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Counseling Psychology Program

  • Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology

Our Counseling Psychology degree prepares students to obtain their LPCC or MFT license.

Units: 90 quarter units (3 quarter units = 2 semester units)
Program Length: 3 years(full-time)
Tracks: LPCC, MFT, LPCC/MFT, and No Track
Emphasis Options: Latino counseling, correctional psychology, and health psychology
Start Dates: Fall, Winter, Spring, or Summer
Instructional Method: On campus

The Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology provides an intensive 90-unit Master of Arts program for students. Students may opt to include any of our three emphasis areas in Correctional PsychologyHealth Psychology, or Latino Counseling to their degree. An emphasis functions like a minor. Students not electing an emphasis may choose from a variety of electives to expand their knowledge in various areas.

The Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology has four tracks:

MFT Track

The California Board of Behavioral Sciences bases the MFT Track on California State regulations, guidelines suggested by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, and curriculum approval. Students choosing this track are qualified to sit for a MFT license exam after completing course work, practicum, and clinical hours in the State of California. 

LPCC Track

The California Board of Behavioral Sciences bases the LPCC Track on California State regulations, guidelines from the California Coalition for Counselor Licensure, and curriculum approval. Students choosing this track are qualified to sit for a LPCC license exam after completing course work, practicum, and clinical hours. The LPCC is a portable degree, meaning that coursework and clinical training in California will allow a student to sit for licensure in any other state; based on any residency requirements of that state. LPCC licensing requirements include a national, rather than state-centric, exam.

The LPCC program is primarily focused on individual adult clients. Students pursuing this program who wish to work with couples, families and children will need to take classes in these specialties to work legally and ethically with these populations.

A major difference between the MFT and the LPCC is that a significant number of the required 3,000 training hours can be completed prior to receiving the Masters degree for the MFT license. The required 3,000 hours for the LPCC must all be accrued after graduation with a Masters degree.

Joint MFT/LPCC Track

The joint MFT/LPCC track is available for students who wish to apply for both licenses. This combined program can be completed within the 90 units. Students can also opt for one of the three emphases; however, students completing this track with an emphasis in Health Psychology or Correctional Psychology will need to complete 91.5 units and students completing this track with an emphasis in Latino counseling will need to complete 93 units to obtain all the necessary courses. Students who wish to explore this joint track option are encouraged to meet with a Faculty Advisor.

No Track

Students may also opt for neither the MFT nor the LPCC track. This track is for individuals who desire more extensive training and experience than the 51-unit M.A. of Counseling affords. This track does not lead to licensure.

For admissions questions, please email ecpadmissions@scu.edu.

 

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  • Master of Arts in Counseling

Our Counseling degree prepares students who want more experience in the mental health field or are planning to pursue their doctoral degree but who do not seek a therapy license.

Units: 52.5 quarter units (3 quarter units = 2 semester units)
Program Length: 2 years(full-time)
Emphasis Options: Latino counseling, correctional psychology, and health psychology
Start Dates: Fall, Winter, Spring, or Summer
Instructional Method: On campus

The M.A. in Counseling is an ideal program for those who are already in a position in a field that rewards advanced training and those who are using the M.A. as a stepping-stone for doctoral studies. Students may opt to include any of our three emphasis areas in Correctional PsychologyHealth Psychology, or Latino Counseling to their degree. An emphasis functions like a minor. Students not electing an emphasis may choose from a variety of electives to expand their knowledge in various areas.

For the latter group, the 52.5 unit program can serve as a post-baccalaureate, pre-doctoral training program. This is especially useful for students who were not undergraduate psychology majors, completed a baccalaureate degree many years ago, or want additional background and training in the field. Usually, these students combine their classwork with research opportunities during the Master's program. In recent years, a vast majority of these students have been successfully placed in doctoral programs.

The Master of Arts degree in Counseling does not meet the requirements to sit for a license in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) or Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) in any state.

In accordance with California State regulations, students who complete and receive the 52.5 unit master’s degree cannot, post-graduation, transfer or apply those credits toward the completion of an MFT license program.

The former group of students opt for this degree to work in educational settings, career centers, community agencies, hospitals, religious settings, and in industry.

For admissions questions, please email ecpadmissions@scu.edu

 

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  • Emphases

We offer three optional emphases, Correctional PsychologyHealth Psychology, and Latino Counseling available to all students in either the 51 unit or 90 unit degree programs. An emphasis functions like a minor. Students not electing an emphasis may choose from a variety of electives to expand their knowledge in various areas.

Latino Counseling

Coordinator:  (lramossanchez@scu.edu)

The emphasis in Latino Counseling offers a concentration and focus on counseling the large component of the population that defines itself as Latino. The program focuses on applications of psychology with reference to issues of culture, ethnicity, acculturation, and assimilation. Implications of counseling within a Latino family system and issues of language are explored. Coursework concentrates on the development of knowledge and practical skills in the following areas: reaching clients from this normally underserved population, developing rapport with clients from these cultures, intervening in culturally sensitive and appropriate ways, and counseling at various times throughout the life cycle. Some of the classes will stress the importance of language and may be instructed partially or substantially in Spanish. Students who choose the Latino counseling emphasis may be eligible for a special scholarship.

Correctional Psychology

Coordinator:  (rmichels@scu.edu)

The Emphasis in Corrections is designed for individuals with a combined interest in counseling and corrections. Graduates of the program work in agencies and private practice, schools, correctional institutions, law enforcement agencies, community settings, mental health facilities, group homes and rehabilitation facilities.

The emphasis in Correctional Psychology offers a concentration and focus on the population of youth and adults who are connected with the various formal or informal adjudication options in today’s society. The program deals with practical methods of working with those who lead alternative life styles, involved in gangs, those seeking vocational and life transitions, at-risk, antisocial and non-conventional youth and adults, mental health issues, social services, community work, juvenile justice, correctional and school programs. Coursework concentrates on the development of knowledge and practical skills in the following areas: dealing with youth and adults who are considered to be at-risk, working within institutions; including, but not limited to, schools, group homes, social service agencies, law enforcement and the prison system, developing rapport with this clientele and the application of applied behavior analysis.

Health Psychology

Coordinator: Dale G. Larson, Ph. D. (dlarson@scu.edu)

The emphasis in Health Psychology is designed for individuals with a combined interest in counseling and health psychology. Graduates of the program work as agency and private practice counselors; health promotion specialists in industry, schools, and hospitals; counselors in employee assistance programs; and counseling and health specialists in other settings.

The Health Psychology emphasis focuses on applications of psychology to issues of health, disease, and prevention at individual and societal levels. Coursework concentrates on the development of knowledge and practical skills in the following areas: maintaining and promoting personal health, preventing disease, exploring the individual and social contexts of health problems, counseling healthy and ill individuals regarding health-related problems and issues, counseling for grief and loss, developing stress management programs, addressing interpersonal issues in health care settings and the emerging field of Positive Psychology.

 

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FAQs

What is the difference between a counseling psychology and clinical psychology?

Many people are puzzled by the fact that some professional psychologists identify themselves as “counseling” psychologists, while others describe themselves as “clinical” psychologists. Counseling and clinical psychologists often perform similar work as researchers and/or practitioners and may work side by side in any number of settings, including academic institutions, hospitals, community mental health centers, independent practice, and college counseling centers, where they may have overlapping roles and functions. The differences between counseling and clinical psychologists are rooted in the history of each specialty, which has influenced the focus and emphasis of the training they receive. Both counseling and clinical psychologists are trained to provide counseling and psychotherapy. To learn more, visit the APA web site.

What is the difference between a Masters in Counseling and a Masters in Counseling Psychology?

The Masters in Counseling Psychology is considered the "journeyman's" degree for most students. In addition to being a more thorough study of the dynamics of counseling, the Masters in Counseling Psychology allows you a broader range of career options than the Masters in Counseling. It is important to note that should you ever choose to go into private practice as a therapist, the state of California requires you obtain the designated licensure in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) or Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC). The Masters in Counseling Psychology offers a track designed specifically for those who wish to obtain one or both of these licensures. As an MFT or LPCC, not only can you set up private practice, but you are able to work for a variety of clinics, hospitals, hospices, non-profit social service organizations, county facilities, schools, etc. A select few of the aforementioned institutions do hire non-licensed individuals. So, if you do not plan to become licensed, it is recommended you contact the employer for whom you wish to work and ensure the Masters in Counseling is sufficient. The Masters in Counseling may be a good choice for those who are interested in bettering their relational skills in the environment in which they already work or intend to pursue a doctorate and have no previous academic experience in psychology.