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Certificate in Couples and Family Therapy Studies

Certificate Program

 Certificate in Couple and Family Therapy Studies

  • Recognizes completion of 3 core and 3 elective courses within a 5 year period
  • Students are welcome to register and complete any of the elective courses offered yearly
  • All courses offered fit one of the 5 AAMFT categories for Educational Development: Studies, Therapy, Human Development, Professional Ethics, Research
  • Certificate applicants must hold a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in a related field
  • Students must achieve a passing grade of 70% in all courses to earn the certificate
  • Up to 2 courses may be taken outside of the Certificate Program for consideration as credit transfers
  • Completion of the OAMFT/University of Guelph Certificate does not imply clinical competence, nor does it ensure acceptance as a Clinical Fellow of the AAMFT.
  • Completion of these Open Learning courses does not imply acceptance or course equivalency in the graduate program in Couple and Family Therapy offered by the Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition, University of Guelph.
  • Students and Members are also welcome to participate in any of the other related therapy courses available through Open Learning.


Courses in the Certificate in Couple and Family Therapy Studies cover the theory, concepts, and approaches of couple and family therapy practice. These courses introduce the major theories and central concepts that form the foundations of couple, family and marriage therapy. They focus on the historical development of systemic therapy and introduce several models of therapy, such as: Cognitive-Behavioural, Experiential, Bowenian, Contextual, Structural, Strategic and many other models. A comparative analysis of the various models assists students in placing the various therapy tools into an integrated framework.

The courses are interactive and use a variety of teaching and learning processes, including: exercises, role-plays, assignments, research papers, group work and discussion, in order to effectively translate theories into practical methods for contemporary therapists. Participants should anticipate that many discussions and interactive methods will require reflection and sharing from personal experience with class members and the instructor.

The courses alone do not qualify one to become a couple and family therapist. It is strongly recommended that participants engage in their own program of clinical practice and supervision. Visit the OAMFT website for information about clinical supervision and clinical internship programs.

Key points:

  • All courses include 40 contact hours, typically scheduled over 8 hour days during the weekday and/or weekend(s).
  • Courses are developed to meet AAMFT requirements.
  • All courses are taught at the graduate level and students must earn 70% in each course to earn the certificate
  • All instructors are AAMFT Clinical Fellows and / or Approved Supervisors with significant agency and/or private practice experience.
  • Course formats typically include lecture, class discussion, small group work, role plays and video material
  • Course evaluation typically includes two or three assignments for grading and a final assignment. Assignments could include class presentations, group activities, case briefs and research papers.
  • Proper writing and referencing style is expected for all assignments. APA is the recommended style guide to use
  • Courses may have a required textbook.
  • Additional readings (required and/or supplementary) and viewings (e.g., videos) are provided to students electronically via the course website. typically two weeks in advance of the courses start date.
  • Pre-reading requirements will be confirmed upon registration, and within the course outline link in the confirmation letter.


Required textbooks will be listed on the course outline that is provided to registered students. All recommended textbooks can be purchased from the University of Guelph book store or ordered online through the University of Guelph Bookstore. Click on “Textbooks” and scroll down to “Couple and Family Therapy Studies” Select your course (coding will be on the course outline) and follow the payment instructions or confirmation letter. Textbooks can also be purchased through your favourite online bookstore.

Library Access

A library card is issued and access is granted upon course start date. Most university libraries, including the University of Guelph’s, provide open access to books and journals for in-library use. You may have alumni privileges through your alma mater university for borrowing.

English Proficiency

The Certificate courses are facilitated in English. In order to understand fully the course materials and increase your chance of success, we strongly suggest that you have an English proficiency equivalent to a score of 89 iBT (Internet-based TOEFL) with no band less than 21 or successful completion of the advanced level of the English Language Certificate Program at the University of Guelph.


Attendance is expected at all the scheduled classes. Courses are typically schedule over a combination of weekdays and weekends.  If you anticipate missing up to a maximum of 10% of class contact time, (4 hours) it is expected that you obtain permission from the Program Manager. If approved, a plan with additional or alternative assignment(s) will be put in place. If extenuating circumstances exist (e.g., illness), please contact the Assistant to the Director regarding Academic Consideration (See Academic ‘Consideration Policy’).


Each course will have at least two graded assignments. Due dates will be communicated by the instructor on the course outline. In the event that you are unable to meet an established deadline, discuss your situation with the instructor immediately, in advance of the due date, in order to negotiate an alternative deadline and procedures for submission.  Grades are posted in the Grade tab in the navbar of the course website. Final grades are obtained by students through their student portal.


Course are taught on the University of Guelph campus in Guelph or at University of Guelph-Humber in Toronto. Parking fees apply Monday to Friday from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm. Parking is free after 5:00 pm on weekdays, and during the weekends. The course confirmation letter will provide directions to the parking lots and payment information. Visit: