Certificate in Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling

Earn a Certificate in Marriage and Family Therapy in Portland, Oregon.

Licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFTs) in Oregon are required to have either a master's degree in marriage and family therapy or a master's degree in a mental health field with a certificate in marriage and family therapy.

George Fox University's Certificate in Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling program is designed to provide special training and expertise required for working effectively with couples and families to practitioners in the helping professions. This graduate certificate program is open to those who already have a mental health degree.

Who is this program for?

  • Helping professionals and those working in human services (such as licensed professional counselors, clinical psychologists and social workers) who want to be more effective in their service to individuals, couples and families
  • Master’s or doctoral-level mental health professionals who desire to be better equipped to work with couples and families
  • Clergy who hold a master’s degree and want to learn foundational counseling skills

Program Requirements

This family counseling certificate program is generally one to two years in length with 36 semester hours of course work required as a minimum for graduation.

Expand All

Curriculum Plan

Complete the following:

An examination of key concepts in marital and family systems, including the family life cycle, as well as an introduction to various approaches to marital and family therapy. Core counseling skills as used in systems therapy will be taught and practiced. Prevention services as well as the roles of ethnicity and culture will be studied.
The treatment of individuals, couples, and families requires multidimensional assessment skills in order to ensure ethical, appropriate, and effective intervention strategies. This course is intended to begin the student's process of developing mastery in the assessment and diagnosis of psychopathology as codified in the DSM-V. Biological, psychological, cultural, and systemic factors are considered in the assessment, etiology, and treatment of various disorders. For Clinical Mental Health and Marriage, Couple and Family students only. Prerequisite: GCEP 500 and GCEP 501
This course is a study of the professional and ethical issues that most effect the preparation for the practice of counseling individuals, couples, and families. The course is focused on the development of the professional identity of counselors in training. This includes study of legal and ethical issues (including professional mental health organizations and state law) related to licensure and clinical practice, as well as the professional responsibilities of counselors. Development and maintenance of private and agency professional practice is also addressed.
This course examines theory, etiology, assessment, and treatment of addictive disorders in individual, marriage, couple, family, and group modalities. The course also provides insight into the collaborative nature of treatment in the field of addiction, providing opportunities for students to work with each other and professionals in the field to enhance knowledge of treatment interventions and treatment planning. Pre-Requisites: GCEP 500 and GCEP 501
This course examines both the content and process of the Christian faith as well as its implications for clinical practice. Explored are an introduction to spirituality in mental health, basic hermeneutics as applied to Christian Scripture, basic theological concepts, the relationship between theology and psychology, health and toxic faith systems, spiritual development, spiritual/religious assessment, the spiritual/religious orientation and value system of the therapist, and treatment interventions in the spiritual/religious realm.
This course intends to deepen the student's knowledge base regarding the complexities of the human experience by examining neurological functioning and its role in human distress and recovery. Specifically, it explores the interplay between neurobiology, the social environment, and pharmacological interventions, and its influence on cognitive, affective, and behavioral functioning. The course offers an overview of neuroanatomy orienting the student to basic brain structure, advances in interpersonal neurobiology confirming the role of attachment relationships in brain development, and the role of interpersonal relationships and pharmacology in altering brain functioning.

Complete the following:

Note: All coursework for this master's program is taught from a systems perspective, to meet LMFT licensure requirements. GCEP 540 Professional Orientation focuses on the AAMFT Code of Ethics.
This course equips the student to function more effectively in providing systemically-oriented conjoint couple therapy. Attention is given to understanding and assessing the couple as an interacting system; treatment planning; developing and maintaining therapeutic balance; and acquiring and practicing specific skills and frameworks for systemic case conceptualization, intervention, and termination. Focus is on an integrative, holistic paradigm of couple functioning, including diversity. A common-factors and core competencies approach to interventions and the use of the therapeutic triangle as the basic structure for conjoint couple counseling are emphasized throughout. Pre-Requisite: GCEP 500 and GCEP 501
This course explores and applies fundamental knowledge and skills utilized in the treatment of relational systems. Perceptual, conceptual and executive skills will be developed through direct case application of required reading as well as simulated therapy sessions with specific client families. The student will also demonstrate an awareness of current best practice strategies, while also exploring issues of justice and advocacy as embedded in relational ethics and the challenge of interpersonal forgiveness. In addition, the student will identify multi-model intake and initial assessment methods. Instruction format includes a hybrid-learning environment utilizing both face-to-face and online class activities. For Master of Arts in Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling students only, others by permission. Prerequisites: GCEP 500 and GCEP 501
Many dimension of human sexuality will be explored, including anatomy, physiology, identity, values, culture, relationships, family, spirituality, dysfunction, therapy techniques, and ethics. Students will evaluate their perceptions about their sexuality in order to understand the impact of the clinician's values on clients. This course is intended for students in the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling programs only.
This course will cover an introduction to the theory and practice of play therapy as a primary therapeutic approach when working with children in individual and family psychotherapy. The course is designed to prepare the student to effectively provide developmentally appropriate counseling for children, focusing on the development of a therapist-child relationship and utilization of play media in the systemic counseling process as a means to facilitate expression, self-understanding, and personal growth and development. Students will become familiar with play therapy theory techniques, therapeutic stages, ethical issues, and application. Observation of and experience in play therapy are an integral part of the course. This course is available to all GSC students. As it is an MCFC requirement, priority enrollment will be given to MCFC students. Prerequisites: GCEP 500 Introduction to Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling or its equivalent
This course involves development of a culminating graduate-level clinical thesis, built upon the internship experience and previous courses. Concurrent with the student's final semester of internship, this multidimensional clinical project involves the student demonstrating perceptual, conceptual, and executive skills┬┐demonstrating minimum practice standards in the legal, ethical and effective treatment of clients. Students are expected to prepare a comprehensive paper detailing their primary theoretical orientation, including perspective of the nature of persons, change and dysfunction, as well as the therapeutic process. Additionally, the portfolio includes video, session transcripts, psychosocial assessment, and written reflection which will be reviewed by the instructor and a licensed mental health professional in the community. Intended for Clinical Mental Health and Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling students only. Pass/No Pass. Co-Requisite: GCEP 593. Additional course fee required.
This course runs concurrently with GCEP 592 Clinical Internship I, and focuses on the development and implementation of treatment plans, reporting and assessing progress of treatment, appropriate referral procedures, and consultation. This course considers traditional and contemporary approaches to assessment, treatment planning, and intervention based in biopsychosocial systems and evidence-based interventions. It is expected that case conceptualization and treatment plans be consistent with diagnosis [DSM-IV-TR] and the counselor's theoretical orientation. The goal is to assist student interns with the development of advanced clinical counseling and case conceptualization skills that are consistent with sound clinical, ethical, and systemic practice. This course is intended for Clinical Mental Health and Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling students only. Pass/No Pass. Co-Requisite: GCEP 592
This course runs concurrently with GCEP 593 Clinical Internship I, and focuses on the development and implementation of treatment plans, reporting and assessing progress of treatment, appropriate referral procedures, and consultation. This course considers traditional and contemporary approaches to assessment, treatment planning, and intervention based in biopsychosocial systems and evidence-based interventions. It is expected that case conceptualization and treatment plans be consistent with diagnosis [DSM-IV-TR] and the counselor's theoretical orientation. The goal is to assist student interns with the development of advanced clinical counseling and case conceptualization skills that are consistent with sound clinical, ethical, and systemic practice. This course is intended for Clinical Mental Health and Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling students only. Pass/No Pass. Co-Requisite: GCEP 593
Complete 1 elective credit from any additional GCEP or TRMA coursework.

Complete the following:

Note: Students are expected to follow the sequence GCEP 592, GCEP 593 beginning with the fall semester of the final year. Students who begin internship in the summer will register for GCEP 591 for an additional 2 hours (and GCEP 599 for one additional hour), but will still need to register for and attend fall and spring internship. Students who continue internship into the following summer will register for GCEP 594 for an additional 2 hours.

The clinical internship is the culminating field experience for students in the Clinical Mental Health and Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling programs. This course will be the experiential application of the counseling skills learned in earlier courses, with a focus on clinical, ethical and systemic conceptualization and practice. Students will have an on-site placement in a public or private mental health setting, with the goal of creating the necessary bridge between training and professionalism. The goal of these courses is the attainment of competency equivalent to that of an entry level professional mental health professional, and consists of the primary components of counseling practice under the direct clinical supervision of a site supervisor, and case consultation and supervision facilitated by a university instructor. This course is intended for Clinical Mental Health and Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling students only. Pass/No Pass. Pre-Requisites for CMHC: GCEP 500, GCEP 501, GCEP 502, GCEP 510, GCEP 520, GCEP 530, GCEP 540, GCEP 550. Pre-Requisites for MCFC: GCEP 500, GCEP 501, GCEP 502, GCEP 510, GCEP 514, GCEP 520, GCEP 524, GCEP 530, GCEP 540, GCEP 550. Co-Requisite for CMHC and MCFC: GCEP 597 Students must have (a) completed all prerequisites with a B or better grade, (b) applied and been accepted as an internship candidate, and (c) attended the Internship Orientation (during spring semester of that year).
The clinical internship is the culminating field experience for students in the Clinical Mental Health and Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling programs. This course will be the experiential application of the counseling skills learned in earlier courses, with a focus on clinical, ethical and systemic conceptualization and practice. Students will have an on-site placement in a public or private mental health setting, with the goal of creating the necessary bridge between training and professionalism. The goal of these courses is the attainment of competency equivalent to that of an entry level professional mental health professional, and consists of the primary components of counseling practice under the direct clinical supervision of a site supervisor, and case consultation and supervision facilitated by a university instructor. This course is intended for Clinical Mental Health and Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling programs students only. Pass/No Pass. Pre-Requisite: GCEP 592. Co-Requisite: GCEP 598

Licensure

Licensed professional counselors and others who hold at least a master’s degree in counseling or another mental health degree may qualify to pursue clinical membership in the AAMFT and Oregon licensure as a marriage and family therapist (LMFT).

More about licensure


Certificate in Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling

Program length 1 to 2 years
Semester hours 36
Cost per semester hour $734*
Tuition cost for entire program $26,424*
Accreditation CACREP; approved by Oregon Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and Therapists
Format In-person
Locations Portland Center (near Tigard) and Salem Site

*All stated financial information is subject to change.