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Master of Arts in Integral Counseling Psychology

Join a community of therapists who incorporate the mind, body, and spirit in our three-year counseling psychology degree program.

Program Overview

Program Length

3 Years

Number of Units

60 (MFT) or 70 (LPCC)

Format

On-Campus

Next Cohort

Spring/Fall

Our Approach

The holistic orientation of the Integral Counseling Psychology program invites students to articulate their personal vision of psychology within modern theoretical approaches. Students benefit from a spiritually-oriented, multicultural, libratory framework for therapy with individuals, groups, couples, and families.

Clinical Skills

Developing strong clinical skills is the core of our curriculum. In addition to coursework, students engage in a year-long practicum at one of our three award-winning Integral Counseling Centers or another site of their choosing. Graduates of the program are able to conceptualize frameworks and appropriate interventions; diagnose, assess and make practical treatment plans; and attend to the needs and goals of the client, including being able to identify client strengths, resilience, worldview, and resources.

Diversity Awareness

The Integral Counseling Psychology program is committed to discussing multiculturalism as an essential part of psychology. We understand the fundamentally Eurocentric context within which most Western therapeutic models developed, and we explore the impact of power and privilege on those in the dominant and nondominant cultures. Students will have the opportunity to actively explore their own filters and biases, while being challenged to understand differentness and develop competencies in applying diversity sensitivity to clinical practice.

Personal Growth

A hallmark of the Integral Counseling Psychology program is significant personal growth. Through experiential and dyadic learning, collaborative discussions, and reflective papers, students combine inner experience and personal development with preparation to work as a therapist.

Career Paths

CIIS’ Integral Counseling Psychology students are trained to become Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCCs) who understand family and community systems, attachment theory, contemporary trauma theory, cultural/racial dynamics, and transpersonal concepts as a means of treating families, couples, and individuals from varying populations and demographics.

The Integral Counseling Psychology program graduates practice in:

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

Curriculum

The Integral Counseling program offers two formats, both of which meet the full BBS requirements, to ensure you can pursue your education in the way that fits best with your life.

  1. Weekday - 3 years | Full time | Starts in August or January
  2. Weekend - 3 years | Full time | 7 day residential intensive first two years of the program | 5 weekends per semester (Fri-Sun) | Starts in August

Personal Psychotherapy Requirement: During your course of study and when you are in practicum, you are required to complete 50 hours of personal psychotherapy with a licensed mental health professional, 20 hours before practicum begins, and 30 hours during practicum.

Curriculum Highlights

MCPI 5604 Group Dynamics and Facilitation (3 units) This course has two main purposes: to study itself as a group and to learn about group psychotherapy facilitation. The first focus is on addressing increasing empathy and interpersonal sensitivity in a way that will help you develop your therapeutic skills in a group context. The second focus is on learning about different kinds of therapy groups and the different kinds of group facilitation skills necessary to lead such groups. 

MCPI 5602 The Clinical Relationship (3 units) The relationship between therapist and client is one of the central concerns of contemporary theories of therapeutic change. This course explores the relationship between therapist and client from the perspectives of contemporary psychoanalysis, humanism, and self-psychology. It provides various perspectives on transference and countertransference, and how to work with these dynamics in the clinical setting.

MCPI 6603 Multicultural Counseling and the Family (3 units) This course provides an overview of multicultural counseling through exploration of ethnic, social, and cultural mores and values of representative social groups and special populations. The content will focus on developing oneself as a student, therapist, and educator, who understands the complexity of human diversity—ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, socioeconomic class, and color. We will look at the limitations of current psychological models in addressing the particularities of our clients’ diverse familial and cultural backgrounds. You will be asked to do mindfulness practices, inquiry, and dialogue to explore experiences and cultural backgrounds to help uncover your own beliefs, unconscious assumptions, projections, countertransference, fears, and biases. The instructor will help create a safe space and offer appropriate exercises and communication tools to encourage authentic exploration and dialogue of an emotionally-charged topic.

  • Sample Course of Study (60 units)

    Semester 1 | Fall

    • Multicultural Counseling (3 units)
    • Therapeutic Communication (3 units)
    • Psychodynamics (3 units)
    • Human Development and the Family (3 units)

    Semester 2 | Spring

    • Family Dynamics (3 units)
    • Clinical Relationship (3 units)
    • Group Dynamics and Facilitation (3 units)

    Semester 3 | Summer

    • Gestalt Therapy (3 units)
    • Professional Ethics and Family Law (2 units)

    Semester 4 | Fall

    • Psychopathology and Psychological Assessment (3 units)
    • Couples Counseling (3 units)
    • Child Therapy (2 units)
    • Assessment and Treatment of Addiction Disorders (1 unit)
    • General Elective (1 unit)

    Semester 5 | Spring

    • Transpersonal Psychology (3 units)
    • Trauma (3 units)
    • General Elective (1 unit)

    Semester 6 | Summer

    • Practicum (2 units)
    • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (1 unit)
    • Human Sexuality (1 unit)

    Semester 7 | Fall

    • Practicum (2 units)
    • Research Methods (3 units)
    • General Elective (1 unit)

    Semester 8 | Spring

    • Practicum (2 units)
    • Integrative Seminar (3 units)
  • Sample Course of Study (60 units) 

    Intensive 1 | Fall

    • Multicultural Counseling (1 unit)
    • Therapeutic Communication (2 units)
    • Human Development (1 unit)

    Semester 1 | Fall

    • Multicultural Counseling (2 units)
    • Therapeutic Communication (1 unit)
    • Human Development (2 units)
    • Psychodynamics (3 units)

    Semester 2 | Spring

    • Clinical Relationship (3 units)
    • Group Dynamics and Facilitation (3 units)
    • Professional Ethics and Family Law (2 units)
    • General Elective (1 unit)

    Intensive 2 | Fall

    • Gestalt Therapy (3 units)

    Semester 3 | Fall

    • Family Dynamics (3 units)
    • Psychopathology and Psychological Assessment (3 units)
    • Child Therapy (2 units)

    Semester 4 | Spring

    • Couples Counseling (3 units)
    • Trauma (3 units)
    • Community Mental Health (2 units)
    • Human Sexuality (1 unit)
    • General Elective (1 unit)

    Semester 5 | Fall

    • Transpersonal Psychotherapy (3 units)
    • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (1 unit)
    • Alcohol and Chemical Dependency (1 unit)
    • Practicum (2 units)
    • General Elective (1 unit)

    Semester 6 | Spring

    • Integrative Seminar (3 units)
    • Research Methods (3 units)
    • Practicum (2 units)

    Semester 7 | Summer

    • Practicum (2 units)

     

Entry Requirements

If you would like to learn more about this program, we’re here to help. Explore our program further with in-depth materials, discuss your personal and career goals at one of our open houses, or get in touch with our admissions counselors, who are ready to assist you in navigating the application process.

    1. Online Admissions Application: Begin the application process by submitting an online application and paying the non-refundable $65 application fee. 
    2. Degree Requirement: An undergraduate degree (B.A., B.S., or the equivalent) from an accredited college or university.
    3. Academic Prerequisites: Two undergraduate psychology courses from an accredited college or university are recommended but not required. Completion of coursework in one of the following areas is strongly recommended: human development, psychopathology, theories of personality, and/or introduction to psychology.
    4. Minimum GPA: A GPA of 3.0 or higher in previous coursework is required. However, a GPA below 3.0 does not automatically disqualify an applicant. CIIS will consider a prospective student whose GPA is between 2.0 and 3.0. These individuals are required to submit a GPA Statement and are encouraged to contact our Admissions Team to discuss their options.
    5. Transcripts: Official transcripts from all accredited academic institutions attended where 7 or more credits have been earned. If transcripts are being mailed to CIIS, they must arrive in their official, sealed envelopes. Transcripts from institutions outside the US or Canada require a foreign credit evaluation through World Education Services (WES) or CIIS will also accept foreign credential evaluations that are in a comprehensive course-by-course format from the current members of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES).
    6. Admissions Essay: A one-page (typed, double-spaced) statement that explores the following: 
      1. What experiences have you had talking about identity differences, (like race, gender, ability, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status etc.) social location, and power and privilege related to identity? 
      2. What kinds of emotions do you notice yourself feeling in these kinds of conversations? 
      3. How have you, or might you work with or regulate difficult emotions when they arise?
    7. Autobiographical Statement: A four-to-six page (typed, double-spaced) introspective autobiographical statement describing your personal values, emotional and spiritual insights, and meaningful life experiences that are foundational to your development and that led to your decision to apply.
    8. Goal Statement: A one-page (typed, double-spaced) statement of your professional goals and objectives that demonstrates your commitment to the field of integral counseling.
    9. Resume
    10. Two Letters of Recommendation: Letters of recommendation will be accepted from academic advisors, professors, professional supervisors, or someone able to attest to your ability to undertake the work required for your program. Recommenders should use standard business format and include full contact information-name, email, phone number, and mailing address in the body of the letter.
    11. Interview: Individual and group interviews by invitation from the admissions committee.

    Candidate selection

    CIIS’ Integral Counseling Psychology program seeks individuals who:

    • Have some background or interest in integral/East-West philosophy and psychology.
    • Are pursuing a path of personal growth through yoga, meditation, personal psychotherapy, etc.
    • Have demonstrated a capacity to learn and work both independently and collaboratively.
    • Show a demonstrated commitment to the field, through volunteer or paid experience in a psychologically-oriented community service agency.

    We encourage and embrace diversity in our program, and place a high value on having students from a variety of racial and cultural backgrounds; other representations of diversity (including age range) are also important to us. We look at each applicant holistically, and if you feel passionate about this field, we welcome your application.

FAQs

  • Integral counseling incorporates the entire person – mind, body, and spirit – in the understanding and treatment of mental health. Using an integral approach, therapists explore a person’s thoughts, emotions, behavior, and relational history, along with the context of their environments, communities, and the world as a whole. Integral counseling psychology alums practice using a wide variety of modern, evidence-based theories and approaches.

  • Our program is both personally and academically rigorous. We expect our graduates to have both a deeper understanding of themselves and the theories and orientations we teach. At CIIS, the education is so thorough that our alums consistently have the highest pass rates of all graduate degree programs in California for the Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) exam.

  • Gestalt therapy, developed by Fritz Perls, in the 1940s, is an experiential and humanistic form of therapy that was originally designed as an alternative to conventional psychoanalysis. Gestalt therapists use creative and experiential techniques to enhance awareness, freedom, and self-direction. The word gestalt comes from the German word meaning shape or form, and it references the character or essence of something. (Source)

  • 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’ Statutes and Regulations PDF for additional information.

  • 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 Director of MCP 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.

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