A private, nonprofit, accredited educational institution, founded in 1975 as the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology (PGSP).

Global Advancement of Counseling Excellence


Global Advancement of Counseling Excellence (GACE) is a model initiative launched by Palo Alto University (PAU) to provide a partnered solution in which students are educated globally online and trained locally on-the-ground to meet a global need for highly trained counseling professionals.  The GACE Global Online Master’s degree program empowers students to earn a M.A. in Counseling and learn culturally relevant clinical training and supervision under international standards of excellence.  Rooted in understanding of the foundations of human behavior, the GACE model provides tools to students in becoming counseling professionals to far-reaching communities around the globe.  GACE enables students on a global scale 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?

  • The GACE Global Online Master’s degree program includes U.S. higher-education standardized and accredited courses taught online in partnership with clinical training conducted in quality practicum sites.

• Example: A practicum site held in Beijing offers Chinese students the opportunity to learn state-of-the-art treatments for depression and anxiety-based protocol from the U.S.  This on-the-ground training format is adapted to meet the needs of specific cultures and communities, like Beijing.

  • Graduates of PAU’s GACE Global Online Master’s degree program are well-prepared to meet mental health needs in their home countries and contribute to the improvement of counseling around the world.
  • The GACE initiative benefits not only graduates of M.A. in Counseling program, but PAU as well.  Using distance learning to disseminate relevant techniques and training to global cultures, the PAU community also gains insights into currently unknown mental health concerns or issues.

On-The-Ground Training in Your Community:  An integral component to the GACE M.A. in Counseling program is the hands-on training from expert professionals during onsite practicum.  PAU currently has two practicum sites open for hands-on training:


Program Objectives

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 compliant 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 to heal genocide victims, and victims of other forms of crisis and trauma, has taken him around the world to partner with mental health professionals and train students.

Contact: wfroming@paloaltou.edu

China Outreach, Dr. Martha Chiu

Dr. Martha Chiu has devoted the last six years of her life to developing the GACE program in China.  She has and is now training over 50 students in Beijing, Shanghai, and Kunming.  In the GACE model, Dr. Chiu expands the reach of PAU’s international CACREP counseling standards for teaching and training counselors to training other trainers in high standards of fieldwork, practicum, and internships.

Contact: mchiu@paloaltou.edu

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.

Contact: ebunge@paloaltou.edu

Rwanda: Dr. Bill Froming, Provost of Palo Alto University

Dr. Bill 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.  It was a tragedy of epic proportions that demanded psychological analysis.  He has incorporated the 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 training students to treat trauma survivors.  Second, the commonalities between the two genocides has triggered the desire to explore other genocides (e.g., ArmeniaCambodia) to better understand the conditions that give rise to these events.  In 2008 he was an invited speaker at the Raphael Lemkin Seminar for Genocide Prevention in Auschwitz, Poland lecturing on these topics to government officials from around the world.

Contact: wfroming@paloaltou.edu

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.

Contact: wfroming@paloaltou.edu

Support GACE Today

Palo Alto University is actively seeking donations and other forms of support to carry out this important work. The importance of strengthening mental health abroad by enabling citizens of 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 you can support GACE today.

(Above 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.


Contact Us

1791 Arastradero Road
Palo Alto, CA 94304

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