Program Overview

CIIS’ Community Mental Health program was the first of its kind and developed in partnership with public and non-profit mental health agencies in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The program is one of five programs offered through the Counseling Psychology department at CIIS. Its dynamic coursework integrates the fundamentals of psychotherapy with cultural humility and an understanding of the impact of trauma and social systems on the individual psyche.

The program’s flexible weekend format allows working individuals to maximize educational outcomes and maintain a healthy work/life balance.

Graduates are prepared to practice counseling in hospitals, clinics, schools, government agencies, community non-profits, and more. Our faculty have a variety of research interests, among them: social justice advocacy for Native American Communities, social support, social capital, and social sustainability in the context of intentional community, psychoanalysis, the discourse of capitalism, and the California Dream.

Through ongoing work in community settings, CIIS faculty help to ensure that the program design continues to meet the needs of community agencies. The hands-on work also helps strengthen the ties the University has to organizations that are potential employers of our graduates.

Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in Community Mental Health

Length of Program
Number of Units
60 or 67
  MFT           LPCC  
Online Classes Icon In-Person Classes Icon

Our Approach

The Community Mental Health program incorporates social justice perspectives, cultural understanding, and multifarious theoretical approaches including: psychodynamics, Family Systems Therapy, trauma-informed therapies, and recovery and resiliency models of treatment.

Designed in collaboration with leading mental health agencies providing services in the public sector, the Community Mental Health program meets several critical needs:

  • Therapeutic: A growing number of clients with complex trauma require a deeper understanding of the impact of systemic oppression.
  • Cultural: The profession needs more multilingual practitioners from diverse backgrounds who represent the clients they serve.
  • Professional: There is a high demand for accessible/affordable therapy and currently not enough practitioners to provide it.

Our work in the community is clinically strong and built on a platform of liberation, critical, and community psychologies. Graduates of the program are able to provide exceptional psychotherapy that is evidence-based and created in partnership with their clients.

An animated illustration for the "What is Community Mental Health?" video associated with MA in Counseling Psychology program at CIIS. What is Community Mental Health? Play Video
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Career Paths

The field of community mental health is growing exponentially and offers a rewarding career path. Graduates of the program work to meet the needs of and create change for populations who have been underserved and overlooked by traditional counseling services.

Today’s graduates work with individuals, couples, and families in a variety of clinical and organizational settings; for instance:

  • Government agencies
  • Community non-profits
  • Hospitals, clinics, and other in- and outpatient settings
  • Schools and other education oriented settings
  • Private practice

Graduates also serve in non-clinical settings, such as:

  • Public policy
  • Community organizing
  • Public health

Training in the Community Mental Health program meets the educational requirements for California's Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) license and California's Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) license.

How to Apply

Application Open Dates

Apply for Spring 2023 starting September 15, 2022 - see a list of spring-admitting programs.

Apply for Fall 2023 starting November 15, 2022 - all programs accept fall applications.

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Questions? Contact us.

We are here to help! If you have any questions about applying to a program or registering for an Info Session, please reach out to the Admissions Office

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