Popular Accredited Marriage and Family Therapy Programs in Michigan [2024 Guide]

As a resident of Michigan seeking to start a career in marriage and family therapy, you have plenty of choices for getting the necessary education. Michigan’s higher education system includes well-known public universities, small private colleges, and online learning options as well. This variety makes it easier for you to find a program that fits your unique needs.

Below is a list of some of the popular marriage and family graduate programs available to you. Some are on-campus degrees at Michigan-based schools. Others are online programs that offer added flexibility for completing your degree. No matter which of these options you select, you can look forward to a program that helps you build the knowledge and skills necessary to be a competent marriage and family therapist.

Best Accredited Marriage and Family Therapy Programs in Michigan Online

Marriage and Family Therapy Programs in Michigan

Listed below are some of the popular schools offering marriage and family therapy programs in Michigan:

  • Michigan State University
  • Western Michigan University
  • Cornerstone University
  • Capella University
  • Touro University Worldwide
  • Northwestern University
  • Grand Canyon University

Michigan State University

Ph.D. in Couple and Marriage Therapy

The Ph.D. in Couple and Marriage Therapy at Michigan State University began in 1985. In the years since, the program has graduated hundreds of practitioners with training to provide clinical services to clients. But this program doesn’t just focus on clinical training. Instead, you’ll gain insights into educational and research practices in this field in preparation for careers in academics and human services research.

The program’s curriculum is divided into three components: core department requirements, core couple and family therapy requirements, and clinical requirements. The core department requirements are the largest component of the program, with 48 credit hours required. By and large, the core courses focus on methodology and statistics. For example, you’ll take classes such as:

  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Grant Writing in Human Development and Family Studies
  • Research Design and Measurement
  • Quantitative Methods in Human Development and Family Studies
  • Applied Multivariate Data Analysis

The core sequence of courses also includes studies in Intervention Research and Contemporary Scholarship in Human Development and Family Studies. Doctoral dissertation credits are also included in the core component.

The couple and family therapy requirements focus your attention on developing high-level counseling skills. For example, you’ll take a three-credit class in Contemporary Couple and Family Therapy Theories. You’ll also complete a class in Evidence-Based Couple and Family Therapy Intervention programs. Other classes include:

  • Diverse Families and Communities: Intervention Strategies
  • Advanced Evidence-Based Couple Therapy
  • Outcome Research: What works in CFT Theories

Couple and family therapy supervision hours are included in this part of the degree as well.

Lastly, you’ll take part in a Marriage and Family Therapy internship, during which time you must complete at least 1,000 hours of direct contact time with real-world clients. These hours can be accrued during the pre-doctoral and doctoral phases of your training. Hours you haven’t already earned can be gained working at the Couple and Family Therapy Clinic at the Michigan State University Clinical Center. Each session you have with clients is recorded for supervisory purposes.

In all, the program requires you to complete 69 credits, including at least 24 dissertation credits and three credits of internship. Comprehensive examinations are also required. Most students need around four years to finish this program.

Broadly speaking, your tenure in this program includes training in relational processes, intervention training based on empirical research, and clinical research. As a result, you’ll emerge from the program as a well-rounded scientist-practitioner ready to make a positive impact in the lives of others. The program’s focus on diversity, social justice, and inclusion also sees to that.

You must meet the following criteria to apply:

  • A master’s degree from an accredited college or university
  • Submit all documentation required by the department and program
  • Participate in a personal interview with department faculty

Western Michigan University

Master of Arts in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling

Western Michigan University offers a Master of Arts in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling that’s available either on campus in Kalamazoo or as a hybrid in-person and online program in Grand Rapids. Both locations offer the same 61-credit degree, which can lead to licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), or both.

The program’s curriculum includes foundational core coursework, training in family and couples counseling, and a supervised clinical practice component. Nearly half of the 61 credits needed for graduation fall into the first category of core foundational courses. These classes provide you with a broad basis for understanding marriage and family theories and techniques. For example, you’ll take classes such as:

  • Group Dynamics and Procedures
  • Professional Issues and Ethics
  • Tests and Measurements
  • Counseling and Lifespan Development
  • Theories of Counseling

This segment of the program also includes training in empirically-based research methods, multicultural counseling, and career development, specifically with regard to theory and practice. You’ll participate in psychoeducational consultation, too.

Your marriage, couple, and family therapy training includes a sequence of 21 credits focusing on specific tenets of counseling. This includes courses in psychopathology, systemic family therapy, and couples therapy. Courses in family therapy and sex therapy are also required. You have your pick of taking two of the following four courses as well:

  • Seminar on Families and Family Therapy
  • Gender, Culture, and Families
  • Adult/Child Relationships
  • Studies in Family Relationships

The final ten hours required to graduate include a four-credit counseling practicum and two three-credit internship experiences. The practicum takes place at onsite clinics in Kalamazoo or Grand Rapids. The university has partnerships with offsite counseling centers in both cities as well.

The professional training component is essential in your development as a marriage and family counselor. Whether you conduct your training on-campus or offsite, your work will be supervised by a licensed counselor who provides you with mentorship and feedback. The guidance of your supervisor ensures you enhance your skills while providing course corrections when needed to improve your delivery of services to those in need.

The professional training includes the following requirements:

  • 10 hours or more of group counseling
  • 25 hours or more of practicum field experience, including 10 hours of group leadership
  • 100 hours of field experience during the counseling practicum, including 60 indirect and 40 direct client contact hours
  • 300 hours of experience in each internship course, including 120 direct client contact hours
  • Participation in 1.5 hours of weekly group internship supervision with faculty members and one hour of weekly supervision onsite at the internship location

If you wish to pursue licensure as an LMFT in Michigan, you must complete an eight-month internship placement with 300 hours or more of direct client contact time. This includes 150 hours of direct contact time with couples and families.

You must complete the following steps when applying:

  • Complete an application for graduate admission
  • Submit official transcripts from every college and university you’ve attended
  • Provide three letters of recommendation

Your application materials must be received by January 15th for summer and fall admission. The application deadline for spring admission is September 15th.

Cornerstone University

Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

The 60-credit Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Cornerstone University offers the flexibility of being an online program. The flexibility doesn’t end there, though. You can choose from several concentration areas (including marriage and family therapy) and a dual-license track is available, too. The dual track prepares you to become an LPC and LMFT.

The main focus of this program is to help you develop the skills required to provide counseling services to a wide range of clients. To do so, you’ll take courses in Clinical Assessments, Counseling Techniques, and Counseling Theories. Likewise, you’re required to take classes like:

  • Introduction to Counseling and Professional Development
  • Counseling Ethics and Issues
  • Social and Cultural Foundations in Counseling
  • Group Techniques
  • Human Growth and Development

This program provides ample opportunities to gain skills in highly specific areas, too. For example, you’ll take a course in Trauma-Informed Advocacy and Crisis Intervention as well as a course in Psychopharmacology and Neuroscience in Counseling. Addictions Counseling, Technology-Assisted Counseling, and Treatment of Mental and Emotional Disorders are also required classes.

The clinical training component includes a practicum and two internship experiences. The practicum is fieldwork in which you get initial experience working with clients. It’s a supervised experience, during which you will observe your supervisor working with clients and take part in supervision and consultation to guide and direct your development as a practitioner. The practicum requires you to complete 100 hours, 40 of which must be in direct contact with clients.

The two internship experiences build on the practicum and require you to take the lead in providing therapy to clients. You’ll work on clinical assessments, interviewing clients, case conceptualization, and documentation procedures. You’ll also gain experience working with couples, families, and individuals. You’re required to complete 600 clinical hours, 240 of which must be direct client contact hours.

This program requires you to participate in two on-campus residencies, too. This component ensures you have the opportunity to practice your burgeoning counseling skills in a supportive peer environment. The on-campus residency also enables you to work closely with the program faculty to enhance your skill set before embarking on the practicum and internship experiences described above.

If you wish to pursue dual licensure as an LPC and LMFT, you must complete an additional 15 credits of training. This includes coursework in the following:

  • Child and Adolescent Counseling
  • Advanced Marriage and Couples Therapy: Assessment, Skills, and Practice
  • Advanced Family Therapy: Assessment, Skills, and Practice

Likewise, a third and fourth internship experience are required to gain couple and family therapy-specific training.

Eligibility for the program requires that you meet the following criteria:

  • Submit an application for admission
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree
  • Have a 2.7 cumulative undergraduate GPA or higher
  • Submit a resume
  • Submit official transcripts from every college or university you’ve attended
  • Provide three letters of reference
  • Participate in an interview with departmental faculty

Once admitted, you must maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher to remain in the program.

Capella University

Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy

Capella University’s online Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy is a COAMFTE-accredited program that includes 16 graduate-level courses and two in-person residencies. This allows you to complete the bulk of the program remotely while still getting valuable in-person training. The program also includes internship requirements for additional clinical training experience.

This 72-credit program includes foundational coursework focusing on therapeutic training and professional skills. For example, you’ll take courses like Foundations of Couple and Family Therapy, Working with Families Across the Lifespan, and Couple and Marital Therapy. Furthermore, you’ll take courses focusing on specific couple and family issues, such as:

  • Impact of Addiction and Addictive Behavior on Family Systems
  • Systemic Approaches to Gender and Sexuality
  • Psychopathology: Diagnosis and Treatment of Behavior Disorders
  • Diversity and Social Justice in Systemic Family Therapy
  • Systemic and Group Interventions for Grief, Loss, and Trauma

Other courses focus on research, professional ethics, and systemic family therapy. In fact, you’ll take no less than six systemic-related courses in the foundational phase of the program.

The two residencies mentioned earlier further emphasize competency in using systemic techniques. In the first residency, you’ll learn how to build therapeutic relationships with clients, how to conduct sessions with couples and families, and how to use the systemic point of view of case conceptualization. Other competencies covered in the residencies include crisis intervention, ethics, assessment, and clinical disposition and identity.

The second residency has a different focus. This time, you’ll gain advanced skills in family and marriage therapy, including those related to working with groups, maintaining therapeutic relationships, and assessing your ethical principles regarding your work with couples, families, and individuals.

The final component of this program is the internship fieldwork. As per COAMFTE standards, you must complete at least 300 direct client contact hours with clients during your internship, which spans four different two-credit experiences. At least 100 of the 300 hours you complete must be relational, though you will also spend time learning about interventions, assessments and interviewing, clinical skills, and proper clinical documentation, among other necessary tasks.

You have the freedom to choose where you complete your internship hours (though Capella University must approve of the site). This opens many doors for you to gain relevant experience in a host of settings, from community mental health centers to residential treatment facilities to hospitals.

The format of this program is what Capella University calls GuidedPath. It’s a structured, online format in which you learn in an active peer community and have opportunities to engage with the faculty for a deeper level of guidance. Essentially, the program sets the schedule, and you’re responsible for meeting the deadlines along the way.

The program follows the quarter system, so you’ll take anywhere from one to three classes during each ten-week quarter. You’ll have weekly class assignments and online discussions with your classmates and professors, which are supplemented by the residencies and fieldwork discussed earlier.

You can apply to Capella University online at any time. You must meet the following criteria to apply:

  • Hold an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university
  • Submit official transcripts showing you’ve earned a bachelor’s degree with a 2.7 GPA or higher
  • Provide official transcripts from every college or university you’ve attended
  • Submit a resume or curriculum vitae
  • Submit a 3-6 page essay
  • Provide two letters of recommendation

Touro University Worldwide

Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy

Yet another online program you might consider is the Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy from Touro University Worldwide. This COAMFTE-accredited degree includes a total of 72 credits, 54 of which are coursework and 18 of which comprise six practicum experiences.

The curriculum is typical of COAMFTE-accredited programs. You must complete foundational coursework, specialist coursework, and field learning to graduate and qualify for licensure as an LMFT (courses are 100 percent online and last for eight weeks). Foundational coursework includes classes like the following:

  • Contemporary Issues in Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Child-Focused Family Therapy
  • Development Within the Family Life Cycle
  • Adolescent-Focused Family Therapy
  • Ethics and Law for Marriage and Family Therapy

General courses are also part of the foundational component. For example, you’ll take a Psychopharmacology class, a course in Human Communication, and a Group Counseling course, too. Classes in Multicultural Counseling, Human Sexuality, and Aging and Illness are also part of the curriculum.

As a result of your coursework, you’ll gain competency related to treating couples, families, and individuals. You’ll also be able to use the systems perspective to help your clients address common day-to-day problems as well as mental health issues, difficulties with family dynamics, and family relationships.

The six practicum experiences puts you in a real-world counseling situation in which you practice systems-informed family therapy. You’ll do so under the supervision of a licensed therapist, who observes and guides your work. You’ll also have opportunities to observe other therapists in training – a process in which you will provide feedback to them and receive feedback on your skills as well.

Supervision is an important element of the practicum, too. You’ll participate in 100 supervision hours at your field placement site as well as in a live classroom setting with your professors. By the end of the practicum, you’ll have accrued one year of experience and 300 hours of direct client contact time, including at least 100 hours of direct contact time with clients in a couple or family therapy setting.

Unlike some marriage and family programs, this one also requires you to complete a capstone experience. This course is completed at the end of the program, and serves as an opportunity to complete a case assignment. The purpose of this activity is to help you enhance your proficiency as a marriage and family therapist. It also helps you prepare for your clinical work and licensure examination.

Upon completing this degree, you’ll be eligible to pursue licensure, after which point you can explore any number of career options. These include:

  • Marriage and Family Therapist
  • Child and Adolescent Therapist
  • Couples Therapist
  • Addiction Counselor
  • Community Mental Health Counselor

The admissions requirements are as follows:

  • Submit an application for admission
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a 2.5 cumulative undergraduate GPA or higher. Alternatively, you can transfer to this program from another graduate program, provided you’re in good academic standing and have a 2.75 GPA in your graduate work. Touro University Worldwide allows for up to 12 transfer credits to apply to the requirements for graduating with this degree.
  • Submit official transcripts from every college or university you’ve attended

How Do I Become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Michigan?

To become a licensed marriage and family therapist in Michigan, you must complete the following steps:

  • Education: Obtain a master’s or doctoral degree in marriage and family therapy from an accredited program. Your degree must include a supervised practicum, with a minimum of 300 hours of direct client contact.
  • Examination: Pass the national examination for marriage and family therapy, administered by the Association of Marital & Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB).
  • Supervised Experience: Complete a minimum of 1,000 hours of direct client contact after earning your degree, under the supervision of a licensed MFT. If these hours are accrued in Michigan, you should obtain an educational limited license during this period. This requirements does not apply to individuals who have earned a doctoral degree from a COAMFTE-accredited program.
  • Application: Submit an application for licensure to the Michigan Board of Marriage and Family Therapy, including verification of education and supervised experience, along with the required fees.
  • Background Check: Successfully pass a criminal background check.
  • Continuing Education: Michigan does not require continuing education credits. However, you still need to renew your license biannually.

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