Berkeley Creative Wellness Center

(Name Changed 1/1/11: formerly Berkeley Creative Living Center)

The Berkeley Creative Wellness Center is a unique client-centered adult mental health day program based upon the unique needs of the unique individuals who attend it. While CWC members have been diagnosed as having a persistent and severe mental disorder, they vary greatly in background and ability. A few are homeless; some have graduate degrees. While many members are articulate, others are unable to carry on a coherent conversation, with the functional level of most somewhere between these extremes. For many members mental illness is exacerbated by coexisting substance abuse. Individuals with major mental illnesses live with vaguely defined disorders for which there often seems to be little effective treatment. Misunderstood and rejected by society, many CWC members have experienced deprivation of basic human rights along with repeated instances of mistreatment in a too often impersonal mental health care system. Almost all of the people attending CWC are economically disadvantaged.

The Creative Wellness Center is a community in which people are accepted for who they are. The program structure is relatively open and requirements minimal to allow individuals to be involved with CWC in ways that work best for them. The goal of the program is not so much to "cure" members as it is to support them in more effectively living their lives with the greatest possible degree of independence.

Staff counselors (MFT trainees in graduate school and post-masters MFT interns) are an important part of the CWC staff. There are six positions available for a twelve month commitment. Most counselors begin in January or fall but openings sometimes occur at other times during the calendar year.

Staff counselors do intake assessments and screenings, treatment planning, individual, group and milieu psychotherapy along with clinical record keeping. They may be involved in the CWC art therapy program. The flexible program structure makes it possible to pursue special interests or create new groups and projects. It also requires that staff counselors be self-motivated and able to tolerate the on-going ambiguity that is an inherent part of clinical work at CWC.

Experience with severe and persistent mental illness is invaluable regardless of the population with which one eventually plans to work. CWC offers a unique opportunity for learning with the very basic issues and often readily apparent (relative to more "normal" populations) psychological process present in major mental illness - which does not mean that the work is easy! Being on staff at CWC is continually challenging in terms of the personal as well as professional concerns that are evoked. It is a good place for developing one’s identity as a therapist while building basic clinical skills.

Contact with psychosis often elicits fear and defensive reactions. Closely working with people facing the overwhelming difficulties that are part of everyday life for many CWC members can evoke feelings of anxiety, helplessness, depression, and self-doubt. Staff counselors are encouraged to view their experience at CWC in terms of personal as well as professional growth. It is absolutely essential that CWC staff members be able to acknowledge and appropriately deal with their personal response to working at CWC. Supervisors are on site and work closely with staff counselors in the program milieu. Supervision, staff meetings, and trainings are designed to support exploration of issues as they arise. Personal psychotherapy is encouraged as a very useful adjunct to the CWC field placement.

Counselors are on site 9AM-5 PM Monday & 9AM-4:30PM Friday
Program Hours - Monday & Friday 9 AM-3 PM
Individual Supervision – 1 hour/week during program hours
Group Supervision – 3:00 – 5:00 PM Monday
Staff Meeting – 3:00 - 4:30 PM Friday
Staff Training - 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM on selected Fridays (during staff meeting time)
Additional staff training occurs in the course of supervision & staff meeting.

Commitment is to 15.5 hours/week for 12 months. CWC trainees and interns obtain 8-10 client hours/week as defined in MFT regulations. The exact mix of individual and group hours varies depending in part on the counselor’s interests. There are opportunities to pursue special interests and develop new groups. Involvement in CWC’s art therapy program is encouraged.

$500/year stipend will be paid upon successful completion of the twelve month placement.

Eligible to apply for the ACBHCS Graduate Intern Stipend Program, up to $6,000 for a minimum of 720 internship hours, awarded through a competitive process.

Supervision – Meets BBS requirements for up to 10 hrs/wk. of client hours
Individual - 1 hour/week on-site during program hours with CWC clinical coordinator.
Group - 2 hours/week (3-5 PM Monday) with CWC program director.

Both supervisors are licensed Marriage and Family Therapists and CAMFT certified supervisors who are on site during program hours and available as needed outside of scheduled supervision sessions.

The CWC field placement meets the California Board of Behavioral Science requirements for Marriage and Family Therapist Trainee and Intern clinical hours of experience.

Program Site: Berkeley Creative Wellness Center meets in space rented from the South Berkeley Community Church, 1802 Fairview (at Ellis), in Berkeley near the Ashby BART station.

Mailing Address: PO Box 3037, Berkeley, CA 94703

Web site:

For More Information or To Apply for Placement:
Contact the CWC Clinical Coordinator, Jim Moyers ( or phone at (510) 923-2248.

The Berkeley Creative Wellness Center – formerly Berkeley Creative Living Center - is a program of Bonita House Inc., a non-profit and charitable corporation providing effective alternatives to psychiatric institutions and facilities.