Behavior Health - Family Dynamics

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

Offered By: College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Build Your Knowledge Base with a BS in Behavioral Health - Family Dynamics

Behavioral health technicians and specialists are important members of any psychiatric care team. Respectfulness, patience, compassion and empathy are all essential qualities of a successful behavioral health specialist. If you feel called to serve others, then a behavioral health degree in family dynamics may be right for you. Grand Canyon University offers the Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science with an Emphasis in Family Dynamics degree for students who are keenly interested in behavioral health issues as they relate to family systems.

Offered by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, this degree in family dynamics is a comprehensive survey of behavioral health science principles. Students gain a strong foundation in counseling theories, human development, group dynamics and marriage therapy. The principles covered in this degree program 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.

Develop Family Dynamics Competencies

GCU’s bachelor degree program seeks to instill within students a strong sense of ethical responsibility, Christian servant leadership and professionalism. As students complete the coursework, they have opportunities to strengthen their written and oral communication skills through informative interactions with peers and instructors.

The Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science with an Emphasis in Family Dynamics degree requires a total of 120 credits for completion. On-campus and online courses are available for this program. Most online classes are seven weeks long. Some of the courses included with this degree are:

  • Introduction to Counseling Theories
  • Introduction to Couples and Family Systems
  • Introduction to Family Dynamics
  • Marriage and Family Ethical and Legal Issues
  • Cultural and Social Diversity in Behavioral Health
  • Report Writing, Research and Information Literacy in Behavioral Health

A bachelor’s degree in family dynamics can prepare graduates to pursue advanced degrees or practical work experience in fields such as counseling, human services, health services management, government and law enforcement. Students acquire 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

Additionally, students complete the Professional Capstone Project. This is a written proposal for a community-based behavioral health organization.

Take the First Step Toward a Career in Behavioral Health

Students who choose the behavioral health field often do so because they have a desire to help others. This degree in family dynamics may allow you to pursue specialist or paraprofessional positions in the behavioral health field. Some of the jobs that may be related to this degree include the following:

  • Behavioral health technician
  • Mental health services technician
  • Social or community service manager
  • Case manager

As a behavioral health specialist, you may pursue work in hospitals, clinics and inpatient facilities. Community health service agencies, schools, social work agencies and government agencies are other possibilities.

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

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Total Credits: 120
Online: 7 weeks
[More Info]
Up to 90 credits, only 84 can be lower division
Online: $485 per credit [More Info]

Course List

General Education Requirements:
34-40 credits
56 credits
Open Elective Credits:
24-30 credits
Total 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.


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


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


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


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


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.


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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