DMin Marriage and Family Counseling (DMF)
Our program increases students’ effectiveness as marriage and family counselors. They learn to multiply themselves in Christian and non-Christian settings through teaching, training, mentoring and discipling others and establishing a variety of programs to further healthy marriages and families.
Use What You’ve Got
Our program emphasizes that at any point in life, we’ve got to use what we’ve got. Counselors must learn to ask themselves:
“How can I use what I’ve got?” rather than,
“How can I be what I’m not?”
Counselors must also ask their clients:
“How can they use what they’ve got?” rather than,
“How can they be what they’re not?”
Counselors don’t help people reinvent themselves. They help them grow, develop and mature into the people God made them to be. People can grow in their thinking and actions to cope with reality as it is, not as they incorrectly perceive it to be.
Of course, no one sees reality perfectly. But the more accurately people perceive who they are, how they impact others, and what others are really like, the better they are able to navigate the rapids of relationships and fulfill their God-given purpose.
In the Time You’ve Got
Our program addresses the reality of time constraints. Counselors have limited time with clients to help them see and address issues in their life. Every minute counts.
We teach a number of counseling approaches so students have many different tools in their therapeutic tool-kit to use in various situations. One approach will not work in every situation. Time is saved and more people are helped by approaching the situation with the right tool.
We also teach growth-focused brief therapy and a strengths-based approach. Brief therapy is sensitive to the problems people want to deal with but focuses on the clients’ solution-generating abilities that help them grow. Agreed upon assignments that clients carry out enable them to personally work on the problem.
A strengths-based approach helps people work on their problems using their strengths rather than doing remedial work focusing on their weaknesses. They learn to use their strengths to address weaknesses. They use what they’ve got to grow.
With the Word You’ve Got
Strengths can be used to address problems if we’re open about the problems. 1 John 1:7 states, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin” (NIV). Walking in the light means allowing ourselves to be seen—what is good, but also what is sin. When others can see and accept who I am, I’m free to be me and to use what I’ve got. And when we fail, Jesus “purifies us from all sin.”
That passage from God’s Word further states that when we allow ourselves to be fully seen, “we have fellowship with one another.” Fellowship involves close mutual relationships and personal involvement which only happens when we allow ourselves to be seen.
Clients with a balanced and biblical view of themselves (their problems, but also their strengths) can use their strengths plus the community and relational resources beyond themselves, the greatest of which is God. They use what they’ve got and discover they have more than they thought.
People have resources for their problems. Helping them see those resources gives them hope, which enables them to grow.