Children are inherently malleable, conforming to their surroundings and shaping perceptions without the deep consideration adults are capable of. Our approach to understanding and healing children and teens is to focus on the whole child and children’s multiple ecologies: family, peers, school, spirituality, neighborhood, and community. The Child Studies Specialization prepares you for the California MFT, while also gaining additional specialized insight into the state-of-the-art assessment, diagnosis, and effective interventions with young children, school-age children, and adolescents.
We established the Child Studies Specialization in 1999 as the first dedicated program of its kind in Los Angeles at the level of a master’s degree. From the first cohort of 12, the Child Studies Specialization has grown to serve approximately 50 students annually, all of whom are preparing for the California MFT (Marriage and Family Therapy) and LPCC (Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor).
In addition to the now-traditional approaches to interventions with children and teens (play therapy and family therapy), the Child Studies Specialization emphasizes both scientific and humanistic perspectives, and supports evidence-based practice in the context of a flexible and integrative multi-modal, multi-cultural, and multi-systemic approach.
Specialization Courses (17 units)
Courses in the Child Studies Specialization at AULA are integrated with the Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology program, and are part of our Comprehensive Professional Development Approach. Each required course provides you with a set of skills necessary to work effectively with children and adolescents in a wide variety of post-degree settings. In addition, you will complete your required clinical training hours at a site designated as appropriate for child studies, so that a minimum of 50% of the clinical training hours are spent directly with children and adolescents, either individually or in the context of family therapy.
- Developmental Psychopathology I: Diagnosis
- Developmental Psychopathology II: Intervention
- Brain and Behavior
- Cross-Cultural Infant Observation
- Child Advocacy and Social Policy
- CS Electives (3 Units)
For detailed curriculum and degree requirements, please visit the AULA catalog.
The Child Studies Specialization prepares you to work in a wide variety of settings, including private practice, community mental health centers, hospitals, schools, and social agencies devoted to advocacy. The specialized coursework includes work in developmental psychopathology, cross-cultural infant observation, child advocacy and social policy, and developmental neuroscience.
In addition, you will have elective courses and workshops available to you covering a broad array of clinical skills and concerns. These include art therapy and play therapy, foster care and adoption, attachment issues, psychodrama, parenting, cultural diversity, eating disorders, sexual development, trauma assessment and intervention, and evidence-based practice.
- MA in Clinical Psychology, Addiction and Recovery Specialization
- MA in Clinical Psychology, Applied Community Psychology Specialization
- MA in Clinical Psychology, General Practice Specialization
- MA in Clinical Psychology, LGBT-Affirmative Psychology
- MA in Clinical Psychology, Professional Clinical Counselor Specialization
- MA in Clinical Psychology, Psychological Trauma Studies Specialization
- MA in Clinical Psychology, Spiritual and Depth Psychology Specialization