Counseling Psychology

Classes begin throughout September

Dedicated to offering students unique and evidenced-based comprehensive training in the art of marriage, family, and individual psychotherapy and professional clinical counseling with an appreciation for the systemic and immeasurable dimensions of the psyche.

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Our Unique Counseling Psychology Program

About Counseling Psychology

For over three decades, Pacifica’s M.A. Program in Counseling Psychology has offered distinctive and comprehensive training and emphasis in the art, science, and practice of marriage and family therapy, professional clinical counseling, and depth psychology. As preparation for licensure in Marriage and Family Therapy and Professional Clinical Counseling, this rigorous academic program emphasizes both theoretical understanding and experiential training in clinical skills. Pacifica students have outstanding pass rates of the California LMFT exams. The California Board of Behavioral Sciences reports that 94% of the Pacifica graduates taking the MFT standard written exam from 1/1/2016-12/31/2016 passed the exam, which ranks higher than the state average of 75% for that time period.

Students in the Counseling Psychology Program pursue two and a half years of coursework in Marriage and Family Therapy, Professional Clinical Counseling, Theory and Praxis, and Humanities and Depth Traditions.

Research studies prepare students to explore and contribute to the continuing development of scholarship within the marriage and family therapy, professional clinical counseling, and depth psychological tradition. This underlying emphasis invites a curiosity about the psyche and encourages respect for the diversity of life and human experience. Supervised practicum provides students the opportunity to apply clinical counseling techniques in a clinical setting. Students continue to learn multi-theoretical perspectives and supervisory styles while working with individuals, couples, families, and groups. Interdisciplinary courses in literature, mythology, religion, and culture deepen students’ ability to link archetypal themes to sociopolitical and personal issues in the lives of individuals, families, and communities.

“Pacifica’s Masters Program in Counseling Psychology integrated a structured academic and experiential program with my own career and personal development goals. The emphasis on depth psychology not only afforded me a paid traineeship, but immediately upon graduation, I was offered employment at several theraputic agencies and private offices where I am furthering my career as a Marriage and Family Therapist. I am proud that the education I received at Pacifica is helping me make a difference in the world.”
Alonso Dominguez, Counseling Psychology Program Graduate

Program Benefits

Students in the M.A. Counseling Psychology Program learn to:

  • Become proficient in theoretical orientations that offer perspective and provide meaning to systemic patterns and human behavior.
  • Demonstrate process and clinical skills.
  • Understand and apply evidence-based clinical assessment procedures.
  • Identify underlying psychological and systemic dynamics of human interaction.
  • Determine and implement effective interventions and evidence-based treatment plans and demonstrate knowledge of family systems theories and apply understanding to case conceptualization assessment, and treatment in clinical practice.
  • Enhance client functioning and well-being via multi-culturally sensitive referrals and collaborative treatment team consultations.
  • Understand individual, systemic, community, political, and biologic aspects of diversity and demonstrate knowledge and respect for diversity.
  • Assess, diagnose, and treat the symptoms and characteristics of behavioral addictions, substance use, and dependence.
  • Students are knowledgeable and apply evidence based assessment procedures to client cases and demonstrate awareness of community mental health and diversity related considerations.
  • Apply current legal and ethical standards and guidelines while working with diverse populations and demonstrate knowledge and application of legal and ethical standards in scholarly work and supervised practicum as they pertain to marriage and family therapy and professional clinical counseling.
  • Students will identify and integrate systemic depth psychological perspectives of human interaction and demonstrate competence in the field of marriage and family therapy and professional clinical counseling.
  • Demonstrate an evolving capacity to self-assess and articulate one’s own strengths.

James Hillman, Ph.D. discusses Pacifica

“Attending Pacifica has been a powerful experience for me. The once-a-month weekend ‘retreats’ allow me to form meaningful and genuine relationships with fellow students, while gaining effective counseling skills from the extremely knowledgeable professors. I appreciate being around people who are dedicatd to personal growth, following their passions, and helping others. I look forward to having many life-changing and transformative experiences at Pacifica.”
Kristen Lewis, Counseling Psychology Program Student

Scholarships

The Peace Corps announced the launch of a new Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program in partnership with Pacifica Graduate Institute that will provide two graduate school scholarships available to returned Peace Corps volunteers who are accepted to the Masters in Counseling Psychology Program. Contact admissions counselor Lori Myers at 805-879-7320 or lmyers@pacifica.edu for more information.

Peace Corps Logo

The Education Assistance Scholarship is sponsored by Pacifica Graduate Institute and offered to new and returning students based on extreme financial hardship and strong academic excellence. Awards are made annually at the beginning of each academic year. The award is $1,000 to be equally divided over the academic year. For students in the Masters in Counseling Psychology Program, enrolled in the 3rd year, the award is $500. This scholarship is not renewable and students must apply each academic year.

The Founders Scholarship is sponsored by Pacifica Graduate Institute and offered to newly admitted students entering the Masters in Counseling Psychology Program based on extreme financial hardship and strong academic excellence. The Founders Scholarship will be awarded to 4 students in the amount of $4,000 and is renewable provided recipients meet the required 3.5 cumulative grade point average.

Chair & Faculty

The Faculty members of Pacifica’s M.A. Counseling Program bring a passion for education and a wealth of real-world experience into the classroom.

Comprised of Jungian Analysts, practicing therapists, mythologists, ecotherapists, licensed professional counselors, psychotherapists, L.M.F.T.’s, and leaders in the field, the counseling faculty share a passion for education and are dedicated to working with adult learners and mentorship.

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Program FAQs

Does a student need to have a B.A. in psychology or extensive background in psychology to qualify for admission to this M.A. program?

A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution or a state-approved institution is required to enroll. While we encourage students with a psychology background to apply, students with a variety of educational backgrounds may be considered for admission to the Masters in Counseling Psychology Program. Given our interdisciplinary approach, previous background or readings in the fields of depth psychology, mythology, literature, religion, and art are of significance in enhancing a student’s experience in the program.

Does receiving the M.A. degree from Pacifica qualify a student to meet the academic requirements to sit for the Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) licensing exams?

Yes. The coursework in the M.A. Counseling Psychology Program meets the educational requirements for licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist in California. After completing a master’s degree from Pacifica, one must meet the BBS internship and examination requirements in order to apply for the California Marriage and Family Therapist license (LMFT).  Please see the Board of Behavioral Sciences website at www.bbs.ca.gov for further information about licensing requirements.  Applicants from other states are strongly encouraged to obtain licensing information and requirements from the licensing board of their particular state since requirements vary from state to state.  (See Disclaimer to Out of State Students at the end of this document.)

Does receiving the M.A. degree from Pacifica qualify a student to meet the academic requirements to sit for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)?

Yes. The coursework in the M.A. Counseling Psychology Program meets the educational requirements for licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist in California. After completing a master’s degree from Pacifica, one must meet the BBS internship and examination requirements in order to apply for the California Marriage and Family Therapist license (LMFT).  Please see the Board of Behavioral Sciences website at www.bbs.ca.gov for further information about licensing requirements.  Applicants from other states are strongly encouraged to obtain licensing information and requirements from the licensing board of their particular state since requirements vary from state to state.  (See Disclaimer to Out of State Students at the end of this document.)

How long is this master's program and how is it structured?

Students attend classes in this program for 2.5 years or 10 quarters (see curriculum overview). The schedule consists of nine three-day sessions and a seven-day summer session each year, during the first two years and six three-day sessions in the final year. Classes meet from approximately 9:00am to 9:00pm during the first two days of each session and from 8:30am-4:30pm on day 3.

What are the supervised practicum requirements for graduation?

Students must complete 280 direct service hours in a supervised practicum in their home community. Students may begin their supervised practicum after successfully completing the spring quarter 2016 courses, and after all site documentation has been submitted and approved.

What expenses, beyond tuition and residential costs, should I consider?

Students will want to factor into their school budget expenses for books, personal psychotherapy, and a thesis editor. Generally, students allow at least $2,000 per year for personal therapy, and approximately $600-$1,200 for a thesis editor, depending on the student’s writing abilities and level of editing assistance needed.

How much work is required outside of class?

Class assignments consist of readings, discussion posts, papers, and/ or projects. In the first year, students study approximately 20-25 hours per week depending on individual learning styles. In the second year, students study approximately 30 hours per week, which includes an average of 10 hours spent at a supervised practicum site. Some online course work will also be required.

Curriculum Overview

When students begin their studies at Pacifica Graduate Institute, they join a cohort of like-minded students who are also enrolling in that particular degree program. The majority of students remain with the same cohort throughout their academic journey. A very real sense of community is soon established as students collaborate within their cohorts and share the intense experiences that are part of graduate-level work at Pacifica. Close personal and professional bonds are formed, often lasting long after studies are completed and extending into graduates’ new careers.

Masters in Counseling Psychology classes take place in three-day sessions approximately once each month during fall, winter, and spring. There is also a seven-day summer session each year. The program enrolls students every fall.

Second Year

Requirements For Graduation

Degree Requirements for Graduation

Two comprehensive examinations and a master’s thesis are to be completed in partial fulfillment of degree requirements. Students work closely with the instructors of Clinical Practice and Directed Research courses during the second year fo the program in preparation for the comprehensive examinations and master’s thesis processes. For a full description of all requirements, consult the current edition of the Pacifica Student Handbook.

The curriculum content areas required by the Board of Behavioral Sciences in the State of California are covered by the following Counseling Psychology Program courses. Each student is responsible for determining and remaining informed of licensure requirements in his or her own state.

Preparation for California Marriage and Family Therapy Licensure

The Counseling Psychology Program meets the requirements of the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, Senate Bill 33, Section 4980.36 of the Business and Professional Code.

Applied Psychotherapeutic Techniques of Marriage and Family Therapy
  • CP 609, 610, 611, 612, 613, 614, 615, Clinical Practice I, II, III, IV, V, VI
Cross Cultural Mores and Values
  • CP 530 Multicultural Counseling Theories and Techniques
  • CP 511 Cultural Psychology
Human Communication
  • CP 515, 516, 517 Counseling Skills: Process of Psychotherapy I, II, III
Human Growth and Development
  • CP 520 Human Growth and Development
Human Sexuality
  • CP 522 Advanced Theories and Techniques: Human Sexuality
Aging and Long Term Care
  • CP 526 Geropsychology and Long Term Care
Family Violence
  • CP 605, Family Systems and Domestic Violence
Psychological Testing
  • CP 630 A, B Psychological Assessment I, II
Psychopathology
  • CP 502 Psychopathology
Research Methodology
  • CP 620 Research in Psychology
  • CP 650 A, B, C, Seminar in Directed Research I, A, B, C
  • CP 651 A,B, C, Seminar in Directed Research II, A, B, C
Theories of Marriage, Family and Child Counseling
  • CP 601, 602 Marriage, Family, and Relationship Counseling I, II
  • CP 527, 528, 529 Group Counseling Theories and Techniques I, II, III
  • CP 501 Counseling and Psychotherapeutic Theories and Techniques
  • CP 532 Child Psychotherapy
Alcohol and Drug Abuse
  • CP 660 A, B Counseling in Substance Use Disorders
  • Co-occurring Disorders and Behavioral Additions I
  • Co-occurring Disorders and Behavioral Additions II
Psychopharmacology
  • CP 670 A, B Psychopharmacology I, II
Professional Ethics and Law
  • CP 523 Professional Orientation: Ethics and the Law
Child Abuse Assessment and Reporting
  • CP 525 Ethics and the Law: Child Abuse Assessment and Treatment
Community Mental Health
  • CP 607 A, B Community Mental Health Counseling I,II

Preparation for California Professional Clinical Counselor Licensure

The Counseling Psychology Program meets the requirements of the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, Senate Bill 788, Section 4999.33 of the Business and Professional Code.

Core Courses
  • CP 501 Counseling and Psychotherapeutic Theories and Techniques
  • CP 534 Introduction to the Theories of the Depth Tradition
  • CP 520 Human Growth and Development
  • CP 532 Child Psychotherapy
  • CP 526 Geropsychology and Long Term Care
  • CP 608 A, B Career Development I, II
  • CP 527, 528, 529 Group Counseling Theories and Techniques I, II, III
  • CP 630 A, B Psychological Assessment I, II
  • CP 530 Multicultural Counseling Theories and Techniques
  • CP 511 Cultural Psychology
  • CP 502 Psychopathology
  • CP 620 Research in Psychology
  • CP 650 A, B, C Seminar in Directed Research I. A, B, C
  • CP 651 A, B, C Seminar in Directed Research II: A, B, C
  • CP 523 Professional Orientation, Ethics, and Law in Counseling
  • CP 525 Ethics and the Law: Child Abuse, Assessment, and Reporting
  • CP 670 A, B Psychopharmacology I, II
  • CP 660 A, B Counseling in Substance Use Disorders, Co-occuring Disorders in Behavioral Addictions, I, II
  • CP 607 A, B Community Mental Health Counseling I, II
  • CP 522 Advanced Theories and Techniques: Human Sexuality
  • CP 605 Family Systems and Domestic Violence
  • CP 565, 566, 567, 568 Professional Skills Development I: A, B, C, D
  • CP 665, 666, 667, 668 Professional Skills Development II: A, B, C, D
Advanced Coursework
  • CP 515, 516, 517 Counseling Skills: Process of Psychotherapy I, II, III
  • CP 601, 602 Marriage, Family, and Relationship Counseling I, II
Depth Psychology Theory And Practice
  • CP 541 Depth Psychology Theory and Practice I: Analytical Psychology
  • CP 542 Depth Psychology Theory and Practice II: Imaginal and Archetypal Psychology
  • CP 543 Depth Psychology Theory and Practice III: Archetypal Symbols and Dynamics in Psychotherapy A
  • CP 544 Depth Psychology Theory and Practice IV: Dreamwork in Clinical Practice
  • CP 545 Depth Psychology Theory and Practice V: Archetypal Symbols and Dynamics in Psychotherapy B
  • CP 546 Depth Psychology Theory and Practice VI: Somatic Psychotherapy
Supervised Practicuum
  • CP 609, 610, 611, 612, 613, 614, 615 Clinical Practice I, II, III, IV, V, VI

Degree Requirements – Requirements for Graduation
  1. Each student must complete a total of 93 quarter units in order to fulfill the unit requirement for graduation.
  2. A minimum grade of C is required in each completed course. A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 must be maintained.
  3. Students must attend at least two-thirds of each course.
  4. Students must complete a Master’s Thesis accepted by the faculty. Thesis Assessment Rubric
  5. Students must complete a minimum of a 300-hour practicum, including a minimum of 280 direct service hours.
  6. Students must participate in 50 hours of personal psychotherapy. A minimum of 20 hours must be completed by the end of the summer quarter.
  7. Students must pass the Comprehensive Examination. Assessment of Comprehensive Oral Exam: Rating Anchors (PDF) Assessment of Comprehensive Oral Exam: Rating Scale (PDF)

First Year Assessment

During the spring quarter of the students’ first year, the faculty will assess each student’s progress in process skills and readiness to begin a clinical practicum. The result of this assessment may include:

  1. Endorsement of the student’s progress as satisfactory.
  2. Endorsement with reservation and recommendations.
  3. Recommendation that the student discontinues the program.

Practicum Requirement

During the second year of study, students are required to be actively engaged in a supervised practicum experience, approved by the administration, in order to be eligible to sit for Pacifica’s Comprehensive Examinations. Students may complete the practicum as a trainee at a charitable social service agency, hospital, or other approved facility. The Institute’s Clinical Practicum Department provides guidelines and consultation for students as they select practicum sites in their home settings. The choice of a culturally diverse site is encouraged.


The Comprehensive Examination and Master’s Thesis

A comprehensive examinations and a master’s thesis are to be completed in partial fulfillment of degree requirements. Students work closely with the instructors of Clinical Practice and Directed Research courses during the second year of the program in preparation for the Comprehensive Examinations and master’s thesis processes. For a full description of all requirements, consult the current edition of the Pacifica Student Handbook.

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For information regarding Pacifica’s M.A. Program in Counseling Psychology, please contact Lori Myers, Admissions Advisor, at 805.879.7320 or at lmyers@pacifica.edu.


For important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attend this program please visit the Gainful Employment page. For Program Goals in the M.A. in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy, Professional Clinical Counseling, and Depth Psychology program, see this PDF. All of Pacifica Graduate Institute’s degree programs are accredited by the Western Association of School and Colleges (WASC) and the Department of Education to offer financial aid.