Course of Study

The Community Mental Health Program is a BBS approved 60-unit weekend cohort program that allows working individuals to maximize educational outcomes and maintain a healthy work/life balance. Courses are taught in blended in-person and online formats. Each semester includes five in-person weekend immersions (Saturday and Sunday). During Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters, CMH students take classes with their cohort, allowing for deep and enriching relationships to form between students and with faculty. All students work closely with a core faculty member, who serves as their advisor throughout the program.

Program Format

Courses are taught in the classroom, online and in hybrid formats and are designed to follow the development of skills from Foundational, Clinical Practice and Mastery. During the first year of study students develop a theoretical foundation; engage in clinical coursework along with an opportunity for clinical field study the second year; and progress into a third year of clinical practicum and a culminating Integrative Project.

Students are also required to engage in a total of 50 hours of personal psychotherapy with an approved psychotherapist.

Full-Time Core Curriculum

The curriculum for the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in Community Mental Health requires at least 60 semester hours of work. It is divided into the following three groups of courses: common core courses, concentration courses, and electives. The common core courses (designated as "MCP") are shared by all concentrations in Counseling Psychology. They address the theory, technique, and knowledge that apply to the general practice of counseling psychology. Those MCP courses that are designated with an additional "C" are taught with a Community Mental Health concentration. Courses within the Community Mental Health concentration and certificate are designated as "CMH." CMH courses will incorporate principles articulated in the Mental Health Recovery Model. Those principles include the following:

  • A holistic view of mental illness that focuses on the person, not just the symptoms.
  • New definitions of recovery, which state:
  1. Recovery is not a function of one's theory about the causes of mental illness.
  2. Recovery from severe psychiatric disabilities is achievable.
  3. Recovery can occur even though symptoms may reoccur. Individuals are responsible for the solution, not the problem.
  4. Recovery requires a well-organized support system.
  • This model stresses the importance of consumer rights, advocacy, and social change.
  • This model emphasizes applications and adaptations of theory and practice to better integrate issues of human diversity.

Fall 1st Year Required Units

Theories and Practice in Community Mental Health 3
Human Development Across the Lifespan (Online) 3
Community Trauma and Healing

Spring 1st Year Required Units

Psychodynamic Foundations for Clinical Practice 3
Therapeutic Communication 3
Research Methods (Online) 3

Summer 1st Year Required Units

Psychopathology and Psychological Assessment 3
Psychotherapies with Families, Couples and Systems 3
Professional Ethics and Family Law (Online) 3

Fall 2nd Year Required Units

Advanced Therapeutic Skills: The Clinical Relationship 3 
Diagnosis and Treatment of Co-Occurring Disorders (Online) 3
Supervised Clinical Practicum- Group 2

Spring 2nd Year Required Units

Child and Adolescent Multi-systemic Therapies 3
Multicultural Foundations of Family Therapy 3
Supervised Clinical Practicum- Individual 2 ****
Human Sexuality 1

Summer 2nd Year Required Units

Trauma, Crisis and Recovery-Oriented Practice 3
Group Facilitation and Group Therapy 3
Supervised Clinical Practicum- Individual 2 ****

Fall 3rd Year Required Units

CMH Practice: Severe Mental Illness and Early Psychosis 3
Integrative Seminar- Final Project 2 
Elective 2

Total number of units 60

Core Courses

CMH 5029 Theories and Practices in Community Mental Health (3 units)
This course will provide basic theory and introductory practice in the recovery model of mental health and its application in community mental health settings. Reviewing the history of the mental health system, as well as of the consumer movement, students will gain an understanding of the context of current practice and will prepare students to enter the field and work effectively as therapists in publicly funded settings. Course will include contemporary community psychology theory, including liberation psychologies. Topics include best practices, practice based evidence, pre-clinical meeting with consumers or family members, the role of SES on treatment, and health disparities in both the prevalence of mental health concerns, as well as in the effectiveness of treatment.

MCPC 5201 Human Development Across the Lifespan (3 units)
Theories and research in life transitions, stages of development, and rites of passage, from prenatal conditions through adult experience to dying.

CMH 5042: Humanistic Mindfulness-based Therapies with Families (3 units)
Presents a history of humanistic and mindfulness based psychotherapies and their application in community clinical settings. Offers a historical perspective beginning with Carl Rogers theory through the development of mindfulness based theory and practice. Case materials present assessment, diagnosis, prognosis, treatment planning and treatment options using these theories. Student will experience and practice multiple methods of evaluation and the implementation of evidence based practices in community mental health settings. Examines relationships between humanistic, mindfulness and other clinical theories.

MCPC 5501: Psychodynamic Foundations for Clinical Practice (3 units)
Presents a history of psychodynamic ideas and their application in clinical settings. Offers a historical perspective beginning with Freudian theory through the development of object relations theory. Covers basic theoretical and clinical concepts, clinical theories of the self and self-development, and the topics of transference, counter-transference and defense. Examines the relationship between psychodynamic and other theories. Includes a consideration of the impact of family structure, abuse and culture in understanding the inner life of the community mental health client.

CMH 5045: Multi-systemic Family Therapy: Theory and Practice (3 units) 
Presents a history of family systems theory and related psychotherapies, and their application in community clinical settings. Will include evidence-based and culturally appropriate theory and practice for the families of California today.  Case materials present the impacts of culture, race, sexual orientation, and gender identity on family development and process. The effects of poverty, class, and immigration will be analyzed and addressed as therapeutic opportunities and challenges.  This course will include an examination of the impact of child abuse, spousal abuse, divorce, blended families and families that include foster and adoptive children on treatment. 

MCPC 6401: Research Methods (3 units) 
Overview of research methodologies with an emphasis on the use of research in community mental health. This includes learning how to navigate and review the literature; write clear and concise academic papers; apply critical thinking skills in reading and interpreting research findings. Course will also introduce the use of outcome measures and other evaluative tools in community mental health.

MCPC 5108: Psychopathology and Psychological Assessment (3 units)
This combined course provides a historical, comparative, and contemporary overview of the development and clinical presentation of adult psychopathology and the categorization system of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, along with a survey of the clinical process of testing for both psychopathological structures and nonpathological personality features and traits. The individual counselor's ability to clinically analyze and interpret assessment instruments, including diagnostic tests, will be emphasized.

MCP 5111: Professional Ethics and Family Law (3 units)
Professional orientation, ethics, and law in counseling, including California law and professional ethics for marriage and family therapists and professional clinical counselors, professional ethical standards and legal considerations, licensing law and process, regulatory laws that delineate the profession's scope of practice, counselor-client privilege, confidentiality, the client dangerous to self or others, treatment of minors with or without parental consent, relationship between practitioner's sense of self and human values, functions and relationships with other human service providers, strategies for collaboration, and advocacy processes needed to address institutional and social barriers that impede access, equity, and success for clients.

MCPC 5610: Therapeutic Communication (2 units)
This course provides an overview of key concepts and methods in therapeutic communication, integrating psychodynamic, humanistic, and other approaches. Experiential portion includes role-play and simulations. Includes the experiential portion of Therapeutic Communication.

CMH 5620: The Clinical Relationship and Therapeutic Communication (3 units)
This course provides an intermediate level of exploration of the clinical relationship and therapeutic communication. The relationship between the therapist and client is one of the central concepts in contemporary psychotherapeutic change. The course explores that relationship from the perspectives of person-centered, feminist and queer theories that include an exploration of class, race and identity on those relationships.  This course will provide comparative perspectives on transference, countertransference, the working relationship and how to work with these dynamics in the community mental health setting. The course includes role plays and simulations, as well as the use of case material from practicum settings.

MCP 6613: Multicultural Foundations of Family Therapy (3 units)
Students will engage in a 15-hour service learning project in a community mental health setting that is unfamiliar to the student. Using the principles learned in class, this experience will offer the opportunity for the student to explore a growing sense of self-awareness around cultural differences, as well as increase knowledge and skills in working in a diverse community setting. Students will also explore the concept of cultural humility and its application in the provision of culturally informed community mental health work.

MCP 6101: Human Sexuality (1 unit)
This course explores personal, interpersonal, and transpersonal dimensions of sexual experience, including awareness, attitudes, meaning, expression, response, sexual counseling, and integration with personal development.

CMH 5035: Child & Adolescent Multi-Systemic Therapies (3 units)
Course presents assessment, diagnosis, treatment planning, and treatment of children, adolescents, transition-aged youth (TAY) and their families. Case material introduces and provides clinical training in multiple strategies of intervention. This course provides the theories, applications, and methods for effectively engaging adolescents and transition-aged youth in therapy. TAY, as a subpopulation, have been identified by the State of California as a priority population for effective therapeutic interventions.

CMH 5033: Diagnosis and Treatment of Co-occurring Disorders and Addiction (3 units)
The interrelationships between mental, emotional, behavioral, and chemical dependency problems in the lives of clients will be examined. Effective clinical skills will be presented in the context of issues related to diagnosis, treatment, and treatment compliance of dually diagnosed clients. Student will learn about the legal and medical aspects of substance abuse, populations at risk, the role of support persons, support systems, and community resources.

CMH 5031: Trauma, Crisis, and Recovery-Oriented Practice (3 units)
This course will enable students to identify and assess clients with complex traumatic disorders and identify and implement effective treatment protocols. Methods for conceptualizing, assessing, and treating individuals, families, and communities where serious crisis or trauma has occurred will be presented and experienced. As well, current controversies in the field and emerging treatments in line with recovery-based practice will also be covered.

MCPC 5632: Group Facilitation and Group Therapy (3 units)
This course provides the basic theories and practice necessary to design and facilitate psychoeducational groups, special-topic groups, peer support groups, and other groups currently delivered in community mental health settings. In addition students will learn, theories, practice and techniques, including principles of group dynamics, group process components, group developmental stage theories, therapeutic factors of group work, group leadership styles and approaches. Pertinent research and literature on group counseling methods will be presented and students will practice multiple methods of evaluation of group effectiveness.

CMH 6001: Advanced CMH Practice: Severe Mental Illness and Early Psychosis (3 units)
This course involves a careful examination of the etiology (biological, psychological, and social), clinical diagnosis, and treatment of severe and persistent mental illness. This includes a consideration of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, severe character pathology, and dual diagnosis in the community mental health setting. A comprehensive, integrative and contemporary theoretical framework through which to understand and treat severe mental illness across the lifespan will be introduced. Students will become adept at differential diagnosis and the application of best practices; the inclusion of family members in treatment; early onset of psychosis; the application of recovery and wellness principles, as well as the impact of poverty and stigma on treatment.

CMH 7701: Integrative Seminar-Final Project (3 units)
This culminating course provides an opportunity for students to reflect on their processes of personal and academic integration in the CMH program. Students will demonstrate the following: key learning from theoretical and conceptual standpoints, and knowledge of community and public mental health systems and clinical experiences.

MCPC 7606: Supervised Clinical Practicum: Group, in Community or Public Settings (3 units)
Presentation and discussion of case material. Emphases upon case formulation, the therapeutic relationship, and the development of clinical skills. Specific skills in case documentation and professional writing will be practiced.

MCPC 7602: Supervised Clinical Practicum (2 units)
Presentation and discussion of case material. Emphases upon case formulation, the therapeutic relationship, and the development of clinical skills.

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