Bachelor of Science (BS) in Behavioral Health Science: Family Dynamics Emphasis

Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science with an Emphasis in Family Dynamics

Offered By: College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Focus on Skills in Family Dynamics and Behavioral Health

Behavioral health technicians and specialists are important members of any psychiatric care team. They provide therapeutic care, assistance with daily activities and patient monitoring to support patients as they work toward maximum functioning.1 If you feel called to serve others who are struggling with psychiatric or developmental issues, then a Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science with an Emphasis in Family Dynamics may be right for you. Grand Canyon University offers this degree for students who are keenly interested in family dynamics and behavioral health and may also want to pursue a master’s degree in counseling.

Offered by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, this degree is a comprehensive survey of family dynamics and behavioral health science principles. You will have opportunities to gain a strong foundation in:

  • Counseling theories
  • Human development
  • Group dynamics
  • Marriage and family therapy

The principles covered in the family dynamics courses are informed by the competencies outlined by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), American Counseling Association (ACA) Code of Ethics and the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) Code of Ethics.

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Earn Your Degree in Behavioral Health Focusing on Family Dynamics From GCU

This BS in Behavioral Health Science: Family Dynamics emphasis seeks to instill a strong sense of ethical responsibility, Christian servant leadership and professionalism within you. As you complete the family dynamics and behavioral health coursework, you will have the opportunity to strengthen your written and oral communication skills through informative interactions with peers and instructors. On-campus and online courses are available for this program.

With GCU’s modern e-learning platform, you don’t have to live near our campus in Phoenix or relocate in order to earn your degree in behavioral health focusing on family dynamics. Enroll as an online student and access your course materials from virtually anywhere. Interact with your fellow learners and instructors online, and enjoy the convenience of digital school while benefiting from the same quality of education as our on-campus students. Most online classes for this program are seven weeks long.

GCU strives to accommodate the practical needs of our diverse learners. As an alternative to enrolling as a full-time, traditional student on campus, you may decide to enroll in evening courses to complete your BS in Behavioral Health Science degree. Our evening cohorts typically meet for one evening per week, allowing for additional flexibility in your schedule. Work toward your degree in a way that best fits your current needs.

Family Dynamics and Behavioral Health Courses and Curriculum

The Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science: Family Dynamics emphasis requires 120 credits for completion. You’ll have opportunities to examine a diverse range of topics throughout this degree program, including:

  • Foundational knowledge regarding addiction and substance use disorders, including biopsychosocial dynamics, stages, processes and effects
  • Techniques and processes for prevention, intervention, relapse prevention and aftercare
  • Theoretical approaches to counseling, including psychodynamic, Gestalt, person-centered, family systems and cognitive behavioral
  • Cultural diversity and social justice competencies for professionals working with multicultural populations
  • Family dynamics and systems, examining roles, communication styles, boundaries and generational patterns

Examine Core Competencies in the Behavioral Health Science Field

This degree can prepare you to pursue advanced degrees or practical work experience in fields such as:2

  • Counseling
  • Human services 
  • Health services management
  • Law enforcement
  • Governmental agencies
  • Private businesses

These courses are designed to instill a framework of foundational knowledge in counseling and family dynamics. Some of the core competencies of this degree include the following

  • Theoretical approaches and ethical standards pertaining to group work
  • Influences of the family of origin on couple and family dynamics
  • The recognition, diagnosis and treatment of psychological disorders
  • Evidence-based research and documentation styles used in the field
  • Ethical and legal practices of marriage and family therapy

Additionally, you will complete an extensive capstone project in your senior year. This is a written proposal for a community-based behavioral health organization in your particular area of interest. The capstone project is your opportunity to demonstrate what you’ve been taught throughout the degree program.

This degree does not lead to licensure. It may serve as a steppingstone for students who are interested in pursuing a master’s degree in counseling, human services, criminal justice or clinical psychology.

Career Opportunities for Behavioral Health Science: Family Dynamics Emphasis Graduates

Students who choose the behavioral health field may do so because they have a desire to help others through behavioral therapy or counseling. This degree is designed to instill a foundation of competencies that may allow you to pursue specialist or paraprofessional positions in the behavioral health field. Some of the jobs that may be related to family dynamics and behavioral health include the following:

  • Behavioral health or psychiatric technician
  • Mental health services technician
  • Psychiatric aide
  • Case manager

As a behavioral health specialist, you may pursue work in any of the following settings:2,3

  • Governmental agencies
  • Community outreach programs
  • Youth centers
  • Geriatric centers
  • Special needs centers
  • Criminal justice facilities
  • Social services departments
  • Social work agencies

Graduate With a BS in Behavioral Health Science From an Institutionally Accredited University

At GCU, we are proud to maintain a longstanding tradition of striving toward academic excellence and embracing high standards of instructional quality across all our degree programs. The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) has continually accredited GCU since 1968. The College of Humanities and Social Sciences shares the university’s commitment to upholding the principles and standards established by our accrediting bodies.

BS in Behavioral Health Science: Family Dynamics Emphasis FAQs

Before enrolling in family dynamics and behavioral health science coursework, it can be helpful to learn more about the field. GCU has compiled the following FAQs and answers to guide you in your career research.

If you’re fascinated with how the human mind works and how people engage in certain behavioral patterns, then this may be an ideal field for you. This degree will enable you to take coursework exploring topics relating to family relationships, marriage and family therapy, human development and cultural diversity in the behavioral health field. Upon graduation, you may decide to pursue work that you find meaningful and personally fulfilling because it may allow you to support other people in your community. Furthermore, a degree program in behavioral health focusing on family dynamics may provide a steppingstone toward pursuing a master’s degree in counseling that may lead to licensure.

A person’s family can shape who they are, how they interact with others and how healthy their socioemotional wellness is. Family dynamics refer to the interactions and patterns of behaviors that exist between family members, whether biological or not. For example, family dynamics encompass the roles of various family members, how family members communicate with each other and the hierarchy that exists within a family unit.4

When you take coursework in family dynamics and behavioral health, you will be taught foundational competencies in the field. These may include family dynamics and systems, couples relationships, parenting dynamics and the skills and modalities that professionals may use when working with families. Depending on where your career takes you, you may have opportunities to help clients improve their family dynamics. If you decide to further your education with a master’s degree in counseling that leads to licensure, you’ll complete field experience or practicum hours that will enable you to put what you’ve been taught into practice, helping others strengthen their family relationships.5

Combine your passion for behavioral health and serving others with purpose for the future. Apply today at GCU to earn your degree in behavioral health focusing on family dynamics.

1 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2023, Sept. 6). What psychiatric technicians and aides do. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved Nov. 28, 2023.

2 Indeed. (2023, March 10). 15 jobs you can do with a behavioral health science degree. Indeed. Retrieved Nov. 28, 2023.

3 Learn.org. (n.d.). What can I do with a behavioral health services degree? Learn.org. Retrieved Nov. 28, 2023.

4 Perry, E. (2021, Dec. 10). Family dynamics can lift you up (or drag you down). BetterUp. Retrieved Nov. 28, 2023.

5 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2023, Sept. 6). How to become a marriage and family therapist. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved Nov. 28, 2023.

TOTAL CREDITS & COURSE LENGTH:
Total Credits: 120
Online: 7 weeks
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TRANSFER CREDITS:
Up to 90 credits, only 84 can be lower division
TUITION RATE:
Online: $485 per credit [More Info]

Course List

General Education Requirements:
34-40 credits
Major:
56 credits
Open Elective Credits:
24-30 credits
Degree Requirements:
120 credits

General Education Requirements

General Education coursework prepares Grand Canyon University graduates to think critically, communicate clearly, live responsibly in a diverse world, and thoughtfully integrate their faith and ethical convictions into all dimensions of life. These competencies, essential to an effective and satisfying life, are outlined in the General Education Learner Outcomes. General Education courses embody the breadth of human understanding and creativity contained in the liberal arts and sciences tradition. Students take an array of foundational knowledge courses that promote expanded knowledge, insight, and the outcomes identified in the University's General Education Competencies. The knowledge and skills students acquire through these courses serve as a foundation for successful careers and lifelong journeys of growing understanding and wisdom.

Requirements

Upon completion of the Grand Canyon University's University Foundation experience, students will be able to demonstrate competency in the areas of academic skills and self-leadership. They will be able to articulate the range of resources available to assist them, explore career options related to their area of study, and have knowledge of Grand Canyon's community. Students will be able to demonstrate foundational academic success skills, explore GCU resources (CLA, Library, Career Center, ADA office, etc), articulate strategies of self-leadership and management and recognize opportunities to engage in the GCU community.

Course Options

  • UNV-112, Success in Science, Engineering and Technology & Lab: 4
  • UNV-103, University Success: 4
  • UNV-303, University Success: 4
  • UNV-108, University Success in the College of Education: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to construct rhetorically effective communications appropriate to diverse audiences, purposes, and occasions (English composition, communication, critical reading, foreign language, sign language, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of English grammar or composition.

Course Options

  • UNV-104, 21st Century Skills: Communication and Information Literacy: 4
  • ENG-105, English Composition I: 4
  • ENG-106, English Composition II: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to express aspects of Christian heritage and worldview. Students are required to take CWV-101/CWV-301.

Course Options

  • CWV-101, Christian Worldview: 4
  • CWV-301, Christian Worldview: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to use various analytic and problem-solving skills to examine, evaluate, and/or challenge ideas and arguments (mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, geology, astronomy, physical geography, ecology, economics, theology, logic, philosophy, technology, statistics, accounting, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of intermediate algebra or higher.

Course Options

  • MAT-154, Applications of College Algebra: 4
  • MAT-144, College Mathematics: 4
  • PHI-105, 21st Century Skills: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: 4
  • BIO-220, Environmental Science: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to demonstrate awareness and appreciation of and empathy for differences in arts and culture, values, experiences, historical perspectives, and other aspects of life (psychology, sociology, government, Christian studies, Bible, geography, anthropology, economics, political science, child and family studies, law, ethics, cross-cultural studies, history, art, music, dance, theater, applied arts, literature, health, etc.). If the predefined course is a part of the major, students need to take an additional course.

Course Options

  • HIS-144, U.S. History Themes: 4
  • PSY-102, General Psychology: 4
  • SOC-100, Everyday Sociology: 4

Core Courses

Course Description

This course provides foundational knowledge regarding addiction and substance use disorders. Topics studied include biopsychosocial dynamics; stages, processes, and impact of addiction and substance use; and the role of the addiction professional in prevention, intervention, relapse prevention, and aftercare. In addition, the course provides overviews of the substance abuse counselor's code of ethics, HIPAA, and legal issues involved in counseling.

Course Description

This course provides foundational knowledge in theoretical approaches to counseling. Theoretical models studied include psychodynamic, existential, Gestalt, person-centered, cognitive and behavioral therapy, family systems, and narrative- and solution-focused therapies.

Course Description

This course provides a broad understanding of group development stages, group dynamics, group counseling theories, and ethical standards pertaining to group work. In addition, this course explores theoretical approaches to group work. The course also addresses the growth and development of group members.

Course Description

This writing-intensive course provides a broad understanding of ethics, legal standards, and responsibilities in behavioral health. Students explore basic ethical concepts, legislation, and current trends in behavioral health ethics. This course pays special attention to technology and its effects on lawmaking and ethics in behavioral health. Important goals of this course are to help students develop a comprehensive understanding of the history and current application of ethics in the behavioral health field.

Course Description

This course provides a comprehensive foundation through exploring the content areas of cultural diversity, social justice, and religious and spiritual values. Examination of these areas strives to offer an overarching framework to guide students and gain perspectives for working with multicultural populations in the behavioral health field. This course assists students with developing knowledge and application of cultural diversity, cultural competency, and the importance of self-awareness, social justice, and advocacy. In addition, this course provides students a blended approach of the beliefs and values associated with religion and spirituality as a component of cultural competency.

Course Description

This course provides an understanding of the nature and needs of individuals across the life-span development. This course covers physical, cognitive, and socioemotional development across various points in human development. Additionally, students learn about the influence of spiritual and moral beliefs throughout the life span.

Course Description

This is a writing intensive foundation course in the science of abnormal behavior that offers students the opportunity to study the origin and development of abnormal patterns and disorders. This course is designed to assist students in recognizing and understanding mental illness through increased awareness of emotional, functional, and physiological factors influencing mental health. Specific topics include symptoms, diagnoses, etiology, epidemiology, and treatment of various psychological disorders and syndromes.

Course Description

This course is a study of elementary theories of probability, distribution, and testing of statistical hypotheses. Practical experience is provided in the application of statistical methods. Prerequisite: MAT-134, MAT-144 or MAT-154.

Course Description

This course provides a comprehensive understanding of the various documentation styles used in the behavioral health field. Students critically examine evidence-based research in the field of behavioral health. The course offers an introduction to conducting applied clinical research.

Course Description

This course introduces the historical and theoretical perspectives of family dynamics and systems. Topics include roles, communication styles, boundaries, generational patterns, cultural influences, and couples and parenting dynamics. Skills and modalities relevant to working with families in the behavioral health field are explored.

Course Description

This course offers an overview of various types of trauma and effects of traumatic experiences within the physical, emotional, sociological, cognitive, and spiritual domains of a human being. It studies the dynamics of trauma throughout the human life-span development. It offers a brief overview of trauma, informed care assessment and treatment, and ethics associated with working with trauma victims.

Course Description

This course introduces the historical and theoretical perspectives of couples and family systems. Topics include a review of family systems, including roles within couples and family systems. Also covered are couple and family dynamics, the developmental stages of couples, and characteristics of successful couples and families. Additionally, the course explores the impact of substance use, mental illness, and culture on couple and family dynamics. Treatment modalities in working with couples and families are explored. Prerequisite: PCN-100.

Course Description

This course describes the ethical and legal practice of marriage and family therapy. Special emphasis is placed on the Marriage and Family Therapy Code of Ethics and rules and regulations as it pertains to working within the context of marriage and family therapy. Prerequisites: BHS-320 and BHS-430.

Course Description

The capstone project is a culmination of the learning experiences while a student is within the behavioral health science program at Grand Canyon University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Students prepare a written proposal for a community-based behavioral health organization related to the student's specific area of focus. The proposal includes the name, geographical location, identified service gap, target populations, types of service/treatments, potential challenges, ethical considerations, and supervision/oversight considerations. The professional capstone project proposal needs to reflect synthesis and integration of course content. This capstone course needs to be completed at the end of program. Prerequisite: BHS-350.

Locations

GCU Online Student


Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere.

GCU Evening Student


Grand Canyon University’s evening programs cater to the demands of working professionals who prefer an in-person learning environment. Our night classes meet just once per week and offer the interaction and discussion of a typical college classroom.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.

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