The graduate program in Marriage and Family Therapy at Oklahoma Baptist University is designed to meet the needs of college graduates who desire training in marriage and family therapy that will prepare them to apply for professional certification or licensure and clinical membership in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT).
The program approaches the practice of marriage and family therapy from the Christian perspective and emphasizes Christian values. It focuses on both academic course work and supervised clinical experience with individuals, couples and families under a variety of clinical conditions. It endeavors to establish a professional role identity for the family therapist as a clinician who can work both in private and public domains, and in institutional as well as outpatient settings. Students receive intensive specialized training which gives them a firm base for becoming competent therapists who understand and are able to treat individuals and families from a systems vantage point and know how to deal with the societal and cultural forces that influence family relationships. They are exposed to a variety of theoretical paradigms used in family therapy and assisted in critically examining each of them with the purpose of developing a proficiency as marriage and family therapists based on the integration of their personal qualities with their knowledge of individual, marital and family dynamics, resources, and possibilities for change.
The Master of Science degree in Marriage and Family Therapy requires that students satisfactorily complete 45 hours of course work and pass a comprehensive evaluation. Included in the 45 hours of course work is a practicum of 500 supervised hours of therapy for which the student receives 9 hours of credit. All therapy supervision is performed by licensed marriage and family therapists or AAMFT approved supervisors or supervisors-in-training.
The faculty in the program consists of full-time MFT faculty members, members of the Department of Psychology, Sociology and Family Studies of Oklahoma Baptist University and MFT practitioners from the regional area. Courses are offered on the OBU Shawnee campus, along with additional sites in Oklahoma City, OK and Broken Arrow, OK. Practicum sites are available to students during the second year of full-time study at various locations in the state.
The program is designed to be completed in two calendar years of full-time study with an academic course load of no more than 12 credit hours per semester, three calendar years of part-time study with an academic course load of no more than 9 credit hours per semester or four calendar years of part-time study with an academic course load of no more than 6 credit hours per semester. The practicum must be taken over 12 consecutive months even if the student is taking courses on a part-time basis.
Classes are offered between 4:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and meet once a week to accommodate students with full-time employment.
Additionally, OBU offers a Medical Family Therapy certificate program, which provides a unique opportunity for behavioral healthcare providers to receive advanced training in biopsychosocial-spiritual treatment within interdisciplinary healthcare systems. The program's foundational belief is that physical health, mental health, relationship health, and spiritual health are all intertwined, and that the impact of a health diagnosis extends beyond the individual to affect families. The MedFT certificate program equips providers with the tools necessary to recognize and address the impact of healthcare issues and concerns with patients and their families in medical and traditional therapy settings alike. The certificate program is offered online and consists of three classes, which include an Introduction course, Advanced course, and practicum.
Master's Thesis Option Students planning to continue their graduate education in marriage and family therapy on the doctoral level elsewhere may chose the thesis option for their M.S. degree. Completion of the thesis demonstrates that the student has acquired the necessary investigative skills to be able to carry out independent research in the field of marriage and family therapy and appropriately report his or her findings.
A Master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy (and licensure or certification, where required) may lead to employment in a variety of settings, such as community mental health agencies, children and family services agencies, churches, counseling clinics, and private practice. Further study at the doctoral level may prepare students for faculty positions at professional schools or universities.