New Marital and Family Therapy Program Offers Online Delivery

In fall 2020, Bethel Seminary launches a new hybrid marital and family therapy program featuring online coursework, practicum experiences, and a one-week residency at Bethel’s St. Paul campus.

By Michelle Westlund '83, senior content specialist

July 02, 2019 | 2:30 p.m.

Bethel Seminary's Marital and Family Therapy program.

Bethel Seminary prepares highly qualified therapists who help lead people to life transformation.

For years, Bethel Seminary has been successfully preparing therapists who walk alongside others in a journey toward healing and wholeness. Bethel’s M.A. in Marital and Family Therapy (MFT) equips students with the training, skills, wisdom, and compassion to help people resolve conflict, work through interpersonal issues, and overcome mental and emotional disorders. In the process of working together to discover healthy coping strategies, life transformation occurs—including in the life of the therapist.

Bethel’s new hybrid marital and family therapy program, launching in fall 2020, helps students deepen their self-understanding, maturity, and faith as they gain expertise in clinical practice and theory in combination with Christian theology. The required coursework meets all academic requirements for licensure as a marital and family therapist in most states. Students will need additional supervised clinical practice and the passing of a licensing exam to obtain actual licensure. 

The hybrid program adds to an already well-established M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy program offered in a largely face-to-face format. Adjustments to the face-to-face program, increasing its flexibility and accessibility, begin in August 2019 when classes will move from daytime to evening and five courses will move online.

Since 1996, Bethel Seminary has been preparing therapists uniquely qualified for working with clients from all faith traditions. The seminary has a reputation for training therapists uniquely well in some significant ways: 

  • Commitment to developing cultural competency. Students study and understand the issues and challenges of people from all backgrounds.
  • Commitment to social justice. This emphasis informs how therapy and ministry are approached.
  • Integration of Christian theology and clinical practice. As part of a seminary community, students engage in biblical and theological study along with their preparation for couples and family therapy work. Bethel graduates reflect God’s compassion and light as they partner with Him to bring transformation to individuals and relationships in any setting.

In the program’s new hybrid format, students will complete most of their coursework online, with on-site practicum courses and one intensive residency. Practicum courses are 15 weeks in length and consist of a series of assignments that students complete and upload to a Virtual Campus, as well as accruing direct client contact hours at practicum sites, doing approximately 10-12 hours of direct therapy per week. The residency is held at Bethel University in St. Paul and features an intensive week of interactive learning designed to help students process and understand relational dynamics in group therapy. The one-week intensive residency also enhances successful working relationships with fellow students and program faculty. 

Bethel’s new program provides flexibility and accessibility to students nationwide, including those already active in ministry or volunteer positions. Online delivery of coursework allows students to pursue a marital and family therapy degree without uprooting their family, job, or current ministry responsibilities. And with the practicum and intensive components, students will benefit from the necessary face-to-face clinical supervision and professional connection with faculty who are scholar-practitioners contributing to the field through teaching, writing, research, and their own clinical practices.

“The MFT hybrid program is designed with a flexible combination of face-to-face, online, and intensives offered with the working professional in mind,” says Karen Quek, program director. “It includes online classes with classroom discussion, combining the convenience of online delivery with the supportive community of a classroom setting.”

Bethel Seminary’s Marital and Family Therapy Program

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