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JFKU Degree on Counseling Latinos Wins Approval


John F. Kennedy University (JFKU)  has received final approval of the first fully accredited counseling psychology program focusing on cultural competence training in mental health and counseling skills for serving the Latino/Hispanic community. Classes begin this fall.

The counseling psychology master’s program was approved by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), the accrediting body for California colleges and universities.

“Latinos are one of the fastest growing segments of the U.S. population, yet the availability of training, counseling and mental services that are responsive to their cultural needs lags far behind,” noted William D. Parham, Ph.D., ABPP, dean of JFKU’s Graduate School of Professional Psychology. “Of the half-dozen counseling psychology master’s programs in the nation that offer any emphasis on Latino mental health, JFKU’s is the only one that incorporates the context of Latino mental health in every course and practicum. Our graduates will be among the nation’s most culturally competent mental health counselors able to address the underserved Hispanic population.”

The new master’s program will be based in Aptos.

Classes will be taught in a cohort of 20 students who will complete the program together over a two-year period. Students will complement their coursework with 14 months of supervised practicum training at JFKU field-placement sites,  receiving more hands-on training hours than students in other counseling psychology master’s programs.

“We are very excited to receive this final approval and begin accepting students into this new program,” said Gail Kinsley-Dame, chair of JFKU-GSPP’s counseling psychology program. “By the time they graduate, our Aptos students will be prepared for licensure and not only trained, but also experienced at addressing the specialized needs of Hispanic populations in Santa Cruz County, or any other region.”

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