Sign Up for Email Updates
View Scheduled Timetable

A woman with a yellow sweater and glasses engaging a group of 3 individuals in conversation in an office space


Courses in the Advanced Certificate in Couple and Family Therapy Studies cover the theory, concepts and approaches of couple and family therapy practice.

The courses introduce the major theories and central concepts that form the foundations of couple, family and marriage therapy and focus on the historical development of systemic therapy. Several models of therapy are introduced, such as Cognitive-Behavioural, Experiential, Bowenian, Contextual, Structural, and Strategic. A comparative analysis of the different models will assist you in placing the various therapy tools into an integrated framework.

Interactive courses 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. You should anticipate that many discussions and interactive methods will require reflection and sharing from personal experience with class members and the instructor.

As a practicing mental health therapist with a graduate degree in social work, I was drawn to the Certificate in Couple and Family Therapy Studies to strengthen my existing clinical skills. The instructors were very welcoming, knowledgeable, and experts in the field. The courses provided the opportunity to build on and integrate knowledge and skills from previous courses, work experience, and my personal life. I would highly recommend this program to refresh, expand, and enhance one’s clinical skills.

Roxanne Ramjattan, PhD Candidate, Couple and Family Therapy Studies Program graduate

About the Certificate

  • The certificate requires the completion of three core and three elective courses within a five-year period
  • Each course is aligned with one of the five categories of educational development: studies, therapy, human development, professional ethics and research
  • Classes are typically scheduled as intensives, with four ten-hour days of classes for a total of 36 hours of instruction per course
  • All courses are taught at the graduate level
  • Students must achieve a passing grade of 70% in all courses to earn the certificate. Please note that some organizations (e.g., AAMFT) require a minimum of a 75% final grade per course
  • Attendance is mandatory for all scheduled classes. If you anticipate missing more than 10% of class time, contact the program manager
  • Completion of the certificate program does not imply clinical competence, nor does it 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

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this program, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding and knowledge of the major theories and central concepts that form the foundations of couple, family, and marriage therapy
  • Demonstrate an ability to compare and contrast therapy models such as Cognitive-Behavioural, Experiential, Bowenian, Contextual, Structural, and Strategic, as well as the historical development of systemic theory
  • Implement practices and various therapy tools into an integrated framework in your practice

Admission Requirements

Advanced certificate applicants must hold a minimum of an undergraduate degree. Applicants are required to have their graduating institution send an official transcript to OpenEd, documenting the successful completion of their highest level of education and credential received (eg. BA, MSW). Due to COVID-19, transcripts should be sent electronically to OpenEd, rather than mailed. Please direct all transcripts to 

A maximum of two credit transfers may be granted to those who have successfully completed graduate-level courses equal to the CFTS course offerings. As part of the discernment, applicants may be required to provide course outline(s).


The Advanced Certificate in Couple and Family Therapy Studies program provides an opportunity to:

  • Take one or more courses for professional development, or complete the six courses (three core and three electives courses) required for the certificate
  • Explore a new career field and gain practical skills, if you are not yet a practitioner
  • Acquire specialization in couple and family therapy to enhance your current practice, if you are a current practitioner
  • Keep abreast of key topics, approaches, and methods in therapy, as a seasoned professional
  • Network with other professionals in your field
  • Work towards requirements for CAMFT membership or AAMFT membership

Achieving the Advanced Certificate

When you have completed all the requirements for a certificate or diploma (continuing education courses), you can request your parchment through the OpenEd Student Portal.

Additional Information

If you would like additional information on this certificate, please email our main office or phone us at 519-767-5000. 

Sponsoring Partners

CFTS Online

OpenEd is currently investigating the feasibility of offering a fully-online Certificate in Couple and Family Therapy Studies. Sign up to express interest and receive important information about this potential new program.

Required fields are indicated by .