Residential: Sioux Falls
The two-year Master of Arts in Counseling program integrates theological education with systemic approaches to understanding and intervening in people's lives. It allows students maximum flexibility in tailoring their programs to fit their own interests and career goals. With specific advising, it may equip the student with many of the course requirements leading toward a career in marriage and family therapy. At the same time, it is versatile enough to provide the basic relational and counseling skills necessary to prepare students for such ministries as pastoral care, campus ministry, or community-based family services. It can also equip established professionals to work more effectively with families in their current settings.
The Master of Arts in Counseling degree program will equip students with a biblical foundation and a meaningful Christian philosophy coupled with therapeutic skills. Students will develop the following:
- Ability to conceptualize human problems within a family systems framework, well integrated with a Christian understanding of biblical truth;
- Increased professional skills of assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of human problems within this same systemic structure;
Awareness, attitudes, and therapy skills necessary to function as an informed practitioner in various church and social settings.
Supervised Clinical Experience
The Master of Arts in Counseling degree program has a strong supervised clinical component. Supervised therapy is focused on the skill and techniques required in the practice of professional therapy with individuals, couples, and families. All students in the program are required to take at least three semesters/summers of supervised therapy in the Seminary's on-site Marriage and Family Therapy Clinic. This supervision is provided by American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) Approved Supervisors or Supervisors-in-Training. Students who wish to do so may elect to take a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education instead of a fourth semester of Supervised Therapy. This option is highly recommended for persons who want to enhance their pastoral care skills. The focus of CPE is on the personal identity and growth of the caregiver as they work in a variety of clinical settings. These settings can include, but are not limited to, a hospital, nursing home, college campus, local church, or an alternative high school.
Licensure and Credentialing
Depending on his/her career goals, a student might choose to fulfill many of the academic requirements for licensure as a marriage and family therapist (LMFT), and then complete the necessary clinical contact, supervision hours, and licensing examination as a postgraduate. Laws and rules regulating licensure are established by the various states and provinces. Credentialing requirements are established by various professional organizations. Students have the responsibility to obtain advisement and information from the states/provinces where they seek licensure and from organizations in which they seek membership and credentials as therapists or caregivers. Faculty advisement is available in these areas.
Requirements for Graduation
- Satisfactory completion of 62 semester hours including 4 or 5 hours of supervised experience (Clinical Pastoral Education or Supervised Therapy).
- Maintenance of a 2.25 grade point average.
Recommendation of faculty.