Counseling Psychology Overview

This program allows admission in the Fall. The Fall 2024 application cycle is currently closed, the Cal State Apply University application deadline was January 15, 2024. We do not accept late University applications.

The next application will be for Fall 2025 admission. More information about the Fall 2025 application will be made available in Summer 2024. 

How to Apply
Statement of Purpose prompt, etc., and MyCED Program Application Deadline

Request to be added to the prospective student list for this program

The Counseling Psychology program is a 65-unit course of study that culminates in a Master’s degree and prepares students to meet the competencies required for both the Marriage and Family Therapy License (LMFT) and License for Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCC). Students will be prepared to work in private practice, community-agency settings, government-court settings, hospitals and clinics, Employee Assistance Programs, and city-county-state agencies to provide counseling services for adults, children, families and couples.

  • Trauma and grief work
  • Family systems treatment models
  • Human sexuality
  • Child and adolescent counseling
  • Alcohol and chemical dependency
  • Cross-cultural interventions
  • Evidence-based treatment
  • Couples and group therapy
  • Clinical case formulation

  • Fully accredited by WASC
  • Approved by Board of Behavioral Sciences Examiner
  • 2-year or 2.5-year track available
  • Preparing for California State licensure as a Marriage & Family Therapist and/or Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor
  • Outstanding multicultural clinical faculty
  • No GRE required
  • On-site clinic
  • Live supervision
  • Community practice sites

Practitioner Focus

Provide training in traditional and managed-care approaches noting DSM-5 and family systems assessment/diagnosis which should result in effective treatment plans and service delivery.


Integrate research, theory, and practice in a cohesive manner that comprehensively and appropriately addresses the social, emotional, and developmental aspects of diverse populations with sensitivity and skill.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Candidates will be able to demonstrate diagnostic skills sufficient for entry level in a clinical or counseling setting.
  2. Candidates will draw upon family systems, theoretical models, and demonstrate ability to work in a systematic fashion with families.
  3. Candidates will use an actual case to develop an appropriate treatment plan that includes attention to: 
    • development issues
    • legal and ethical issues
    • evidence-based approaches for treatment of specific disorders

The majority of our graduates work for an organization (Department of Public Social Services, Children’s Protective Services, colleges, schools, hospitals, clinics, etc.) or develop their independent practice.

The overall goal of the Counseling Psychology program is to provide an integrated course of study and appropriate professional training.  The BBS requirements include all of the following sections. The CSULB Counseling Psychology program curriculum meets all of these requirements. 
  • Theories, principles, and methods of a variety of psychotherapeutic orientations directly related to marriage and family therapy and marital and family systems approaches to treatment; How these theories can be applied therapeutically with individuals, couples, families, adults, elder adults, children, adolescents, and groups to improve, restore, or maintain healthy relationships.
  • A minimum of 280 hours of face-to-face experience counseling individuals, couples, families, or groups; Training in all of the following: The applied use of theory and psychotherapeutic techniques; Assessment, diagnosis, and prognosis; Treatment of individuals and premarital, couple, family, and child relationships, including trauma and abuse, dysfunctions, healthy functioning, health promotion, illness prevention, and working with families; Professional writing, including documentation of services, treatment plans, and progress notes; How to connect people with resources that deliver the quality of services and support needed in the community
  • Instruction in diagnosis, assessment, prognosis, and treatment of mental disorders, including: Severe mental disorders; Evidence-based practices; Psychological testing; Psychopharmacology; Promising mental health practices that are evaluated in peer reviewed literature
  • Instruction in developmental issues from infancy to old age, including all of the following areas: The effects of developmental issues on individuals, couples, and family relationships; The psychological, psychotherapeutic, and health implications of developmental issues and their effects; Aging and its biological, social, cognitive, and psychological aspects; A variety of cultural understandings of human development; The understanding of human behavior within the social context of socioeconomic status and other contextual issues affecting social position; The understanding of human behavior within the social context of a representative variety of the cultures found within California; The impact that personal and social insecurity, social stress, low educational levels, inadequate housing, and malnutrition have on human development
  • Instruction in the broad range of matters and life events that may arise within marriage and family relationships and within a variety of California cultures, including all of the following:  Child and adult abuse assessment and reporting; Spousal or partner abuse assessment, detection, intervention strategies, and same-gender abuse dynamics; Cultural factors relevant to abuse of partners and family members; Childbirth, child rearing, parenting, and step parenting; Marriage, divorce, and blended families; Long-term care; End of life and grief; Poverty and deprivation; Financial and social stress; Effects of trauma; The psychological, psychotherapeutic, community, and health implications of the matters and life events related to each of the above matters
  • Instruction in cultural competency and sensitivity, including a familiarity with the racial, cultural, linguistic, and ethnic backgrounds of persons living in California.  
  • Instruction in multicultural development and cross-cultural interaction, including experiences of race, ethnicity, class, spirituality, sexual orientation, gender, and disability, and their incorporation into the psychotherapeutic process.   
  • Instruction about the effects of socioeconomic status on treatment and available resources.  
  • Instruction about resilience, including the personal and community qualities that enable persons to cope with adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or other stresses. 
  • Instruction in human sexuality including the study of: Physiological, psychological and social-cultural variables associated with sexual behavior and gender identity; The assessment and treatment of psychosexual dysfunction
  • Instruction in substance abuse, co-occurring disorders, and addiction including all of the following.  Co-occurring disorder means a mental illness and substance abuse diagnosis occurring simultaneously in an individual.: The definition of substance use disorders, co-occurring disorders, and addiction; Medical aspects of substance use disorders and co-occurring disorders; The effects of psychoactive drug use; Current theories of the etiology of substance abuse and addiction; The role of persons and systems that support or compound substance abuse and addiction; Major treatment approaches to identification, evaluation, and treatment of substance use disorders, co-occurring disorders, and addiction, including, but not limited to, best practices.; Legal aspects of substance abuse; Populations at risk with regard to substance use disorders and co-occurring disorders; Community resources offering screening, assessment, treatment and follow-up for the affected person and family; Recognition of substance use disorders, co-occurring disorders, and addiction, and appropriate referral; The prevention of substance use disorders and addiction.
  • Instruction in California law and professional ethics for marriage and family therapists, including: Contemporary professional ethics and statutory, regulatory, and decisional laws that delineate the scope of practice of marriage and family therapy; The therapeutic, clinical, and practical considerations involved in the legal and ethical practice of marriage and family therapy, including, but not limited to, family law; The current legal patterns and trends in the mental health professions; The psychotherapist-patient privilege, confidentiality, the patient dangerous to self or others, and the treatment of minors with and without parental consent; A recognition and exploration of the relationship between a practitioner’s sense of self and human values and his or her professional behavior and ethics; Differences in legal and ethical standards for different types of work settings; Licensing law and licensing process.
  • Instruction in all of the following, either in credit level coursework or through extension programs offered by the degree-granting institution:  Case management; Systems of care for the severely mentally ill; Public and private services and supports available for the severely mentally ill; Community resources for persons with mental illness and for victims of abuse; Disaster and trauma response; Advocacy for the severely mentally ill; Collaborative treatment 

For additional information related to professional licensure and certification related to this program, please see the CSULB Credential Center website.