Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology (California)

Kirstie E.
Kirstie E. Class of 2018, Military Veteran

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4 WEEK CLASSES
The MA in Counseling Psychology program includes four-week classes.
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Program Overview

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Prepare to seek a career in professional counseling with the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology. Choose from two specialization options, including psychology MFT and LPCC.

The MA Counseling Psychology MFT: If you’re committed to helping individuals, couples, families, adolescents, and children in psychotherapy this specialization emphasizes marriage and family therapy. It meets the academic requirements necessary to sit for the Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) License mandated by the Board of Behavioral Sciences in the state of California. It also will prepare you for doctoral studies in practitioner-oriented programs such as counseling or clinical psychology.

The MA Counseling Psychology LPCC: If you prefer individual and group counseling, this specialization emphasizes counseling techniques and theories, including those related to career development. It meets the academic requirements to be eligible for licensing as a licensed professional clinical counselor (LPCC) by the Board of Behavioral Sciences in the state of California.

To complete both specializations, you must take the three track courses for each and complete the additional practicum hours required in order to meet the educational requirements for both licenses. This degree is designed for California only, either option may not meet requirements in other states. Students should consult the licensing boards of the appropriate states for information about licensure outside of California.

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate core psychological concepts and therapeutic skills that underpin counseling, psychotherapy, and mental health counseling.
  • Understand and demonstrate current professional standards of ethics, values, and laws related to the practice of professional psychotherapists.
  • Demonstrate cultural competence in addressing the mental health needs of people of diverse backgrounds and circumstances, including an appreciation for the wide cultural diversity among California’s multiple diverse communities.
  • Apply a working knowledge of a range of topics important to mental health practice including (but not limited to) psychopharmacology, addictive and compulsive disorders, structured psychological assessment, relational violence, gender and sexuality, and trauma/crisis.
  • Understand norms and principles of public mental health work including (but not limited to) case management, collaborative treatment, evidence-based practice, strength-based model, resiliency, and recovery-oriented care to work with clients.
  • Integrate professional development through self-reflection emphasizing personal capacities such as self-awareness, integrity, sensitivity, flexibility, insight, compassion, imagination, and personal presence.

Click here for program specific course information.

Meet Our Faculty

Program Highlights

  • Understand the core psychological concepts that underpin counseling, psychotherapy, and mental health counseling.
  • Learn to assess and diagnose psychological distress, impairment, and mental disorders.
  • Gain a working knowledge of topics including psychopharmacology, addictive and compulsive disorders, structured psychological assessment, relational violence, gender and sexuality, and trauma/crisis.

Prerequisites for the Major

(2 courses; 9 quarter units)

Students who hold a bachelor’s degree in Psychology may request these courses to be waived. Please contact the Academic Program Director.

  • PSY 501A Foundations in Counseling I
  • PSY 501B Foundations in Counseling II

Core Requirements Sequence I

(6 courses; 27 quarter units)

Students will take classes from this sequence, then take 3 area of specialization courses, Core Course Sequence II.

  • PSY 605 Lifespan Development
    • Prerequisite: Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology or PSY 501A and PSY 501B
  • PSY 620 Perspectives on Psychology
    • Prerequisite: Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology or PSY 501A and PSY 501B
  • PSY 610 Case Management
    • Prerequisite: Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology or PSY 501A and PSY 501B
  • PSY 611A Counseling Paradigms I
    • Prerequisite: Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology or PSY 501A and PSY 501B
  • PSY 612A Clinical Assessment I
  • PSY 612B Clinical Assessment II
    • Prerequisite: PSY 612A

Core Requirements Sequence II

PCC Option
(3 courses; 13.5 quarter units)

Students interested in becoming a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor will take these courses between Core Sequence I and III.

  • PSY 653 Research and Evaluation
  • PSY 624A Testing and Assessment
  • CED 612 Career & Academic Counseling

MFT Option
(3 courses; 13.5 quarter units)

Students interested in becoming a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist will take these courses between Core Sequence I and III.

  • PSY 636 Child and Adolescent Therapy
  • PSY 632A Family Therapy
  • PSY 632B Couples Therapy

Core Requirements Sequence III

(11 courses; 49.5 quarter units)

  • PSY 627 Legal & Ethical Issues
  • PSY 611B Counseling Paradigms II
  • PSY 680A Counseling Practicum I
    • Prerequisite: PSY 611B with a minimum grade of S
  • PSY 628 Group Therapy
  • PSY 637 Cultural Competencies
  • CHD 640 Treatment of Addictions
  • PSY 626 Human Sexuality
  • PSY 679 Psychology of Trauma
  • PSY 680B Counseling Practicum II
    • Prerequisite: PSY 680A
  • PSY 678 Clinical Biopsychology
  • PSY 638 Wellbeing & Wellness

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Program Requirements

  • Students must complete a minimum of 10 hours of individual, marital, family, and group psychotherapy before taking PSY 611B and another 15 hours before graduation for a total of 25 hours.
  • Students must obtain a total of 225 hours (MFT) or 280 hours (PCC) of face- to-face counseling experience at an approved practicum site with a designated practicum site supervisor during the practicum class. Students who want to complete both
    MFT and PCC practicum requirements will need to meet the 280-hour requirement.
  • Students who do not have an undergraduate degree in psychology must take PSY 501A and PSY 501B as the first two courses in their program. Under exceptional circumstances requests for independent studies in courses without experiential clinical
    work may be considered for approval by the department.
  • Students seeking licensure in California must register with the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) after graduation and fulfill all BBS licensing requirements for the license relevant to the student’s MAC sequence option.
  • Students are also urged to join a professional association. Students in the MFT track should consider joining the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (CAMFT) and/or the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
    (AAMFT). Students in the PCC track should consider joining the American Counseling Association (ACA) and/or the California Association for Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors. Students must obtain malpractice insurance, which may be
    obtained through the relevant association listed above or another professional organization.
  • Students must complete all coursework within seven years. Any courses taken more than seven years ago must be repeated.
  • In regional offerings of the program where applicable, students in the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology may choose to take a regular evening course simultaneously with PSY 680A or PSY 680B.

The program is guided by the standards of the California Board of Behavioral Sciences for academic training relevant to licensing as a Marriage and Family Therapist in the State of California (MFT Sequence) or as a Licensed Professional Clinical
Counselor (PCC Sequence), and by contemporary scientific, professional, and public practice. At the completion of the program students will achieve the following outcomes required for successful practice of Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT Sequence)
or Professional Clinical Counseling (PCC Sequence).

Meet Our Faculty

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