Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology, Concentration in Community Mental Health

California Institute of Integral Studies

Program Description

Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology, Concentration in Community Mental Health

California Institute of Integral Studies

Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology, Concentration in Community Mental Health

CIIS has trained MFT's since 1973 and graduates have had one of the highest pass rates on the MFT exam, with a 96% pass rate. Since 1973 the Master's in Counseling Program has responded to changes in the field. Community Mental Health evolved out of this trend in providing innovative educational opportunities and the changing needs in the field. In order to better meet the changing landscape of public mental health, CIIS was an early adapter of the CMH curriculum, and as such, a pioneer in developing master's level coursework and specialty training for those interested in careers in public mental health.

In the spirit of the Mental Health Services Act stakeholders in the public mental health system were invited to the table to help plan the needs of master's level counseling students. This included working with local public mental health; community-based organizations; consumers; community members; and service providers. Out of this work the CMH program developed the following program goals:

CMH will provide strong clinical training built on

  • Psychodynamics, Humanistic Mindfulness, and Family Systems Therapy
  • Trauma-informed therapies;
  • Recovery and resiliency models of treatment;
  • Social justice perspectives, and
  • Community psychology theory and praxis.
CMH trains students with a strong theoretical base to be proficient as licensed, independent mental health practitioners either as a licensed MFT or LPCC. These skills include:
  • Assessment, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment planning;
  • Outcomes Evaluation;
  • Cultural Humility;
  • Best Practices; and
  • Practice-Based Evidence.

The CMH program models itself on the public mental health model, providing opportunities for peer-based support and services; Wellness Recovery Action Planning for students; community meetings; and access to MHSA-based support services for students of color; LGBT students; consumers of public mental health services and their family members; and veterans. We welcome a diverse cohort of students to come together to learn to become licensed therapists, clinical case managers, change agents within the mental health system. Our trainees and graduate students are consistently sought after in the public mental health system and in community organizations. We welcome you to become part of the next generation of students trained and ready for system transformation.

Statement of Diversity:

Diversity and the recognition of multiple perspectives is a core value of the Community Mental Health Program at CIIS. We celebrate and embrace these diverse perspectives as a source of strength, creativity and relevance in our field. Our differences and how we each live those differences - be they of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, socioeconomic status, abilities, experiences and more - enhance our ability to achieve the Institute's core mission to embody spirit, intellect, and wisdom in service to individuals, communities and the Earth. We do this by framing our studies in the context of social justice, liberation psychologies and including, respecting, and valuing the voices of the communities we serve in our students, staff, faculty and where we provide service.


Clinical Training

The clinical training component of the CMH program is fully integrated into the Master's degree program. In the first year students will have assignments which bring them into agencies and programs to learn firsthand what is happening in community mental health in our area. In year two (see below) students will begin to gain experience and deliver services and in year three they will take clinical practicum courses. It is in practicum that students begin, with supervision, to engage in therapy with clients. Each student plays a key role in identifying sites for field work and clinical practicum. The CMH office and the Field Placement team are ready and eager to help students make good choices. Once made, those choices must be approved by the Director of the CMH program and the Director of Field Education

Year 2- Clinical Field Study (2-units)

Over the course of two semesters students will engage in (2) one-unit courses that will introduce the student to clinical fieldwork. Students will explore the development of professional identity, client engagement, client advocacy, psychosocial education and case management. Completion of the course will require attendance in weekly classes plus 6-8 hours per week of documented fieldwork in an approved site.

Year 3- Clinical Practicum (4-units)

Over the course of two semesters students will engage in (2) two-unit courses that will enhance clinical training in the practicum. Students will continue their development of professional identity as the student learns to become a psychotherapist and integrate what is learned in the classroom with the experience at the practicum site. Completion of the course will require attendance in weekly classes plus 16-20 hours per week of documented training in an approved site.

Students must complete a minimum of 500 qualifying BBS hours between their fieldwork and practicum training, but may complete as many as 1300. The remaining qualifying hours may then be accrued post-graduation.

Apply to the Community Mental Health Program

About the Program

Taking a systemic approach, this 60-unit, three-year program integrates the fundamentals of intensive and supplemental case management with an emphasis on counseling, cultural competence and a public sector practicum.

Delivered in a variety of formats, the curriculum graduated students job-ready for high-demand public sector careers and prepared to sit for Marriage and Family Therapy licensure.

Designed in collaboration with leading mental health providers, this program meets critical needs:

Therapeutic A growing number of clients with multiple diagnoses require a different level and type of therapy.

Cultural The profession needs more practitioners from diverse backgrounds who are culturally competent and bilingual or multilingual.

Professional Nearly 70 percent of San Francisco's public mental health work force will retire within the next 10 years-a trend that is echoed throughout the state and the nation.

Admissions Requirements

  • Admissions Application: The online application can be found on the school website.
  • Non-refundable $65 application fee
  • Degree Requirement: An undergraduate degree (BA, BS, or the equivalent) from an accredited college or university.
  • Transcripts: Official transcripts from all accredited academic institutions attended within the United States. Transcripts must arrive in their official, sealed envelopes.
  • Goal Statement: A one-page statement of professional goals and objectives that shows demonstrated commitment to the field of community mental health.
  • Resume
  • Autobiographical Statement: A four-to-six page (typed, double-spaced) introspective autobiographical statement emphasizing how you arrived at your current commitment to work in the area of community mental health and describing life experiences that have led to your decision to apply.
  • Two Letters of Recommendation: Letters of recommendation will be accepted from academic advisors, professors, professional supervisors, or someone able to attest to your ability to undertake the work required for your program. Recommenders should use standard business format and include full contact information-name, email, phone number, and mailing address.
International students and individuals who have studied at institutions outside the US and Canada may have additional requirements.

Candidate Selection

In selecting candidates for admission, the program considers the following factors to be desirable: a background, interest, and demonstrated commitment to public and community mental health (work or volunteer), and evidence of a commitment to achieving positive health outcomes in these settings.

Alternatively, experience in community planning, community organizing, and/or social justice in a paid or volunteer position will be helpful, as well as sufficient personal stability, and energy to become an effective therapist, and academic records that indicate probable success in completing graduate studies.The statement of professional goals and objectives submitted with the application form should address these issues. In addition to the above considerations, the program seeks individuals who exhibit the interpersonal communication skills required of psychotherapists.These include a congruence of feelings and action, an ability to listen and attend, a willingness to be self-reflective, and an openness to evaluating and changing behaviors and attitudes.As the program operates on a cohort model, students are interviewed about their goals, objectives, and experiences.These interviews aim to create a cohort of students who can support, motivate, and sustain one another during the seven semesters of study.

This school offers programs in:
  • English
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2017
3 years
Full time
USA - San Francisco, California
Start date: Sept. 2017
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Sept. 2017
USA - San Francisco, California
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info