The Master of Arts in Relationship and Pastoral Therapy program integrates effective, competent clinical education and practice with theological studies and spiritual formation. Students learn about systems theory, historic, current, and evolving approaches to marriage and family therapy, individual and family development, psychology and mental health, and research within clinical practice. The degree requires 600 hours of supervised clinical practice, including group and individual supervision.
This program is unique in that it highlights the need for therapists to work with families and individuals who come from complex worlds, including diverse faith and cultural traditions. Therapists are prepared to treat a wide variety of presenting problems, from difficulties with family transitions to individuals who present with anxiety, depression, and other mental health related concerns. Required courses introduce not only systemic, contextual family and individual treatment, but also psychopathology, assessment, and diagnosis in order to both offer clients holistic care and be able to collaborate with other health care providers, physicians, and significant persons in clients’ lives. Broader than a traditional advanced degree in psychology or counseling, the Master of Arts in Relationship and Pastoral Therapy affords graduates the skills to utilize clients’ own faith and belief practices by incorporating spiritual reflections, rituals, and discussions into the clinical work, at the clients' request, in order to help clients live healthier and more fulfilling lives.
The program is designed based on standards from the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). It is intended to meet the educational requirements for the Washington State Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) license, and certification as a pastoral counselor by the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC).