Center for Creative Growth
Our Training Program

Please click on the following links to learn more about our two-year Training Program.

Philosophy and Orientation
Duration of Program
Training Activities
Clinical Work and Modalities
Our Supervision Approach
Summary of Intern/Trainee Activities and Time Commitments
Our Clinical Supervisory Team
How to Apply


Note: Our next two-year training cycle begins in September, 2018. There is no specific deadline for applications. Applications are processed on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Center for Creative Growth (CCG), a non-profit counseling organization, is currently accepting applications for its Two-Year Training Program in the fields of Marriage and Family Therapy and Professional Clinical Counseling. Our Training Program is designed to lay the foundation for becoming a master therapist. Development of the therapist's self as a clear conduit for healing is a central principle of our Training Program. Applicants who seek this level of mastery and who feel a sense of alignment with our clinical orientation are invited to apply. Our Training Program is available to Registered MFT and PCC Interns, as well as MFT and PCC Trainees who have extensive professional and/or life experience comparable to a Registered Intern. (Note: Effective January 1, 2018, the title for Marriage and Family Therapist Intern changes to "Associate Marriage and Family Therapist" or "Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist." As of January 1, 2018, the title for Professional Clinical Counselor Interns changes to "Associate Professional Clinical Counselor" or "Registered Associate Professional Clinical Counselor."

Our counseling center operates as a cooperative and supportive community of colleagues, all of whom strive to incorporate spiritual principles of mindfulness, conscious communication, service, authenticity and integrity into their work as clinicians and supervisors. While we do not require participants in our Training Program to have an active spiritual or meditation practice, we do seek candidates who either have experience with some spiritual practice or who have an interest in incorporating spiritual perspectives and values into their work.

We also seek interns and trainees who are committed to their own personal and professional growth, to interpersonal clarity, and to service to clients. As a staff, we place a high value on communication that is open, honest, non-toxic, and congruent. We consider this type of communication to be one of the key ingredients creating effective staff relationships, as well as a healthy learning and working environment. We support and teach healthy boundaries and strive to resolve problems in a respectful, win-win manner. We aim to create a professional environment where truth can be spoken, feelings can be expressed, and trust can exist. To see what people who have participated in our Training Program have to say about it, please click here.

Our Training Program is offered at our main office location in Berkeley. Our Center primarily provides individual, couples, and group therapy, with some opportunity for child and family therapy. Our clients come to us from the greater San Francisco Bay area, as well as from elsewhere in the country and the world, due to our expertise in helping people heal from the effects of growing up in a dysfunctional family.

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Philosophy and Orientation

We provide an in-depth training experience that recognizes the therapist's Self to be the conduit for therapeutic healing. Our training focuses on freeing this Self and learning powerful skills to assist clients in their healing and recovery. We believe that a successful clinician must be grounded in a healing view of the psyche (theory) and also must have the flexibility to dance with each client, shifting paradigms with ease (artistry). We believe it is the combination of clear understanding and fluid artistry which creates master therapists. To accomplish this, a therapist must operate from the Self -- the inner core that is free, creative, and intuitive.

To assist you in this, our training incorporates both personal and professional avenues of growth. Experiential training and the building of effective skills are emphasized over theoretical discussion. Role-play and expressive arts are used to help you understand the client’s experience and your own.

In addition, to support you in accessing and developing your therapist Self, we ask interns and trainees to be abstinent from all recreational drug use, abuse of alcohol or prescription drugs, or any other addictive-compulsive behaviors for a minimum of one year before beginning our Training Program. We have found that this supports the development of a mindful and receptive Therapist presence.

Our orientation is wholistic, effective, and empowering to the client and therapist. Our work has evolved from seven primary influences:

  • The humanistic/transpersonal vision of each individual's inherent ability to recover wholeness and tap into the Divine, using the therapy relationship as a vehicle for healing.
  • The family systems perspective which recognizes both the lifelong impact of the family of origin and also the influence of current relationship systems on individuals.
  • The 12-step recovery model which recognizes the spiritual component of emotional well-being and provides a pattern for recovery from dysfunctional families and from codependent and addictive lifestyles.
  • Attachment theory which underscores the need to identify and heal ruptures in needed attachment bonding during childhood.
  • The work of John Bradshaw and other leaders in the recovery field who focus on the need to heal one's inner child in order to regain wholeness, freedom, and creativity.
  • The incorporation of expressive arts modalities -- sandtray, drawing, movement, music -- that gently work to create profound change.
  • The focus on helping each client – and each therapist – access their own body’s inner truth and inner clarity through an emphasis on the integration of somatic, emotional, and cognitive realms of understanding and intuition.

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Duration of Program

We offer different levels of training and provide different time lengths of training according to the categories below:

For Trainees and Interns living in the San Francisco Bay Area:
Our Training Program is a two-year program. There is no stipend offered, or tuition charged, for our training program.

For trainees, interns, and licensed professionals who live outside Northern California:
Helping professionals who live elsewhere in the United States or in another country may be eligible to train with us. We work with you to create an intensive training experience that fits your time frame. The length of time and cost are worked out on an individual basis. (Note: Before filling out the written application, please contact us at, so we can learn more about your specific situation).

Licensed Therapists in the San Francisco Bay Area:
Licensed clinicians who live in Northern California and wish to be trained at our Center can participate in a modified, specially designed program which builds on their years of experience and professional background.

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Training Activities

We provide the following training activities: group supervision and training, a clinical caseload, a staff development process group, a clinical skills training group, participation in the administrative tasks and community outreach activities of the Center, as well as training in addictions,  the 12-step recovery approach, and communication skills. The time commitment for the training program requires a minimum of 25 hours per week for trainees and interns.

Readings, role play, viewing videotapes of master therapists and leaders in the field of family therapy/dysfunctional families, audiotape review of sessions, and co-therapy with licensed staff are also utilized as training methods to enhance your development as a clinician. In addition, we provide training in group therapy -- including supporting advanced interns in creating and facilitating new therapy groups at the Center.

The Professional Development Process Group provides you with the opportunity to process any issues that arise in your development as a therapist as well as any issues relating to your training at CCG, or between you and another staff member. The Professional Process Group supports both your professional and personal development as a therapist.

The personal growth component of our program requires interns and trainees to be fully committed to rigorous and ongoing self-exploration, self-awareness, and self-responsibility, and to also be committed to a willingness to communicate openly and cleanly. This facilitates your development as a therapist and also helps to create an open and supportive learning environment. Participation in your own ongoing personal therapy is strongly recommended to aid you in this process.

An Addictions Training Class is a component of our Training Program. The first nine weeks of your training focuses on usefulness of 12-step recovery programs in the therapeutic process and then includes a focus on suicide prevention and intrapersonal issues that arise from these two areas. As part of our Addictions Training Class, and as part of accruing hours towards licensure, participants in our Training Program attend a range of 12-step meetings during the first nine weeks of the internship/traineeship. When required as part of a training program, attendance at 12-step meetings is eligible for MFT licensure hours under the category of workshops, seminars, and training.

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Clinical Work and Modalities

When you and your supervisors jointly agree that you are ready to work independently with clients, you will be assigned a gradually increasing caseload of clients. Typically, therapists-in-training begin working with individual clients. When interns and trainees experience a sense of comfort and competence in that format, they expand their work to include couples. Family therapy work is typically done in co-therapy settings. It is also possible to do Play Therapy at our Center.

Interns and trainees are taught to respond to each client's situation creatively, drawing upon specific methods to free and heal the client's natural growth process. Within this context, trainees and interns learn to utilize a wide range of clinical modalities and techniques, among them Inner Child and Bradshaw's Original Pain work, family systems, psychodrama, sculpting, hypnotherapy, focusing, somatic awareness, paradox, gestalt, contextual therapy, play therapy, and others. In addition to using verbal forms of therapy, you will learn to apply methods of symbolic expression that gently, yet dramatically, create change by tapping directly into the unconscious. These methods include guided visualization, dreamwork, art, sandtray therapy, and other forms of expressive arts.

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Our Supervision Approach

The Center’s Training Program is an intensive, mentoring-style learning program provided by the Center’s Supervisory Team, composed of the Center’s senior licensed staff. This mentoring or apprentice-style of training allows training participants to learn and develop new skills rapidly. This approach provides trainees and interns the opportunity to witness and experience directly an experienced clinician’s use of skill, fluidity, and intuition.

Being trained by our Supervisory Team means that each trainee and intern is provided with both a coordinated, comprehensive, and integrated training experience, as well as exposure to different clinical styles. This experience is designed to bring forth your natural therapeutic talents, as also to support you in removing the blocks and obstacles to your therapeutic effectiveness. We have found our team approach most effective to begin to create the conditions for masterful therapy.

Our Supervisory Team operates best by sharing information and impressions about your work and your progress among all members of our team. Therefore, information that you share in individual supervision and group meetings is shared among all supervisors in order to maximize the effectiveness of the training program. The Supervisory Team makes special efforts to consult and coordinate among themselves in order to produce the highest quality result for you.

Group supervision is a combination of didactic and experiential material and case consultation. Group supervision meets for two hours every week. Our Clinical Supervisory Team rotates responsibility for leading this group meeting, providing you with the opportunity to experience the variety of styles and approaches each of our seasoned clinical team brings to their work.

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Summary of Intern/Trainee Activities and Time Commitment

The following is a summary of the activities and time commitments involved in our training program at the Center for Creative Growth (CCG). In addition, please read the Phone Intake section carefully (Section V, A) to understand how those hours are counted. Please note that you are asked to schedule more time for that activity than is actually used in direct contact with callers. Non-phone time is available for your personal use, and is not included in the minimum time commitments CCG requires of trainees and interns. Each trainee and intern is expected to devote approximately 25 hours weekly to the following activities:

I. Weekly Supervision and Training Activities (7.5 hours, Tentative Schedule):

A. Group supervision: held every Wednesday, 9:45am-11:45am, (2 hours/week).
B. Individual supervision: specific time to be arranged (1 hour/week).
C. Training Class: Addictions/Transference/Counter-Transference/Live Demo. Wednesdays, 12:15pm-2:15pm, (2 hours/week).
D. Expressive Arts (EXA), Clinical Skills, Professional Development Process Group: Mondays, 1:30-3:30pm, (2 hours/week).
E. Reading assignments or viewing training videos (½ hour/week).

Note: The Addictions/Transference/Counter-Transference/Live Demo Class for each new training cohort is often on Thursdays, 11am-noon, for the first nine weeks of training and then either stays at that time or changes to the Wednesday, 12:15pm-2:15pm time slot listed above.

We also provide an initial 7-10 Day Orientation Training process, in order to support Training Program participants’ readiness to begin working with clients at CCG. The Orientation Training is conducted in two parts, each day from 9am-5pm. Part I is on Wednesday through Friday of the first week of training. Part II is on Monday through Friday of the second week of training.

II. Direct Client Contact (6-10 hours):

At our Center, direct client contact occurs in two ways: your own private sessions and as a co-therapist.

  1. Private therapy sessions: You will be assigned clients as soon as you and your supervisors jointly feel that you are ready. This may occur as early as the third week at our Center. Our Center provides the opportunity to work with more than the required minimum number of clients. This depends on your wishes, your skill level, and your supervisors’ agreement.

Trainees are expected to have at least 6 private (not co-therapy) clinical sessions (individual, couples, or family therapy sessions) per week by the end of 4 months and to maintain a caseload of at least 6-8 sessions for the remainder of the training year. Trainees may have more private clinical sessions, if desired. Trainees need a minimum of 175 hours of private (not co-therapy) clinical sessions to satisfy CCG's Training Program requirements.

Registered Interns are expected to have at least 10 private (not co-therapy) clinical sessions (individual, couples, or family therapy sessions)  by the end of 3 months, and to maintain a caseload of at least 10-12 sessions for the remainder of the training. Interns may have more private clinical sessions, if desired. Interns need a minimum of 350 hours of private (not co-therapy) clinical sessions to satisfy CCG's Training Program requirements.

Trainees who become Registered Interns while in CCG’s Training Program, are expected to follow the guidelines for Registered Interns regarding hours of direct contact.

  1. Co-therapist in one or more of the Center’s therapy groups: For a minimum of three months during the internship, interns and trainees are expected to participate as a co-therapist in at least one of the Center’s therapy groups each week (two hours per week). During the first two months of your training, participation as a co-therapist can be part of your 5-10 hour weekly commitment of direct client contact. After your first two months at CCG, co-therapy hours are in addition to your own client caseload. The Center’s therapy groups that are facilitated by licensed staff supervisors meet on Tuesdays (7-9pm), Thursdays (Men’s Group: 7-9pm), Thursdays (10:30am-12:30pm), and Saturdays (11am-2pm).
  1. Co-therapist with licensed staff in couples and family therapy: You will have the opportunity to do co-therapy with both of your supervisors. We find that this mentoring or apprentice-style of training allows training participants to learn and develop new clinical skills rapidly, models a therapist's creative and intuitive use of Self, as well as demonstrates the incorporation of developmental and attachment-based principles.

III. Writing Case Notes: Approximately 20-60 minutes per client session
       (2½-5 hours).

Case notes are typically more extensive at the beginning of training.

IV. Community Outreach:

This component provides you with the opportunity to support our Center's outreach efforts to the community. As a nonprofit counseling center, we strive to serve the community by providing sliding-scale, affordable fees to all. Community outreach activities include:

  1. Community Outreach Meeting: To develop marketing, promotion, networking, and outreach strategies and plans.
  1. Direct Outreach Activities: Posting fliers, giving talks in the community, doing presentations at CCG, meeting with colleagues and other referral sources. This can include attending East Bay CAMFT meetings, which also provide CE credits. (½ hour per month).

V. Administrative Duties and Center Support (3 hours/week average):

  1. Phone Intake Duty: For 2-4 days each week, depending on your choice of phone shifts, trainee/intern is responsible for responding to calls from new callers seeking information about the Center and our services. Returning calls from either the office or your home phone is allowed. Each trainee/intern is assigned to approximately nine hours of phone coverage each week. Each Training Program participant is required to have a minimum of one 3-hour evening phone shift (for example, 6-9pm). Typically, the amount of actual contact time with callers varies widely, depending on the number of calls pending and the number of callers you're able to reach during any particular phone shift. Phone coverage is from 9am-9:30pm, Monday through Friday, and 9am-6pm on Saturday. Shifts are typically three hours long. There may be times when there will be no calls for you to handle at all during your shift, and there may be times when there will be many calls. You are asked to be fully available to check calls and make calls during your Phone Intake Duty. This means that you do not schedule clients or other activities that would make you unable to handle calls during your particular phone shift. You may, of course, use the time to write case notes, do schoolwork, or any other activities that still allow you to respond to callers in a timely fashion.
  1. Various Administrative and Support Tasks (1 hour per week average):

Each trainee/intern supports the Center through a combination of various tasks, such as:

  1. Participates in maintenance of physical environment.
  2. Provides clerical or computer support for databasing of client records.
  3. Prepares forms, materials for groups and for waiting room information display stand.

VI. Personal Therapy (1 hour per week):

You are required to be involved in your own personal individual therapy while you are in our training program, with either a licensed psychotherapist or with an MFT Registered Intern. It may be talk therapy, body therapy (Rosen, Rubenfield, Bioenergetics, Core Energetics), Hakomi, sandtray therapy, or a different modality of your choice.

VII. 12-Step Recovery Work (1 hour per week average):

Trainees and interns are required to attend two 12-step meetings a week during the initial nine weeks of their training in order to gain knowledge and familiarity with the range and variety of 12-step programs available for clients. After this required introductory period, your supervisors will determine whether your working knowledge of 12-step programs is sufficient to assist clients who come to our Center. If so, you may elect to discontinue attendance at these meetings. However, we encourage participants in our training program to continue attending 12-step meetings, finding the particular 12-step program that is appropriate to their own life or interests, thus deepening their knowledge of 12-step work, as well as accelerating their own personal and professional growth.

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Our Clinical Supervisory Team

Linda E. Katz, Ph.D., MFT is the Founder and Co-Director of the Center for Creative Growth. Licensed as a therapist in California since 1982, Linda oversees the Clinical Training Program, provides audiotape review of clinical sessions, and facilitates the two-hour Staff Development Process Group and the Addictions and Communications Class. She was the Clinical Director of the Family Institute of Berkeley Therapy and Counseling Center. She taught graduate psychology classes at the Merrill-Palmer Institute (now Michigan School of Professional Psychology). She was trained as a Play Therapist by Clark Moustakas, one of the founders of Humanistic Psychology and founder of Relationship Play Therapy. Linda is also an Expressive Arts therapist and is approved by the California Institute for Integral Studies to provide therapy to its graduate students.

Jason Saffer, MA, MFT is the Co-Director of the Center for Creative Growth and one of the Center's senior therapists. Licensed as a therapist in California since 1976, Jason
provides individual and group supervision. He also leads three therapy groups at the Center, including a Men’s Group, and provides one-day workshops on various topics. Jason created and hosted a cable-TV series, "The Community Health Connection," a series of 10 half-hour episodes to promote community mental health and well-being. He has been featured as an expert therapist on National Public Radio’s “Talk of the Nation” and has served as an editor of the Journal for Psychological and Spiritual Integration.

Daniel Lesny, MA, MFT, is the Clinical Training Supervisor at the Center and has primary responsibility for the Center's intern training program. He is a founding staff member of the Center. He currently works with individuals, couples, and families and also facilitates two therapy groups at the Center. He also leads one-day workshops at the Center focusing on creating healthy boundaries and on creating healthy relationships. Daniel also is an Adjunct Faculty member of John F. Kennedy University's Graduate School of Holistic Studies. He teaches courses in Marriage and Family Counseling, as well as the Couple and Family Case Seminar at the Pleasant Hill campus.

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There is no stipend offered, or tuition charged, for our two-year training program.

Paid Associate Staff positions are available to those who successfully complete two years of training with the Center. Associate status is not granted automatically, but is done on the basis of mutual desire between the Registered Intern and the Center, and our assessment of the Intern’s level of skill.

All Interns and Trainees are required to pay for their own Professional Liability Insurance and to be members of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT).

How to Apply to the Center for Creative Growth

Note: Our next training cycle begins in September, 2018. There is no specific deadline for applications. Applications are processed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Our Training Program is available to Registered MFT and LPCC Interns, as well as MFT and LPCC Trainees who have extensive professional and/or life experience comparable to a Registered Intern.

1. If you haven’t already done so, please carefully review our website at It offers the best and most updated source of information about our Center, our approach and orientation, our services, our staff, and our work.

2. Your application materials should include the following:

  • A cover letter.
  • A resume.
  • A completed application form. You can download the application form in Microsoft Word format. You can also request a copy of the application form as an e-mail attachment (Word format). If you’d like to have a copy e-mailed to you, please submit a request to If you don’t have access to the Internet, please call Jason Saffer, MFT, Co-Director at 510/527-2100 (ext. 5) and request an application.
  • Your application should indicate (in section V, Question H) whether you have familiarity with John Bradshaw's work. If you do not, we ask that you read at least a few chapters of John Bradshaw’s book, Healing the Shame That Binds You. This will give you a fuller understanding of our clinical orientation and approach, so that you can assess whether this type of approach fits what you’re looking for in terms of your next stage of learning and training. Please see the written application, section V, Question H, for more details.
  • Your application should indicate (in section V, Question I) whether you have personal or professional experience with 12-step programs. If not, we ask that you attend two Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings as part of this application process, and then write about your experience of the meetings in response to section V, Question I. Please see that question in the written application for more details.

3. Send in your application materials to the following address:

Center for Creative Growth
Training Program Application
1221 Marin Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94706

or e-mail your completed forms (as a Word attachment) to


To read some detailed evaluations of our Training Program from recent participants, written in August 2014, please click on the following names:
Scott M.
Elana M.
Chani N.

To see some other comments written by Training Program participants from previous years, please click here.


Center for Creative Growth: Appointments available 7 days a week. Affordable fees that fit your finances. Contact us now – your first session is free! Providing quality therapy and counseling services since 1982 to the San Francisco Bay Area (Berkeley/Oakland/Contra Costa/Alameda/Marin).

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