Marriage & Family Therapy, M.A.
As Spokane's only M.A. program dedicated solely to marriage and family therapy, Whitworth's Marriage & Family Therapy Program will equip you with the knowledge and skills to help people discover positive change in the midst of their personal struggles – in just 23 months.
- Exceptional job placements and national exam pass rates
- On-site clinical training at Whitworth's Marriage & Family Therapy Center
- Established relationships with off-site community clinical training locations
- Personalized help securing practicum placements, allowing students to focus on their studies
|Average Completion Time||23 months, full time
3 years, part time
|Class Format||In person; daytime and late afternoon classes|
|Cost Per Credit||$690* per credit (financial aid & scholarships available)|
|Application Deadline||Summer Term Start | Apply by Jan. 1 for early consideration
All applications should be submitted by Feb. 1.
Later applications are considered as program space allows.
*for the 2023-24 academic year
Clinical training equips you to provide systemic therapy to help individuals, couples, and families reconcile a wide range of issues and move toward wholeness. You'll gain clinical experience at both our on-site Marriage & Family Therapy Center and through local clinics and agencies, working under the close supervision of clinical faculty approved by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT).
Enhance Your Career Opportunities
Whitworth's Master of Arts in Marriage & Family Therapy Program gives you a strong foundation for licensure as a marriage and family therapist, providing you with the knowledge and experience to work with individuals, couples and families struggling with mental health and relationship issues. Licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFTs) work in agencies and organizations, as well as in independent and private practice. You'll launch your marriage and family therapist career with excellent preparation and practical experience.
"Employment of marriage and family therapists is expected to grow by 22 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations.” – Bureau of Labor Statistics
The M.A. in Marriage & Family Therapy Program is a 64-credit, full-time day program that begins each June. You'll move through the program with a group of colleagues as a cohort, taking each of the classes together in sequence. This provides an additional support system as you complete the program and can help establish your first network of professional colleagues.
During the first two semesters, students will be immersed in full-time coursework that provides an introduction to counseling and a foundation for the treatment of clients in a clinical setting. During the remainder of the program, students will split their time between taking classes and treating clients in both community and on-site clinics. In the final semester, students will complete a comprehensive examination that evaluates the student's mastery of concepts learned throughout the program so you'll be prepared for licensure as a marriage and family therapist.
- Required Core Courses – 18 credits
- Marriage & Family Therapy Courses – 33 credits
- Clinical Experience – 13 credits
For course descriptions and learning outcomes of this major, please view the course catalog.
Program Statistics and Information
- Program Mission, Goals & Student Learning Outcomes
- Student Handbook for Marriage & Family Therapy
- Graduate Achievement Data
|Completion Rate*||95 percent|
|On-Time Graduation Rate**||93 percent|
|Rate of Employment in the Profession***||97 percent|
|Pass Rate for Students Attempting the National MFT Exam****||100 percent|
*Percent of matriculated students who graduated with a MA in MFT
**Percent of graduates who graduated in the term they intended
***Percent of graduates who were employed after graduation in a position requiring licensure in one of the mental health professions
****Percent of graduates who passed the AMFTRB National MFT Exam on their first attempt
|Student Composition Data|
|American Indian/Alaska Native||2|
|Faculty & Supervisor Composition Data|
Program Core Faculty
Doug Jones, Ph.D., LMFT, LMHC, Associate Professor (Program Director)
Doug Jones is an AAMFT-approved supervisor who has been in counselor education and clinical practice for more than 20 years. He has worked in private practice and church-counseling settings. His areas of interest are integration of faith into practice and working with couples raising children with autism spectrum disorder diagnoses. Jones is an ordained minister and is actively engaged in missions work in South Asia. He serves as executive director of Northwest Connect, an outreach ministry serving low SES populations. He was recognized by the Washington Association for Marriage and Family Therapy as its Educator of the Year for 2015.
- B.S. in Business Administration/Accounting, San Diego State University, 1977
- M.Ed. in Human Development Counseling, Vanderbilt University, 1981
- M.A. in Marriage and Family Counseling, Southwestern Baptist Seminary, 1995
- M.A. in Religious Education, Southwestern Baptist Seminary, 1995
- Ph.D. in Psychology/Counseling, Southwestern Baptist Seminary, 1999
Bornell Nicholson, Ph.D., LMFT, Assistant Professor (Clinical Director)
Bornell Nicholson is a licensed marriage and family therapist and AAMFT Approved Supervisor. Nicholson works with individuals, couples, adults and families, with a clinical specialty of working with Black males and couples. He is a Clinical Fellow of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and a trained Prepare/Enrich Facilitator. He is certified in Narrative Focused Trauma Care Level I and domestic violence prevention. Nicholson has taught both at the undergraduate and graduate level. His areas of research include fatherhood, couples and faith integration. Nicholson has also written blogs on couples in conflict and men’s emotional health.
- B.A. in Psychology, Wheaton College, 2015
- M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy, Wheaton College, 2017
- Ph.D. in Health and Human Services: Emphasis in Couples and Family Therapy, Kansas State University, 2020
Horatius Gittens, Ph.D., Assistant Professor
Horatius Gittens is a graduate of Loma Linda University's (Calif.) COAMFTE Ph.D. program in marriage and family therapy. He has more than eight years of progressive experience in counseling and family therapy, with service in multiple clinical settings and a variety of modalities. Gittens' areas of therapeutic interest include couples' therapy, family therapy with traumatized children, and service to substance-abusing youth. He has served as an ordained minister of religion for more than 20 years and has done volunteer service in many inner-city communities around the country during that period. Gittens also has experience in research and teaching that includes his time as research-assistant supervisor for NIH grant-funded projects of Adventist Health Studies II (2007); his position as a researcher with Changing Health for Adult Men with New and Great Experiences (Project C.H.A.N.G.E); and his research activities dealing with prostate cancer screening issues with African-American families (2013-16).
- B.A. in Theology, University of the Southern Caribbean, 1980
- M.A. in Religion, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Mich., 1986
- M.B.A. in Master in Business Administration, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Mich., 1989
- M.A. in Psychology Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, Calif., 2008
- Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, Calif., 2015
Carrie Killinger, MA, LMFT, Lecturer
Carrie Killinger grew up in Spokane. She completed her undergraduate in social sciences at Washington State University and began volunteering as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) within the Spokane County Juvenile Courts, advocating for abused and neglected children. Killinger completed her master of arts in marriage & family therapy at Whitworth University. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist. Upon graduation, she opened a private practice, Mountain View Therapy in the north side of town, and also co-owns Inland Therapy Collective. Killinger is an AAMFT Supervisor Candidate and clinical supervisor for Whitworth University’s Marriage & Family Therapy Clinic. In her practice, she specializes in trauma-informed care including trauma-focused cognitive behavior therapy for children and Parent Child Interaction Therapy, cognitive processing therapy and recently completed level four of Lifespan Integration in preparation for certification. She is trained and uses Gottman and emotionally focused therapy with couples.
- B.A. in Social Science, Washington State University, 2010
- M.A. in Marriage & Family Therapy, Whitworth University, 2017
From time to time, Whitworth hires faculty members from the professional community to teach courses in their areas of expertise. Some of the courses taught by these individuals include Therapy with Children and Their Families, Therapy with Adolescents and Their Families, and Introduction to Chemical Dependency. Most adjunct faculty serve as clinical directors or senior clinicians in such agencies as Lutheran Community Services and Excelsior Youth Center.
Students in the MFT Program complete their internship through experiences at both the Whitworth MFT Center and clinical sites in the community. Supervision at the Whitworth MFT Center is provided by AAMFT-approved supervisors or supervisors in training. Supervision at community sites is provided by licensed practitioners. When possible, Whitworth attempts to match students with sites supervised by licensed MFTs. When that is not possible, supervisors licensed as mental health counselors or social workers are used.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to have a bachelor's degree in a specific area to be accepted into the program?
There is no required major for those entering the MFT Program. Prior to admission all students must have completed a course in both abnormal psychology and statistics.
When does the program begin and end?
The MFT Program begins in June and ends 23 months later.
When are applications due?
For early consideration, complete applications to Whitworth's master's in counseling and therapy programs should be submitted no later than Jan. 1. All other applications should be submitted by Feb. 1. Interviews for the program will be offered in February and March; admission decisions will be made in late March. If space allows, strong applications may be considered after this time.
Do I need to take the GRE?
We do not require GRE scores for admission for students with an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. If you have an undergraduate GPA below 3.0, you will need to submit official GRE scores or provide an analytical essay.
Can I transfer coursework from a different program?
Up to six credits of approved coursework may be transferred. In the instance that a previously completed course is the same in content and structure, students may petition to be excused from the course at Whitworth.
What kinds of employment opportunities can I anticipate once I graduate?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for marriage and family therapist careers is expected to grow much faster through 2020 than the average for all occupations. In fact, BLS estimated that from 2010-20 there will be a 41 percent increase in positions for marriage and family therapists.
What is a typical class schedule?
Classes are scheduled for any combination of days between Monday and Thursday. Students will be meeting with clients in the evenings during their practicum and internship.
Is there a part-time option?
Students can take coursework part time. However, students should be prepared to transition to full-time status when they begin their clinical obligations.