DMin Academic Catalog: Seminars in the Marriage and Family Counseling Track
Students normally begin with an introductory seminar in July. It is possible, however, to begin in January. Students take one one-week seminar in July and one in January for three and one-half years to complete their seminars (which can be reduced to two and one-half if two seminars are taken together the two times that is possible).
The students in the Marriage and Family Counseling program grow professionally, personally, spiritually and relationally. They learn how to put in place an effective marriage and family counseling program which will benefit their church, themselves, their marriage and the wider community. The following are some specific benefits the students have affirmed.
- The students learn how to integrate counseling principles with scriptural principles so that their counseling can be biblically sound.
- The students learn how to implement an effective prevention program for reducing family problems and developing strong families.
- The students learn to develop a policy procedure for effective pre-marital counseling.
- The students learn how to have a greater impact on the community through a more comprehensive program that produces practical results.
- The students learn to work from a systematic approach to marriage and family counseling which is more effective and works more quickly.
- The students learn solution based brief therapy which can bring about positive changes in fewer sessions. They also learn a number of other approaches to use in counseling.
- The students learn how to shape the counseling load so as not to be overwhelmed with counseling.
- The students are better able to know when to make a referral for more serious problems, and learn an effective procedure for signing a release in order to be a part of the treatment team as pastor and not as therapist.
- The students have 30 hours of supervision (by an AAMFT approved supervisor) for their required 300 hours of client counseling which will shape counseling techniques and personal understanding for a lifetime of ministry.
- The students are challenged in spiritual formation and to develop a plan for stronger personal relationships.
- The students interact with persons from diverse background which helps them in self understanding.
- The students learn the strengths and limitations for personal ministry which came from their family of origin.
- The students read, write and reflect on their own marriage to grow in this area of their lives.
Students interested in licensure as marriage and family therapists should check with their state licensing board to see what is required for licensure and compare it to our program. Completing our program would take students in some states fairly close to licensing requirements. In many states, however, students would still have many more requirements to meet.
DMF-821 Systems Theory in Family Contexts (3 hours)
This introductory seminar helps students understand and treat marriages and families. Integrated with biblical and theological perspectives, it teaches systems theory as it applies to traditional and alternative family structures and various presenting problems. Models taught integrate information on family, marital, sibling, and individual subsystems and the systemic influences on them, particularly from family of origin and society.
DMF-822 Healthy Sexuality and Sexual Addictions (3 hours)
This foundational study of both healthy and maladaptive human sexuality includes biological, psychological, sociological and familial perspectives. Marriage and family therapy theory and practice address issues of gender and sexual functioning, sexual orientation, and sex therapy. Issues include biblical principles and perspectives, socio-cultural values and norms, sexual identity, sexual behavior, sexual disorders, sexual addictions, and resources for treatment.
DMF-823 Societal and Cultural Dynamics of Marriage and Family (3 hours)
Developmental and systems theories integrate personality development across the life span with biblical perspectives. Individual and family life cycle tasks and potential problems in each of the developmental stages are studied. Development is addressed within the context of diversity and discrimination, disenfranchisement and oppression, and contemporary family issues, including changing family forms and dynamics. Also considered are issues related to assessment and intervention sensitive to the unique needs of clients. The integration of biblical and theological perspectives on human development and social/cultural perspectives on diversity and social justice will be addressed.
DMF-824 Psychopathology and Intervening in Family Crises (3 hours)
The focus of this course is on unhealthy or abnormal development of the individual personality, marital relationships and families. The integration of the theological themes of sin and grace will be central. Multi‑generational problems of dysfunctional family systems, including alcohol and/or drug abuse, physical abuse, incest, mental illness and other disorders, will be considered. The assessment and treatment of individual and systemic problems will be studied, including the use of assessment tools to assist in understanding and diagnosing disorders (DSM IV-TR). Included will be a discussion of the use and potential misuse of psycho-pharmacology.
DMF-825 Building Strong Marriages and Families
Preventive efforts aimed at developing strong marriage and family ministries that are consistent with developmental and systemic principles, and integrated with a biblical theology of marriage and family, is the focus of this course. Emerging from efforts to help individuals, couples and congregations to understand their existing strengths and identify growth areas, students will develop a contextualized three‑year program for helping their congregations build strong marriages and healthy relationships. Training in specific relationship assessments is included. Spouses of married students are especially encouraged to attend this seminar.
DMF-826 Relational Therapies (3 hours)
This course provides an overview of the various approaches to marriage and family therapy, particularly those that utilize a systems perspective of relationships. These approaches to intervention address a broad range of relationship issues and relationship types. They also provide a rationale and resources for the development of a pre-marital counseling program. Biblical perspectives on relational problems and their resolution within relational contexts of social and extended family networks are considered. Various assessment tools are taught.
DMF-827 Ethical and Professional Issues in MFC (3 hours)
Biblical, ethical and professional issues in marriage and family therapy are related to licensure or certification legislation, legal responsibilities and liabilities, malpractice, ethics and family law. This includes the scope of practice, confidentiality and mandated reporting, understanding how values impact practice, professional supervision, referral, continuing education, and the unique challenges of a church affiliated ministry. The person of the counselor, personal development, and spiritual formation are considered in the context of professional development.
DMF-828 Residency (2 hours)
The residency is a supervised evaluation of students’ counseling. It includes a review of their contract hours, the composition of their caseloads, additional related clinical experience, evaluations from other supervisors, review of video samples including case notes, and development of a plan for ongoing professional growth.
DMF-890 Independent Study in Marriage and Family Counseling
An independent study in Marriage and Family Counseling may be arranged with an appropriate professor with the approval of the D.Min. Director. Since all DMF seminars are required, this would normally increase the number of hours for the program. It is possible, however, that this might substitute for a required seminar.
DMR-801 Research Methods and Strategies - Developing Ministry through Research (3 hours)
This seminar is designed to assist students in developing their D.Min. project and thesis. It will assist students in developing the project title paper and proposal, finding and evaluating available resources, designing the project, evaluating the results, and writing the thesis. The development of the thesis will be presented and its various chapters explained. Topics include quantitative and qualitative research, sampling, library research, developing operational definitions and instructional objectives, administering tests, conducting surveys, and guidelines for writing. This course must be taken as one of the last two seminars.
DMM-801 Effective Mentoring Relationships (1 hour)
This one-year of mentoring begins with an 8-week online course designed to assist students and their mentors in developing a biblical and theological framework for personal development in a mentored relationship. Through the mentored ministry experience the student learns how to grow in the context of community as well as develop a strategy for mentoring others.
DMF 851 Marriage Enrichment Seminar (no credit)
All married students and their spouses must attend a three-day and two-night marriage enrichment seminar. This is required even if the student has been leading such seminars. Those who lead these seminars do not receive the benefits with their spouse that those attending do. The seminar must be approved by the D.Min. office.
(for Project & Thesis registration see DMR - Research Courses.)