Why Integrated Behavioral Healthcare & Medical Family Therapy?

Medical Family Therapy (MedFT), sometimes referred to as Integrated Behavioral Healthcare, is the practice of utilizing mental health providers in medical settings. It is a rapidly growing field developed to help promote communication and collaboration between health care systems’ staff. MedFT integrates patients’ and families’ medical, psychological, social, and spiritual worlds with medical science and family systems training. Working closely with medical provers, MedFTs focus on treating the "whole" patient and their family system, thus promoting lasting healthy changes and healing.

Competencies for Medical Family Therapists

Students in the Oregon Tech MFT Program develop competencies in the following domains, identified by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT; 2018) and Tyndall, et al. (2012):


  • Integrating and implementing systems theory concepts and ideas

Biological, psychological, social, and spiritual

  • Recognizing that health is comprised of all four areas of mutual influence


  • Working cooperatively with others to maximize the benefits of team-based care, research, policy work, and training


  • Guiding systems toward a more collaborative and integrated approach to health care, as well as championing for resources so that healthcare systems function most efficiently.


  • Promoting the highest standard of work in accordance with the AAMFT Code of Ethics, in recognition of other healthcare team members’ codes of ethics, and in accord with rules and laws governing one’s profession and professional setting


  • Recognizing various groups, communities, and cultural influences that impact the delivery, response, policies, and study of integrated behavioral health care

AAMFT. (2018). Competencies for family therapists working in healthcare settings.

Tyndall et al. (2012). Medical family therapy: Charting a course in competencies. Contemporary Family Therapy, 34, pp. 171-186.

Why Integrated Behavioral Healthcare & MedFT?

It is projected that health care occupations will continue to be in high demand across communities in Oregon (Oregon Health Policy Board, 2019). This is especially true in rural Southern Oregon, which is a nationally designated health professional shortage area (HPSA; Health Resources & Services Administration, 2019). 

As a result of the movement towards patient-centered medical homes (Oregon Health Policy Board, 2019), as well as grants and initiatives focused on integrative/collaborative health care, there is an ever-increasing need for mental health professionals with integrated behavioral health care and MedFT training. 


Earning a Graduate Certificate in Integrated Behavioral Health Care and Medical Family Therapy prepares professionals to be equipped to:

  • Understand the complex ways individuals and families are affected by chronic and terminal health conditions
  • Develop effective communication and collaborative work practices with medical personnel to benefit the patient and their family
  • Identify personal experiences with illness and disability and how these experiences inform professional work with patients and families
  • Respectfully and appropriately assist patients and families with their healing. 


Required Coursework for the MedFT Graduate Certificate

Information about Integrated Behavioral Healthcare and Medical Family Therapy is integrated throughout the MFT curriculum, and is a particular focus in the following required courses:

  • Introduction to Marriage and Family Therapy (3 credits)
  • Medical Family Therapy in Rural Areas I (3 credits)
  • Medical Family Therapy in Rural Areas II (3 credits)
  • Rural Considerations in Substance Abuse Treatment and Prevention (3 credits)

The Graduate Certificate in Integrated Behavioral Health Care & MedFT is open to master's level mental health providers interested in advanced training in collaborative healthcare. For additional information and the application process regarding the graduate certificate option, please contact Dr. Kevin Garrett.