Healthy Aging Concentration

The Healthy Aging concentration is specifically designed to provide clinical skills for serving the growing population of older adults and their families. Through specialized coursework and training, students will gain knowledge about the physical, social and psychological aspects of aging and learn intervention skills to assist older adults, their families and care-givers.

In addition to coursework, the concentration includes training and supervision in a clinical field placement. In these sites, students will acquire skills in assessment and counseling with individuals in response to the normative challenges of aging as well as in emergency interventions around crisis and complication situations. The concentration will include substantial training in working with families, caregivers and others with the goal of supporting a quality lifestyle for older adults from wellness and prevention approaches.

The total units completed is 96 thereby meeting the educational requirements for California licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist with a concentration in counseling with older adults (Healthy Aging.)


Healthy Aging Plan of Study

*Courses offered online or on alternate cohort day.

Total Units 96Healthy Aging Plan of Study
First Quarter(10.5 units)
PSC504Human Development and Diversity (3) *
PSC505AMulticultural Awareness: Self, Culture, and Context (3)
PSC532ACrisis, Disaster and Emergency Response (1.5) *
PSC501ATheories of Psychotherapy in Context (3) *
Second Quarter(11 units)
PSC503AResearch Methods (3) *
PSC524Contemporary Theories of Psychotherapy (2)
PSC520AClinical Skills I: The Psychotherapeutic Relationship (3)
PSC561Social, Cultural, and Systemic Aspects of Aging (3)
Third Quarter(15 units)
PSC550BDomestic Violence: Spousal, Elder and Child Abuse (3) *
PSC507ATheories of Family Systems (3)
PSC560Healthy Development Throughout the Aging Process (3) *
PSC508Psychological Assessment: Evaluating Individuals and Systems in Context (3) *
PSC506APsychopathology (3)
Fourth Quarter(11.5 Units)
PSC507Clinical Skills with Families and Couples (3)
PSC522Group Theories (1.5) *
PSC538BProfessional Ethics and the Law (3)
PSC520BClinical Skills II: The Psychotherapeutic Process (3)
PSC538DProfessional Orientation (1) *
Fifth Quarter(12 units)
PSC 520The Process of Group Psychotherapy (3)
PSC562Clinical Skills with Older Adults (3)
PSC650FPracticum I: Clinical Evaluation and Crisis Intervention With Older Adults (3)
PSC546Psychopharmacology for Therapists (3) *
Sixth Quarter(12 units)
PSC531AIntimate Relationships (3)
PSC650GPracticum II: Diagnosis and Treatment Planning with Older Adults and Their Families (3)
PSC545ASubstance Related Disorders and Other Addictive Behaviors (3) *
PSC563ALoss and Bereavement Through the Life Cycle (3)
Seventh Quarter(13 units)
PSC530Psychotherapy with Children and Adolescents (3)
PSC551Community Mental Health (3)
PSC555BSubstance Related and Co-Occurring Disorders in the Older Adult (2)
PSC650HPracticum III: Clinical Interventions With Older Adults and Their Families (3)
PSC507HAdvanced Family Therapy: Special populations (2) *
Eighth Quarter(11 units)
PSC532Trauma Counseling (3)
PSC650IPracticum IV: Integrating Clinical Skills With Older Adults and Their Families (3)
PSC537BHuman Sexuality and Counseling (3)
PSC507IAdvanced Family Therapy: Evidence Based Practice (2) *
Total Units 96


Healthy Aging Faculty

Jo-Anne Blatter, LCSW received her Masters of Social Work degree from Adelphi University, Garden City, New York in 1976. She has worked in a variety of settings over the past 36 years which include hospitals, home care, Hospice, community education, and has been a workshop facilitator, continuing education provider, consultant and sat on numerous non-profit boards. For the past 20 years she has been in private practice in Santa Barbara. Jo-Anne has been honored by the National Association of Social Workers f or her innovative work with cancer survivors and the creation of “The Aphrodite Project.” The film she produced by the same title, was honored by several film festivals and continues to spread the message of human courage and resiliency, and the profound message of living life fully even in the face of adversity and change.

Maureen Murdock, PhD, is a Jungian-oriented psychotherapist in private practice in Santa Barbara, CA. and holds a certificate in EMDR. She was Chair and Core Faculty of the MA Counseling Psychology Program at Pacifica Graduate Institute and is a clinical supervisor at New Beginnings Counseling Center in Santa Barbara. She is the author of the best-selling book, The Heroine’s Journey, which explores the rich territory of the feminine psyche and delineates the feminine psycho-spiritual journey. Murdock is also the author of Fathers’ Daughters: Breaking the Ties that Bind; Unreliable Truth: On Memoir and Memory; Spinning Inward: Using Guided Imagery with Children; and The Heroine’s Journey Workbook. She edited a anthology of memoir writing entitled Monday Morning Memoirs: Women in the Second Half of Life and her books have been translated into over a dozen languages. Her website is

Suzanne Retzinger, PhD, received her degree in Sociology in 1988, with an emphasis on social psychology, and MS degree in Marriage and Family Therapy in 1993. From 2007-2011 she trained with the Metta Institute, which addresses spiritual aspects of end of life care, as well as two years with the Sacred Art of Living and Dying program. She has a certificates from the Metta Institute (2007) and The Sacred Art of Living and Dying (2008). She is a licensed counselor with Hospice of Santa Barbara since 2002 (counseling people in bereavement, anticipatory grief and those who are dying), and has volunteered for Sarah House (end of life residence) for a combined 12 years. She has also taught workshops on emotions, relationships, and end of life here and abroad. In 2004, Dr. Retzinger was President of the Santa Barbara Chapter of The California Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Her book is titled Violent Emotions: Shame and Rage in Marital Quarrels (1991). She has also co-authored Emotions and Violence: Shame and Rage in Destructive Conflict, with T.J. Scheff, 1991. Dr. Retzinger has published extensively on the topics of emotions, shame, mental illness, and end of life.

Frank Rust III, PhD, earned his doctorate in developmental psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1985. He stayed at UCSB an additional 6 years post doctorate as a research specialist doing health statistics and epidemiology research on hospital-specific perinatal mortality rates and presented at grand rounds in many of the major hospitals in Southern California. As an adjunct at California State University, Dominguez Hills, Dr. Rust has taught Statistics in the nursing program since 1992. There, Dr. Rust won both the Excellence in Distance Learning Teaching Award given by the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) at the International Distance Learning Conference (IDLCON) in Washington DC and the Judith M. Lewis Outstanding Educator Award given by the School of Health, California State University, Dominguez Hills.

Dr. Rust has taught at Antioch University, Santa Barbara as an adjunct faculty member since 1992. While his passion is teaching, he has coauthored books on statistics and on prenatal care for Hispanic women. He has coauthored articles on racial disparities in prenatal care, birth weight, and neonatal mortality, and on primary language training. He is currently coauthoring papers with Dr. Outland on a survey of nurses’ attitudes toward weight.

View a complete list of MA Clinical Faculty.