If religious affiliation is an important consideration for you, you have many options among the MFT master's program in California. We have grouped religiously affiliated programs into four loose categories--they are intended to give you a broad sense of where each program falls on the spectrum of faith but you are encouraged to investigate each program individually. Descriptions are quoted from each program's website.
(click the category name to jump to that section)
Programs that specifically articulate a mission to develop Christian therapists. Many include biblical/theological courses in the required curriculum.
Programs at Christian universities that uphold Christian values in their mission statements, but do not necessarily incorporate religious elements into the curriculum.
Programs not associated with a specific religious tradition but place an emphasis on the soul and/or spirituality.
Programs associated with Eastern religious traditions.
Boldly informed and motivated by the Christian faith, Bethel University educates and energizes men and women for excellence in leadership, scholarship, and service. We prepare graduates to serve in strategic capacities to renew minds, live out biblical truth, transform culture, and advance the Gospel. Our marital and family therapy program combines Christian theology with clinical practice and theory, so you're prepared to provide therapy to couples and families and bring hope to those who are hurting.
California Baptist University
Beyond meeting the basic academic requirements for licensure, the MS in Counseling Psychology Degree curriculum develops a thorough understanding of human behavior through the study of psychological theory and research as well as theology. Courses integrate clinical theory with issues of faith, exploring the application and relevance of theological concepts to counseling therapy. While incorporating individual beliefs and values, courses also encourage students to examine the intersection between their personal and professional lives. This inward examination coupled with rigorous clinical training develops counseling professionals who understand and uphold the highest standards and ethics.
Fresno Pacific University - Biblical Seminary
The intent of the marriage and family therapy (MFT) program is to prepare Christian counselors with the knowledge, skill, and insight to practice counseling in the church or in clinical settings. The curriculum encourages the integration of theology, theory, personal formation and professional practice.
Theologically diverse student body
MFT and ministry students integrated in foundational courses
Option to study in Israel each summer
10 units of courses in Biblical/Theological Studies required
Fuller Theological Seminary
The distinctiveness of the Marriage and Family Department goes beyond its commitment to excellence in training and scholarship. The faculty believe that the moral context of a Christian seminary is uniquely suited to the training of practitioners and academicians who will be committed to the vitality of family life. In this vein, the task of integrating faith with academic and clinical training is of central importance.
The Marriage and Family faculty view this integration as a life-long process. Coursework is intended to provide a foundation of experience, knowledge and skills, taught from a Christian perspective. Faculty encourage the integration of biblical, theological and philosophical perspectives as they communicate course material that reflects their own integrative efforts. They also seek to challenge students to begin to deal with the full range of human experience, to articulate a coherent system of values and beliefs, and to be agents of healing in the lives of individuals and their family relationships. It is expected that such foundations will guide graduates as they continue to develop in their various vocations as Christian family professionals.
As indicated above, training therapists with a Christian perspective on spiritual, moral, emotional, and relational wholeness, is a central objective of the marriage and family faculty. Therefore, the M.S. degree program requires course work in biblical studies, theology, and integration to equip future therapists with both the conceptual skill necessary to engage in interdisciplinary dialogue and the clinical skill necessary to provide integrative perspective in their work with individuals, couples, and families.
Reflected below are characteristics descriptive of HIS University graduates:
Competent Family Ministers and Missionaries with an understanding that all people are created in God’s image, and that His desire is that everyone belongs to His family. Graduate’s Christian worldview and concrete faith in God make them willing and capable in the ministry of restoring marriage and family relationships.
Professional Family Counselors who can efficiently cope with individual and family crisis and well trained to work within churches, schools, Christian and secular organizations.
Capable Family Educators with a strong biblical background who will train others in all stages of life.
Hope International University
Program is designed to integrate both theory and practice, grounded in Christian principles.
Loma Linda University
A Seventh-Day Adventist organization with a Christian environment emphasizing integrated learning and whole person care. Students must read and accept the Values and Lifestyle statement before applying.
Notre Dame de Namur University
A Christian MFT program. As a Catholic institution of higher learning, Notre Dame de Namur University draws its character from three sources:
the charism of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, with its spirit of goodness, justice, hope and service to humanity, which encourages us to provide access for the underserved in our society;
Catholic Social Teaching, which insists that human institutions and relationships be based on a recognition of the dignity of all human beings and demands social and economic justice for all; and
the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, which celebrates the compatibility of faith and reason and welcomes an open and free dialogue among persons of differing religious and intellectual traditions.
Point Loma Nazarene University
PLNU’s Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling (MACC) program applies faith-based principles to 21st century cultures and needs. PLNU’s experienced, working faculty-professionals integrate biblical principles, ethics, skills, and science, considering moral questions while linking hands-on training to cutting-edge research in holistic mind-body approaches.
IDENTITY: Simpson University, a school of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, is a Christ-centered learning community with an enduring commitment to world service and faith-infused education in profesional studies and liberal arts.
VISION: Simpson University's passion is to be the university of choice for students who aspire to achieve their chosen life goals through a Christ-led, transformational and innovative education.
MISSION: Simpson University is a Christ-centered learning community committed to developing each student in mind, faith and character for a lifetime of meaningful work and service in a constantly changing world.
Southern California Seminary
Southern California Seminary provides a trusted biblical foundation for the study of Masters and Doctoral level psychology. Education and training in preparation for practice as a Christian mental health clinician is based on the invariable truth of God’s Word and the existing body of knowledge and skills in the science of psychology. Each of these classes are taught by doctoral level professionals whom are dedicated to their professions and to the integration of the Scripture and psychology.
The Master of Science in Clinical Psychology program equips its students to serve with excellence as Christian mental health professionals by providing the highest quality of rigorous academic training, guided professional development, and integrative faith-based learning in a collaborative and supportive environment.
Emphasis placed on integration of Christianity and psychology.
Faculty are professionals committed to Christian excellence, spirituality and community.
Since this program is offered at a seminary, it requires biblical and theological studies in order to assist students as they integrate a Christian worldview with their counseling preparation.
Our classes are designed to help students integrate Christian Scripture and worldview with the latest psychological principals and techniques. We provide a Gospel-centered version of traditional counseling that trains students to help counselees explore areas of personal hurt and struggle so that the transformational love of Christ can shine through to every area of their lives.
Azusa Pacific University
Using a foundation in Christian faith, a systemic family psychology approach, and an integration of theories of psychotherapy, students explore personal, ethical, and social values as they prepare to serve the needs of their communities.
California Lutheran University
All are welcome. The Office of Mission & Identity provides a place at Cal Lutheran for people who are exploring and deepening faith, seeking to be God's hands in the world. We accompany and support people at the intersection of faith, life purpose, and service to others, because people who discover and follow their purpose can transform a community—and the world." (No mention of faith on graduate school section.)
Founded as Hesperian College in 1861 in Woodland, California by members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The Office of Church Relations is the living link between Chapman’s founding denomination - the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) - and the university. As a church related university, we represent the open spirit of Disciples that recognizes and affirms the integrity of all spiritual paths. Since 2010 we are also a recognized school of Disciples’ partner denomination, the United Church of Christ.
Dominican University of California
Dominican educates and prepares students to be ethical leaders and socially responsible global citizens who incorporate the Dominican values of study, reflection, community and service into their lives. The University is committed to diversity, sustainability and the integration of the liberal arts, the sciences and professional programs.
Holy Names University
Holy Names University, rooted in Catholic intellectual and spiritual traditions, empowers a diverse student body for leadership and service. Guided by the core values of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, HNU is a progressive, inclusive, and rigorous academic community offering a liberal arts and professional education. We prepare students to think critically and imaginatively, to understand and employ the various modes of knowledge, to communicate clearly and persuasively, and to promote the common good.
Loyola Marymount University
The University is institutionally committed to Roman Catholicism and takes its fundamental inspiration from the combined heritage of the Jesuits, the Marymount Sisters, and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange. This Catholic identity and religious heritage distinguish LMU from other universities and provide touchstones for understanding our threefold mission.
Mount St. Mary's University
The liberal arts tradition and the Catholic nature of the college give direction to Mount Saint Mary’s University and, as it is an integral part of the college, to the graduate division. Graduate programs flow from the college mission statement and presuppose the components of a liberal arts education, as is evident in the following objectives, developed by the Graduate Council for the teaching and preparation of students at the graduate level.
Pacific Oaks College
Informed by Quaker principles, Pacific Oaks Children’s School was built to bring an inclusive approach to early childhood education—teaching children to respect and embrace the differences that make others unique. Pacific Oaks College has expanded on this progressive approach to inform their approach to the fields of Early Childhood Education, Human Development, Cultural and Family Psychology, and Organizational Leadership. Guided by four core values—respect, diversity, social justice, and inclusion—Pacific Oaks College has helped graduates change the world.
With Christian values infusing all aspects of student life and administrative policy, Pepperdine has established an environment that assures both academic and personal betterment.
Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University abides by a Jesuit-inspired philosophy centered around developing the whole person, justice and service to people in need. The life of SCU is founded on challenging individuals to make a commitment towards personal growth in competence, conscience, and compassion. The counseling department is a leader in pursuit of this tradition. In addition to developing professional competence students are encouraged to take a sincere look at themselves in many different capacities.
St. Mary's College of California
To affirm and foster the Christian understanding of the human person which animates the educational mission of the Catholic Church.
Saint Mary's College holds that the mystery which inspires wonder about the nature of existence is revealed in the person of Jesus Christ giving a transcendent meaning to creation and human existence. Nourished by its Christian faith, the College understands the intellectual and spiritual journeys of the human person to be inextricably connected. It promotes the dialogue of faith and reason: it builds community among its members through the celebration of the church's sacramental life; it defends the goodness, dignity and freedom of each person, and fosters sensitivity to social and ethical concerns. Recognizing that all those who sincerely quest for truth contribute to and enhance its stature as a Catholic institution of higher learning, Saint Mary's welcomes members from its own and other traditions, inviting them to collaborate in fulfilling the spiritual mission of the College.
University of San Diego
USD embraces the inter-faith theme of the Second Vatican Council, which encouraged Catholic colleges and universities to "unite in a mutual sharing of effort," and welcomes students, faculty and staff of every faith tradition. In this religiously diverse environment, members of the USD community share their differing beliefs, both intellectually and spiritually, to the benefit of all, believing that a person's faith intensifies and deepens when enriched by understanding other religious traditions. This solidarity with others and their faith commitments grounds USD in its Catholic mission of education.
University of San Francisco
Jesuit tradition defines USF’s approach to learning and our commitment to welcoming students of every faith and no faith. Our vision and mission are the foundations of our university, and reflect the shared views of our institution.
California Institute for Human Science
● To Promote a Society which Enhances the Integration of Science and Religion
● To Understand Human Existence from the Total Perspective of Body, Mind and Spirit
● To Establish Guiding Principles for the Citizens of the Global Society
● To Establish Energy Medicine, which will Prevent Diseases and Promote Health
● To Elucidate the Mechanism of the Correlation Between Mind and Body, and to Actualize Mental Control over Body and Matter with a Resulting Better Life
● To Systematize Scientific and Objective Meditational Practices, which will Promote Spiritual Growth
● To Establish a Society which Satisfies both the Individuality (Freedom and Rights) and Sociality (Morality and Coexistence) of Human Existence
● To Establish a Creative Science which Researches the Mind and Soul as well as Matter
John F. Kennedy University
The Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology - Holistic degree program builds on the foundation of counseling theory and practice to add a holistic perspective that integrates body, mind, spirit, and culture into the curriculum.
IMAGINAL PSYCHOLOGY: AN INTEGRAL AND TRANSFORMATIVE ORIENTATION TO PSYCHOLOGY:
Imaginal psychology is a distinct integral transformative psychology. This orientation reclaims soul as psychology’s primary concern. The soul expresses itself in images. Care of the soul asks that we pay close attention to the images we inhabit. This orientation to psychology has its roots in the transformative practices that are at the core of many spiritual traditions and creative arts.
Pacifica Graduate Institute
The mission of Pacifica Graduate Institute is to foster creative learning and research in the fields of psychology and mythological studies, framed in the traditions of depth psychology. By creating an educational environment with a spirit of free and open inquiry, consistent with the recognized values of academic freedom, Pacifica is dedicated to cultivating and harvesting the gifts of the human imagination. So that these insights may influence the personal, cultural, and planetary concerns of our era, this dedication is contained in the motto: animae mundi colendae gratia – for the sake of tending soul in and of the world.
World University in Ojai
The mission of the World University is to expose its students to the many contributions in science, philosophy and religion in Eastern and Western cultures. The mission transcends the limited paradigms of race, nationality, gender, age and religion. Further, it wishes to provide a ladder of awareness by which the students may become aware of their own potential possibilities and advance towards the full realization of their latent abilities.
University of the West
Unique to UWest is a Multicultural Generalist focus, as well as a one-of-a-kind Buddhist Psychology track. In such a globally connected world, it has become imperative to train psychology professionals who are proficient in working with a wide variety of cultural identities. For this reason, the M.A. Psychology at UWest focuses on exploring both the Western and Eastern contributions to psychology.
What does it mean to attend a Buddhist University?
It means we take education of the whole person very seriously. You’ll be able to apply what you learn in the classroom to your real life and be part of a pioneering blend of Eastern and Western cultures. You’ll learn new ways of thinking, studying, playing and relaxing. And you’ll definitely see Buddhist monks and nuns in your classes.