Academic Catalog

Medical Family Therapy Certificate

Program Description

School of Psychology, Family, and Community Faculty

School of Psychology, Family, and Community Graduate Programs Website

The SPU graduate Medical Family Therapy (MDFT) Certificate program is a 2-3 year graduate program that provides MDFT students with courses in biopsychosocial-spiritual care and interviewing, motivational interviewing, and topics that include: neuropsychology related to trauma, trauma-informed care, spirituality and health, grief and family process, collaboration roles for MDFTs, and specialty care like gerontology, moral injury, or acceptance and commitment therapy. The MDFT Certificate provides interns with a minimum of 11-months of supervised professional experiences providing mental health or chaplaincy care in a medical setting.

The medical field is developing integrated health care teams in medical settings and collaborative care networks with behavioral health providers to address the physical, emotional, spiritual, and relational needs of patients. Seattle Pacific University’s Medical Family Therapy (MDFT) Certificate program trains professionals in relationally focused mental and spiritual health so our graduates can support individuals and families as they face and navigate illness and its implications. Mental health providers can expand their scope of practice, learn how to collaborate, ensure their work is trauma-informed, and enhance their marketing skills to healthcare providers and clergy. The Medical Family Therapy Certificate is also open to graduates/graduate students in Mental Health and Chaplains who wish to expand their knowledge of mental health and family systems.

Most MDFT courses are open to graduates/graduate students in Mental Health, Psychology, Theology, Medicine, Nursing, Nutrition, Education and any other professional/graduate student - please ask permission to enroll from the faculty teaching the course. SPU MFT and Theology graduate students do not need pre-enrollment permission. 

You can complete the Certificate program if you have completed your graduate degree in mental health or theology. You many also complete the Certificate if you are currently enrolled in the SPU Marriage and Family Therapy program, another MFT or Mental Health graduate program, or are enrolled in the SPU or another Theology graduate degree program. Completing the SPU MDFT program will require you successfully complete an additional 14 MDFT credits (6 seminar and 8 internship) to earn the Certificate. Check class delivery and the graduate schedule to ensure you can attend the class date. Seminar classes are usually only delivered in person on campus in Seattle. Internship will require a weekly practicum/supervision group meeting each week for all four quarters of internship.

  • To earn the Certificate, everyone must take the two required MDFT courses (MDFT 6633 & MDFT 6652) and four more MDFT courses - courses offered will be listed under SPU Graduate Time Schedule
    • MFT/Mental Health graduates and master's students will complete four quarters (8 quarter credits) of MDFT clinical practicum/internship in medical family therapy. The internship requires attendance at weekly practicum for group supervision every week
    • Chaplains and theology students will complete 8 quarter credits of MDFT-related research, a medical Chaplaincy experience, extra MDFT courses -- or a combination to arrive at the 8 quarter credits needed. This personalize internship year plan must be pre-approved by the MDFT Program Director.
  • MDFT Practicum/Internship/MDFT Research/MDFT Independent Study may only be taken by students enrolled in the MDFT Certificate.
  • If you have received graduate training in social work, behavioral science, theology, nursing, medicine, or theology you will need to review your prior classes. Depending upon past coursework, additional credits may be needed as program pre-requisites (for instance, in couple therapy or family therapy).

For most students, the Certificate can be completed over a two-year period. For specific admissions information for professional/post-grad students, visit our MDFT website for post-grad admissions.