Counseling & Mental Health Counseling

Conceptual Framework

The School Counselor, MSEd and Mental Health Counseling, MA programs prepare students for professional practice as counselors, who are committed to deliberative and reflective practice, to participatory processes, to multicultural competence, to systemic accountability and social justice and to the promotion of healthy development on the part of the individuals they serve.

To foster deliberative and reflective practice, students study a multidisciplinary knowledge base that has been established by professional standards in the field as fundamental to counselor training. Additionally, students engage in pre-service training activities and learn the processes necessary to reflect upon their own thoughts, feelings and actions as they relate to this knowledge base.

To foster commitment to participatory processes, students study counselor role and skill development and engage in the active practice of employing developmental and problem-management strategies as part of the helping process and becoming an integrative member of a human or educational service team. Through classroom activities, clinical practicum and supervised field experience, students develop the competencies and professional orientation necessary to apply these methods in their work. As part of this, students are taught to take on consultative roles with all stakeholders in the work setting.

To foster sensitivity to issues of human diversity and development, students study theories of multiculturalism and psychosocial and career development, participate in learning activities involving people from diverse backgrounds and at different stages of development, and deliberate upon the individual and group approaches appropriate to clients from different social and cultural contexts.

To foster commitment to systemic accountability, students learn accountability and action research strategies aimed at contributing to meaningful improvement and increased equity on the part of all clients served by the respective system. As a means of preparing graduates to work as counselors in an increasingly technological world, the Counseling Program uses technology-based teaching methods and resources that are aimed at developing competence in technological applications currently available in the field.

The counseling programs seek to promote social justice, empowerment and advocacy as skills and dispositions achieved by graduate students as part of its mission to prepare counselors who will be change agents, advocates and developmental practitioners in an increasingly diverse world.