Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology


Units 65.5-70
Length 2 years
Cost $510/unit
Total Tuition $33,405-$35,700
Format In class 2 nights a week; 7-week classes

The Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology (MACP) program is designed to prepare you for licensure in the State of California as a Marriage and Family Therapist and to positively impact individuals, couples and families in the community. Our comprehensive curriculum will give you a broad academic and clinical experience that is uniquely grounded in the identity and values of a Christian university.


  • Structure

    Students progress through the two year program in a cohort model which provides an excellent learning experience. Classes meet two evenings a week with a few courses being delivered online. During the final year of study, students are placed in a clinical training setting where they work under the supervision of a licensed professional.

  • Curriculum

    Our program emphasizes the development of competence in working with diverse populations. The curriculum includes training in trauma and crisis intervention, community collaboration, recovery-model approaches and evidence-based practices.

  • Clinical Training

    The program has formal affiliations with a wide variety of clinical settings and training sites from schools, treatment programs for specific populations, to community mental-health agencies- giving students the opportunity to get a breadth of clinical training experience during their degree program.

  • Capstone Opportunity

    For students who want to pursue doctoral study or college teaching, the opportunity to build supporting skills is available through completion of a research thesis or a teaching and learning capstone.

  • Faculty

    Faculty are scholars and practitioners with expertise in the areas in which they teach. From award-winning researchers to specialists in areas such as couples therapy and at-risk youth, our faculty brings practical application of theories and research into the classroom.

  • Career Opportunities

    A Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology degree allows you to serve in a variety of settings, including:

    • Mental health facilities
    • Family and social service organizations
    • Schools
    • Treatment facilities and programs
    • Law Enforcement
    • Courts and court-sponsored programs
    • Governmental and military-related agencies and programs
    • Medical agencies
    • Employee assistance programs
    • Private Practice
    • Churches and faith-based organizations
  • BBS-Approved School Status

    The program meets the following Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) licensure requirements:

    • California Business and Professions Code 4980.36 for Marriage and Family Therapy licensure in California
    • California Business and Professions Code 4999.32 for Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in California

Course Schedule

View a Sample Course Schedule.


Courses

Click on the course title for the description.

  • Child & Adolescent Development

    This course explores the transactions between biological, psychosocial, cultural, and environmental factors affecting human growth and development from conception through adolescence including an understanding of the development of characteristics such as resilience. The focus is on exploring and understanding the major theories of child and adolescent development with emphasis on the application of theory to real life situations and problems such as poverty, malnutrition, access to adequate education, and the child-rearing practices of various culture groups found within California.

  • Child & Adolescent Psychopathology

    This course provides an understanding of the broad range of childhood and adolescent problems and disorders and explores the major psychopathologies of childhood and adolescence. Various theories for the etiologies of child and adolescent psychopathology are considered as well as a discussion of the impact that culture, socioeconomics, and family resources has on the identification and treatment of child and adolescent disorders. An emphasis is given to assessment and multi-axial diagnosis of the disorders using the current edition of the DSM. Also covered is an examination of the approaches most frequently used to treat various disorders of childhood and adolescence and the evidence supporting those approaches.

  • Research Methods

    This course provides a survey of key concepts in social science research including sampling, measurement, research ethics, and design. Additional topics include the evidence base for clinical research, the evaluation of interventions, and pseudoscientific concerns in clinical research. Emphasis is placed on the review, evaluation, and application of professional literature to clinical practice in marriage and family therapy.

  • Psychopathology in Adults

    The focus of this course is on the assessment, diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of personality and behavioral disorders in adulthood. Emphasis is on the assessment and multi-axial diagnosis of disorders using the current edition of the DSM. An overview of evidence-based treatment approaches for the major mental disorders is included. The course offers faculty and student dialogue on topics related to understanding disorders and integrating clinical strategies derived from a Christian perspective.

  • Legal and Ethical Issues

    This course introduces students to the legal, ethical, and moral issues related to the practice of marriage and family therapy in the state of California. Professional ethical codes and moral dilemmas are studied. A review of statutory, regulatory, and decisional laws related to the MFT’s scope of practice, including confidentiality, privilege, reporting requirements, family law, and the treatment of minors is covered. The legal and ethical standards applicable to working in different types of settings, current legal trends in the mental health professions, and a review of the laws and regulations pertaining to licensure in California are also covered. Consideration is given to the student’s spiritual beliefs, values, and behaviors, especially in relationship to becoming a marriage and family therapist.

  • Family Therapy: Theory and Practice I

    This course covers the foundational principles of family systems theory and practice and begins a study of the classic models of family therapy. Students will explore their family of origin and will apply various theories to their own family. A discussion of how the various theories address issues of poverty, social, and economic deprivation is provided. Also, the appropriateness of the various theories in clinical work with various marginalized populations and culture groups, particularly those found within California, is covered.

  • Psychological Assessment

    This course provides students with a broad understanding of the clinical uses of psychological tests, including an introduction to the major types of instruments and the ability to understand test results. An overview of the variety of assessment and diagnostic tools used to assess for behavioral, psychological, and relationship problems is given. Emphasis is given to understanding the relationships between presenting issues and social and financial stress, education, poverty and deprivation, trauma, substance abuse, stage of life, and cultural impacts such as those associated with a variety of cultures found in California including race, ethnicity, gender, religion, and sexual orientation. Students will be presented with accepted methods of documentation and report writing.

  • Contemporary Issues in Marriage and Family Therapy

    This course provides a broad overview of issues that currently affect the profession and practice of marriage and family therapy in California. Included is a presentation of the current trends in the mental health professions, including systems of care for the severely mentally ill; services, supports, and resources that are available to SMI clients and their families; client advocacy; and the management of client cases. Empowering clients to collaborate in their own treatment and focusing on recovery models and evidence-based practices are given special attention. Students will meet with consumers and/or their family members. Students will learn appropriate methods of disaster response and will be exposed to community and governmental resources for responding to natural and man-made disasters. As current issues evolve, the topics covered in the course will also evolve.

  • Counseling Skills

    This course introduces students to basic skills in attending behavior, clinical interviewing, treatment planning, progress notes, clinical intervention, and collateral consultation and referral. This is an experiential course with emphasis on skills development through role plays, observing and providing feedback, and audio/videotaped clinical practice.

  • Child Abuse and Family Violence

    This course provides the definition and incidence of physical and emotional abuse, neglect, and sexual molestation; the dynamics of family violence; and the resulting evidence of trauma. Offender and non-offender characteristics are reviewed. Emphasis is given to understanding cultural factors as they apply to family violence. The treatment of children, adolescents, the family, and adults abused as children is covered. The evidence for and efficacy of various treatments is examined. Ethical and legal issues, referral sources and community resources, and confidentiality is covered.

  • Adult Development and Geropsychology

    This course provides a broad understanding of the unique issues faced by adults with an emphasis on older adults later in life. Developmental theory from early adulthood through aging and death is explored including aspects of social, emotional, psychological, cognitive and spiritual development and functioning. Students will be presented with an overview of the events and experiences that impact adults including culture, gender, family relationships, socioeconomic (including economic insecurity), health and long term care of older adults. Students will explore how adults cope with normal and abnormal life events such as expected and traumatic loss, changing relationships, and changing health and physical abilities. Students will also explore the techniques, and skills needed to work with adults and older adults in a therapeutic context including how to recognize and respond to elder abuse and maltreatment.

  • Family Therapy: Theory and Practice II

    This course is a continuation of Family Therapy: Theory and Practice I. A comprehensive survey of the models of family therapy continues in this course with an exploration of the role of language, meaning, and process in relationships. Students will learn to think systemically across a wide range of presenting issues and will learn to conceptualize and apply interventions from multiple systemic orientations. An exploration of how the various systemic theories covered in this course apply to clinical work with a variety of marginalized populations, cultures, social and economic problems will be given. (Prerequisite: CP 5090)

  • Couples Therapy and Domestic Violence

    This course examines the psychotherapeutic theories and processes for the assessment and treatment of a wide range of relational issues. Emphasis is given to the detection, assessment, and intervention strategies for family violence and trauma with particular attention given to cultural factors that are relevant to abuse of partners and family members, and the dynamics of same-gender abuse. Attention is given to understanding and working with non-traditional couples.

  • Groups: Theory, Process & Practice

    This course provides a broad understanding of group development, dynamics, and therapy. Major theoretical approaches and group leadership styles are discussed. Several different approaches to conducting group therapy are reviewed and practiced. This is an experiential course where students function in the role of group members and also co-lead the group.

  • Psychopharmacology

    This course introduces the common physical and medical issues that relate to the practice of marriage and family therapy. The biological and neurological bases of human behavior and use of psychotropic medications as an adjunctive therapy to psychotherapy is covered. Current information on the classes of medications and their use is covered. Consideration is given to the special needs of certain populations such as children, the elderly, substance abuse patients, patients with substance abuse and co-occurring disorders, and the severe and persistently mentally ill.

  • Issues of Diversity in Counseling

    This course evaluates students’ awareness of divergent cultural values, assumptions, and family dynamics and is designed to sensitize students to the impact of culture on the counseling process. Through experiential exercises and assignments, this course examines the conceptual and theoretical foundations of cross-cultural counseling and examines the multicultural and pluralistic trends, characteristics, and concerns of diverse groups, particularly those found within California. Special attention is given to exploring how Christian beliefs and values affect one’s understanding of diverse cultural practices.

  • Substance Abuse and Co-Occurring Disorders

    This course provides an introduction to substance abuse and co-occurring disorders, including a careful examination of the diagnostic criteria in the current edition of the DSM. Assessment procedures and treatment issues are discussed with emphasis given to evidence-based treatment approaches. The etiology of substance abuse and co-occurring disorders is carefully reviewed. An overview of the risk factors, prevention strategies, and the physiological and psychological effects of substance abuse on individuals, relationships, and systems, including the relationship between substance abuse and trauma, is provided. Attention is given to systemic issues and ways that various systems support or influence substance abuse and recovery. A review of the current laws regulating the treatment of substance abuse is covered. Students will be given the opportunity to meet with consumers and/or their family members.

  • Child & Adolescent Therapy

    This course presents a variety of psychotherapeutic modalities, offering the student an opportunity to develop basic child and adolescent therapy skills, assessments, and treatment strategies. The impact of developmental aspects, family dynamics, the social environment, family violence, and trauma is addressed. A review of best practices and evidence-based treatments of children and adolescents is given. Legal and ethical issues in the treatment of children and adolescents are discussed.

  • Human Sexuality

    This course reviews human sexuality in contemporary society from biological, psychological, social, and moral perspectives. Anatomy and physiology of human sexuality, including reproduction, normal and abnormal sexual response, psychosexual development, human fertility, and human sexual dysfunction are covered. An overview of the models of sex therapy and treatment strategies utilized in treating sexual dysfunctions is provided.


Clinical Field Training

  • Practicum I: Introduction

    This is an introductory course that prepares students for the Clinical Field Training experience. During this course students will select and interview for placement at a training site. Students will be presented with all requirements for successful clinical field training.

  • Practicum II

    This course is a one-semester, supervised experience in an approved clinical setting providing direct therapy services. Students also attend a weekly seminar led by a faculty member where they will present individual, marital, and family therapy cases, present and evaluate videotaped counseling sessions, and consult with faculty and clinical peers. Seminar time will also be spent preparing students for the Clinical Evaluation Project (CEP) capstone project. (Prerequisite: CP6416)

  • Practicum III

    A continuation of CP 6407. Seminars will review recovery concepts. Students will apply the recovery model when conceptualizing cases and doing treatment planning, including accessing resources, promoting healthy lifestyle, and preventing illness. Seminar time will also be devoted to identifying ethical dilemmas in clinical practice and supervision and in formulating responses to dilemmas. (Prerequisite: CP6417)

  • Practicum IV

    A continuation of CP 6408 Practicum III. In addition to case consultations, seminars will review the integration of awareness of multiple issues and dynamics into the development of a clinical picture and the formulation of interventions. Seminar time will be devoted to the development of prognoses utilizing information about clients’ access to resources, strengths, assessed resilience, and family and social supports. (Prerequisite: CP6418)

  • Practicum V

    A continuation of CP 6409 Practicum IV. During this course students will present their Clinical Evaluation Project (CEP) to the seminar. (Prerequisite: CP6419)

  • Practicum VI

    A continuation of CP6420. This course culminates the student’s clinical training practicum experience in the program. During this course students will present their Clinical Evaluation Capstone Project (CEP) to the Capstone Review Committee. (Prerequisite: CP6420)


Capstone Options

  • Master’s Thesis I-VIII

    During the sequence of courses comprising the Master’s Theses, students will complete scholarly research, analysis, and writing which is relevant to the field of marriage and family therapy. Students are encouraged to choose a research topic that reflects their specific interests, current trends in the field, or future professional or academic goals. For students on a two-year program completion plan, Master’s Thesis begins in the student’s third term and typically takes a total of eight terms to complete. The sequence of thesis courses is offered through Directed Study, and students will work with their thesis supervisor to complete the project. Grading is P/NP (Progressing/Not Progressing). (Prerequisite: Approval of the Capstone Committee)

  • Master's Thesis Extension

    Students who are not able to complete the Thesis within the eight terms during the program will enroll in this course for not more than two additional terms. This course is an extension of Master’s Thesis VIII.

  • Teaching & Learning Capstone I-VIII

    This sequence of courses is the gateway to students wishing to complete the Teaching and Learning Capstone option. Students will work under the supervision of a faculty mentor in the development, delivery, and evaluation of an undergraduate or graduate level course in counseling, psychology, or marital and family therapy. Students will be assigned to work on a teaching project that best matches their interests in the field of counseling psychology/marriage and family therapy and provides them the opportunity to develop competencies that will enhance future professional or academic goals. For students on a two-year program completion plan Teaching and Learning Capstone begins in the student’s third term and typically takes a total of eight terms to complete. The sequence of capstone courses is offered through Directed Study, and students will work with their faculty mentor to complete the project. Grading is P/NP (Passing/Not Passing). (Prerequisite: Approval of the Capstone Committee.)

  • MACP Portfolio Capstone Course

    This is a zero-credit, tuition neutral course that students in the MACP program enroll in during their final term in the program. Successful completion of the course is required for graduation. During the course students complete their required Integrative Capstone Portfolio and Essay project. Failure of the project results in failure of the course. The course is graded P/F.

  • Admissions Staff
    Leslie Rodgers

    Leslie Rodgers - Recruiter for Graduate Studies Programs

    lrodgers@simpsonu.edu
    (530) 226-4198


    Robert Kovacs

    Robert Kovacs - Graduate and Tozer Admissions Advisor

    rkovacs@simpsonu.edu
    (530) 226-4527

  • Staff
    Addie Jackson

    Adeline (Addie) Jackson, Ed.D.
    Dean, Adult and Graduate Professional Studies

    ajackson@simpsonu.edu
    (530) 226-4788

    Dr. Jackson holds a B.S. in behavioral science from the University of LaVerne, a M.A. in marital and family therapy from Azusa Pacific University and a Ed.D. in organizational leadership from Argosy University, Hawaii. She has worked in higher education administration since 1998.

    Dr. Jackson teaches a limited number of courses in both the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology and the Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership (Online) programs. Her clinical experience includes work in community mental health settings, residential and outpatient addictions treatment, hospital-based behavioral health, employee assistance, and private practice. She has been a trainer and consultant in a variety of organizational settings including state and local government, the visitor industry, labor union, hospitals, and insurance companies. She has been at Simpson University since 2009.

    Program Coordinator, School of Graduate Professional Studies: Open

  • Faculty

"The night classes provided schedule flexibility, and the staff are supportive and uplifting. Attempting grad school while raising a large family is a challenge. But this experience has reinforced for me that, with God, nothing is impossible."Jessica Baus, Class of 2015