Professional Specialization Options
The 60-unit graduate program in counseling offers two professional specialization options. The Clinical Mental Health specialization prepares students for careers in the mental health field and marriage and family therapist (LMFT) and/or professional clinical counselor (LPCC) licensure. The School Counseling specialization prepares students for a career in school counseling and the professional personnel services (PPS) credential. The program relies on interpersonal skill training and field experience, beginning during the first semester and culminating with an intensive supervised traineeship/field experience in a counseling setting, which fosters the integration of theory, research, and practical application.
The department is prepared to assist CMHC 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, public schools, and college-level counseling centers. For the School Counseling program, field placements are at least two of the three K-12 levels: elementary school, middle school, and high school.
Unique Characteristics of the Program
- Early observation of and involvement in actual counseling practice.
- Development of core knowledge and experience in individual, family, and group counseling theory and practice.
- Support for each student in the development of their counseling style.
- A commitment to student self-exploration and personal growth through participation in peer counseling, individual counseling, and group experiences. This aspect of the program is seen as crucial to developing adequate counseling skills and is given special consideration by the faculty as part of its evaluation of student readiness to undertake traineeship/fieldwork responsibilities.
- A strong emphasis on multicultural awareness and cultural humility in counseling practice.
The Counseling Program intends to provide students with a solid foundation for a lifetime of continued personal and professional development as they enter into an entry-level counseling position. The program emphasizes integrating theory, research, practice, and self-exploration across the curriculum. Students find that in most of their coursework, faculty expect students to be able to articulate their personal histories (e.g., relationships with family, peers, and significant others) and the unique experiences related to their intersecting identities. The faculty believe that self-understanding and awareness of our own cultural identities, and the experiences of privilege and marginalization associated with those identities, is crucial to effective, ethical, and meaningful counseling work.
We are committed to the personal and professional development of students in the Counseling Program, and see our graduates as more than counseling professionals—they are leaders who advocate for and facilitate change at individual, family, community, institutional, and societal levels. We believe counselors are uniquely positioned to promote the health and development of diverse children, adolescents, adults, and older adults, and that they play an active role in fostering a more just and equitable world for all members of our community.
The School Counseling program is accredited by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC). The MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Sonoma State University is accredited by the Master's in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC) from September 2022 through September 2030. For more information, please see the MPCAC website.