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Descriptions of the Core Content Areas

For those who began graduate study before August 1, 2012 and complete that study on or before December 31, 2018, the degree must include the equivalent of at least three semester units or four and one-half quarter units of graduate study in seven of the following nine core content areas, all of which must be completed before education can be approved.  View the entire section 4999.32, regarding education requirements before 2012.

Those with degrees from out-of-state must submit syllabi for the following nine core content courses.  If the applicant has attempted and failed to obtain syllabi from the university, course descriptions from the university catalog may be submitted.  The Board will make the final determination on whether the course description is acceptable. Those with degrees issued in 2001 and later from a CACREP-accredited program do not need to submit syllabi.  The university must complete the Out-of-State Degree Program Certification form found in the application.

  • (A) Counseling and psychotherapeutic theories and techniques, including the counseling process in a multicultural society, an orientation to wellness and prevention, counseling theories to assist in selection of appropriate counseling interventions, models of counseling consistent with current professional research and practice, development of a personal model of counseling, and multidisciplinary responses to crises, emergencies, and disasters.
  • (B) Human growth and development across the lifespan, including normal and abnormal behavior and an understanding of developmental crises, disability, psychopathology, and situational and environmental factors that affect both normal and abnormal behavior.
  • (C) Career development theories and techniques, including career development decision-making models and interrelationships among and between work, family, and other life roles and factors, including the role of multicultural issues in career development.
  • (D) Group counseling theories and techniques, including principles of group dynamics, group process components, group developmental stage theories, therapeutic factors of group work, group leadership styles and approaches, pertinent research and literature, group counseling methods, and evaluation of effectiveness.
  • (E) Assessment, appraisal, and testing of individuals, including basic concepts of standardized and non-standardized testing and other assessment techniques, norm-referenced and criterion-referenced assessment, statistical concepts, social and cultural factors related to assessment and evaluation of individuals and groups, and ethical strategies for selecting, administering, and interpreting assessment instruments and techniques in counseling.
  • (F) Multicultural counseling theories and techniques, including counselors’ roles in developing cultural self-awareness, identity development, promoting cultural social justice, individual and community strategies for working with and advocating for diverse populations, and counselors’ roles in eliminating biases and prejudices, and processes of intentional and unintentional oppression and discrimination.
  • (G) Principles of the diagnostic process, including differential diagnosis, and the use of current diagnostic tools, such as the current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the impact of co-occurring substance use disorders or medical psychological disorders, established diagnostic criteria for mental or emotional disorders, and the treatment modalities and placement criteria within the continuum of care.
  • (H) Research and evaluation, including studies that provide an understanding of research methods, statistical analysis, the use of research to inform evidence-based practice, the importance of research in advancing the profession of counseling, and statistical methods used in conducting research, needs assessment, and program evaluation.
  • (I) Professional orientation, ethics, and law in counseling, including California law and professional ethics for professional clinical counselors, professional ethical standards and legal considerations, licensing law and process, regulatory laws that delineate the profession’s scope of practice, counselor-client privilege, confidentiality, the client dangerous to self or others, treatment of minors with or without parental consent, relationship between practitioner’s sense of self and human values, functions and relationships with other human service providers, strategies for collaboration, and advocacy processes needed to address institutional and social barriers that impede access, equity, and success for clients.
(Note:  Psychopharmacology, which appears below as (J), is also required of those who begin degrees before 2012 and complete them before 2018, but for these applicants the requirement may be satisfied with a two-semester-unit course taken post-degree.  It does not count as one of the nine core content areas within the degree.  For those who begin graduate study after 2012, Psychopharmacology is one of the thirteen three-semester-unit courses within the degree.)

The following areas are added to the above required core content areas for those beginning graduate study on or after August 1, 2012.  Ten of the thirteen core content areas must be included in the degree and all must be completed before education can be approved.  View the entire section 4999.33, regarding educational requirements after 2012.

  • (J) Psychopharmacology, including the biological bases of behavior, basic classifications, indications, and contraindications of commonly prescribed psychopharmacological medications so that appropriate referrals can be made for medication evaluations and so that the side effects of those medications can be identified.
  • (K) Addictions counseling, including substance abuse, co-occurring disorders, and addiction, major approaches to identification, evaluation, treatment, and prevention of substance abuse and addiction, legal and medical aspects of substance abuse, populations at risk, the role of support persons, support systems, and community resources.
  • (L) Crisis or trauma counseling, including crisis theory; multidisciplinary responses to crises, emergencies, or disasters; cognitive, affective, behavioral, and neurological effects associated with trauma; brief, intermediate and long-term approaches; and assessment strategies for clients in crisis and principles of intervention for individuals with mental or emotional disorders during times of crisis, emergency, or disaster.
  • (M) Advanced counseling and psychotherapeutic theories and techniques, including the application of counseling constructs, assessment and treatment planning, clinical interventions, therapeutic relationships, psychopathology, or other clinical topics.

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