Certificate in Families and Disability​

The Certificate in Families with Disability is designed for post-degree professionals seeking information on the ethical and effective treatment of families and individuals impacted by a disability. The certificate consists of three courses and will be offered starting Summer 2024.

Each course is an 8-week class. MFT 551 and 553 will begin May 8th and end July 2nd. MFT 555 will begin July 3rd and end August 27th. These classes will be non-credit bearing BUT will provide 90 CEUs for mental health clinicians. In addition, the entire certificate costs $1200 and will enable learners to effectively treat families and individuals with a physical, intellectual, or developmental disability.

The courses are offered in an online asynchronous format, providing the opportunity for both matriculated and non-matriculated, national and international students to participate. While successful completion of all three courses is required to receive the certification, courses will be stand-alone, allowing students to choose to take one, two, or all three courses.

Each 8-week course provides 30 continuing education units.

The courses will be taught from a family systems and biblical worldview. Upon completion of the certificate, participants will be able to:

  • List diagnostic criteria for several physical, developmental, and intellectual disabilities.
  • Apply a biblical and systemic worldview to the treatment of individuals and families with a disability.
  • Describe common challenges, strengths, and growth areas of individuals and families with a disability.
  • Provide reliable and valid therapeutic assessments to individuals, couples, and families with a disability.
  • Compare and contrast individual and systemic forms of treatment for individuals with a disability.
  • Describe the experiences of families living with a disability while attending church services and other church functions.
  • Provide religious coping and other resources for families living with a disability.

 Course Descriptions

MFT 551 Introduction to Families with Disabilities: This course reviews the diagnosis criteria for physical, developmental, and intellectual disabilities. The challenges, growth areas, and strengths of individuals living with a disability will be reviewed. Students will learn the impact a disability can have on individuals and how each member within the family is uniquely impacted by the diagnosis. How families with a disability are impacted by society, culture, and their community will also be reviewed. Finally, this course will review how marriage and family therapists can support the mental health treatment of the individual and family facing a disability. (30 CEUs)

Prerequisites: None

MFT 553 Disability and Family Therapy: This course provides students with skills and ability to therapeutically treat individuals and families living with a physical, developmental, and intellectual disability. The systemic models that will be highlighted in this course include Narrative, Solution-Focused Brief Therapy, Play therapy, and Structural Family Therapy. Students will also learn how to create a therapeutic environment for treating individuals facing disabilities. (30 CEUs)

Prerequisites: none

MFT 555 Marriage and Family Therapy, Counseling, and the Church: Students will understand how individuals and families experience their faith and church community while facing a disability. This course will also focus on adaptive and maladaptive forms of religious coping commonly used by individuals and families. The final aspect of this course will describe how MFT’s can collaborate with churches to support and empower families.  (30 CEUs)

Prerequisites: none


*Acknowledgment that the certificate will be taught based on an orthodox Christian theology, including a traditional Christian understanding of family, marriage, gender, and sexuality.

*Although this certificate is offered from a Christian institution, learners are not required to sign our statement of faith. However, they should be aware that courses will be taught from a Christian perspective. 

Certificate in Families and Disability


School of Graduate Studies

Arizona Christian University
Building 3000
1 W. Firestorm Way
Glendale, AZ 85306

(602) 489-5300

[email protected]