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Master of Arts in Counseling

Townsend Institute at Concordia University Irvine

Now CACREP-Accredited

M.A. Counseling: Clinical Mental Health

It’s your turn. Now is the time to earn your online graduate degree in counseling at the Townsend Institute at Concordia University Irvine. Through our CACREP-accredited program, you will gain marketable skills that can offer a professional advantage in your vocation. Students will acquire the skills to engage with a person struggling with issues like depression, anxiety, relational problems, or addictions on a deeply attuned level. You will also be trained to connect with the internal workings of a person’s brain and heart - where the root issues lie - such as isolation, lack of boundaries, shame, and feeling as if they have no voice. Learn how to help people move beyond coping to restoration. Gain competency in over 20 skills that use the transformative power of relationship, emotions, and cognitions to create profound and lasting change.

Students enrolled in the Townsend Institute now have the option to earn either a Master's Degree in Counseling: Clinical Mental Health or the Professional Townsend Competence & Character Growth Model Certificate (4 courses) or Advanced Townsend Competence & Character Growth Model Certificate (6 courses).

24-36 Month Completion Time
Online Delivery
$670 Cost per Unit

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How you’ll cultivate life-changing transformation:

The Master's in Counseling: Clinical Mental Health experience invites you to study directly with Dr. John Townsend and master clinicians who have decades of experience, and know how to bring healing, hope, and restoration - a life that flourishes! The Townsend Institute has earned a reputation for its relational approach to begin with character growth as a building block for positive change. Through the Townsend Institute’s online Master’s in Counseling: Clinical Mental Health program you will:

  • Understand how treatment goes beyond symptom removal to reshaping the individual, couple, or family, in profound and lasting ways that are transformative.
  • Access the transforming power of relationship, emotions, and cognitions by creating experiences that build new character structure.
  • Discover the therapeutic skills that “crack the code” for growth and healing in clients.
  • Gain diagnostic skills to determine which therapeutic approach will be most effective based on a person’s internal character structure.
  • Apply the latest neurological research on the healing process through a biblical lens.
  • Master treatment modalities such as depth psychology, family systems, cognitive behavioral therapy, attachment therapy, psychopharmacology, and positive psychology.

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Dr. John Townsend

Dr. John Townsend on the Townsend Institute at Concordia University Irvine

  • Begin with a 4-day Kick-off Conference with your community of fellow students where Dr. Townsend will conduct a series of trainings to jump-start your Master’s program.
  • Connect with your cohort in a guided-process group experience to earn your first three credits, where you will learn to unpack key moments in your life story and grow your character.
  • Join a 3-hour virtual classroom bi-monthly where Dr. Townsend and one of the Institute Fellows personally give a training. The last hour is all Q&A for students.
  • Engage with Dr. Townsend’s exclusive training videos and podcasts created for each course.
  • Gain access to white papers written by Dr. Townsend for topic areas that draw on his decades of experience in counseling and relationship advice.

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Hear students describe the power of learning at the Townsend Institute.

Start on your terms.

Term Start Date
Summer 2021 August 9, 2021

Students can choose to begin in the Fall or Spring semester. The entire program will take two to three years. Students will take one or two 7-week online courses at a time for a total of 60 credits. Learning activities will involve approximately 13 to 16 hours of the student's time investment each week. Students working full time are suggested to take only one course at a time.

This program can lead to licensure in most states. It is the sole responsibility of the student, not the program, to obtain information regarding prerequisites for licensure as outlined by their particular state board of counseling. To obtain your state’s web address, view State Licensure Boards

M.A. Counseling Earns CACREP Accreditation

The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), the national association that accredits master’s and doctoral degree counseling programs offered by colleges and universities, has granted accreditation to our Master of Arts in Counseling: Clinical Mental Health program at Concordia University Irvine in partnership with the Townsend Institute. The voluntary accreditation assures that graduates have met the majority of the educational requirements for licensure or certification as a counselor in most states. After a multi-stage external review process, our M.A. Counseling: Clinical Mental Health program, as well as its curriculum and faculty, were found to have substantially met the critical quality-related program requirements for accredited status.

CACREP accreditation assures our students that their degree in counseling is from an institution that has voluntarily met the standards set by the profession.

Dean Mike Shurance
Townsend Institute


A deep bench of experience.

When you make a choice to invest in your future by continuing your education, you want to be sure your time is well spent. That’s where the Townsend Institute at Concordia University Irvine offers a distinct advantage. Here, you will learn from a group of extraordinarily talented author-teachers with extensive knowledge on who were are as human beings created in the image of God. We choose faculty with real-world experience and Fellows who bring deep understanding through the subjects they write on, and their ongoing research. They not only offer their expertise, but their availability to answer your questions as you work through the course material. Along with your cohort, you will journey together through a transformational experience in the MAC program.

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Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, but we encourage you to have all documentation in two weeks prior to the start of each term. If you have any questions about the admissions process or need any assistance, please don't hesitate to connect with us.

Application Requirements

  • An application with nonrefundable application fee of $50
  • One official transcript from a regionally accredited college or university that shows your confirmed bachelor’s degree. Official college transcripts must be sent in a sealed envelope.
  • Must have earned a cumulative GPA of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale.
  • Written essay (2 pages, 500 word minimum) addressing the following items:
    • Personal, professional, and educational goals
    • In your experience, what is the best way that a person grows or changes? You can add an example of a characteristic about yourself that you wanted to change and how you went about changing it.
    • What parts of your personality do you feel are conducive to your potential success in forming effective counseling relationships?
    • What is your capacity as a counselor to treat all those in need and show respect for cultural differences?
    • What interested you in applying to the Townsend Institute as opposed to other programs?
  • Minimum of 2 professional reference required.
  • A current professional resume
  • Group interview with program faculty

Get Started Today

Have questions about the Townsend Institute’s online master's degree in Counseling? Not sure how to get started? Fill out the form below, and one of our admissions counselors will get in touch with you.

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