What makes CIIS' approach to clinical training unique?

CIIS takes a relational approach to therapeutic training. We view the therapeutic relationship as the cornerstone of the therapy process. Our counseling programs view pathology as often an attempt of the psyche to fill in relational gaps in early childhood, or as the result of othering experiences such as racism, trauma and oppression. If our psychic structures (even maladaptive ones) are formed through relationship, then it is through relationship we heal and create new, more loving, liberated and vital views of self, other and world.

Clinical training at CIIS moves this approach beyond theory to include experiential training models in both the classroom and in the practicum experience. We give our students the tools that are specific to their program of choice, such as Expressive Arts Therapy, Drama Therapy, community focus and liberation psychology (Community Mental Health), body-centered therapy (Somatic Psychology) or contemplative and transpersonal views (Integral Counseling Psychology).

Will my MA in Counseling Psychology from CIIS lead to licensure?

The professional practice of counseling is a regulated occupation in the state of California. Coursework in the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology program at CIIS and each of its five programs is approved by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) to fulfill educational requirements toward the marriage and family therapist license (LMFT). Students also have the option to take additional coursework to fulfill the educational requirements of the professional clinical counselor license (LPCC). Students seeking the LPCC license also take courses for the MFT, enabling them to pursue either license and to work with couples, families, and/or children as an LPCC. Students seeking licensure in California as an LMFT or LPCC must register with the BBS after graduation and successfully complete additional post-graduate supervised clinical associate hours and written examinations. See the BBS site for additional information.

I am looking for a fully online program that will lead to licensure. Does CIIS have any fully online MA in Counseling programs?

While CIIS does not currently offer any fully online MA in Counseling Psychology programs, we do have three programs that support students for low residency and weekend formats. 

Our low residency option is the Expressive Arts Therapy program.  

Weekend formats are offered through two programs: Community Mental Health and Integral Counseling Psychology.

Please note: Given certain state restrictions, Expressive Arts Therapy applicants must live in CA throughout the entirety of their program and weekend format students must live in one of the approved states - CA, WA, OR and NV.

I want to be licensed in a state other than California after I graduate; will my education at CIIS cover the requirements for other states?

In many cases, our coursework and training is very similar or entirely portable to many states. However, each state has their own specific licensure requirements that include both academic coursework and clinical practicum hours that may differ from CA’s requirements. In cases where this program does not meet the requirements for another state, additional coursework or practicum hours may be required. While licensure may be possible in another state, it is not guaranteed. Luckily, you will have the full support of the MCP Director who will help you understand the specific licensing requirements. Lastly, you should consult the licensing boards of the appropriate state of country for the most up-to-date licensing information outside of California.

There are 5 different programs, how do I choose one?

Each of our programs prepare students with sound clinical skills that apply to clinical work in a variety of settings. The best fit for you will depend on past experience, background, current areas of interest, and future career goals.

Find out more about each of our programs by visiting their pages:

You can also sign up for an Info Session to find out more.

Where do graduates work?

Graduates from CIIS with a Master’s in Counseling Psychology degree pursue a variety of careers including: private practice, hospitals and school settings, governmental agencies, community non-profits, and other clinical settings. 

Licensed graduates are welcome to provide our Alumni Office with their professional contact details to be added to our CIIS Trained Therapy Referrals list.

Where can I plan to complete my yearlong practicum training?

CIIS works with over 200 clinical training sites in the Bay Area and beyond. Our Field Placement Office is happy to provide information and advice about finding the best practicum site for you.

What is the BBS?

The Board of Behavioral Sciences is the governing board that sets and enforces the standards for safe and competent mental health practice in California. All of our programs meet the licensing standards for the state of California.

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 contact the Admissions Office at 415-575-6154 or .

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