Master of Arts in

Counseling Psychology

WHERE THEORY MEETS PRACTICE

A graduate degree that prepares students to practice relationally-informed psychotherapy and to pursue licensure as Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT) or Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCC).

The Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology prepares students to practice relationally-informed psychotherapy in settings ranging from community mental health to hospitals to private practice and/or to pursue doctoral study. Students complete an in-depth traineeship that promotes the integration of theoretical knowledge with clinical practice. The degree satisfies the requirements for licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) with the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.

Designed to be flexible, the program offers both full-time and part-time enrollment options. The curriculum emphasizes integration of diverse and in-depth theoretical knowledge and clinical practice from a stance of cultural humility. Students are required to complete 300 face-to-face clinical contact hours, and, upon graduation, have completed more hours toward licensure than are required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.

The program maintains a strategic partnership with the Psychotherapy Action Network, an organization that aims to organize, formulate initiatives, and collectively advocate for mental health policy that is based on the complexity of the individual and not simply on the identification of discrete symptoms. This is consistent with our program philosophy, which envisions psychotherapy as a complex process of individual growth and change and the therapeutic relationship as a key element in successful treatment.

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TOTAL UNITS — 60

REQUIRED COURSES — 60 UNITS

(Courses are 3 units unless otherwise noted)

PSYCH 302
Lifespan Development: Theories and Applications for Therapists
PSYCH 304
Cross-Cultural Aspects of Psychology
PSYCH 306
Group Models of Counseling
PSYCH 308
Applied Psychological Research
PSYCH 320
Therapeutic Communication and Counseling Skills
PSYCH 321
Psychopathology
PSYCH 322
Psychological Assessment
PSYCH 323
Psychodynamic Models of Counseling
PSYCH 324
Child/Adolescent Psychology, Assessment and Treatment
PSYCH 325
Principles of Couple & Family Counseling
PSYCH 326
Legal and Ethical Responsibility for Counselors
PSYCH 329
The Neuroscience of Counseling and Psychopharmacology
PSYCH 331
Human Sexuality (1 unit)
PSYCH 333
Substance Use, Co-Occurring Disorders and Addictions (1 unit)
PSYCH 334
Relational Abuse: Assessment, Treatment and Reporting (1 unit)
PSYCH 335
Special Issues in the Treatment of Families (2 units)
PSYCH 336
Evidence-Based Practice Treatment (1 unit)
PSYCH 337
Community Mental Health
PSYCH 339
Cognitive-Behavioral and Short-Term Models of Counseling
PSYCH 351
Career Counseling and Development
PSYCH 394
Practicum in Counseling Psychology (9 units)

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LEARNING OUTCOMES

Graduates of the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology will possess the skills and knowledge to:
  • Demonstrate comprehensive and integrative knowledge of the field of counseling psychology relevant to mental health professionals, including human development, psychopathology, and group, family, couple, and individual dynamics.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of ethical and best practice standards that exist for professionals in their field.
  • Demonstrate the capacity and willingness to practice psychotherapy from a stance of cultural humility.
  • Demonstrate the capacity to practice individual, couple, family, and group psychotherapy from a relational and systemic lens.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of research designs and parameters of psychological research, particularly within the field of counseling psychology, and the capacity to critically assess psychological research.

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Traineeship Placements

Traineeship placement is a foundational aspect of your education here at Golden Gate University. In traineeship, you begin to apply the didactic knowledge you have gained in your courses to the broad range of tasks that confront professional psychotherapists, under the guidance of a licensed supervisor and with the support of an on-campus clinical case conference led by one of our professors.

Golden Gate University has an outstanding reputation with a wide range of traineeship placements in San Francisco and in the wider Bay Area. Our Traineeship Coordinator and Career Services Staff work with students to develop a compelling traineeship application, including a professional curriculum vitae, and also provide guidance with professional interviewing. We maintain relationships with traineeship placements and their directors throughout the Bay Area and consistently places students at top traineeship sites.

Traineeship sites in the Bay Area vary depending on the population that they serve and by the treatment modalities and clinical specialties implemented at their site. These sites include state, county, and community mental health facilities as well as outpatient clinics, psychiatric hospitals, schools, residential treatment programs, chemical dependency treatment programs, and other settings.

We help students to select traineeship sites that are consistent with philosophy of our training program. We believe that psychotherapy must acknowledge the complexity of the individual and the uniqueness of individual suffering, rather than the identification and resolution of discrete symptoms. Psychotherapy is envisioned as a complex process of individual growth and change, and the psychotherapeutic relationship is seen as a key element in successful treatment. The student’s relationship with his or her clinical supervisor, similarly, is seen as an integral aspect of professional development. Based on these criteria, we approve each site and have a written agreement with each site that details each party's responsibilities. The agreement provides for regular progress reports and evaluations of the student's performance.