The mission statement of Counseling & Mental Health Counseling Programs is:
The Mental Health Counseling program prepares students for professional practice as counselors who integrate developmental, cultural, wellness, and diagnostic knowledge with evidence-based skills and theory to promote the healthy and holistic development of individuals and groups they serve. The program strives to amplify voices of those who experience inequities, and prepare students to advocate for social justice and engage in social justice interventions in an increasingly diverse world. This mission is achieved through the construction of learning experiences where students navigate support and opportunities for growth that encourage them to become compassionate, reflective, culturally responsive, and critical practitioners in the pursuit of increased self-awareness, knowledge, and skill.
The program objectives for the CACREP Graduate Counseling Programs are:
The CACREP Graduate Counseling Programs seek to prepare professional counselors who can practice effectively with individuals and groups in a variety of settings and environments. The professional preparation curriculum is centered on the following goals:
1. To provide all students with the comprehensive knowledge base and competencies required for the practice of counseling, including content in:
- Professional counseling orientation and ethical practice
- Social and cultural diversity
- Human growth and development
- Career development
- Counseling and helping relationships
- Group counseling and group work
- Assessment and testing
- Research and program evaluation
2. To cultivate professional dispositions in order to promote the holistic development of students for contemporary counseling practice.
3. To foster theory-driven and evidence-based skill development toward proficiency as an entry-level counselor.
4. To demonstrate a commitment to diversity and cultural humility through: (a) recruiting and retaining a diverse student body; (b) facilitating self-awareness of identity and biases for personal growth; and (c) incorporating social justice and anti-racist perspectives through content delivery, program policies, and professional development.
5. To uphold the ethical imperative to promote change through: (a) personal advocacy, by communicating, accessing supports, and resolving concerns; (b) client advocacy, by amplifying voices toward improved quality of life, especially for marginalized populations; and (c) systemic advocacy, by challenging inequity, power, and oppression.
6. To create a student-focused learning environment that fosters student self-awareness and growth, creative and innovative instructional practices, individualized field placement, collaborative supervision, and opportunities for student feedback toward program improvement.
7. To develop specialty counseling knowledge, skills, and professional identity for the fields of mental health counseling and rehabilitation counseling.
Students and faculty within the specialty of Mental Health Counseling also strive to accomplish the following goals:
- To provide clinical mental health counseling within a multicultural pluralistic society that honors and integrates resources and strengths of individuals, groups, and families as they address developmental and contextual challenges across the lifespan.
- To promote integrative approaches that holistically incorporate mental health services with medical services and public health policy
Students and faculty within the specialties of Rehabilitation Counseling and Rehabilitation Counseling in Mental Health also strive to accomplish the following goals:
- To remain current with the needs of the disability community and the tenets of disability justice, and ensure students are prepared to manage prominent social issues and professional practice.
- To further develop and strengthen the program’s relationship with the disability and human services communities to connect academic instruction to the field and facilitate quality fieldwork and employment opportunities.
Dispositions, generally speaking, are a tendency to act in a certain manner within a given circumstance (Barrio Minton et al., 2016). The assessment of professional dispositions of students in counseling programs is a requirement of CACREP at application, within the curriculum, and on an on-going basis. As gatekeepers to the profession, the faculty of the CACREP Graduate Counseling Programs have selected professional dispositions critical to the practice of counseling, using both the American Counseling Association (ACA, 2014) and Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC, 2017) Codes of Ethics for guidance:
- Cultural humility: honoring diversity and respect for those with whom we work; openness to ideas, learning, and growth; self-awareness and reflection; recognizing strengths; and embracing social justice.
- Self-management: time management; organization; openness to giving and receiving feedback; self-motivation and goal setting; and judgment, problem-solving, and decision-making.
- Wellness orientation: investing in self-care; maintaining personal mental and physical health and wellness; seeking appropriate assistance and resources; and resilience.
- Professionalism: commitment to the counseling identity; engagement in advocacy by/with client and for the profession; collaboration; and dress and presentation.
- Integrity: personal responsibility; accountability; maturity; fidelity.