ACU to offer online master's degree in MFT

Posted February 19, 2015

Students interested in pursing a degree in mental health services will soon have a new option at ACU. Beginning this summer, Abilene Christian University plans to offer a new online master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and a post-graduate certificate in Medical Family Therapy.

The 60-hour master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy will combine relevant courses in couple, family and child therapy; mental illness; substance abuse and addiction; and assessment and diagnosis to provide professional clinical training for students seeking mental health licensure.

“There is growing demand for mental health services across the country and marriage and family therapists are uniquely equipped to help address the growing demand,” said Dr. Jaime Goff, associate dean of the Graduate School and director of the graduate program in Marriage and Family Therapy.

According to Goff, a number of factors including recent changes in healthcare, which have increased coverage for mental health services; an aging population; and a growing number of military veterans seeking mental health treatment have contributed to the increased demand for services.

A unique component of the program at ACU is the option for students to pursue a specialization in Medical Family Therapy, a growing area of interest in the mental health profession. According to Goff, students who pursue the Medical Family Therapy specialization will receive additional training in the biopsychosocial-spiritual model of treatment, which uniquely prepares them to work on a collaborative healthcare team to treat families dealing with medical health issues.

ACU will also offer a 15-hour post-graduate certificate in Medical Family Therapy for individuals who already hold a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy.

“Offering the MFT degree online provides a unique opportunity for individuals who are not able to relocate for graduate school,” said Goff. “The program is designed to provide flexibility for working professionals who are interested in pursuing a graduate degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. The online degree also benefits communities as graduates are more likely to remain in their communities to work after graduation, providing increased access to mental health services.”  

The online master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy is designed to be completed in 33 months and includes an internship component in which students will complete 500 hours of client contact and 100 hours of supervision. Courses will follow a seven-week format in which students take one course at a time for seven weeks.

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