Antioch has long been a leader in training therapists, but only this last year has it begun offering the official Continuing Education courses that practicing therapists must complete throughout their careers in order to maintain their licenses in California. Now that the University has been officially approved as a Continuing Education Provider by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT), Antioch is expanding its mission-aligned and justice-oriented offerings for practicing therapists.
This emphasis on Antioch’s social justice mandate infuses the offerings. “For example, we can have a focus on LGBTQ+ mental health support and gender dysphoria,” explains Ken Pienkos, the Program Manager of Continuing Education with Antioch University Online. Courses like this can be hard to find in approved Continuing Education programs, despite there being a great need for therapists to develop competency in this area. At Antioch, filling such gaps is a key part of launching these Continuing Education programs.
Adapting to Serve Present Needs
The Continuing Education course offerings are nimble, in part because courses are created by Antioch faculty, by alumni, and also by other subject matter experts. For instance, Jeff Eamer, a graduate of the MA in Clinical Psychology at Antioch Los Angeles, recently offered the Continuing Education course, “Crisis Response for Mental Health Professionals: Hope and Despair. This course, as Eamer describes it, is “an in-depth look at various societal crises, many made worse by Covid-19, including mental illness, addiction, suicide, domestic violence, homicide, and homelessness.” Over the course of four webinars, students dove deep into the effects of society-wide trauma.
Especially during the pandemic, the opportunity to take courses remotely has never been more important. As Pienkos explains, “People have an even more intense appreciation for the ability to earn credits and pursue an education online.”
This is all especially important because mental health professionals who are licensed by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences—a category that includes LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and LEPs—are all required to obtain 36 continuing education credit/hours during every two-year license renewal period.
Currently, Antioch is applying for similar recognition in other states including Ohio, New Hampshire, and Washington. Through this, they hope to offer more professionals these Continuing Education offerings.
Keeping the Antioch Community Together
Being approved by state regulatory agencies is important primarily because it enables students to count these courses as Continuing Education credits. But it also facilitates a secondary purpose of the courses, says Pienkos. “I’m really excited about the reconnection between graduates who are successful mental health professionals, proud of their Antioch Masters in Clinical Psychology, and the opportunity for them to return and interact with core faculty.”
For Eamer, offering a Continuing Education course provided exactly this experience. He explains that “as a private practice psychotherapist, one of the most challenging aspects I have found during this prolonged pandemic is the lack of a professional community. The Psychology-focused CE classes and workshops bring mental health clinicians, students, and others in the mental health field together for a common goal, a shared purpose, and provide a sense of belonging.”
As Pienkos says, “When an alumni returns, and they have a valuable CE experience, it reignites their Antiochian soul.”
The vision across Antioch’s Continuing Education offerings—which include environmental and creative writing offerings, leadership courses and certificates, education seminars, and more—is to bring Antioch students, faculty, and professionals together in community, continuing their engagement with mission-aligned and justice-oriented education.
Explore current offerings and subscribe to the Continuing Education newsletter at continuinged.antioch.edu.