The Marriage and Family program originated in the School of Theology in the early 70’s, offering both the Master of Arts in Theology and the Master of Divinity in Marriage and Family Ministries. Only the theology and ministry courses were offered on campus; clinical training in marital and family therapy was provided elsewhere. With the arrival of Dr. Dennis Guernsey in the late 70’s, the program began recruiting its own core faculty, and clinical courses began to be offered on campus. Changes in California licensure regulations precipitated the program’s move to the School of Psychology in 1987, and soon thereafter, the major degree offered by the department became the Master of Science in Marital and Family Therapy. The ministry vision of the original program, however, has remained constant. While Fuller’s Graduate School of Psychology seeks to plant the cross in the heart of psychology, the Marriage and Family Department has historically pursued a complementary vision: To plant psychology in the heart of ministry to family life.
In line with that historical tradition, the mission of the Department of Marriage and Family is to prepare men and women for service in the fields of marital and family therapy, family life education, and marriage and family studies. We offer an educational environment that fosters integrity and Christian vision. We prepare Christian men and women with clinical skills for licensure or professional certification as marital and family therapists, and provide the in-depth academic training needed to work with families in both clinical and non-clinical settings.