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 the following:
- Early observation of and involvement in actual counseling settings.
- Development of a core of knowledge and experience in both individual and group counseling theory and practice.
- Encouragement in the development and maintenance of individual counseling styles.
- 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.
- Strong emphasis on acknowledging and appreciating diversity.
School Counselors and Community Mental Health Counselors (CMHCs) have a powerful influence on the lives of the clients with whom they work. In recognition of that influence, the faculty affirm the value of early involvement in counseling settings as central to the educational process. In addition, we emphasize the acquisition of a core of knowledge and experience in both individual and group counseling theory and practice.
We encourage the maintenance and development of individual counseling styles relevant to both CMHC and School Counseling. Lastly, central to our mission is the Department of Counseling’s commitment to train culturally sensitive and competent counselors to serve both schools and the community.
We also emphasize the three basic pillars of theory, practical experience, and personal development, rather than just one facet of professional preparation. To varying degrees, students will find that in many of their core courses that the faculty expect 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 and personal sensitivity to ethnic-cultural experience is crucial in effective counseling. When considering our evaluations of student readiness to undertake traineeship and field experience responsibilities, we pay particular attention to these issues.
As a faculty we are 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 we recognize how difficult this task may be in specific instances, we see counselors as those who actively participate in the life of an organization or of a community -- not as submissive keepers of the status quo or as unseeing iconoclasts -- but as sensitive and perceptive voices representing individual freedom and human values. Leadership skills as well as those skills necessary to facilitate change are stressed in this program. We are also dedicated to recruiting a diverse student body, consisting of individuals who are sensitive to the needs of the larger community.
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. Here are some sample plans 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.