Department of Counseling Psychology
Please click on the concentrations (below) for more details:
About the Degree
CIIS offers one of the most innovative and respected programs in California, leading to a MA in Counseling Psychology. The MA is grounded in rigorous clinical training. It includes coursework in individual psychotherapy with children and adults, in marriage and couples counseling, in family therapy, and also in group therapy. It includes coursework in basic counseling skills, diagnosis and assessment, cross-cultural issues, human sexuality, alcohol and substance abuse, research, and the ethics and laws related to counseling. It meets and exceeds national norms for training in counseling because it was designed to fulfill the educational requirements of California's Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor license and California's Marriage and Family Therapy license, one of the most exacting state licenses for therapists in the country.
The MA in Counseling Psychology is founded on the premise that the problems of the psyche can be addressed only if we adopt an integral point of view. We must address not only mind but also body, human relationships, our relationship to the environment, and our deep interconnection with that which has been called spirit.
Furthermore, there is a balance of types of learning. Students experience psychotherapeutic methods by practicing being "therapists" with each other in dyads and small groups. They are required to complete a minimum of 45 hours of personal therapy in addition to their coursework. Finally, the degree includes a full year of practicum, working with clients while being supervised by a licensed professional. The practicum can be at one of the Institute's counseling centers, or at one of the more than sixty clinical agencies and schools coordinated through the Institute's Field Placement Office.
In order to accommodate the scope of the integral perspective, the MA degree has 60 semester units that provide an unusually thorough training in psychological theory and methods, while at the same time providing additional coursework and training in specific ways to deepen and expand psychotherapeutic practice. The coursework continues the focus on current psychotherapy practices, and also integrates perspectives, methods, and techniques unique to each field.
The concentration programs are Community Mental Health, Drama Therapy, Expressive Arts Therapy, Integral Counseling Psychology, and Somatic Psychology. Please click on the concentrations (above) for more details.
The five concentrations were designed to complement the MA in Counseling Psychology with specialized perspectives. The concentrations extend the units of a typical counseling MA degree from 48 to 60 in order to provide a significant enrichment of training. Adding on to the usual coursework, each concentration offers its own clinical perspective as well as additional psychotherapeutic skills and methods that can be integrated in individual, couples, family, and group psychotherapy.
Each of these concentrations is designed and managed by a chair, a program coordinator, core and adjunct faculty, and committees made up of students and faculty. Each concentration has a student handbook that gives a thorough explanation of goals, objectives, policies and procedures.
The curriculum in Counseling Psychology is divided into three groups of courses: (1) common core courses, (2) concentration courses, and (3) electives.
The common core courses are shared by each of the five concentrations in Counseling Psychology. They address the theory, technique, and knowledge that apply to the general practice of counseling psychology. While all of the core courses cover the core material, some, in addition, are enriched by these concentration perspectives.
The curriculum is designed to meet the new requirements (mandated for 2012) by the state of California for persons seeking license as a Marriage and Family Therapist or as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor. Accordingly, the faculty has designed the courses to infuse building understanding of cultural and socioeconomic status context and building cultural sensitivity and competency through out the curriculum in order to enhance the educational experience of all CIIS students.
Student Services-MHSA (Mental Health Services Act)
CIIS and the MCP programs are playing a leadership role in preparing students for the evolving field of counseling psychology. Specifically, in California the voters approved the Mental Health Services Act of 2004, calling for a complete re-envisioning of the mental health services in the state. One of the priorities of this act was the recruitment and retention of students in three target populations:
• Mental health consumers and their family members with experience in the public and community mental health system
• Students from underrepresented minorities, particularly African American, Asian and Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, and Pacific Islander
• Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) students
Upon graduation, these highly skilled therapists will, through their work, activism, and leadership, play critical roles in the design of mental health services in California for years to come.
CIIS has a program designed to recruit and to retain students from these communities. If you are interested in these services, or you know applicants, potential applicants, or current students who might benefit from these services, please call us at 415.575.6133.