Knowledge of theory and techniques in couples and family therapy is often not available to many counselors in their degree programs. The Columbus State University’s Graduate Certificate Program in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT Certificate Program) was developed in 2010 to address the need for clinicians to add training in marriage and family systems approaches to working with couples and families. At the same time, professionals who were already working with couples and families recognized their need for a stronger theoretical foundation, specific skills and knowledge, and a peer network to ensure that their interventions and treatment services were grounded in evidence-based approaches and best practices.
The MFT Certificate Program is unique in its focus on both couple and family presenting problems. Students learn to work effectively with families, and the psychological, social/familial, spiritual, physical, community, and political impacts of family dysfunction. The program integrates cross-cultural considerations in all courses and focuses on the strengths and resilience of client families.
The MFT Certificate Program is approved by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia and the Department of Counseling, Foundations & Leadership maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
HOW DOES THE MFT CERTIFICATE WORK?
Designed to meet the needs of professionals with busy schedules and limited time, the MFT Certificate Program is a 15-credit, five-course, interactive, fully online program. The flexible format allows for coursework to be completed at any time of day, from anywhere in the world.
Courses are offered during open 7-week terms and taught by highly experienced and respected therapists. MFT Certificate Program instructors have on-going experience working directly with couples and families and bring this vital perspective into the virtual classroom.
Through online forums, discussion boards, debates, and other exchanges, students share ideas and build their networks. Students report feeling supported by their peers and instructor, less isolated in their work, and value the interactive nature of the program.
Students who successfully complete the program are able to:
- Explain the development, expression, and consequences of psychological symptoms in couple and family life;
- Describe the psychological, emotional, and interpersonal needs of couple and family members;
- Identify effective strategies to develop professional relationships with those in treatment;
- Evaluate multicultural and ethical considerations in prevention, assessment, and intervention with couples and family members;
- Outline effective ways to prevent ongoing problems and create solutions for families to use after therapy; and
- Critique and apply current psychological research to identify appropriate and effective evidence-based treatment for couples and families.
WHO ARE THOSE IN NEED OF ADDITIONAL TRAINING AND CERTIFICATION?
Practitioners include individuals with a wide range of training and degree professionals (but, not limited to):
- Licensed clinicians in the mental health field
- Students in counselor training programs, psychology & mental health
- Staff at mental health centers and outreach programs
- Behavioral health professionals
- Nurses, Social Workers and Pastoral Counselors
- School Counselors
- Substance Abuse Counselors
- Clinicians at centers treatment survivors of abuse, trauma and divorce
While other programs focus on counseling in general, the MFT Certificate Program is unique in its emphasis on families in conflict. Accordingly, the number of licensed Marriage and Family Therapists available in Georgia and other states, the population of citizens, including couples and families in need of systems therapy goes often under-served.
WHO SHOULD APPLY?
Professionals who work in direct contact with couples and families are welcome to apply. We encourage psychologists, counselors, social workers, school counselors, health care providers, attorneys, and professionals who work in direct contact with couples and families to apply. Courses emphasize the experience of working directly with couples and families, as well as best practices in working with culturally diverse clients. Thus, anyone who works directly with couple and families can benefit from the program’s courses.
Professionals who participate in the MFT program can use the content to further their expertise, apply for licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist (meeting the didactic portion of the state requirements) and use the certification to advance their career as a clinician. (Note: Please research the individual state regulations regarding licensure.)
For more information, contact Dr. Michael Baltimore in the Department of Counseling, Foundations & Leadership at Columbus State University, 4225 University Avenue, Columbus, GA 31907 or call: The Counseling Office at: 706 565-1450. An application form can be found here.
Upon entry to the certificate program, students must complete COUN 7215. Family Therapy Process and Practice as the first course in the sequence. One other MFT course can be taken concurrently with COUN 7215.
All courses are currently offered in the Department of Counseling, Foundations & Leadership.