Concentration in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Leading to the Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC)

Concentration in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Leading to the Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC)

NOTE: This licensure and concentration is not available to distance (CDER) students in the Master of Rehabilitation Counseling program.

Purpose | Academic Requirements | How to Apply | Advisement | Portfolio Requirement | Fieldwork Requirement

In 2010, a law was passed in California that allows counselors from a variety of counseling disciplines to become licensed. The new credential is named the Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) and is monitored by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS). The Concentration in Clinical Rehabilitation and Clinical Mental Health (LPCC), hereafter referred to as the Clinical Concentration, was added to the MS in Rehabilitation Counseling Program in 2015. This option meets the requirements of the BBS for the LPCC as well as those of the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), the body that accredits Master’s and doctoral degree programs in counseling and its specialties. Specifically, CACREP accredits the program as a Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling/Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CLRC/CMHC) specialization. The Clinical Concentration prepares students to take both LPCC exams (the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination (NCMHCE) and the California Law and Ethics Exam), commence the 3,000-hour post-graduate internship required for the LPCC, and also sit for the national Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) exam. The concentration is tailored for students who would like to work in the mental health arena as recovery and rehabilitation experts.

The Clinical Concentration meets the education requirements for the California mental health counselor license (LPCC) as well as the Certificate in Co-Occurring Disorders. It is the responsibility of the student/graduate to register as an APCC and complete the required supervision hours and exams for the LPCC after graduation. LPCC requirements are available on the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) website.

The Co-Occurring Disorders or Psychiatric Rehabilitation Certificates may be a better option for some applicants.


The purpose of the Clinical Concentration is to fully prepare future recovery-oriented counselors for the LPCC by providing all required LPCC coursework within a 60-unit program.

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Academic Requirements

To meet the requirements for both the LPCC and the CRC, students must successfully complete the 60 units of coursework described. Following is a list of Clinical Concentration courses by catalog number, title and units, as well as the total number of units in each category:

Required rehabilitation counseling courses (39 units):
ARP 601 - Best Practices in Psychiatric Rehabilitation (3 units)
ARP 608 - Principles of Psychiatric Rehabilitation (3 units)
ARP 615 - Seminar in Multicultural Dimensions in Rehabilitation Counseling (3 units)
ARP 645A/645B - Assessment in Rehabilitation (3/3 units)
ARP 648 - Group Dynamics in Rehabilitation (3 units)
ARP 660 - Theory and Process of Counseling in Rehabilitation (3 units)
ARP 684 - Rehabilitation Foundations (3 units)
ARP 708 – Human Development (3 units)
CSP 650 - Crisis/Trauma Counseling (3 units)
CSP 687 - Family Treatment of Substance Abuse (3 units)
CSP 694 - Psychopharmacology for Marriage and Family Therapists (3 units)
ED 690 - Methods of Inquiry (3 units)

Advanced Coursework (15 units):
ARP 685A/685B - Medical and Psychological Aspects of Disability (3/3 units)

ARP 687 - Placement Practices with Individuals with Disabilities (3 units)
ARP 744 – Practicum in Rehabilitation
ARP 755 - Governance and Policy Development (3 units)

Internship (6 units):
ARP 745 - Internship for LPCC (6 units)
A minimum of 100 hours of Practicum and 600 hours of Internship are required.

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How to Apply

Applicants must apply online through the CSU Mentor system when initiating an application to the Clinical Concentration. In order to be considered for the Clinical Concentration, please follow these steps.

  1. Apply to the university, the Clinical Concentration and the Rehabilitation Counseling Program
  2. Arrange to take the GRE
  3. Provide Dr. Peterson with:
    1. A two-to-three-page essay describing why you would like to be included in the specialization i.e., your prior experiences, what you hope to gain through completing the program, and how you will use your new knowledge and skills
    2. Unofficial transcripts
    3. Your current resume. Students must be interviewed individually by the program advisor.

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Dr. Sonia Peterson is the program advisor for both the Clinical Concentration and the Certificate in Psychiatric Rehabilitation. She meets with each clinical and certificate student to design an individualized program of study based on the student’s educational background and professional experience. Clinical Concentration students must complete all requirements for the Certificate in Psychiatric Rehabilitation. However, students may complete the Certificate in Psychiatric Rehabilitation without completing LPCC requirements. Students may enroll in the Certificate program and the master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling concurrently. Contact Dr. Peterson at 619-594-6883, or for further information.

Portfolio Requirement

In order to earn the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Certificate, students must complete and submit a written portfolio which will then be presented orally (known as a defense) to a panel including the program advisor and at least one additional examiner. The purpose of the portfolio and defense is to demonstrate a thorough understanding of theory and practice in psychiatric rehabilitation. The portfolio is submitted and defended in the student’s final semester, as follows.

Written Portfolio Instructions

  1. Title page
  2. Table of Contents
  3. Executive Learning Summary (5 pages) in which you specify and describe the items in the portfolio, addressing how this body of work demonstrates mastery in each of the following knowledge content areas:
    1. understanding of psychiatric disability
    2. multicultural knowledge and sensitivity
    3. community integration and employment
    4. counseling and communication with individuals who have psychiatric disabilities
    5. implication for systems change
  4. Your Mission Statement, which encompasses your goals as a psychiatric rehabilitation practitioner. How are you going to make a difference in the lives of people with psychiatric disabilities? (1-page maximum)
  5. Your Vision for the field of psychiatric rehabilitation and recovery. If you had the power to make changes to the existing mental health system, what would services look like?
    (1-page maximum)
  6. Professional Growth and Development Plan How you will use the learning obtained in the psychiatric rehabilitation curriculum to be a positive agent for change and how do you plan on continuing your learning? (3-5 pages)
  7. Four Examples of quality work you have produced in the program, with a 1-2-page summary for each example, that links your learning to one or more growth areas identified in item #3, Executive Summary. These papers will all be relevant to psychiatric rehabilitation and recovery and will be products from ARP 601, 608, 648, 660, 684, and 687 unless otherwise arranged with the program advisor.

Oral Defense Instructions

  1. Student emails the portfolio in pdf format to examiners one week in advance of defense.
  2. Examiners read the portfolio and prepare questions.
  3. Student meets with examiners to defend their portfolio by presenting highlights in a PowerPoint presentation (20 minutes).
  4. Examiners then ask questions based on the portfolio and oral defense (20 minutes).
  5. Examiners ask the student to leave the room while they confer.
  6. Examiners invite the student back into the room to announce their decision: pass, pass with revisions, or fail.

Note: For those completing the certificate in conjunction with the MS in Rehabilitation Counseling, this requirement does not substitute for the CRC exam, the comprehensive exam, or thesis requirement.

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Fieldwork Requirement

All students complete fieldwork as part of their program. Internship students in the concentration will be mentored with a faculty to student ratio of no more than 1:6.

All students must complete their internship under the agency supervision of an individual who has at least two years of experience and who has completed his or her master's degree which included counseling practicum and internship experiences. Supervisors need to have experience or other preparation in intern supervision. Site supervisors will have either a license or a Certification in Rehabilitation Counseling (CRC). All supervisors will be familiar with the program, its goals and procedures.



California State University programs for professions that require licensure or certification are intended to prepare the student to meet California licensure and certification requirements. Admission into programs for professions that require licensure and certification does not guarantee that students will obtain a license or certificate. Licensure and certification requirements are set by agencies that are not controlled by or affiliated with the California State University and licensure and certification requirements can change at any time.
The California State University has not determined whether its programs meet other states’ educational or professional requirements for licensure and certification. Students enrolled in a California State University program who are planning to pursue licensure or certification in other states are responsible for determining whether they will meet their state’s requirements for licensure or certification. This disclosure is made pursuant to 34 CFR §668.43(a)(5)(v)(C).

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