History of the Center on Family Living


The mission of the Center on Family Living at Friends University is to provide high quality, affordable therapeutic services to individuals, couples, and families of the Friends campus and the greater Wichita community within a clinical training environment for Marriage and Family Therapy graduate students.


We believe that clients are best understood and supported in the context of their relationships and family systems. We do not discriminate or refuse services to anyone on the basis of their race, age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, disability, gender, health status, religion, culture, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or relationship status. We respect the rights of clients and safeguard client confidentiality as required by law.


In 1978, the CFL was founded with a grant from the Lilly Foundation to create a regional resource center promoting family life education primarily in church settings. In the early 1980’s, the Center experienced a lull following the end of the three-year grant and the untimely death of the founding director, Dr. Sheldon Louthan. When Friends University launched the Master of Science in Family Therapy degree in 1986, the CFL was revived as the degree’s training agency, with a new focus on providing the community free or low-cost therapy services through student interns under faculty supervision. In 1998, a second facility was added in Mission, Kansas when the Masters of Science in Family Therapy program expanded to two sites. This facility provided the program’s second site with a training facility where student interns would provide the greater Kansas City area with free or low-cost therapy services under faculty supervision.



In October 2000, the Wichita CFL moved to the new Marriage and Family Therapy building, with nine therapy rooms matched with four separate observation rooms, five support staff work areas, seven faculty offices, a separate public entrance, and two classrooms. This new Wichita CFL facility linked all therapy rooms, observation rooms, classrooms, and conference room for live observation of therapy for training purposes. In July 2002, Wichita’s CFL placed a major emphasis on play therapy, both for treatment services and professional training, by equipping four therapy rooms for play therapy and initiation of specific play therapy training opportunities. Updates occur periodically to improve the play therapy environment within the CFL. Spaces continue to be redesigned to provide a unique and more conducive environment to provide play therapy utilizing the combined resources from the previous play therapy rooms as well as items donated. In the fall of 2012, a student led initiative was successful in creating, fundraising, collecting miniatures, and the overall set-up of a therapy room specifically designated for the use of Sand Tray Therapy. VALT (Video Audio Learning Tool) replaced the existing recording equipment throughout the entire therapy suite in 2018 providing users with the ability to observe, capture, search, and stream video for learning, supervision, and accreditation purposes across the MFT building. Originally two office spaces were designated as teletherapy rooms in March 2020 with this service being offered throughout the entire therapy suite by 2023. See Services below for more information.

Kansas City

In the fall of 2004, Friends University Kansas City Education Center relocated to a new site in Lenexa. This facility also had state-of-the-art therapy rooms with the capacity to observe and record sessions for training purposes. The Lenexa training facility closed in June 2014. Due to the increase in therapy service requests in Wichita, a pilot project was launched in the fall of 2021 in which two KC students were placed in the Wichita CFL on a part-time basis offering teletherapy services only.


Since 1987, Wichita’s MSFT graduate students have provided the greater Wichita community within person therapy averaging 5,000 hours of individual, couple, and family therapy services annually. Psychoeducation classes are also offered at the CFL. In March 2020, teletherapy services were launched in which student therapists provided therapy online from the MFT building as well as an approved location per student. Due to this occurring online, the CFL could now extend services to any client within the state of Kansas.