MFT California
Compare masters programs that meet the MFT licensure requirements in California.

California Institute of Integral Studies

California Institute of Integral Studies

 

M.A. in Counseling Psychology

Online, Blended, and Campus-Based Programs*

On-Campus Location:

California Institute of Integral Studies
1453 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94103

(415) 575-6100

CIIS M.A. in Counseling Psychology Program Page

*Expressive Arts concentration is available in online-only format or on-campus format, Community Mental Health concentration is blended, all other concentrations are on-campus format. 


Program details below are quoted from program websites, supplied here for informational purposes only, and subject to change at any time. Refer to the program website for current information, deadlines, complete admission requirements, etc. It is the responsibility of the prospective student to verify with program administrators program details and that the program still meets BBS requirements for licensure in the state of California.

Program Snapshot

Accreditation

CIIS is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). The program follows the academic guidelines set forth by the North American Drama Therapy Association and meets academic requirements for registry as a drama therapist (RDT).

Concentrations/Specializations Offered

Community Mental Health, Drama Therapy, Expressive Arts Therapy, Integral Counseling Psychology, Somatic Psychology

(There is no general program; students must apply directly to desired concentration.)

Length of Program

Community Mental Health: 3 years
Drama Therapy: 2.5-3 years
Integral Counseling Psychology: 2.5-3 years
Somatic Psychology: 2.5-3 years

Schedule/Format

Community Mental Health
Full-time. Classes are held on-campus two evenings a week from 6pm-9pm, with one online course held each semester over the course of three 15-week semesters a year.

Drama Therapy

  • Full-Time Residential Option:
    Students engage in three years of face-to-face study at CIIS's campus in San Francisco. In the second year, students officially engage in action learning, integrating theory and expressive arts into practice within an approved community setting, in either a voluntary or paid capacity. Students engage in a formal yearlong practicum in the third year. Each student is assigned to an Academic Adviser.
  • Low-Residence Option:
    tudents study for three years via participation in the weeklong residential seminars followed by a combination of online classes, webinars and video conferences back in their home communities. In the second year, students officially engage in action learning, integrating theory and expressive arts into practice within an approved community setting, in either a voluntary or paid capacity. Students engage in a formal yearlong practicum in the third year. In addition to an Academic Adviser, each student is assigned an EXA Mentor-Coach with whom they meet at least twice during each semester.

Integral Counseling Psychology
Full-time. Classes are delivered in a traditional classroom format. The weekday MA program requires 60 semester units divided between required courses and electives. The weekend MA option mirrors the weekday but uses a cohort model—a strong network of support—during coursework and in the transition to counseling careers.

Somatic Psychology
Weekday classroom

Program Start 

Community Mental Health: Fall
Integral Counseling Psychology: Weekday program starts in September or January, Weekend program starts in September
 

Estimated Total Program Tuition

$68,520

Religious orientation

None

Entering Class Size

Only the Drama Therapy program has a cap on admitted students--capped at 20.

Fieldwork Hours Accrued during program

Community Mental Health: Minimum 225
Drama Therapy: Between 700 and 1,000 hours

Personal Psychotherapy Requirement During Program

All concentrations: 50 hours

Comprehensive Exam/Culminating Project/Thesis/Etc:

Drama Therapy
In their final semester of the program, students take an Integrative Seminar which supports the development of a capstone project. This final project may be a theoretical article, a live, self-revelatory (therapeutic) theater performance, or a DVD documenting a drama therapy treatment process. All formats are presented publicly to a community of peers, family, and friends, leading to a sense of culminating achievement in the program.

Expressive Arts
Toward the end of their third year, all students prepare and present a summary of their own personal journey through expressive arts therapy and the program, a final art project, a case study summarizing their expressive arts therapy work with a client, and an academic paper presenting their own approach to expressive arts therapy.

Application Process

Application Deadline

CIIS evaluates applicants based on rolling admissions until the final application deadline. This means while we encourage you to apply by the priority deadline, we continue to accept applications until all spaces in the programs have been filled. Please contact the admissions counselor of the program for details, as some of our programs may fill up prior to the final deadline.

Drama Therapy: Mid-January for Fall admission
 

Undergraduate GPA Requirement

There is a required GPA of 3.0 from undergraduate work. However, we allow students to submit a GPA addendum with their application if they don’t meet this requirement.

GRE Requirement

None

Prerequisite Courses

Expressive Arts
Two undergraduate psychology courses from an accredited college or university are recommended but not required. Completion of coursework in one of the following areas is strongly recommended: human development, psychopathology, theories of personality, and/or introduction to psychology.

Application highlights

Community Mental Health

  • 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.
  • 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.

Drama Therapy

  • Autobiographical Statement: A five to seven page (12 pt font, double-spaced) introspective essay in which you reflect on significant childhood and adult life experiences that have affected your personal development.
  • Goal Statement: A one page (12 pt font, double-spaced) statement of your educational and professional interests, goals or passions.
  • Two Letters of Recommendation: From academic advisors, professors or professional supervisors. Recommenders should use standard business format and include full contact information-name, email, phone number, and mailing address.
  • Resume/Outline: A one to two page outline listing your background/experience (if any) in: (1) theater (2) psychology (3) human services work, and (4) creative arts therapy.

Expressive Arts Therapy

  • Short Essay Responses: Please write a series of brief responses, one for each of the following prompts in the order that they appear:
    1. Why are you interested in applying to CIIS specifically to study Expressive Arts Therapy? (350 words maximum)
    2. Describe the creative arts modalities you would bring with you into the Expressive Arts Therapy program. (350 word maximum)
    3. Please describe the direct human services experiences you have had in either employment and/or through volunteering. (200 word maximum)
    4. What internal and external strengths and resources do you draw from to help you cope in your daily life? What social supports does this include? (200 word maximum)
    5. Our graduates are expected to be able to work with people from very diverse social, cultural, sexual/affectional preference, gender and socioeconomic backgrounds. What is your experience of relating across dimensions of difference? (200 word maximum)
    6. To which clinical track would you be applying (MFT or LPCC) and why? In answering this question, please consult and reference your area's regulatory agency's guidelines for licensure: (e.g. http://www.bbs.ca.gov/)
    7. (Please answer only if applying for the low-residency program). The low-residency program requires a high level of self-directed, autonomous work in addition to the ability to work in groups. Please describe your experience a.) working individually; and b.) working collaboratively in a group to meet a deadline. (200 word maximum)
  • 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.
  • Academic Writing Sample: a five page sample of a piece of your academic writing (typed, double-spaced) that demonstrates your capacity to think critically and reflectively and demonstrates graduate level writing abilities. You may submit copies of previous work, such as a recent academic paper, article, or report that reflects scholarly abilities. The selected samply must be five consecutive pages. A sample that uses outside sources must include proper citations. Please include the reference pages from this writing sample. (The reference pages are not included in the five page limit.)
  • An Up-To-Date C.V. detailing your educational and professional experience.

Integral Counseling Psychology

  • Autobiographical Statement: A four-to-six page (typed, double-spaced) introspective autobiographical statement describing your personal values, emotional and spiritual insights, and meaningful life experiences that are foundational to your development and that led to your decision to apply.
  • Goal Statement: A one-page (typed, double-spaced) statement of your professional goals and objectives that demonstrates your commitment to the field of integral counseling.
  • Resume
  • 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. 

Somatic Psychology

  • Autobiographical Statement: In four to six pages (typed, double-spaced), discuss childhood and early family experiences, and significant educational, sociocultural, or personally meaningful experiences in your later development. Describe the life experiences that led to your decision to apply to the program.
  • Goal Statement: A one-page (typed, double-spaced) statement of your educational and professional objectives.
  • Resume
  • 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.
  • Somatics Background: A familiarity with the field of Somatics and demonstrated experience in specific somatic modalities, such as yoga, dance, massage therapy, martial arts, Somatic Psychotherapy, and other bodywork methods.

(see program website for complete application requirements)

Interview Requirement

Community Mental Health
Yes

Drama Therapy
Individual and group interviews by invitation from the admissions committee in late February to early March.

Somatic Psychology
The program conducts both individual and group interviews. The goal of the interviews is to ensure that there is a good fit between the student and the program, and that the student can make good use of the program's curriculum and pedagogies.

 
In CIIS, you encounter a lively and diverse community of learners that honors multiple ways of teaching, learning, and knowing. You take part in small classes with faculty committed to your education.
— California Institute of Integral Studies

Program Summary

(Reprinted from program website.)

Community Mental Health
The Community Mental Health (CMH) Master's of Arts Program trains students to become licensed therapists and leaders in empowering disenfranchised communities. Our graduates are a driving force in meeting the needs of and creating change for populations who have been underserved and overlooked by traditional counseling services. CMH students learn to address systemic issues within a patient's community and surroundings that affect mental health. Many of our graduates are proactively involved with public policy, community organizing, defending the rights of underserved groups, and public health.

Drama Therapy
For more than 30 years, the CIIS Drama Therapy program has been steeped in the exploration of how therapeutically adapted dramatic processes work over time to heal wounds, facilitate lasting change, and help people reach their highest potential. Our program integrates experiential, didactic, and clinical courses in a carefully paced and sequenced curriculum, to train students to become personally and culturally aware, attuned, and competent drama therapists and psychotherapists. Our program is one of only several master's programs in the United States both regionally accredited and approved by the North American Drama Therapy Association, and is one of only a handful of such programs in the world. Furthermore, we are the only program that offers a path to national licensure (LPCC). CIIS is internationally recognized as housing one of the world's most highly developed and rigorous training programs for drama therapists.

Expressive Arts Therapy
At California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), expressive arts therapy refers to a therapeutic approach with individuals, couples, families, groups, and community-based programs that integrates a wide range of arts modalities in the service of human growth, development, and healing. The Expressive Arts Therapy (EXA) concentration in counseling psychology prepares students for practicing the art and science of expressive arts therapy through a curriculum rooted in contemporary, creative, competency-based adult learning approaches.

Integral Counseling Psychology
This program is experiential, culturally sensitive, and centered on the inner work necessary for becoming a healer. Drawing upon the major spiritual traditions of the East and West, recent cultural and social sciences research, and the innovations made by contemporary psychoanalytic, humanistic, systemic and transpersonal psychologies, we view psychological healing and growth within the larger context of spiritual unfolding. Integral education is not "neck up". It is demanding on every level: body, heart, mind, spirit. We create a learning community that is both profoundly challenging and deeply supportive.

Somatic Psychology
The Somatic Psychology concentration at California Institute of Integral Studies is one of three accredited academic programs in the United States that prepares students to use both conventional and body-oriented approaches to psychotherapy. Students participate in a vibrant academic community where learning includes both didactic and experiential practices leading to the ability to work with clients holistically and effectively... Since its inception in 1980, the Somatic Psychology program has developed a unique learning environment that combines experiential work, rigorous academics, research, and a deep commitment to community. Students in the Somatic Psychology program at CIIS learn a counseling approach that combines traditional practice and understanding with attention to the crucial role of the body in the structure and process of the psyche. The program teaches a developmental sociocultural perspective that explores how embodied affect, expression, identity, and interaction are formed both in families and in communities of participation outside of the family of origin.