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    Saybrook University
  Apr 03, 2020
2016-2017 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook 
2016-2017 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook [Archived Catalog]

Psychology, Counseling Specialization, M.A.

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Program Overview

Saybrook Seattle Cohort programs are rooted in self-development through integrated, rigorous course work pursued in six five-day (Wednesday-Sunday) educational conferences each year at the Bellevue, WA campus. This approach integrates experiential learning within a cohesive, constructed learning community.

Experiential Learning involves the student as both scientist and participant in the systematic exploration of self, and self in relation to others.

The Learning Community, which develops in the context of six educational conferences per year, is enriched by the diversity of its own socio-economic, racial, cultural, and gender composition and fostered with its exceptionally small faculty-to-student ratio of 1:15.

Education within each conference may consist of any or all of the following forms:

  • Individual, one-on-one, group work
  • focused simulations
  • lecture
  • videotaped interactive presentations
  • consistent feedback from faculty and peers

Theoretical Basis for the Saybrook Seattle Model

The Saybrook Seattle model rests on the foundations of Applied Behavioral Science (ABS) and Systems Theory.

ABS refers to the collection of theories and skills that places the self of the practitioner in the center of observed events. It can be defined as “the art and science of getting things done through and with others.”

Systems Theory recognizes a system as an entity that maintains its existence, and functions as a whole, through the interaction of its parts. It posits that a particular system can be understood only by analyzing or engaging in the system in its entirety. In this program, you will learn the skills needed to analyze and improve a system and its processes whether the client is an individual, couple, family or group system.

Professional Licensure:

Upon completion of the program students are eligible for licensure in the following states:


The M.A. Psychology Counseling Specialization program is aligned with the degree and coursework requirements for eligibility to become a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) and/or a licensed marital and family therapist (LMFT) in the State of Washington. Applicants for licensure as an LMHC or an LMFT will also be required to complete a minimum number of hours of post-master’s supervised counseling experience, as well as other state-specific requirements such as examination, application, and background check.  It is the student’s responsibility to determine the licensure requirements required beyond completion of their degree program.  To assist with this research please visit:    

Licensure information for Marriage and Family Therapists in Washington

Licensure information for Mental Health Counselors in Washington


Students intending to practice in the State of Oregon must complete the Oregon licensure track which includes additional coursework to meet the requirements for eligibility to become a licensed professional counselor (LPC).  Applicants for licensure as an LPC may also be required to complete a minimum number of hours of post-master’s supervised experience, as well as other state-specific requirements such as examination, application, and background check.  It is the student’s responsibility to determine the licensure requirements beyond completion of their degree program.  To assist with this research please visit:    

Licensure information for Licensed Professional Counselors in Oregon

Other States

It is the student’s responsibility to determine the licensure requirements for any state not listed above.  The Counseling specialization may meet some or all of the requirements for states not listed, but additional state-specific approvals or coursework and/or practicum hours may be required beyond the Counseling specialization’s graduation requirements. If additional coursework outside the Counseling specialization’s requirements is required for licensure it may not be eligible for financial aid.  It is the student’s responsibility to work with the Registrar and Financial Aid office to determine a plan for registering and paying for courses that may not be financial aid eligible. Licensing requirements include the following for most states: completion of a master’s degree, post-graduate supervised experience, examination, background check, and application for license. 

Required Course work: The curriculum is based on a systemic, relational, experiential model of education in which the interpersonal relationship and the development of social and emotional intelligence in the self are considered the primary domains of attention around which a scholarly body of knowledge is taught and learned. Courses are permeated with experiential learning opportunities including personal reflection, small group work, and interactive practice where therapeutic competencies are practiced with abundant feedback from student colleagues and faculty.

The overarching emphasis in this curriculum is on developing professional and personal competence. To this end the curriculum includes the following seven emphases:

  1. Personal Leadership-At the heart of clinical work is the use of the self in relationship with the client. More than a therapeutic “technique,” the use of self-care for personal awareness and an ability to use the self-moment-by-moment in a continuous, unfolding relationship with the client, who is seen as a learning partner in the creativity of therapeutic conversation. The therapist’s own personal development, especially in relationship with his/her family of origin is fundamental in developing mature personal leadership.
  2. Systems Theory-The fundamental theoretical paradigm in this curriculum is systems theory, which underscores the connectedness and interrelatedness of all things. Nothing can be understood and adequately addressed apart from the context in which it occurs and has developed from the microbiological to the macro-systemic life of cultures and larger communities. When anything is understood from the perspective of time and multiple contexts or viewpoints, more options for possible change emerge. Systems thinking, therefore, is at the base of therapeutic creativity and change.
  3. Core Factors of Therapeutic Change-Research into therapeutic efficacy has delineated central features of therapy that contribute to positive change. These features transcend any particular school of therapy and are thought of as “meta” factors to particular theoretical models. Awareness of these factors and increasing incorporation of these factors within the therapist’s personal style will augment the therapist’s competency.
  4. Models of Therapeutic Change-Maturing therapists gradually evolve a unique personal style that integrates their best gifts. Over time they also incorporate ideas and processes from a variety of therapeutic models. The Seattle Counseling Psychology program curriculum introduces students to five models of therapy primarily drawn from the family systems field: Bowen Therapy, Structural Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with a systemic approach, Narrative Therapy and Solution-Focused Therapy. Taught and practiced on the foundation of systems thinking, these models are intended to help beginning therapists develop a therapeutic approach that is responsive to the concerns of clients. Ideas from other models supplement these five approaches to therapy. Other models may include: somatic, depth, Jungian and, mindfulness based approaches.
  5. Counseling Foundation Courses-Students are introduced to subject areas critical in understanding human behavior, such as abnormal behavior and the diagnostic process, human development, human sexuality, trauma and attachment, addiction, spirituality, diversity in clinical practice, the functioning of couples and families, and values.
  6. Ethics and Laws-Responsible professional development includes attention to laws and ethics that govern and shape professional practice. Clinical training and supervision always includes attention to the legal and ethical issues and implications of each case. The ethical nuances and dilemmas of clinical work are also explored, including issues of power and diversity.
  7. Issues in Professional Practice-Students investigate the field of health care, collaborative practice, particularly the discipline of mental health care, professional associations, journals, and continuing education opportunities in professional development.

These seven domains form the focus for the Seattle M.A. Psychology, Counseling Specialization curriculum. The specific courses and curriculum segments of the curriculum are defined in the following pages. The two-year program in Seattle is built on six educational conferences (EC) per year. An Educational Conferences or EC begins on Wednesday morning and concludes Sunday afternoon. There are two cohort groups, each with a different entry point. The Spring cohort group begins in January and concludes in December. The Fall cohort group begins in September and concludes in June. In the first year of the program, there are three additional mini educational conferences (EC), which all begin on Friday morning and conclude on Sunday afternoon. In the second year of the program, each student is involved in a clinical practicum, which usually last from 9 to 12 months.

Concurrent with the clinical practicum, the student participates in the Professional Seminar, a small consulting group led by faculty, which focuses on development clinical, ethical, and professional competencies in the clinical practicum

Student Competencies and Methods of Assessment

I. Student Competencies

A. Conceptual Competencies
1. General Knowledge
2. Systems Perspective
3. Models of Therapy

B. Assessment Competencies
1. Recognition Skills
2. Systemic and DSM 5 Multiaxial Diagnostic Skills

C. Treatment Competencies
1. Engaging Skills
2. Interviewing, Assessing and Hypothesizing Skills
3. Intervening Skills
4. Administrative Skills

D. Professional Competencies
1. Supervision
2. Ethical Issues
3. Professional Image and Conduct
4. Collaborative Care

E. Self of the Therapist Competencies
1. Therapeutic Leadership
2. Personal Learning and Growth

Internships: High Ratings for Saybrook Seattle MA Students

In addition to the academic program, students will participate in internships during their second year. The 9-10 month supervised clinical internships, established in a variety of community settings, require a total of 700 hours of internship time, 280 hours of which is in direct client contact. Students also participate in ongoing consultation groups with faculty consultants and peers concurrent with the internship. Our students consistently receive high ratings in their internship settings, especially for their self-awareness and the capacity to engage artfully in the therapeutic relationship with clients.

Counseling Degree Requirements

The Counseling specialization in Psychology requires completion of 51 credits to meet requirements for licensure in the state of Washington. Students seeking counseling licensure in Oregon must complete 60 credits.

Total required credits: 51

Additional Required Credits for Oregon LPC students: 9 credits

Total credit hours: 60

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