About Us

Master of Marriage and Family Therapy

Our goal is to produce excellent, ethical and diversity-respecting marriage and family therapists ready for clinical practice or doctoral work. ACU’s M.M.F.T program prepares students for licensure, and graduates commonly pursue careers in private practices, churches, schools, adoption agencies, residential treatment centers and family service agencies.

Our goal is to produce excellent, ethical and diversity-respecting marriage and family therapists ready for clinical practice or doctoral work. ACU’s M.M.F.T program prepares students for licensure, and graduates commonly pursue careers in private practices, churches, schools, adoption agencies, residential treatment centers and family service agencies.

Main Content

Our Methods

After being carefully selected to embark on this two-year journey, you’ll explore theoretical and clinical methods for creating change with emphasis placed on relational, systemic, interactional, and contextual approaches for helping couples and families. Faculty foster a collaborative, student-centered learning environment for students to develop their knowledge and skills and to push their academic and spiritual boundaries.

Supervised Learning

We offer built-in clinical experience for our students through access to our on-site clinic, the Marriage and Family Institute, the largest health provider for low-income residents in Taylor County. The MFI offers a stair-stepped introduction to therapy that includes:

  • Observing 50 hours relational therapy
  • Co-therapy teams your first semester of clinical work
  • Experienced AAMFT Approved Supervisors
  • 10 therapy room, two-way mirrors, and cameras
  • Large and small therapy room and a play therapy room
  • 500 hour internship
  • Diverse populations and presenting issues

About MFI

Co-curricular Training

In addition to coursework and clinical hours, students can pursue additional trainings and certifications. Trainings offered are subject to change and availability.

  • Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT)
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Hypnosis 
  • Gottman Level 1
  • Gottman Level 2
  • Technology Assisted Therapy (TAS)

Meet the Program Director

Lisa Merchant

Dr. Lisa Merchant

Chair Department of Marriage and Family Studies
Director Marriage and Family Therapy program

Dr. Merchant is Chair of the Department of Marriage and Family Studies and Director of the Marriage and Family Therapy program at Abilene Christian University. Dr. Merchant graduated from ACU’s Masters of Marriage and Family Therapy program (’04) and earned her Doctorate of Marriage and Family Therapy at Texas Tech (’15). Dr. Merchant’s primary research interest is domestic violence and she facilitates a Batterer Intervention and Prevention Program where she teaches classes for men who have been arrested for domestic violence. Dr. Merchant also has a heart for marginalized communities and aspires to make mental and relationship health care accessible to all. She is also the Presiding Member of the Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists, which is the agency that licenses MFTs in Texas, and is the state delegate to the Association of Marriage and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards, which oversees the licensure examination.

Student Spotlight - Becca Trujillo

Becca Trujillo - ACU MFT program

I love the community in the MFT program. We are a group of students that are working towards a common goal of learning the necessary information to be amazing therapists. As a Latina student, I was reading the literature and realized that a lot of the cultural considerations in the literature were not as applicable as I wanted them to be. So I set out to add to the literature and learn more about what makes therapy helpful for Latino clients.

After graduation, I plan to serve my community as a bilingual therapist in Abilene for a few years and eventually go back to school to get my PhD and become a professor.

I am currently the TAMFT student association secretary, I am also the secretary for Delta Kappa, and I was selected to present at IFTA in Spain this next year.

Becca Trujillo

Fall 1Spring 1Summer 1Fall 2Spring 2Summer 2
Family TherapyDiagnosis and AssessmentFamily Life Cycle
(1 week)
Therapy Across Life SpanDiversityIntegration of Theology
(1 week)
Family TheoryResearch MethodsEthics (1 week)Family Therapy IISex TherapyInternship IV
(seeing clients)
Couples TherapyElectivesAddictionElective
Pre-InternshipInternship IInternship II
(seeing clients)
Internship III
(seeing clients)
Observe 50 therapy hoursStart Co-therapy

View MMFT Curriculum

Students will complete either a group or individual research project on topics of their choice and present their results at the Texas Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (TAMFT). Projects can be qualitative or quantitative. Current student research topics include:

  • Strong Black Woman narrative
  • Adoption reunification
  • Twenty-something’s friendship formation
  • Latino experiences of family therapy

100% of the 2019-2020 MMFT cohort passed the National Exam and found employment,
surpassing COAMFTE’s benchmark of a 70% pass rate for master’s programs.

  • Programs are only required to provide data on the past 10 years/cohort or since the program was initial accredited, whichever is shorter. 
  • Programs should report graduation rates for program’s Advertised Length of Completion which is how long the program is designed to complete as written.
  • Programs can enter graduation rates for program’s Maximum Length of Completion which is the maximum allowable time in which a student could finish the program
  • Masters and Doctoral programs are required to provide this information. Job Placement Rates by cohort is defined as the percentage of graduates from the cohort year listed that are employed utilizing skills learned in the COAMFTE accredited program. Job Placement rates are calculated using the following data:
    •  # of graduates that reported their employment status to the program 
    •  # of graduates, who entered in the year listed, that are employed utilizing skills learned in the COAMFTE accredited program
  • Master programs are required to provide this information. Doctoral and Post-Degree programs are encouraged to share this with the public. For Master’s programs only, COAMFTE has established a benchmark of 70% pass rate for each cohort. Programs in California can use the California Law and Ethics exam for MFTs to meet this requirement.

Take the Next Step

Where Students Connect

From the classroom to the clinic, our students are lighting the way for a new generation of marriage and family therapists. With access to clientele within our local community, our students move beyond theoretical study into face-to-face practice with real couples, individuals, and families with complex issues. Fuel your passion for serving others and burn brighter by earning your Master of Marriage and Family Therapy (MMFT) degree.

Reflecting current and future demand, the Bureau of Labor Statistics identifies a 22% increase for the number of marriage and family therapists needed through 2029.  

Counselor speaking with a client

Dual Language Opportunity

The need for Spanish-speaking therapists in Abilene is ever growing. Multilingual students will conduct therapy in our onsite clinic and serve our diverse population. Increase your employment marketability and earn a scholarship towards your degree by participating in our on-campus MMFT program.