MS in Mental Health and Wellness With a Family Dynamics Emphasis

Master of Science in Mental Health and Wellness with an Emphasis in Family Dynamics

Offered By: College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Help Families Thrive With GCU's MS in Mental Health and Wellness Degree

The family is an interactive, ever-evolving system comprised of complex and dynamic relationships, roles and boundaries. The Master of Science in Mental Health and Wellness with an Emphasis in Family Dynamics degree at Grand Canyon University (GCU) is an intensive survey of the family, its structures and its life cycle. By earning a mental health and wellness degree, you can blend your passion with a purpose for helping others. Learn how to help families identify, understand and resolve conflicts, work toward functional relationships and embrace healthy, balanced family roles.

As a student, you will closely examine multiple aspects of human nature, including behavioral, mental, spiritual, interpersonal and cognitive aspects. This MS in Mental Health and Wellness degree focuses on the roles in family dynamics, including the practical applications of theories to promote health and wellness within the family system.

This degree is offered by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences as an online or evening program. Using GCU’s interactive digital learning platform, online students benefit from the diverse experiences and perspectives of their peers and experienced instructors. All courses in this mental health and wellness degree program can be completed online to allow you to pursue your education on a more flexible schedule. For those who prefer to learn in a classroom environment, but require additional convenience, the evening program offers one course at a time, once a week on campus.

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Family Dynamics Focus Course Topics

GCU students are taught to be accomplished communicators who understand how to convey key information to a range of stakeholders. When you earn your degree, you will have a sharp understanding of core mental health and wellness concepts such as professional ethics and effective advocacy practices. There is an emphasis on both the roles in family dynamics and the role of faith and spirituality as they are applied to the professional field. Students are encouraged to expand upon their Christian worldview and develop a strong sense of servant leadership.

The MS in Mental Health and Wellness – family dynamics emphasis includes special focus on the following topics:

  • Ethics and cultural diversity
  • Family dynamics
  • Influences of parenting
  • Cognitive, moral and psychosocial development theories
  • The integration of mental health, wellness and healthcare

Develop Valuable Skills Needed for Roles in Family Dynamics

As you work through the courses, you will use a systematic lens to explore relationships, interactional patterns and communication among family members. Other core competencies include the following:

  • How parenting changes throughout the lifespan and in various family contexts
  • Evidence-based parenting practices to promote character development and positive behaviors
  • How modern phenomena, such as technology and nontraditional family structures, have impacted modern families
  • Common mental health disorders, treatments and supportive services

In addition, students will complete the Mental Health and Wellness Capstone at the end of the program. This course provides a thorough examination of the mental health and wellness fields.

Family Dynamics and Mental Health Career Opportunities

An in-depth knowledge of family dynamics and mental health can serve you well as you pursue a career in the mental health field. Graduates may choose to pursue work in the following settings:

  • Social service agencies
  • Outpatient or inpatient care facilities
  • Schools and universities
  • Mental health facilities
  • Military settings, including VA facilities
  • Churches and religious institutions
  • Community health agencies

This Master of Science in Mental Health and Wellness degree is geared toward individuals who are currently working in or plan to work in an administrative position, in a leadership role, or in a mental health specialist position. This family dynamics online emphasis does not lead to counseling or psychology licensure.

FAQs for the Mental Health and Wellness Degree With a Family Dynamics Emphasis

If you are interested in the MS in Mental Health and Wellness, family dynamics focus, read our answers to these commonly asked questions.

Studies show that the mental health of children is connected, in many ways, to the mental health of their parents and caregivers.1 Parents with poor mental health often lack the emotional, social and developmental skills needed to raise mentally healthy children. As a mental health and wellness professional, you provide support to parents and caregivers by connecting them with information, resources and public health programs so they can learn to better care for themselves and their dependents.

A Master of Science in Mental Health and Wellness degree with a family dynamics emphasis builds upon your psychology or social work skills and allows you to pursue careers helping individuals, children and families overcome struggles due to poor mental health and lack of resources. This degree is designed for non-licensed positions, such as behavioral or mental health specialists, social or community service managers or case managers.

Mental health issues continue to grow among Americans. According to Mental Health America, over 1 in 10 youth in the U.S. are experiencing depression that is severely impairing their ability to function at school or work, at home, with family or in their social life.2 If you feel called to work in the mental health field, particularly in a support role for families who are impacted by mental health issues, then you should consider earning your mental health and wellness family dynamics online degree.

1 Wolicki, S.B., Bitsko, R.H., Cree, R.A. et al. (2021, April 19). Mental Health of Parents and Primary Caregivers by Sex and Associated Child Health Indicators. Retrieved on April 27, 2023.

2 The State of Mental Health in America. Mental Health America. Retrieved on April 27, 2023.

Total Credits: 34
Online: 8 weeks
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Up to 12 credits or 1/3 of the total program requirements in transfer (whichever is less)
Online: $590 per credit
[Tuition, Fees and Financial Aid]

Cost of Attendance

Course List

34 credits
Degree Requirements:
34 credits

Core Courses

Course Description

This course is designed to prepare students for the graduate learning experience at Grand Canyon University. Students have opportunities to develop and strengthen the skills necessary to succeed as graduate students in the liberal arts. Emphasis is placed on utilizing the tools for graduate success.

Course Description

This course is an introductory course in mental health and wellness practices. The purpose of the course is to develop a basic understanding of mental health and wellness practices and wellness approaches. An overview of mental health disorders, basic overview of treatment practices, and the Dimensions of Wellness are covered.

Course Description

This course covers ethics and cultural diversity as it relates to mental health and wellness. The history of ethics is addressed, including how early ethical models evolved into modern ethical codes in the mental health and wellness professions. How ethics relates to legal standards and issues such as records and billing are addressed. Cultural diversity, sensitivity, and competence are covered.

Course Description

This course introduces students to the dynamics of the family unit. The family is examined as an interactive system of individuals whose roles and boundaries constantly shift to accommodate the needs of the collective family unit. The influence of relationships, interactional patterns, and communication among family members is covered through a systemic lens. Considering the function of behaviors will determine how problems are formed, perpetuated, and resolved within families.

Course Description

This course examines the family life cycle, the development of individuals within the family, and the family system as a whole. It includes a survey of how cognitive, moral, and psychosocial developmental theories relate to family development and the transitions between family life cycle stages.

Course Description

In this course, students examine the many facets of parenting. The historical and theoretical influences of parenting in the United States are covered. How parenting changes throughout the life span as well as how parenting is different in various family contexts is investigated. Research and evidence-based parenting practices regarding character development and promoting positive behavior are covered as well as how various factors affect parenting such as drugs and alcohol, poverty, and medical and psychological diagnoses.

Course Description

This course takes a holistic look at the structure and function of the family in contemporary society as well as the many societal influences that affect the family. It examines how modern phenomena such as nontraditional family structures, and the proliferation of technology have impacted today’s families and the way they interact with other community systems. Modern governmental guidelines and ethical challenges, including systems such as foster care, are also addressed. Additionally, the role of cultural norms in family systems and the importance of cultural awareness in working with families in the mental health care system is addressed.

Course Description

This course provides a comprehensive understanding of mental health, wellness, and health care, including the integration of these three fields. The course covers common mental health disorders, treatments, and supportive services, as well as an integrated focus on the mind and the body. The course examines the health challenges often faced by individuals with behavioral or mental health disorders, and it reviews appropriate services, interventions, preventative services, and treatments to achieve and maintain health and wellness.

Course Description

This course provides a practical, real-world exploration of the mental health and wellness field. Special focus is given to careers in mental health and wellness. The common duties and tasks performed by workers in the mental health and wellness field are investigated. Concepts covered throughout the program are examined through practical application. This course is the last course in the program of study; all other course work must be completed before this course.


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.

* 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.