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Irvine Branch Campus launches unique Latina/o mental health certificate program

To address the increasing need for culturally competent mental health providers, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (TCSPP) — one of the leading nonprofit graduate school devoted to psychology, and related behavioral and health sciences — has launched a Latina/o Mental Health Certificate program at its Irvine Branch Campus. The only certificate program of its kind in California, it is designed to fit the schedules of working professionals and graduate students. Spanish language knowledge is not required to participate in the program as classes are offered in English. Mental health professionals (pre-licensed and licensed) will be trained on how to better relate and address the needs of, and increase their expertise in, delivering mental health services to Latina/o populations, moving beyond basic knowledge to gain broader insights into the Latino culture. The first module, “Interviewing Skills with Latina/os,” is being offered on February 7 and 21 at TCSPP’s Irvine Branch Campus. A list of all program modules and dates is available here.

Trains Mental Health Professionals to Address Needs of Growing Latina/o Population

The curriculum for the Latina/o Mental Health Certificate program was developed by a group of TCSPP faculty with expertise in Latina/o mental health. The six program modules address Latina/o identity and cultural foundations, counseling methods, variables influencing health beliefs, gender issues and community mental health systems, among other topics, and each delivers a set of skills, techniques, and elements of cultural competence that enhance service delivery. The program is housed under The Chicago School’s Institute for Professional & Continuing Studies. Course modules (consisting of eight hours each; for a total of 48 hours) will award participants with eight Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs), Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs), and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCCs), and Continuing Education credits for psychologists. Modules can be taken separately or as a whole. Once a student finishes the six modules he/she obtains the Latina/o Mental Health Certificate.

“With more and more Latina/o clients seeking therapeutic services in the communities of Orange County along with the boundaries of culture and class widening the scope of psychotherapy for the Latina/o clinician it is becoming imperative that Spanish speaking clinicians have more comprehensive training in Latino Mental Health,” explains Doris Chastain, MACLP, LMFT, MFC, program/development director at Turning Point Center for Families in Santa Ana. “Clinicians working with the Latina/o clients require more than therapeutic expertise and the ability to speak Spanish…they require a better understanding of the Latina/o culture and the unique challenges facing Latina/o’s as well as developing a specialized skills set to best meet the Latina/o client’s needs.”

“The Chicago School is fulfilling a need among mental health professionals as they continue to see an increase in the need for mental health services in underserved populations,” says Nadia Rojas Jones, Ed.D., TCSPP faculty and program coordinator for the Latina/o Mental Health Certificate program. “In creating this program, our goal is to ensure that clinicians become culturally competent providers who have acquired greater sensitivity to the role of culture, as well as to the economics and social factors in the developmental, emotional, relational and behavioral aspects pertinent to the mental health of Latinos.”

“In our day and age, specifically living in Southern California, it is extremely essential to be clinically and culturally competent when delivering mental health services,” explains Omar Banda, MSW, administrative director at the Transforming Life Center in Long Beach. “Treatment for the Latino and Spanish-speaking community is in high demand and yet, I often encounter clients whose emotional well-being has worsened as a result of clinical interventions that are not culturally competent. It is crucial that clinicians be trained to specifically work with Latino clients.”

About The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Founded in 1979, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (TCSPP) is a nonprofit, private graduate school devoted exclusively to psychology, and related behavioral and health sciences. The institution serves nearly 4,500 students across campuses in Chicago; Southern California (Los Angeles and Irvine); and Washington, D.C., as well as through online programs. The Chicago School is accredited by the WASC Senior Colleges and University Commission, (WSCUC), and its Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program in Chicago is accredited by the American Psychological Association. A member of the National Council of Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology, TCSPP is recognized for its distinguished service and outstanding contributions to cultural diversity and advocacy. The community service initiatives on the Chicago Campus have also earned recognition on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for six consecutive years. The Los Angeles Campus gained its second recognition in 2014, and its Washington, D.C. Campus received its first award in 2014. With more than 20 graduate degree programs, thousands of hours of real-world training, and a wealth of international opportunities, TCSPP is the leader in professional psychology education. To learn more, visit