The Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology program trains students to work with individuals, couples, and families in a variety of settings. Our programs create unique learning environments designed to support students in an integrated, holistic model for personal growth, human potential, and service to others.
The program curriculum emphasizes development of the self as the therapist; multicultural diversity and inclusion; social justice; and in-depth understanding of a wide range of individual and systemic counseling theories. Students gain understanding of postmodern, contemporary, evidence-based models, and are exposed to various holistic approaches to counseling psychology, including depth and transpersonal psychology, somatic psychology, and general holistic studies.
Through the combination of didactic and experiential classroom learning modalities and supervised intensive practicum, students practice clinical skill building throughout the program.
This program has an expanded focus on clinical skills, assessment, and diagnosis within multicultural settings. You’ll learn from expert practitioner-faculty and prepare for the California Board of Behavioral Sciences exam, which is necessary for licensure in the state.
By focusing on the development of clinical skills through extensive practical experience, students can transform their passion for helping others into a degree in a rewarding field of study.
Choose from two options — the standard marriage and family therapist track or the combined MFT/PCC track:
If you’re committed to helping individuals, couples, families, adolescents, and children in psychotherapy, this specialization emphasizes marriage and family therapy and 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.
If you are interested in also being licensed as a Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) in California, this option meets the academic requirements for both the LMFT and LPCC. The combined option adds three courses specific to the scope of practice for LPCCs, including career counseling, research, and assessment techniques. This option includes additional hours of practicum training experience to meet state requirements for PCC trainees.
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.
This program normally combines campus-based and online courses. National University transitioned courses online to proactively respond to novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and protect the health and well-being of our campus community. To ensure the continuity of education for our students and as a practical matter, please be prepared to conduct coursework online until July 2021, and until further notice. The University continues to monitor national, state and local health authorities, programmatic accreditors, and licensure agencies.
Program Learning Outcomes
- Assess and diagnose client problems systematically and contextually
- Establish, maintain, evaluate, and utilize the therapeutic relationship to serve the mental health needs of diverse clients
- Recognize their own potential biases and deliver culturally sensitive treatment
- Utilize concepts, structures, theories, models, and technologies appropriate to the practice of professional clinical counseling
- Identify, explain, and apply state, federal, and local laws that govern the provision of psychotherapy and counseling and employ ethical decision-making processes
- Be aware of, evaluate, and respond to measurable outcomes of work with clients using research tools and methods in the field and employing evidence-based practices in psychotherapy and counseling interventions, assessments, and program evaluations
In addition to the general MA in counseling psychology track, this program offers three specialization options consisting of 16 units each. These holistic specialization courses infuse the modern practice of counseling psychology with the depth traditions of psychoanalysis, the unity of body and psyche, the transformative power of artistic expression, and the healing traditions of many diverse cultures. The holistic specialization options include:
The somatic perspective includes the wisdom and methods of psychoanalytic, experiential, and humanistic orientations, and expands them to create a more integrated holistic perspective that includes the body-mind-spirit connection. This perspective emphasizes the counselor’s presence, authenticity, and embodiment as central to the therapeutic process. Somatic psychology addresses many of the same client issues and uses many of the same methods as more traditionally oriented therapies. However, somatic psychology also emphasizes the capacity of the therapist to listen to somatic experience and attend to inklings in oneself that emerge from a deep place within — what Rumi has called “the voice that does not use words.” Somatic psychology acknowledges that there is a natural order and harmony present, and it can be discovered, so long as we learn to listen to the native wisdom that resides within our bodies, hearts, and minds. Somatic psychology emphasizes the quality of presence and authenticity of the therapist and their capacity for deep somatic empathy and resonance. It trusts in the client’s innate health and bodily wisdom as gateways to healing.
This specialization prepares students for careers as psychotherapists with a special emphasis on depth, Jungian, and psychodynamic approaches to psychotherapy, as well as the interface between western psychological perspectives with the world’s spiritual and religious wisdom traditions. This degree specialization offers a strong foundation in basic counseling theory and practice. The program combines theoretical and experiential learning modalities and emphasizes personal growth and development. Students engage in self-reflection throughout the program. Core coursework allows students the opportunity to develop awareness of their own process while developing counseling, interpersonal, and communication skills.
Students also explore the therapeutic relationship, psychodynamic theory and practice, attachment theory, transpersonal counseling, Jungian psychology, and existential-humanistic psychology. Transpersonal psychology addresses many of the same client issues and utilizes many of the same methods as more traditionally oriented therapies. However, transpersonal psychology also emphasizes the quality of presence and authenticity of the therapist, an openness to expanded states of consciousness, and a trust in the client’s innate health and inner guiding wisdom. Transpersonal therapists may also utilize meditation, breath awareness, or imagery methods. The coursework in Jungian and depth psychology deepens students’ knowledge of the role of dreams, imagination, archetypes, myth, and ritual in fostering psychological and spiritual well-being. The coursework builds skills in conceptualization of psychological complexes and psychotherapeutic treatment in the context of the clinical relationship, psychodynamics, and dream interpretation.
This specialization prepares students for careers as psychotherapists with a special emphasis on a broad base of holistic skills (depth, transpersonal, somatic, and arts-based). This degree specialization offers a strong foundation in basic counseling theory and practice. The program combines theoretical and experiential learning modalities and emphasizes personal growth and development. Students engage in self-reflection throughout the program. Core coursework allows students the opportunity to develop an awareness of their own process while developing counseling, interpersonal, and communication skills. Students also explore the integration of body, mind, emotions, and spirit in their work through content in body-oriented psychotherapies, transpersonal counseling, Jungian psychology, expressive-arts psychologies, and humanistic psychology.