Curriculum and Course Information
The master of arts in counseling is a 60 semester hour CACREP accredited Clinical Mental Health Counseling program*. The curriculum meets educational requirements for professional licensure in accordance with the regulations of the Virginia Board of Behavioral Sciences.
*The Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at Eastern Mennonite University is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). The accreditation runs through October 31, 2017. (Note: The Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is currently accredited under the 2001 standards for Community Counseling programs as a Community Counseling program. The CACREP 2009 standards combine the Community Counseling and Mental Health Counseling standards into standards for Clinical Mental Health Counseling programs. The counseling program intends to seek accreditation for this program as a Clinical Mental Health Counseling program when it comes up for reaccreditation, per CACREP guidelines.)
The curriculum includes study in the areas of professional identity, counseling theories, group counseling, counseling techniques, abnormal behavior, appraisal, career development, human growth and development, social and cultural functions, research, social and multicultural issues, ethics, spirituality and religion, addictions, marriage and family counseling, and supervised clinical work.
To graduate, the student will have met all course requirements with a minimum GPA of 3.00, will have obtained satisfactory internship references, met program assessment criteria for competency, and obtained the formal approval of the faculty for graduation.
Full-time students should be able to complete the program in two years (the equivalent of five semesters of full time study, two year curriculum plan. However, many find a three year curriculum plan helpful to integrative learning.
Students on a three year or longer plan are required to register for a 1 SH Advanced Skills Group course in the year that they are not in practicum or internship. This will increase the credits required for graduation to 61 SH.
COUN 507 Professional Identity, Function & Ethics 3SH
This course addresses counselor professional identity formation, ethical and legal issues related to the practice of professional counseling, and components of sound ethical decision making. Students will explore development of their own personal counselor identity formation. Within this course students will be introduced to the counseling profession and given opportunity to examine current ethical and legal issues related to the practice of professional counseling. The course will provide students with an overview of the historical development of counseling as a profession, discussion of counselor licensure, and an overview of major professional organizations, specialties and credentialing options available to mental health professionals. Discussion of professional mental health codes of ethics relevant to counselors will assist students to explore and articulate the process of ethical decision making within the context of professional counseling.
COUN 508 Counseling Techniques 3SH
An intensive practical experience in the arts of forming a counseling relationship. Personal feedback on interpersonal interactions and supervision of videotaped interviewing are used to help the student attain competency in the wise use of techniques in the counseling encounter and the counseling relationship. Syllabus (PDF)
COUN 517 Human Growth and Developmental 3SH
This course provides an advanced overview of current research and theory on life-span human development, and will enhance students’ understanding of significant developmental changes that occur over the life span. Emphasis will be placed on standard physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development as well as on issues such as diversity and socialization in relation to perceptions of human development. Professional, clinical, legal, and ethical issues will also be addressed.
COUN 518 Integrated Counseling Process 3SH
This course provides an overview of various approaches to working with clients emphasizing emotion theory and the role of empathic attunement in healing. Class sessions and readings will explore the interpersonal therapy process and demonstrate various ways to implement experiential techniques in therapy. Students will work to further define their theory and use this to apply a variety of counseling approaches and techniques. Each student will construct a research paper that integrates their theoretical approach with techniques, interventions and applicable counseling approaches. Class sessions will emphasize experiential exercises, technique based role-plays and skill enhancement group praxis. Students are encouraged to take risks and develop their personal style in applying experiential methods in treatment.
COUN 527 Psychopathology 3SH
This course will provide an overview of psychopathology and treatment planning with an emphasis on children and adolescents. An interactive, developmental perspective for conceptualizing psychopathology as well as resilience will be employed. In particular, the influence of development, neurobiological mechanisms, and contextual features on the emergence, exacerbation, and alleviation of psychopathology will be discussed. Contemporary diagnostic and treatment issues will be critically reviewed.
COUN 528 Practicum 3SH
The practicum experience is designed to give beginning students in counseling the opportunity to put into practice the skills and knowledge that they are developing throughout their counseling program. Prerequisites: COUN 507, COUN 508.
COUN 537 Counseling Research and Program Evaluation 3SH
A review of the research methods used in counseling. Included are experiences in searching research literature databases, understanding basic statistics and using statistical software, planning research, and communicating research findings. Includes a community action project, implementing and assessing a prevention project, an advocacy project, or a counseling outreach project. A written paper and presentation of the community action project is presented to faculty and peers in a spring semester conference.
COUN 538 Advanced Skills 1SH
This course is designed to meet your specific needs regarding advanced counseling skills. Advanced skills also provides a space for students on 3 and 4 year tracks to continue to practice skills between their practicum and internship experiences.
COUN 542 Psychology of Religious Experience 3SH
This seminar style course entails an exploration of religious/spiritual/faith experience from the perspective of psychological realities and insights. Both classical and contemporary material in the field of the psychology of religion will be utilized in this exploration. Students will have an opportunity to reflect on their own religious/faith/spiritual experience as well as that of others. Both individual and corporate dimensions of religious/spiritual/faith experience will be analyzed.
COUN 547 Counseling Theories 3SH
This course is designed to provide students with an overview of central theories of counseling and psychotherapy. Key counseling theory concepts are introduced through readings, lecture, videos and small group exercises. Students will become familiar with the central tenets of each theory and engage in practical application and skill development exercises. Co-requisite: COUN 507.
COUN 557 Assessment and Evaluation Procedures 3SH
This course provides an overview of various approaches to assessment and procedures for evaluation. Special emphasis is given to counseling decision-making, and treatment planning. Theoretical and applied material will be integrated in order to provide the student with an understanding of the context of assessment and evaluation. Emphasis will be placed on equipping students to understand technical terms in professional journals, test manuals, and test reports.
COUN 567 Group Counseling 3SH
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the theory and practice of group counseling. The course will provide information about and training in establishing, leading, and evaluating counseling groups of various types. Within this course students will explore different theoretical approaches to counseling groups, basic principles of group dynamics which include leadership tasks, group developmental stages, and member roles. Consideration will be given to ethical, legal, and professional issues as well as special needs such as multiculturalism, life-span development concerns, and the therapist’s personal leadership style.
COUN 577 Spirituality & Religion in Counseling 1SH
This course is focused on an exploration of spirituality and religion in counseling. The spiritual dimensions of counseling involve ethical practice in a context of multicultural and pluralistic trends that support diversity of religious beliefs. We work at the integration of the ethical vision of the counseling profession and the Anabaptist vision of offering healing and hope in our diverse world, actualizing the values of Christian discipleship, community, service, and peacebuilding. We will examine how counseling praxis informs our spirituality and our religious commitments. Students will be expected to address these issues of integration from their own experience of spirituality and their own religious tradition.
COUN 587 Crisis Intervention and Trauma Healing 3SH
This course is designed to introduce students to basic crisis intervention strategies. The course addresses fundamental crisis intervention theory and offers practical applications in various crisis situations. Students will explore various assessment, intervention and crisis treatment issues. Special emphasis will be placed on the impact of trauma on the individual, family and community. Students will engage in crisis intervention role-plays and practice applying specific interventions in crisis scenarios. Each student will engage in researching and compiling a comprehensive community resource guide for the local community.
COUN 607 Multicultural Counseling 3SH
Multiculturalism is both an intellectual movement and an ethical imperative within the counseling and psychology fields. This course provides an introduction to multicultural knowledge, skills and awareness that will support your work with clients. Through activities, discussion, reading and media, you will be exposed to both the theoretical movements in multiculturalism, develop skills for working with clients who differ from you. You will also explore your own values, beliefs and cultural identity and make connections to how these aspects of your personhood influence your relationship and intervention with clients.
COUN 617 Counseling Children and Adolescents 1SH
This course is designed to give students an overview of theoretical and practical approaches to working with children and adolescents. Special populations and issues identified by course participants will be explored. In addition, students will be required to participate in off-campus collaboration with an agency devoted to meeting the mental health needs of children and adolescents.
COUN 618 Transforming Trauma with Couples and Families 3SH
This seminar course is offered in the last semester of student training in conjunction with internship. It provides an opportunity to integrate academic and applied learning in a consultation conversation with peers and all full-time faculty. Various counseling topics will be addressed emphasizing counselor identity, professionalism and ethics. This unique context provides a bridge between academic training and professional life.
COUN 627 Marriage and Family Counseling 3SH
This course provides an overview of marital and family counseling from a systems perspective. A survey of the predominant systems theories essential in working with couples and families will be presented. Special emphasis is given to evidence based treatments and the current research on attachment theory and the role of attachment in couple and family distress. Students will become familiar with attachment issues, working from an emotion focused perspective and gain proficiency in assessment and intervention. Students will engage in learning exercises and role-plays in order to facilitate application of course content. Each student will construct a personal family genogram and engage in analyzing their family using a systems approach and use case conceptualization and treatment planning from various theories.
COUN 628 Advanced Diagnosis & Treatment Planning 3SH
The primary focus of this course is on the supervision of the student’s practical work in assessment, diagnosis, and intervention. Designed for the beginning to intermediate intern, this course enters the student into intensive learning and supervision with regard to diagnostics, the counseling relationship, counseling theory and style, and advanced skill training. Emphasis will be upon developing a conceptual framework that enlightens treatment, and is consistent with diagnosis and the student’s theory of personality development and change.
COUN 637 Career Development 3SH
Students will be introduced to career development recognizing the importance and uniqueness of various facets of career counseling. Emphasis is given to developmental considerations and the role of testing, educational and career development program planning and implementation. Technology-based career development applications and strategies will be explored. The interrelationships among and between work, family and other life role factors will be considered with a special emphasis on gender, diversity and working with specific populations. Legal and ethical issues will be discussed as well as issues of personal faith and values.
COUN 677 Independent Studies Arr.
This refers to studies of specific issues or areas not covered by any of the standard offerings. These studies may be requested by the student or suggested by an instructor. Approval by the instructor and the director is required. Methodology may involve assigned readings, written reports or any other methods the supervising instructor chooses. A student should have credit for three courses, and must qualify academically for independent study in the judgment of the director before approval is granted. A limited number of hours in independent study will be applied toward a degree.
COUN 687 Expressive Therapies 2SH
This course is an experiential introduction to the creative process in counseling. Participants will be invited to explore the literal and figurative context in which creativity emerges, will identify through the use of metaphor, imagery, and poetry the power of creative expression, and will find ample opportunity to discuss, reflect, and process with peers. Instructor will be drawing on a range of literature and clinical practice.
COUN 688/689/690 Internship 3SH
The internship experience is designed to give advanced students in counseling the opportunity to put into practice the skills and knowledge they have developed throughout their counseling program. Students will meet weekly to review cases, discussing areas of growth and present specific theory, intervention and technique questions. The student may select an internship site from a variety of supervised field experiences in mental health related settings. Minimum of 600 counseling hours. Prerequisite: Admission to Internship.
Syllabus 690 (PDF)
COUN 697 Addictions Counseling 3SH
This course is designed to help the student understand the personal, social, emotional, physiological, and environmental factors related to addictions, with the main emphasis on chemical addictions. Student will be exposed to the varied aspects and challenges involved in the evaluations, diagnosis and treatment process of addiction, as well as, the specific qualities and efforts of the main mood altering drugs. This course will also look at the many professional, ethical, and legal issues unique to the field of addictions counseling.
PAX 533 Analysis: Understanding Conflict 3 (program elective)
This course will provide a broad introduction to the field of conflict transformation. We will be reviewing skills and concepts for responding to conflict in a variety of settings. Through readings, lecture, class discussion, and papers the course will develop awareness of individual styles of responding to conflict and increase personal skills for responding effectively to others in situations of interpersonal conflict. The student will become familiar with the basic literature available in the field and the particular understanding of conflict transformation found at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP). In today’s world the skills developed are instrumental for peacebuilding venues of many types.