Nichols Hall 220
For faculty information, please see Faculty or the Counseling faculty web page.
The 60-unit graduate program in counseling offers two professional training options: Option I prepares students for Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) and eventual licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) and/or as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC); Option II prepares students for the School Counseling and the Pupil Personnel Services Credential (SC/PPSC). The program relies heavily on interpersonal skill training and field experience, beginning during the first semester and culminating with an intensive supervised traineeship/field experience in some aspect of counseling, permitting the integration of theory, research, and practical application. The Department is prepared to assist students in obtaining field placements relevant to their projected professional goals. These placements include, but are not limited to: marriage and family counseling agencies, mental health clinics, counseling centers and public schools. For the school counseling program, field placements are at a minimum of two of the three K-12 levels: elementary school, middle school, and high school.
Special characteristics of the program include the following:
- Early observation of and involvement in actual counseling settings;
- Development of a core of knowledge and experience in both individual and group counseling theory and practice;
- Encouragement in the development and maintenance of individual counseling styles;
- Commitment to self-exploration and personal growth through participation in peer counseling, individual counseling, and group experiences. These academic and non-academic competencies are seen as crucial to the development of adequate counseling skills and are given special consideration by the faculty as part of its evaluation of student readiness to undertake fieldwork responsibilities; and
- Strong emphasis on acknowledging and appreciating diversity.
In sum, the training emphasis in the program is to integrate theory, practical experience, and personal learning rather than exposing students to a piecemeal professional preparation. To varying degrees, students will find that in most of their course work the faculty expects students to be able to articulate their unique and personal histories, including their relationships with family, peers, and significant others, for it is our belief that self-understanding is crucial in effective counseling.
The effort is to establish a sound foundation in the student for a lifetime of continued professional growth — a foundation which permits confident movement into an entry-level counseling position. This is a 60 unit program.
The faculty is committed to the idea that counselors of the future should take an active role in helping to shape the social/environmental milieu in which they will work. While the faculty recognizes how difficult this task may be in specific instances and areas, it sees the counselor as one who actively participates in the life of an organization, and as a sensitive and perceptive voice representing individual freedom and human values. Leadership skills, and the skills necessary to facilitate change, are stressed in this program.
The master’s program may be completed within two academic years; however, some students with jobs and/or family responsibilities may wish to move more slowly. Resources permitting, efforts will be made to accommodate individual patterns. For most students, 8 units per semester will be considered a minimal number. It should be stressed that individual program paths should be planned very carefully since many courses will not be offered every semester.
The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), has conferred accreditation to the Counseling Department at Sonoma State University in both Community Counseling and School Counseling. The School Counseling program is accredited by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC). The Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is not designed to meet criteria for CACREP’s Marital, Couple, and Family Counseling/Therapy specialization; however, it is accredited by the Board of Behavioral Science for training required for licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist in California.