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Global Advancement of Counseling Excellence

Global Advancement of Counseling Excellence (GACE) is a model initiative launched by Palo Alto University (PAU) to  address the global need for highly trained counseling professionals.

It is a partnered solution that enables students to enroll in the M.A. Counseling online program online and train locally in their home country. This Master’s degree program empowers students to enroll in a master's degree program that meets international standards of excellence and also receive culturally relevant clinical training and supervision in the country where they will practice.

Rooted in understanding of the foundations of human behavior, the GACE model provides students with the tools they need to  work with their immediate community to meet the ever-growing need for mental health support and treatment.

Learn more about the Global Online Master’s in Counseling Program overview and requirements.

What Makes GACE Unique?

GACE gives students world-wide access to PAU's M.A. Counseling program in a global online format. The program adheres to U.S. higher-education standards, with accredited courses delivered online in partnership with clinical training programs conducted in quality practicum sites in each students' locale. For example, a practicum site in Beijing offers students in the M.A. Counseling China Cohort the opportunity to learn treatments for depression and anxiety that are based on protocol from the U.S. and adapted to meet the needs of specific cultures and communities.

Graduates of PAU’s M.A. Counseling global online program are well-prepared to serve the mental health needs in their home countries while contributing to research and methodology for counseling around the world.

The GACE initiative benefits PAU as well.  While disseminating relevant techniques and training to global cultures, the PAU community gains insights into mental health concerns or issues that have not been widely studied.

On-The-Ground Training in Local Communities

An integral component of the GACE program is the hands-on training from expert professionals during onsite practicum at PAU practicum sites in China and Latin America.

In providing distance education and on-the-ground training for many unique cultures and communities, GACE offers to students:

  • Ability to understand and solve relevant mental health issues within their community using techniques adapted to their unique social and economic climate.
  • Empowerment and tools to provide effective treatment to victims of natural disasters, crises, and wars.
  • Understanding of empirically-proven techniques to allow students to become counselors in a public or private mental health clinic, hospital, or agency working with individuals, children, adults, families, and couples.
  • Incorporation of principles in ethics to successfully manage a professional counseling practice to ensure client safety and maintain compliance with all local government laws, regulations, moral and ethical guidelines.

Learn more about the M.A. in Counseling Program Objectives

Program Leaders

Founder, Dr. William Froming

The GACE initiative was founded by Palo Alto University Provost Dr. William Froming, whose life-long interest in healing victims of genocide and other forms of crisis and trauma, has taken him around the world to partner with mental health professionals and train students.


China Outreach, Dr. Hui-Qi Tong.

Dr. Tong is passionate about program development and bringing western-developed mental health training programs to  non-Western education and training systems.


Latin America Outreach, Dr. Eduardo Bunge and Dr. Betty Gomez

Dr. Eduardo Bunge, Visiting Professor at Palo Alto University and Dr. Betty Gomez, Director of the renowned Aiglee Foundation in Buenos Aires, are working together to bring the GACE counseling program to Latin America, with early efforts in Argentina, Brazil, and Chile.


Rwanda: Dr. William Froming

Dr. Froming is trained as a research psychologist in personality and social psychology.  He has long-term interest in pro-social behavior, moral development, self-awareness, and the relationship between thought and action.  Along the way Dr. Froming became a student of the Holocaust and genocide--tragedies of epic proportions that demanded psychological analysis.  He has incorporated Holocaust events and people into his teaching, visited many sites in Europe, and befriended amazing people who survived the nightmare.  In 2004 he first went to Rwanda where genocide occurred in 1994.  He was deeply moved by what he learned and was struck by the parallels between the Holocaust and the genocide in Rwanda.  This has led to two parallel developments.  The first is that he has led multiple groups of faculty and students on teaching trips to Rwanda.  The goal is to assist in the building of a graduate program to train students to treat trauma survivors.  Second, the commonalities between the two genocides triggered his desire to explore other genocides, such as those in Armenia and Cambodia, to better understand the conditions that give rise to such events.  In 2008 Dr. Froming was an invited speaker at the Raphael Lemkin Seminar for Genocide Prevention in Auschwitz, Poland, where he lectured on these topics to government officials from around the world.


India, Dr. William Froming

Dr. Froming is currently working to build a partnership in Bangalore, India, where the need for mental health counseling far surpasses the number of counselors available to provide need.


Support GACE Today

Palo Alto University is actively seeking donations and other forms of support to carry out this important work. Strengthening mental health approaches and services abroad by equipping practitioners in other countries to help others in a culturally appropriate context is part of the foundations of GACE. Philanthropic support is vital to expanding this important GACE work. Learn more about how to support GACE today.

Photo: Students in a classroom at the Fundación Aiglé in Buenos Aires)

Palo Alto University

PAU is a private university founded in 1975 and located in Palo Alto, California that offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in psychology.  The institution changed its name in 2009 from Pacific Graduate School of Psychology (PGSP) to PAU to reflect the fact that it now has undergraduate programs. The WASC Senior Colleges and Universities Commission (WSCUC) has accredited all PAU degrees.





1791 Arastradero Road
Palo Alto, CA 94304

Phone: (800) 818-6136 Fax: (650) 433-3888