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Teresa Nguyen

Earn Your MA in Counseling Psychology

Nguyen '11 shares how the clinical experience in the Counseling Psychology program enabled her to become more confident as a clinician.

Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology

The Master of Arts (MA) in Counseling Psychology (formerly Marriage and Family Therapy) course of study fulfills all educational requirements for the California (CA) Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) license as prescribed by the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS), and with additional coursework, the requirements of the CA Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) license as well. These programs prepare students for future clinical work in private practice settings as well as county and/or community based agencies.

Interwoven through the coursework are essential themes such as community mental health practice, cultural diversity, systemic thinking, collaborative treatment, wellness, resiliency, and recovery. A combination of didactic and experiential classroom learning and supervised intensive fieldwork cover both contemporary issues in the field and essential skills of effective practitioners. Students are encouraged to increase their own self-knowledge through an ongoing examination of their own values and beliefs, cultural backgrounds and contexts, abilities and growth areas.

This innovative, applied 90-unit program is composed of three phases. Phase I consists of foundation courses that combine current and traditional theory applied within the context of the classroom using didactic and experiential methods. In Phase II, coursework is supplemented by introduction of clinical training through fieldwork placements, which continues through Phase III with the addition of individual and group supervision and group didactic training. Successful completion of each phase is required in order to advance to the next phase.

Students have a choice of full- or part-time programs at the Pleasant Hill or San Jose campuses, including a morning option as well as the standard late afternoon/evening program. In addition, an accelerated full-time cohort program is available at the Berkeley campus.

Program Learning Outcomes

The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT) published objectives for marriage and family therapist training programs in 2004. The faculty of the MA in Counseling Psychology program selected from that publication the objectives which best describe the program’s desired learning results. From the AAMFT objectives, faculty developed the following Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs):

  • Knowing the self. Students can articulate and evaluate the role of the self in marriage and family therapy.
  • Understanding the client. Students can assess and diagnose client problems systematically and contextually.
  • Connecting with the client. Students can establish, maintain, evaluate and utilize the therapeutic relationship to serve the mental health needs of the client.
  • Facilitating improved interpersonal relationships. Students can utilize concepts, structures, and theories appropriate to the practice of marriage and family therapy.
  • Providing psychotherapy within legal and ethical mandates. Students can identify, explain, and apply state, federal, and local laws that govern the provision of psychotherapy and can employ ethical decision-making processes.
  • Providing culturally sensitive services. Students can recognize their own potential biases and deliver culturally sensitive treatment.
  • Evaluating outcomes of clinical work. Students will be aware of, evaluate, and respond to measurable outcomes of their work with clients.




To receive the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology degree, students must complete 90 units. The curriculum is detailed below.

Note: Courses are offered in Pleasant Hill (PSY), San Jose (PSJ), and Berkeley (PSB). For simplicity, all courses listed below will have the PSY prefix, although they also may be offered as PSJ or PSB.

Phase I [1] (38 units)
PSY 5000 - New Student Orientation (0 units)
PSY 9020 - Community Meeting [2] (0 units)
PSY 5054 - Research Methods, Quantitative and Qualitative (3 units)
PSY 5112 - The Family Life Cycle (3 units)
PSY 5070 - Theory and Practice of Community Mental Health (3 units)
PSY 5080 - Portfolio Review [3] (0 units)
PSY 5115 - Theories for MFT Practice I (3 units)
PSY 5156 - Theories for MFT Practice II (3 units)
PSY 5157 - Theories for MFT Practice III (3 units)
PSY 5230 - Clinical Skills Training A: Self as Clinician (3 units)
PSY 5231 - Clinical Skills Training B: MFT Techniques I (3 units)
PSY 5232 - Clinical Skills Training C: MFT Techniques II (2 units)
PSY 5303 - Child Adolescent, and Family Therapy: Assessment and Treatment A (3 units)
PSY 5403 - Diagnosis and Assessment of Psychopathology A (3 units)
PSY 5635 - Ethics and the Law (3 units)
PSY 9000 - Child Abuse Assessment, Reporting & Treatment Workshop (0 Units)
PSY 9001 - Diversity Awareness Workshop (0 units)

Phase II (30 units)
PSY 5404 - Diagnosis and Assessment of Psychopathology B (3 units)
PSY 5304 - Child, Adolescent, and Family Therapy: Assessment and Treatment B (3 units)
PSY 5620 - Multicultural Competence (3 units)
PSY 5179 - Family Treatment of Addiction (3 units)
PSY 5613 - Human Sexuality (2 units)
PSY 5154 - Couple Therapy (3 units)
PSY 5310 - Group Therapy (3 units)
PSY 5434 - Family Violence Across the Life Span (3 units)

Select from the following course sequences (6 units)
PSY 5249–51 - Supervised External Practicum (2/2/2 units)
PSY 5260–62 - Supervised Internal Practicum (2/2/2 units)
PSY 5247 - Clinical Case Seminar - Note: Must take 2 quarters for a total of 4 units (2 units)
PSY 9007 - Introduction to School-Based Program (0 units)
PSY 9090 - Written Examination (0 units)

Phase III (22 untis)
Select two of the following courses: [4] (6 units)
PSY 5120C - Specific Theories of Change: Child Therapy (3 units)
PSY 5120F - Specific Theories of Change: Family Therapy (3 units)
PSY 5120I - Specific Theories of Change: Individual Therapy (3 units)

Select from the following course sequences (6 units)
PSY 5252–54 - Supervised External Field Experience (2/2/2 units)
PSY 5263–65 - Supervised Internal Practicum (2/2/2 units)
PSY 5247 - Clinical Case Seminar - Must take 2 quarters for a total of 4 units (2 units)
PSY 5309 - Seminar in Child, Adolescent, Family Counseling (3 units)
PSY 5436 - Crisis and Trauma (3 units)
PSY 9008 - Aging and Long Term Care Workshop (0 units)
PSY 9010 - Issues with HIV and AIDS (0 units)
PSY 9075 - Personal Psychotherapy (0 units)
PSY 9091- Oral Examination (0 units)
PSY 9100 - Professional Development: Post Master's Preparation (0 units)

[1] Successful completion of Phase I required to advance to first field placement. Courses listed in Phases II and III may be taken earlier in the program if their prerequisites have been met.

[2] Phase One students must enroll in and attend two Community Meetings.

[3] This course is taken in the last quarter of Phase I.