Antioch University Los Angeles 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) license, as well as specifically dedicating additional study to the service of children and adolescents.
The Child Studies Specialization prepares students in state-of-the-art assessment, diagnosis, and effective interventions with young children, school-age children, and adolescents. 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, multicultural, and multi-systemic approach. Our vision is to approach understanding and healing children and teens by focusing our efforts on the whole child and children’s multiple ecologies: family, peers, school, spirituality, neighborhood, and community. To that end, we facilitate and promote inter-professional and pedagogical collaboration with other psychology specializations at AULA: Spiritual Depth Psychology, LGBT Psychology, Applied Community Psychology, and Psychological Trauma.
The Child Studies Specialization prepares potential psychotherapists 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, students have elective courses and workshops available to them 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.