within a narrower scope of practice. Whereas LPCs have a wider scope of practice and operate more generally within the field of mental health, approaching problems from an individual development standpoint and focusing on a client’s overall ecological systems, MFTs tend to focus more on couples and families. When treating clients, LMFTs look at behavior from a social and relational context, focusing on the client’s microsystems: settings and groups that directly impact a client’s well-being, such as family, school or the workplace. They operate under the assumption that no person lives in a social vacuum, and that as such, our relationships with those around us have a profound impact on our behavior and mental well-being. When treating a client, Marriage and Family Therapists look to identify problems that arise from relationships.
In Pennsylvania, while a person is not required to have a degree in order to do “therapy” or “psychotherapy,” no one may “practice” marriage and family therapy without having a degree in MFT and without being engaged in active pursuit of licensure as a LMFT. It is unlawful for an individual to style oneself as a licensed marriage and family therapist, marriage and family therapist, family therapist, marriage therapist, or couples therapist without being licensed as a marriage and family therapist in good standing (see Senate Bill 837, 2015).
The MAMFT prepares someone to work as a Marriage and Family Therapist, helping individuals, couples, and families to have more healthy relationships, and to live in recovery from emotional pain such as depression and/or anxiety.
A practicum is an “internship” – or a prescribed period of time – during which the graduate MFT student (referred to as an “intern therapist”) sees clients in an agency just as a professional MFT would. Intern therapists learn how to join with a client(s), do assessments of the client’s family system, and develop case conceptualizations and treatment plans. They meet with the clients weekly over time to help the clients achieve their therapeutic goals.
Each session hour that an intern therapist spends with a client counts toward the total hours that are required for students to have in order to graduate with a MAMFT degree.
At Evangelical, the MFT Program provides a practicum site for students to accumulate their necessary clinical hours. It is an option for student interns to add another site of their own choosing (which is cleared by the Clinical Director), in order to accumulate the needed hours.
The main difference is the length of time it takes to finish the program. Doing the program part-time takes 3.5-4 years, while the accelerated part-time takes 2.5-3 years. In essence, the first year for accelerated part-time students is actually the first two years of the part-time program collapsed together, thus reducing the overall length of the program by one year.
Throughout the duration of the practicum, each student intern meets weekly with an appointed supervisor to review his/her client sessions and to hone her/his skills through real life practical learning. The supervisor encourages, supports, advises, and challenges the student intern in his/her learning process. When clients have given permission, the intern therapist records the therapy sessions. As recordings are reviewed with the supervisor, the intern can understand better the process happening between her/him and the client(s). Through these weekly meetings, the supervisor is able to help interns improve their skills as therapists.
The MFT cohort is a group or “family” of students who remain together throughout their course of study.
The purpose of accreditation is to ensure quality in higher education. Accreditation is a voluntary process that encourages programs to engage in self-evaluation, development and innovation. This process helps to ensure that students receive knowledge and skill necessary for entry into a chosen field.
What does it mean for a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy program (MAMFT) to be COAMFTE accredited?
The Commission on Accreditation for Marriage & Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) is THE accrediting agency for marriage and family therapy education and training! It’s recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as the only accrediting agency for graduate degree and clinical training programs in Marriage and Family Therapy in the US and Canada. As such, COAMFTE accreditation is a significant marker of quality. It also:
- Certifies that students are equipped with knowledge and skills to be effective clinicians within our diverse communities
- Ensures that degree programs are housed in an institution that qualifies students for federal financial aid
- Helps ensure sufficient resources for programs, faculty and students
- Ensures that your program does what it promises on its website and promotional materials
- Facilitates licensure for students
- Gives you an advantage in obtaining employment, since COAMFTE-accredited programs report high job placement rates.
Counsel for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP) is the recognized training standard for counselors, by the Institute of Medicine and the Veteran’s Administration. In most states, it meets the curriculum required for educational training for counseling licensure. This curriculum, which is VERY different from the curriculum for Marriage and Family Therapists, meets requirements for counselors, who have a wider scope of practice and operate more generally within the field of mental health than MFTs do.
The Commission on Accreditation for Marriage & Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) is THE accrediting agency for marriage and family therapy education and training! It’s recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as the only accrediting agency for graduate degree and clinical training programs in Marriage and Family Therapy in the US and Canada. As such, it ensures that: 1) you will receive a quality education in marriage and family therapy that has been evaluated and has met accepted standards established by the profession; and 2) your program does what it promises on its website and promotional materials. It also certifies that students are equipped with knowledge and skills to be effective clinicians within our diverse communities.
What is required once I graduate with my masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy? What else is needed and what does it cost?
First of all, in Pennsylvania you must have at least a master’s degree of 48 semester credits in MFT to qualify, but you must have a total of 60 semester credits of graduate study that meet the educational requirements of the state. Our MAMFT Program meets all of these requirements.
Once graduated with the necessary degree and credits, there are state requirements that must be met in order to get licensed as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. In Pennsylvania this will take a minimum of 2 years and no more than 6 years (from the time you begin to “count hours”) to accumulate the necessary 3000 clinical hours, 1500 of which must be face-to-face with client(s). While accumulating these hours, you must be involved in supervision with a supervisor who meets the qualifications set by the state board. The total number of supervision hours that you must have is 150 hours, at a ratio of 1:20, meaning that for every 20 clinical hours you accumulate, you must have 1 hour of supervision.
All of this will be an additional cost to you. Supervision rates run between $50 – $100 per hour, but remember that clients will be paying for therapy with you. In the long run, this is a worthwhile investment.
Yes. You may be employed by an agency of some kind, either full-time of part-time/contractually. Most often you will have to provide your own liability insurance if you are employed part-time, and if you go into private practice. If you choose to open your own private practice and refer to yourself as a marriage and family therapist, you must be in supervision (as per Act 76).
No, you have to meet the requirements for licensure. These requirements involve having to accumulate 3000 clinical hours, half of which must be face-to-face with clients (referred to as clinical face-to-face). The other half may include hours for preparing to see clients, clinical reading, time used for writing session summaries, etc., as well as phone calls and consultations with other professionals concerning clients, etc.(referred to as clinical non face-to-face hours). (MFTs usually have more than half of their hours as face-to-face.) All 3000 hours must be accumulated in no less than 2 years and no more than 6 years from the time that you begin counting your hours.
All of these hours must be supervised on a ratio of 1:20 (1 hour of supervision for every 20 clinical hours), for a total of 150 hours of supervision. Half of these hours (75) must be with an AAMFT approved supervisor; the other half may be done with a licensed mental health professional who has at least a master’s degree in a related field and has at least 5 years of experience within the last 10 years in that field.
After submitting the paperwork electronically and it being approved, you will be given permission to sit for the national MFT licensing exam, which you must past before you can be licensed.
As long as, and only if you are working toward licensure and being supervised by a qualified supervisor, you may call yourself a Marriage and Family Therapist.
If you do not pursue licensure, then you cannot call yourself a Marriage and Family Therapist, due to the “title protection law.” You may refer to yourself as a psychotherapist, but not as a marriage and family therapist, not even a marriage and family counselor. And, you would only be able to use the “MA” after your name, not “MAMFT.”
Generally speaking, a bachelor’s degree is needed in order to obtain a graduate degree. However, there is an option at Evangelical. Non-baccalaureate admission into the MAMFT program constitutes an exception to our standard practice and is possible on a space-available basis in accordance with the standards of our accrediting agencies. A prospective student who does not have any undergraduate coursework may only be admitted as a part-time student. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 717.866.5775 for more information.
The best MA programs in MFT/CFT are those that are accredited by COAMFTE – the accrediting body for marriage and family therapy education.
A chaplain candidate could attend the MAMFT program at Evangelical to become equipped to work in this field in the military.
In Pennsylvania, an individual needs 60 semester credit hours at the master’s level in order to be licensed. Therefore, in PA a true MFT program will be 60 credits. COAMFTE accredited programs in PA are 60 credits. (Actually, Pennsylvania’s laws state that an individual must have at least a 48 semester credit degree in order to get licensed, and must also have a total of 60 credits, meaning that some folks end up needing to take extra courses to reach the 60 credits.)
Christian MFT programs are generally a few more credits than 60, since they require some courses in Bible/Theology/Spiritual Formation, especially if the program is part of a seminary.
Look for a COAMFTE accredited program. Such a program has gone through a rigorous review and evaluation process and has met accepted standards established by the profession. You can expect such a program to do what it promises on its website and in its promotional materials, as well as to meet high standards of program delivery. Find a program that helps you to grow as a person and provides strong support for the challenges of doing graduate work. Explore available program literature and review faculty interests and bios to discern if your values fit with the values of the program. Check whether the program will provide an internship (practicum) placement that includes supervision or you will need to search for a placement and supervisors on your own (they can be difficult to find). Also consider your learning style, time availability, and scheduling fit.
Students typically fund their program by a combination of loans, Government grants, scholarships, private funds, etc. Help with this is offered by the Seminary.
Students study a host of subjects, ranging from topics tied to personal growth and insight (Foundations for Marriage and Family), theories, and practical “how to” skills for conducting therapy (Family Therapy Skills and Practice), as well as studies and courses in Sexuality, Marital Therapy, Gender and Ethnicity, Assessment, etc. More detailed course work and curriculum maps can be found in the MFT Program Handbook.
A Christian MFT program is one which seeks to honor God and Christ in all aspects of learning how to be a marriage and family therapist. This also means that Scripture and Biblical truth are incorporated into material and classes in appropriate and important ways.
What makes the Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy program at Evangelical unique? What are its distinctives?
A major distinctive of the MFT Program at Evangelical is that it is the only true MFT Program in Central PA! We train marriage and family therapists, who, after graduation, are highly revered by their employers.
Another distinctive is our cohort model, which fosters a safe and supportive environment in which students develop close relationships with other students and their professors. There is a close-knit, family spirit in and between cohorts. The fact that the student/professor ratio is low is a huge benefit for this.
A chief component of the MFT Program is emphasis on “self-of-the-therapist.” You may be asking, “What on earth does that mean?” Well, let me explain.
We all learn lots of things in our Families of Origin- FOO- (families into which we are born) – both positive and negative things. The so-called negative experiences may be emotionally charged within us, to the degree that when that emotion is triggered, say, by a client (who just said or did something similar to someone in our FOO or past), we react to the initial experience, not necessarily to the client who triggered us. This emotional reaction can then impact the therapeutic relationship, the process of therapy and its outcome if not acknowledged and addressed by the therapist.
Our MFT Program focuses on the emotional development of the student who must be willing to participate in the process that requires introspective work on personal issues. This empowers students to liberate their restraints and access their resources. This emphasis is part of every course, to one degree or another, and the intensity increases throughout the duration of the program. You will often hear us say, “You cannot take someone to a place you are unwilling to go yourself.”
We care about the person of the student/the therapist, and help them become more of the person God intended them to be!
The attitude and intention of the professors includes the desire to work with student’s individual situations and challenges, and who provide not only education, but also mentoring and prayerful care. We professors care about our students, and make ourselves available to them.
The three (3) “core” professors of the program, who respect one another and each person’s strengths, are distinctively different from one another, thus providing variety to and for students in multiple ways.
Because we are a faith-based institution, we seek to teach pure MFT theory while simultaneously integrating Christian and Biblical principles as appropriate.
The MFT professors has worked long and hard on developing an “ethos of learning” for the Program, with an emphasis on learning and not on grades. Therefore, our program is:
“Where Relational Formation Flows Through Presence, Person & Practice.”
Presence is “Being with others”
Person is “Being with ourself”
Practice is “Being responsive”
In our program we strive to integrate heart, head and hands in the formation process of becoming marriage and family therapists!
The MAMFT degree can be completed in as little as 2.5 years as an accelerated part-time student, while many accelerated part-time students finish in 3 years. Regular part-time students complete the degree within 4 years, but people with unusual circumstances are given up to 6 years to complete the degree.
Based upon the relational/systemic theoretical orientation of family systems thinking, the program integrates biblical truth and Christian faith with these understandings.
As instructor and student engage in the study of Marriage and Family Therapy, appropriate reference is made to Biblical examples, principles, and concepts which cast light on the subject under study. Primacy of place is given to what the Word of God says on core concepts in each course, so as to elevate understanding by reference to God’s Word. Beyond that, faith is also integrated by virtue of it being an integral part of each person’s life and as each person (professor and student) comes together, they bring with them “living faith,” which enriches all dialogue and all branches of study.
Classes are held at the Seminary in Myerstown on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:00 – 9:30pm. Students who are part-time attend classes one of those days, while accelerated part-time students attend classes both days during their first year and then one day thereafter. Students who are admitted to the synchronous on-line option will attend in real time these on-ground classes via the internet.
Most students work at least part-time during the program. For those students who must work full-time, it is highly recommended that they do the program as a part-time student.
The MFT courses are at the graduate level and require students to be committed and disciplined. Courses include quite a bit of reading, which is a large component of learning at the graduate level. There is a “guideline” for graduate study: for every credit one takes, expect to spend 3 hours of study outside of the classroom. This means that for a 3 credit class, one can expect to spend approximately 9 hours (give or take) of work outside the classroom.
If by “Biblical” one means a program which seeks to return to Scripture, continually drawing from it’s rich gold mine of wisdom and counsel, principles and illumination, bringing such richness into discussion and interaction, then YES, our program is intentionally “Biblical” and rooted in Scripture. Nevertheless, the program is based upon the relational/systemic theoretical orientation of family systems thinking, and integrates Biblical truth and Christian faith with these understandings.
Our program seeks to recognize wisdom wherever it may be found, believing that “all truth is God’s truth.” We take our lead from our Biblical Heroes, such as Moses (who was trained in all the wisdom of the Egyptians), Joseph (who knew how to navigate wisely in Pharaoh’s court) and Daniel (who was capable in all the literature of the Chaldeans), but always and ever we are careful to filter what we learn through the grid of Scripture, acting in a discerning fashion, and thinking with the Mind of Christ so as to bring all things into service for Christ and his people. We neither indiscriminately accept all that is found in secular therapy and psychology, nor do we foolishly dismiss this kind of work, but rather we wisely and with a desire to bring all to serve God, use, on behalf of others, that which aligns with Scripture.
So yes, you will learn and use marriage and family therapy theories, as well as critique them with Biblical understanding. The program is based upon the relational/systemic theoretical orientation of family systems thinking, while integrating biblical truth and Christian faith with these understandings.
We now offer a synchronous online option. Online students will join students in our on-ground class offerings, in real time. Our state of the art classrooms allow us to offer the convenience of online classes, while allowing for the richness of personal interaction with faculty and other students.
Our on-ground program offers the prestigious COAMFTE accreditation, and we are in the process of working with COAMFTE with hope that the synchronous online format will also become COAMFTE accredited. Until this occurs, the synchronous online portion of the program is not COAMFTE accredited, but you will take the exact same classes that are accredited on-ground.
Do you need a certain background or degree in order to qualify for entrance into Evangelical’s MAMFT program?
It is suggested, but not mandatory, that an applicant have an undergraduate degree in psychology, sociology, social work, human services, family studies, nursing or the equivalent.
Age of students is diverse! We have students who come right out of undergraduate programs who are 22, and we have students who have a great amount of life experience and often a previous occupation who are in their 60s. The average age of our MFT students is mid-30s.
Yes! Evangelical Seminary is accredited by Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), as well as by the Commission on Accrediting of The Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS).
Evangelical Seminary is also approved by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement for the enrollment of non-immigrant, international students.
The Marriage and Family Therapy Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (COAMFTE). COAMFTE is the national accrediting agency for marriage and family therapy education and training.
The Marriage and Family Therapy Program is also an accredited marriage and family therapy training program approved by the International Accreditation Commission for Systemic Therapy Education.
What is the cost of the MAMFT program? Any scholarships available?
As of the 2019-20 academic year, the cost of the program is a flat rate of $41,000.00, spread out over the duration of the program.
At Evangelical, we are working hard to keep tuition costs low and to provide scholarship opportunities that help to ease the burden on students. We cannot provide full scholarships; however, we try to assist where we can. For our master’s level programs, to be considered for a scholarship, please make sure to fill out the grant application. We have a few scholarships that are degree program specific, as well as some internal scholarships and a few external scholarships possible.
The MAMFT Program at Evangelical is 65 semester credits. An individual can complete it in 2.5-3 years as an accelerated part-time student, or in 4 years as a regular part-time student.
We have a low teacher/student ratio in the classroom. Most MFT classes have 10 or fewer students in them.
The three core MFT faculty (Joy E. Corby, Ph.D., LMFT; Robert C. Palmer Ph.D., D.Min, LMFT; Janet R Stauffer, Ph.D., LMFT) have years of clinical and teaching experience.
The MFT professors worked long and hard on developing an “ethos of learning” for the Program, which reflects their philosophy. The MFT Program is:
“Where Relational Formation Flows Through Presence, Person & Practice.”
Presence is “Being with others”
Person is “Being with ourself”
Practice is “Being responsive”
In our program we strive to integrate heart, head and hands in the formation process of becoming marriage and family therapists.