Counseling Psychology, MS

Program Description

The three-year, 60-semester unit Master of Science in Counseling Psychology Program at CSUB trains students to meet the community need for ethical, competent, and adaptable mental health professionals. It is designed to satisfy the academic requirements of the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) statutory requirements, Section 4980.36 of the Business and Professions Code (BPC), for the California License in Marriage and Family Therapy (LMFT) as well as 4999.33 for the Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC). Students receive broad training that prepares them for work in diverse and changing settings. Training particularly focuses on the counseling process and therapeutic relationship. The well-trained counselor will understand that:     

  • Counseling involves the application of skills that facilitate the counseling process;
  • The counseling relationship is central to effective therapeutic intervention;
  • Counselors creatively use their knowledge, skills, and experiences to create an environment where clients can make positive change;
  • Clients’ adaptive and maladaptive functioning is determined by multiple factors including individual, familial and cultural influences; and
  • Training and education in counseling is a lifelong process that begins in graduate school and continues throughout the counselor’s professional career.

The CSUB Counseling Psychology program particularly values personal exploration in training and supervision. The curricular objectives of the Master of Science in Counseling Psychology therefore emphasize:

  • A foundation in the theory and research upon which clinical practice is based;
  • Development of self-awareness and relationship-building skills that contribute to strong therapeutic alliances with clients;
  • Experiential learning, through which students learn and practice relevant skills and come to trust their own experience in work with clients;
  • An understanding of and a sensitivity to the effects of diverse individual, familial, and cultural factors; and,
  • Development of skills needed for lifelong learning and continued professional growth.

Experiential Learning Requirements

The Master of Science in Counseling Psychology Program is sequentially arranged and includes an emphasis on principles of experiential learning. Students are expected to participate from both counselor and client perspectives in individual, dyadic, and group exercises. Enrollment in the program implies student consent to engage in individual and group experiential learning activities in various courses.

Ethical and Professional Conduct

Throughout the program, it is important for students to remember that they are enrolled in a program designed to train professional counselors. The use of case vignettes, live clients, and student experiences are essential to this process. It is, thus, expected that students will conduct themselves as professionals and maintain the confidentiality of all client or student material generated or presented in any program class. A violation of this ethical requirement of confidentiality will result in faculty review of students’ conduct and subsequent progress in the Program.

The Code of Ethics of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) and the American Counseling Association (ACA) Code of Ethics each stress the importance of confidentiality in counseling relationships. These codes apply not only to licensed therapists, but also to students in the MS Counseling Psychology program who are expected to maintain the confidentiality of all information disclosed by, and related to, both clients and peers in the various experiential activities throughout the program.

While the preservation of confidentiality is only one aspect of professional conduct, the faculty takes seriously the ACA Code of Ethics to endorse for a degree and/or licensure only those candidates that exemplify high standards of ethical and personal conduct; and Standard F.1.a that asks faculty to ensure that students are able to provide competent service. We refer to these concepts as pre-professional development.

Pre-Professional Development

Throughout the program students must provide evidence of the ability to interact competently and ethically with others from a variety of backgrounds. The student must engage in behaviors that:

  • Demonstrate positive, consistent, and effective contributions to the classroom learning and atmosphere.
  • Exhibit harmonious and collegial relationships with peers and faculty.
  • Reflect professionalism and responsibility in areas such as attendance, timely completion of assignments, and attention to regulations and expectations.

Students must also demonstrate, by conduct and academic performance, achievement of curricular goals (listed above) appropriate to their progress in the program. Such evidence also may come from practicum and technique-based courses, courses with an experiential focus, or from supervised experiences. Students will be evaluated by the Counseling Psychology Faculty Committee (CPFC) at each point of reclassification and will be given feedback on their pre-professional development. The Graduate Studies section of the CSUB Catalog describes the procedures for student Appeals and Grievances.

CPSY 6110Counseling Skills3
CPSY 6130Adult and Family Development3
CPSY 6360Techniques of Individual Counseling2
CPSY 6410Theories of Family Counseling3
CPSY 6420Theory and Practice of Group Counseling3
CPSY 6460Techniques of Group and Family Counseling3
CPSY 6810Practicum I2
CPSY 6820Practicum II2

are clinical process classes. These are experiential in nature and require the use of live clients and video recording of sessions. Because of the additional time needed for supervision, and to move people from room to room and to change digital recordings, the class schedule may indicate more time than mandated for clinical process classes.

CPSY 6910Traineeship I3
CPSY 6920Traineeship II3
CPSY 6980Clinical Extension1-3

are field placement courses in service providing agencies. Supervisors will rate student knowledge and skill.