Ánimo: Latinx Counseling Emphasis


The Ánimo: Latinx Counseling Emphasis is a new component of the California State University Fullerton M.S. Department of Counseling designed to address the professional, curricular, and training needs of clinical mental health counselors working with Latinx and Spanish-speaking clients. The Ánimo: Latinx Counseling Emphasis is grounded in clinical mental health competencies and provides trainees course curriculum that meets requirements to pursue licensure as Marriage and Family Therapists or Professional Clinical Counselors in California. It is further grounded in nationally-approved competencies: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related-Educational Programs, CACREP and the American Counseling Association, ACA. Furthermore, the Ánimo Emphasis focuses on developing self-awareness as a bilingual and bicultural counselor, knowledge of Latinx-cultures and therapeutic-Spanish, familiarity with interventions appropriate to Latinx and Spanish-speaking clients, and social justice advocacy for issues relevant to the Latinx community. Although there will be ample opportunities to build therapeutic Spanish-speaking skills, the courses will emphasize bilingual/bicultural counseling skills and be held in both English and Spanish (and primarily in English) to meet the trainees’ needs.

In Fall 2022, the Ánimo: Latinx Counseling Emphasis earned national honors for supporting Latinx students. Excelencia in Education, a national nonprofit focused on boosting Latinx student success, recently recognized the programs as having positively impacted and accelerated Latinx student success in higher education. Read more about this prestigous honor here. 

Need for Culturally Competent Training

The Ánimo: Latinx Counseling Emphasis addresses three important needs. First, within the professional mental health fields (e.g., counseling, psychology, social work) there is a high need for graduate programs to provide culturally-competent, cultural humility, social justice advocacy, and linguistically-appropriate curriculum, training, and supervision. Second, within the Latinx community, there is also a high need for bilingual (in Spanish) and bicultural clinicians with skills in cultural competency, cultural humility, social justice advocacy, and therapeutic-Spanish speaking; all of which improve engagement, assessment, conceptualization, and treatment. Finally, there is an equally high need for this specialized training and supervision for Master’s level trainees. Given the demographics in the United States of the Latinx population at the local, state, and national levels, this much-needed program is one of a handful of programs nationwide to provide this important instruction, training, and supervision designed to ultimately serve the mental health needs of the Latinx community.


Description of the New Emphasis

The Ánimo: Latinx Counseling Emphasis is embedded within the wider M.S. Department of Counseling. Of the total 63-units for the Master’s degree, the Ánimo Emphasis consists of 5 core courses (COUN 511B, COUN 522B, COUN 527B, COUN 530B, and COUN 584B). These 5 courses have equivalent content and process than the non-Ánimo courses; however, the application of the material is focused on Latinx clients. Students must first be accepted into the Department of Counseling program before applying to the emphasis. There are also a pre-requisite and an exit-requirement of spoken-Spanish competency and the 5 courses are taught by bicultural and bilingual professors. The number of units required for graduation will remain the same as for non-emphasis students: 63-units. Courses will be taught primarily in English with plenty of opportunities to practice and build therapeutic spoken-Spanish skills.


Language Competency Requirement

Students applying to this emphasis will need to meet a pre-requisite of basic spoken-Spanish skills and an exit-requirement of at least intermediate spoken-Spanish. Given the nature of talk therapy, the focus will be on spoken-Spanish. The language pre-requisite and exit-requirement may be met in a number of ways. The pre-requisite may be met by completing: (1) a comparable undergrad Spanish-language course, (2) a competency verbal/spoken test with Counseling and Spanish bilingual faculty, or (3) SPAN 306. The exit-requirement may be met by completing: (1) SPAN 306, (2) SPAN 307 (if both SPAN 306 and SPAN 307 are completed, both CSUF courses, the student may earn the Spanish for Health and Human Services Professions Certificate), or (3) a competency verbal/spoken test with Counseling and Spanish bilingual faculty.



The five Ánimo Emphasis courses (of the wider 63-unit program) retain the same content as the non-emphasis courses; however in the Ánimo courses the focus of the discussion and application of the concepts will be within the context of the Latinx clients/community. The Ánimo Emphasis courses are as follows:

FALL (first semester):

COUN 511B: Pre-Practicum for Ánimo Emphasis

SUMMER (first and/or second summer):

COUN 522B: Diagnosis and Treatment Planning for Ánimo Emphasis

FALL (second fall smester)

COUN 527B: Systems of Family Counseling for Ánimo Emphasis


COUN 530B: Practicum for Ánimo Emphasis

COUN 584B: Advanced Practicum for Ánimo Emphasis

The Ánimo Emphasis will focus on clinical issues related to Latinx and Spanish-speaking clients, including: anti-Black racism within Latinx community, acculturation, immigration, cultural value systems, intergenerational family conflict, ethnic identity, similarities and differences among Latinx sub-groups, and intersectionality of identities (race, gender/gender identity, romantic/sexual orientation, disability, religion, social class, etc.).

At the completion of the Ánimo Latinx Counseling Emphasis, students will have their accomplishment noted on their degree/transcript and receive a special sash/stole to be worn during graduation.


Please Note: The Ánimo Emphasis is not currently offered in the  M.S. in Counseling Evening Cohort program.


For further information contact: Olga Mejía, PhD, Associate Professor, omejia@fullerton.edu