The 60-unit graduate program in counseling offers two
professional training options: Option I prepares students for Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) and eventual licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) and/or as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC); Option II prepares students for the School Counseling
and the Pupil Personnel Services Credential (SC/PPSC). The program relies heavily on interpersonal skill training and field experience, beginning during the first semester and culminating with an intensive supervised traineeship /field experience in some aspect of counseling, permitting the integration of theory, research, and practical application. The Department is prepared to assist CMHC students in obtaining field placements relevant to their projected professional goals. These placements include, but are not limited to: marriage and family counseling agencies, mental health clinics, counseling centers, public schools, college-level counseling services, and the on-campus Practicum and Internship Facility. For the school counseling program, field placements are at a minimum of two of the three K-12 levels: elementary school, middle school, and high school.
Special characteristics of the program include
1. Early observation of and involvement in actual counseling settings;
2. Development of a core of knowledge and experience in both individual and group counseling theory and practice;
3. Encouragement in the development and maintenance of individual counseling styles;
4. Commitment to self-exploration and personal growth through participation in peer counseling, individual counseling, and group experiences. This aspect of the program is seen as crucial to the development of adequate counseling skills and is given special consideration by the faculty as part of its evaluation of student readiness to undertake internship responsibilities; and
5. Strong emphasis on acknowledging and appreciating diversity.
In sum, the training emphasis in the program is to integrate theory, practical experience, and personal learning rather than exposing students to a piecemeal professional preparation. To varying degrees, students will find that in most of their course work the faculty expects students to be able to articulate their unique and personal histories, including their relationships with family, peers, and significant others, for it is our belief that self-understanding is crucial in effective counseling.
The effort is to establish a sound foundation in the student for a lifetime of continued professional growth -— a foundation which permits confident movement into an entry-level counseling position but which does not pretend to be more. Within the compass of a 60-unit program, the faculty see such a goal as attainable and eminently worthwhile.
The faculty is committed to
the idea that counselors of the future should take an active role in helping
to shape the social/environmental milieu in which they will work. While
the faculty recognizes how difficult this task may be in specific instances
and areas, it sees the counselor as one who actively participates in the
life of an organization, not as submissive keeper of the status quo or
as unseeing iconoclast, but as a sensitive and perceptive voice representing
individual freedom and human values. Leadership skills, and the skills
necessary to facilitate change, are stressed in this program.
The Master's program may be completed within two academic
years; however, some students with job and/or family responsibilities
may wish to move more slowly. Resources permitting, efforts will be made
to accommodate individual patterns. For most students, 8 units per semester
will be considered a minimal number. It should be stressed that individual
patterns should be planned very carefully, since many courses will not
be offered every semester. A sample two-year
plan, three-year plan and four-year
plan are available for review.
The Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling programs are nationally accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) in the core curriculum and in the respective program specialization areas. The School Counseling program is also accredited by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) and National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The Clinical Mental Health Counseling program meets the educational requirements of the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) toward licensure in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) and Licensed Professional Clinical Counseling (LPCC). The Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is not designed to meet criteria for CACREP’s Marital, Couple, and Family Counseling-Therapy (MFC/T) specialization.