Massive efforts are underway at the state and federal level to improve our mental health system. In California, voters passed Proposition 63, the Mental Health Services Act, to provide funds to expand and develop public mental health services that are recovery-oriented, culturally-sensitive, and person and family centered (Mental Health Services Act, 2004). The implementation of the MHSA is transforming public mental health care services in California and creating both a workforce shortage and a demand for a new kind of mental health provider.
The master's program at the Wright Institute integrates the values and philosophies of the Mental Health Services Act, counseling psychology, and marriage and family therapy in order to provide students with the well-rounded skill set required of this "new kind" of mental health provider. In alignment with the MHSA, the program prioritizes a collaborative, holistic, resiliency-oriented treatment approach, with an emphasis on evidence-based practice. As a counseling psychology program, our focus is on maximizing psychological health in multiple community settings and promoting strengths and adaptations across the lifespan. In preparing our students to be marriage and family therapists, we also emphasize the importance of relationships and using relationships to accelerate change.
In recognition of the vital importance of relationships in both clinical work and education, the master's program considers faculty mentoring an important tool for helping students develop the skills and attitudes appropriate to the professional practice of counseling and marriage and family therapy. Faculty mentoring relationships, both formal and informal, work to promote attitudes of intellectual curiosity and flexibility, open-mindedness, appreciation of individual and cultural differences, and optimism in the capacity for people to grow and change.