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    The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
  Jun 21, 2021
2015-2016 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook 
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2015-2016 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook [Archived Catalog]

M.A. Counseling Psychology

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Program Overview

The M.A. Counseling Psychology program is a counselor training program that provides strong preparation in essential diagnostic, therapeutic and consultative skills in order to work with a variety of clinical populations ranging from children to the elderly, and with a variety of emotional, intellectual, and psychological conditions and problems.

Graduates will have the training to work in a variety of clinical settings, and with required licensure, independent practice. The program has adopted the practitioner-scholar model which is predicated on the belief that a competent mental health practitioner must have both a broad knowledge of the scientific and theoretical principles in the clinical practice of psychology and the ability to apply that knowledge to specific clinical situations. The program also incorporates the 8 content areas outlined by the National Board of Certified Counselors to prepare those students seeking professional counselor licensure and desiring to begin professional practice at the master’s level.

We acknowledge the significance of promoting an academic environment that is sensitive to difference and to the preparation of clinicians who actively develop their multicultural competence. As such, the program seeks to engage faculty and students in the preparation of counselors who meet the needs of diverse communities “from the broader view of innovators, transformers, and problem solvers; and use their discipline to make positive and lasting impacts on the World” (Aspirations Report, 2011, p.5).

Program Learning Outcomes 

  1. Competency in ethical and professional behavior is evidenced by the ability to apply ethical and professional standards to interactions with clients and with others (peers, supervisors, faculty, professionals in other disciplines, etc); socialization into the profession through advisement, modeling and education; an understanding of legal obligations that may or may not conflict with ethical guidelines; the development of skills in reflective practice and quality control; effective functioning in multiple professional settings. 
  2. Competency in relationship is indicated by the capacity to develop and maintain a constructive therapeutic alliance with clients and a constructive working alliance with others (including peers, faculty, supervisors, professionals in other disciplines, etc); openness to feedback and accurate self-reflection; an appreciation of the use of self in the therapeutic relationship; the development of empathy, respect for others and interpersonal relatedness; and an understanding of cultural values, worldview and history on cross cultural relationships. 
  3. Assessment is conceptualized to include both formal and informal assessment activities. Competency in assessment is indicated by proficiency in the interpretation of standard assessment tools; the collection and incorporation of information from multiple sources to inform decision making and diagnosis; effective clinical inference that links gathered data with resulting diagnosis and recommendations; effective communication of assessment results and recommendations; the identification and conceptualization of client strengths and limitations and culturally sensitive choice of assessment methods that will comprise a formal assessment.
  4. Competency in intervention is indicated by the ability to develop and present plausible formulations for understanding psychological phenomenon using theory; the use of theory to guide formulations regarding the conditions that create, maintain and change behavior or distress; effectively implement and revise treatment strategies; evaluate the effectiveness of a chosen intervention approach of strategy; recognize the limitations of theories as they relate to individual and system functioning and change; and adjust traditional models of treatment and treatment planning to better meet diverse clients’ needs.
  5. This competency, individual and cultural difference, is conceptualized as the recognition that culture is best understood from a broad perspective and includes, but is not limited to, identities related to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, religious belief, and ability. It is evidenced by the ability to articulate one’s personal culture and its impact on held values, relationships and worldview; an understanding of worldview, and the psychological impact of privilege, prejudice, oppression, culture and sociopolitical structures; the ability to differentiate between individual variation, characteristic variation across culture and human dysfunction in development, attitudes and reactions; and appreciation for the impact of culture on the historical and philosophical foundations of psychology.
  6. Competency in research and evaluation is indicated by the ability to organize, synthesize and interpret scholarly information; the ability to design and critique approaches to systematic inquiry; the awareness of limits of certainty in different types of clinical and scientific inquiry; the understanding of foundational scientific knowledge in the field; and the recognition of scholarly knowledge production as a social, cultural and political process. Finally, scholarly findings should guide/direct clinical practice/interventions.
  7. Competency in consultation and education is indicated by effective presentation skills and the ability to teach others through oral or written presentation of material; the ability to provide feedback, regarding a client or system issue to multiple sources; and understanding of the means of facilitating and evaluating the growth of knowledge, skills and attitudes in a learner; effective peer consultation and constructive feedback; and the development of productive relationships with community helping networks.

Admission Requirements

Application to The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s M.A. Counseling Psychology program is open to any person who has earned a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and who meets other entrance requirements. Applicants will be evaluated on their overall ability to complete graduate work. Factors considered prior to admission include: GPA from undergraduate and any graduate schools, successful work history after completion of the baccalaureate degree, relevant experience, the required admission essay, and letters of recommendation from academic professors or professional or volunteer experience supervisors. An undergraduate GPA of a 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale is expected for admission. Applicants must submit official transcripts from all schools where a degree was earned. It is recommended that transcripts are submitted from all schools where credit was received to enhance their applications.

The M.A. Counseling Psychology program has two specific required undergraduate courses that must be completed prior to enrollment with a grade earned of “C” or better (at least one course in psychology and one course in either statistics or research methods). The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required; however students who have taken the exam may submit their scores to enhance their application. Scores should be sent directly to the school (GRE School Code: 1119) for consideration. Please see the application for detailed instructions and information regarding application requirements, application deadlines, and letters of recommendation. Applications must be submitted with a $50.00 (USD) application fee in order to be evaluated.

TOEFL or IELTS, International Credentials, and International Students

TOEFL or IELTS: If English is not your primary language, you must submit official TOEFL or IELTS scores with your application (TOEFL School Code: 7161). International students who received a bachelor’s degree from an accredited United States institution are exempt from this requirement. The minimum scores are: TOEFL - 550 paper based, 213 computer based, 79 internet based; IELTS - 6.5.

ELS Educational Services, Inc.: The Chicago School is a cooperative member of ELS Educational Services, Inc. which provides intensive English language programs. Students who have successfully completed ELS course 112 may be considered for admission in lieu of the TOEFL or IELTS.

International credentials: Applicants with international credentials must obtain and submit an official “course-by-course” evaluation through an evaluation agency such as World Education Services ( or Educational Credential Evaluators Inc. ( In addition to the agency evaluation, all official graduate and undergraduate transcripts must be submitted.

International students: International students must submit a completed application by the general consideration deadline. In addition, once accepted, international students must submit the International Student Information form, a copy of their passport, and financial documentation showing sufficient funding for at least one year of study and all living expenses. This documentation must be submitted at least two months prior to the start of the semester in order to allow sufficient time for the school to issue an I-20 for the student to obtain an F-1 visa, if needed. An I-20 visa will not be issued without this documentation.

Applicant Notification

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology reviews applications on a rolling basis. Once review begins, complete applications will be considered by the Admission Committee and applicants will be notified regarding the admission decision. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology does not share information or provide any feedback regarding admission decisions.

If a student is offered admission, in order to secure a place in the incoming class, a non-refundable tuition deposit of $500 will be required by the deposit deadline indicated in the offer of admission. The non-refundable deposit will be applied in full toward the student’s tuition upon enrollment.


The following policies are located under Academic Policies and Procedures : Transfer of Credit, Waiver of Courses, Satisfactory Academic Progress, Grading Scale, Grade Change Requests, Degree Completion, Degree Conferral, Minimum and Maximum Timeframe requirements, and Credit Hours per semester for Financial Aid.  Information on the Academic Success Program is located under Student Life . 

Academic Development Plans

An Academic Development Plan (ADP) is initiated and created by the program in which the student is enrolled. When a student demonstrates deficiencies in competencies that interfere with academic performance, training competence, and/or professional behavior, the ADP is initiated. The completion of an ADP does not constitute disciplinary action, but failure to complete the plan may lead to disciplinary action.

Student Learning Assessment

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (TCSPP) is committed to offering the highest quality undergraduate completion program and graduate programs in applied professional disciplines. To meet TCSPP’s standard for academic quality, program learning outcomes are aligned with course learning outcomes and guide assessment.   Data collected from the results of student assessment and the aggregation of these data will inform how students are progressing towards achieving program outcomes.  

All academic programs report annual assessments of student learning and other indicators of program effectiveness as part of the Academic Program Review process.

Student Professional Evaluation and Student Review Process:

The course content and experiential activities offered by the M.A. Counseling Psychology program are designed to afford students the opportunity to advance their intellectual and professional development and functioning. Throughout the program of study, students are given feedback concerning their personal, academic, and professional strengths, developmental needs, and performance. This feedback will come from a variety of sources including faculty, supervisors, peers, and clients. Students are expected to respond and incorporate this feedback in a mature and professional manner. Throughout their matriculation in the program students are expected to explore and recognize the effects their personal beliefs, issues, emotions, and behaviors have on others and on their ability to function as a professional counselor and practicing clinician. Students are formally evaluated with regard to their professional comportment at the end of specific courses in the curriculum using the Student Professional Evaluation form. Additionally, all students are reviewed twice annually by program faculty and administration with respect to their overall program performance during the Student Review Process.

Student Evaluation Information and Agreement: All students are required to read and sign the Student Evaluation Information and Agreement form and attached description of Interpersonal and Professional Competencies to indicate their orientation, understanding, and agreement with program policies with regard to professional evaluation and review.


The mission of the M.A. Counseling Psychology program is to prepare mental health professionals who serve the counseling profession through professional competence, personal integrity and academic excellence. This is realized through a curriculum that integrates the theoretical foundations of counseling psychology, essential diagnostic, clinical and consultative skills, and field placement experience into appropriate practice in a variety of settings and with diverse populations. Recognizing that our students are intrinsically motivated to help others, we acknowledge the significance of promoting an environment that is sensitive to difference and preparing clinicians, who actively develop their multicultural competence. Thus, the program seeks to engage faculty and students in the preparation of counselors who meet the needs of diverse communities.

Ethics and Professional Behavior

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology expects that all counseling students will be knowledgeable of and adhere to the “ACA Code of Ethics” of the American Counseling Association, in addition to the “Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct”, as published by the American Psychological Association, as well as the “Code of Ethics” of the American Counseling Association. Furthermore, no student shall obtain part- or full-time employment that is beyond the scope of their cumulative training in the field of psychology or counseling and shall not use titles governed by licensure statutes, unless so licensed by the state. A student who fails to adhere to this policy or otherwise fails to demonstrate the appropriate ethics required for practice in the field of professional counseling or psychology subject to discipline and possible removal.


The program incorporates the eight content areas outlined by the National Board of Certified Counselors and meets the degree and coursework requirements for eligibility for licensure as a professional counselor (LPC) in Illinois. The program may meet the degree and coursework requirements in other states, but it is the student’s responsibility to determine the licensure requirements of the state in which they intend to practice. State-by-state licensure information can be accessed via the National Board of Certified Counselors at

Practicum and Internship

The practicum and internship placement experiences serve to integrate the theoretical and practical aspects of the education of a professional counselor.  Students have the opportunity during the practicum and internship experiences to synthesize their knowledge, technique and skills learned in the classroom. These supervised field placements allow students to provide direct services to clients and demonstrate their understanding of key concepts in professional counseling in a clinical setting. Students are able to choose to apply to a wide variety of training sites that include community mental health centers, child welfare and family service agencies, substance abuse programs, college counseling centers, as well as private group practices. The sites available for the training experience are chosen based on their ability to serve diverse populations that will offer the best possible experience to equip students for working in the counseling field. Students are required to complete a minimum of a 9 month placement experience and complete at least 700 hours with 280 direct service hours during the placement to meet the Illinois licensure requirements.

More specific information is located in the Program Guidebook as well as the Internship Training Manual provided by the Applied Professional Practice department.

Comprehensive Examination

All students are required to successfully complete the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Exam (CPCE). The information tested by the exam covers the eight competencies outlined by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) as defined by their Standards for Preparation.  The CPCE is administered at least twice a year on both campuses and is taken during the last year of enrollment in academic coursework. Students must be in good academic standing to be eligible to take the CPCE. Students who are unable to pass this examination will be allowed to retake the exam a maximum of two additional times. The exam may be retaken during the next scheduled administration. Students will receive information from their faculty advisor concerning their performance on the examination. Failure to pass this exam after three attempts will result in an automatic dismissal from the program and ineligibility for degree conferral.

More specific information is located in the Program Guidebook.

Counseling Competency Examination (CCE)

The Counseling Competency Examination (CCE) is a program capstone and is comprised of three (3) distinct components with the purpose of demonstrating proficiency in the core competencies of the academic program. This examination illustrates that a student has acquired the counseling skills necessary to graduate from the program. The final CCE is completed during the Spring semester of the internship seminar (CC598). The student must successfully pass the CCE in order to fulfill the requirements of the Practicum and Internship Seminars. Students must pass the fall semester practice CCE in order to pass CC597 Practicum and Seminar. Students must pass CC597 and CC598 to graduate from the program.

More specific information is located in the Program Guidebook.

The Curriculum

Required Core Courses: 51 credits

Elective or Concentration Courses: 9 credits

Total Program Credits

M.A. Counseling Psychology: 60 credits

Concentration Options

Treatment of Addiction Disorders Concentration

The Treatment of Addiction Disorders concentration is designed to provide specific education in the area of assessment, intervention/prevention, and treatment of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA) and behavioral addictions. This concentration strives to prepare individuals to provide effective services for a wide range of addictions in community-based environments. For Chicago Campus ONLY: Students who complete the additional coursework in Addictions (see below) and complete their internship experience at an approved Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (DASA) site are automatically qualified to sit for the exam that will allow them to gain certification as a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) in addition to being eligible for licensure as Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) in the state of Illinois. 

Latino/a Mental Health Concentration

The Latino/a Mental Health Concentration is designed to provide formalized training and specific education in the areas of assessment and treatment of Latino/a clients and their families. A strong emphasis is placed on the socio-historical factors that impact the mental health of Latino/as in the United States. Students develop competencies essential for the understanding and provision of culturally congruent care to Latino/a clients.

Child and Adolescent Treatment Concentration

The Child & Adolescent Treatment concentration is designed to provide specific education in the area of the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents. The emphasis is on developing a conceptual and experiential background in working with the mental health needs of these vulnerable populations within a wide range of familial and cultural life styles. The goal of this concentration is to prepare entry-level practitioners to work with children representing the full age spectrum, from early childhood through adolescence.  All students in this concentration must take CC 640, and choose two from the remaining three courses below.

All students in this concentration must take:

Students choose two of the following courses:

Trauma and Crisis Intervention Concentration

Students in this concentration have an opportunity to develop knowledge and skills for the assessment and treatment of trauma, both for its acute and longer-term effects. Disaster response, psychological first aid, and evidence-based treatment models will be examined and applied. Students will explore perspectives on the etiology and prevention of trauma as it applies to the individual, family, local, national and international community. The role of power and oppression in the experience of trauma within family, socio-political and ethno-cultural systems is integral. This concentration will prepare students with requisite skills to work with trauma related populations.

Health Psychology Concentration

Health psychology focuses on the application of psychological and counseling principles and techniques to problems related to health all illness. The concentration prepares students to gain knowledge on the psychological and counseling techniques aimed at helping clients prevent, adjust, recover, and/or manage difficulties related to health problems across the lifespan to promote functioning. The concentration also addresses issues related to health disparities with members from historically disenfranchised groups (e.g., ethnic minorities, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender) and ways to improve systems that promote and maintain health.

Marriage and Family Concentration

Students in the Marriage and Family concentration learn knowledge, skills, and in depth issues that will prepare them to work with families and couples. Key areas of family and couples work - domestic violence, divorce, sexual relations - are presented and explored in the classroom setting with the use of didactic material and real case vignettes. Assessment of family dynamics is covered through a systems perspective.

Marriage and Family Concentration with Optional Coursework for LMFT (IL) Licensure Preparation

Students in this concentration learn in-depth skills and knowledge that will prepare them to work more effectively with families and couples. Specific and key areas of family and couples work - domestic violence, divorce, sexual relations - are presented and explored in the classroom setting with the use of didactic material and real case vignettes. Assessment of family dynamics is covered through a systems perspective.

In addition to program completion, in order to also be eligible to apply for the Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) license in Illinois, students must complete  3 credits of additional coursework (CC640 Assessment and Treatment Planning of Children and Adolescents), an additional 300 practicum hours under the supervision of an LMFT qualifying supervisor (which can be accrued during program or following degree receipt), 3000 hours of professional work experience following receipt of the Master’s degree in no less than 2 years and no more than 5 years, and the national marriage and family therapy exam. For more information on the LMFT licensure eligibility requirements in the state of Illinois, please refer to the following website:

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