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This sequence represents the minimum time to completion. Time to completion will vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336.
The courses are delivered in a prescribed sequence. Each 11-week quarter, except for the first and ninth quarter, includes two concurrent 11-week courses.
Students in this course are introduced to Walden University and to the requirements for successful participation in an online curriculum. Students work toward building a foundation for academic and professional success as scholar-practitioners and social change agents. They assess the relationship of mission and vision to professional goals, and they develop a program of study, a professional development plan, and strategies for online success. Students also explore resources used throughout the program, such as the online Walden University Library. They engage in course assignments focused on the practical application of professional writing, critical-thinking skills, and the promotion of professional and academic excellence.
Students are introduced to the mental health counseling profession in this course. The history, philosophy, and theoretical foundations of the profession, and the scope of practice, credentialing, and other professional issues are explored. The course, which focuses on the student as a future mental health counselor, provides an overview of the mental health counseling program, the profession, and professional competencies.
Personal attitudes, values, and beliefs often affect a counselor’s ability to establish an appropriate relationship and rapport with clients. In this course, students learn to evaluate their personal attitudes and beliefs to positively influence their counseling approaches. They explore principles and skills related to interviewing and observation, and they examine related legal, ethical, and cultural issues. Students gain practice in conducting interviews, making behavioral observations, collecting and interpreting data during an interview, and developing written reports of findings. Synthesizing concepts, skills, and personal reflections, students demonstrate their ability to engage in a counseling session using techniques learned throughout the course.
There are hundreds of therapeutic theories and techniques available to frame the practice of counseling and psychotherapy. An important skill for mental health counselors is to understand the strengths and limitations of these theories to determine which are most appropriate and work best in their own personal practice. In this course, students explore the history of counseling and psychotherapy theories. They examine the major approaches to counseling and psychotherapy in current use, including empirical foundations, advantages, and limitations. Students assess examples of theory-based applications and develop a personal theory of counseling based on theories and techniques assessed in the course.
Students in this course are provided with an introduction to the field of professional counseling and the foundations of counseling. Students explore the history, philosophy, cultural dynamics, and trends in professional counseling. They examine consultation as well as client and counselor advocacy, focusing on the counselor’s role as social change agent. Students also examine and apply ethical standards of the counseling profession, including the American Counseling Association (ACA) Code of Ethics and counselor ethical decision-making processes. Through a final reflective project designed to influence their future ethical framework, students define their ethical perspectives, including influences, values, and goals.
Students are provided with the opportunity to increase their knowledge of multicultural counseling and the delivery of psychological services as well as related skills needed in professional practice. Students explore diversity and identity issues and discuss their impact on the therapeutic relationship. They examine the application of traditional theoretical orientations and current multicultural theories to culturally diverse groups. Through a variety of assignments designed to provide practical application of content, students also investigate counseling concepts related to race and ethnicity, sex and gender, sexual orientation, social class, age, and ability. (Prerequisites: Counseling Residency I.)
Assessments are important tools that counselors use to gain information about clients and to aid practice. Therefore, counselors must know what assessment tools are available; have the ability to read, interpret, and analyze results of tests; and keep abreast of changing trends in working with assessments as well as new assessment tools and changes in technology. Students in this course are provided with an overview of assessments used in counseling and education as well as the responsibilities of counselors using assessments. Students learn about the different types of tests used in clinical, educational, and organizational settings, and they examine the psychometric properties used to develop and evaluate these instruments. They also explore normative sampling and standardization, reliability and validity, test score interpretation, and test development. Additionally, students assess and discuss ethical, legal, and sociocultural issues, including cultural bias and fairness. Professional standards for testing provide a foundation for the course.
Students in this course are provided with an advanced overview of human development through the lifespan, including prenatal, childhood, adolescent, adult, and late-adult phases. Students examine and apply basic processes and theories to developmental milestones that occur within these phases of development. They explore factors of heredity and environmental elements on human development, and they consider ethical issues, research considerations, and global perspectives as they assess strategies to promote optimal development. Students also engage in coursework and discussions that highlight themes of diversity and social change.
Students are provided with an overview of what is commonly referred to as abnormal psychology; however, students also consider factors constituting normalcy from multiple perspectives. Students explore the application of diagnostic criteria in various mental health work settings, such as schools, rehabilitation facilities, community agencies, and private practices. Using the scholar-practitioner model, students consider environmental and biological factors contributing to behavioral disorders. Students also examine techniques commonly used for the diagnosis and treatment of cognitive, emotional, and developmental disorders as well as for psychophysiological and psychosocial problems. Though coursework and discussions, students consider multicultural factors that complicate diagnosis as well as current trends and contemporary issues in clinical assessment and diagnosis.
Students in this course are provided with the opportunity to develop practical skills in career and vocational assessment as well as functional knowledge of how career assessment can assist in the exploration and understanding of the interrelationship among work, family, and life roles. They examine major sources of career and work information available on the Internet as well as through printed material and computer-based guidance systems. Gaining practical career counseling experience, students administer, score, and interpret printed and computer-based assessments of career interests, beliefs, and values. Students learn how to integrate career development theory and assessment results with career clinical interventions. They also examine clinical and assessment issues, devoting attention to computer-based applications and multicultural implications.
Students in this course are introduced to evaluation research and provided with a foundation in the design of qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-method approaches to counseling research and evaluation. Students learn the strengths and limitations of each method and under what circumstances each design would be most appropriate. They consider the importance of scholarly writing and learn how to identify a topic for research and how to conduct a literature search. Students explore the history and theory underlying program evaluation, approaches to evaluation, and techniques used to perform the evaluation and demonstrate program effectiveness. Additionally, students explore the procedures involved in offering their evaluation services to a specific group or organization. They also examine strategies to gain stakeholder interest in developing appropriate standards, research progress, and evaluation outcomes. Students gain hands-on experience developing a research proposal in which they address key elements, such as collecting and analyzing data, writing an introduction, stating a purpose for the study, identifying research questions and hypotheses, using theory, and communicating the significance of the study. Additionally, students consider the legal and ethical issues associated with human subjects’ protection.
An important skill for clinicians is to have a fundamental understanding of the dynamics and functioning of couples and families. Students in this course are introduced to concepts and applications in theoretical perspectives and techniques, classical schools of thought, and recent developments in couples and family therapy. Students explore culture, gender, and ethnicity factors in family development. They also review and compare theoretical frameworks in couples and family therapy, including psychosocial, psychodynamic, transgenerational, strategic, cognitive-behavioral, and social constructionist models. Additionally, students assess the roles of culture, spirituality, and values in understanding families.
Group work is an increasingly popular, effective counseling method that allows group members to share perspectives and provide useful feedback and information in a structured setting. Students are provided with a comprehensive review of counseling approaches to group therapy in this course. Students examine the theoretical bases of different approaches to group therapy, including psychoanalytic, existential, person-centered, gestalt, transactional, behavioral, rational-emotive, and reality therapy. They engage in a variety of practical application assignments and discussions, focusing on counseling of different types of groups, the efficacy of using group therapy as the treatment method with multicultural and diverse populations, and the stages of group development.
In this course, students prepare for their roles as counselors in areas of prevention, intervention, and consultation with specific populations in different settings. Students assess these three areas of mental health counseling, including the relationships among them, methodological applications, and related ethical and legal considerations. They also discuss a variety of topics with their peers, such as applications for social change, needs of specific populations, iatrogenic harm, professional approaches and challenges, program evaluation, and future trends. Using an action-research model, students develop a blueprint for a project to address a contemporary mental health issue through the context of prevention, intervention, or consultation.
This course provides students with a foundation for counseling clients with both substance-related and behavioral addictions. In this course, students examine historical perspectives and current trends in addiction treatment, as well as the biological and environmental influences on the etiology of addiction. Techniques and processes for assessment and diagnosis are examined in the context of individual, group, and systemic perspectives, with attention given to developmental and multicultural influences on addiction. Influences of public policy and advocacy on addiction and treatment are also examined.
Psychologists working in psychopharmacotherapy are responsible for having in-depth knowledge of psychiatric disorders and psychotropic medications prescribed to treat these disorders. Students in this course are provided with an overview of the spectrum of psychotropic medications and their use in the treatment of mental and behavioral disorders. Students explore the role of the psychologist in prescribing medication and the efficacy of combining medication and psychotherapy. They also engage in discussions focused on the treatment of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive behavior, schizophrenia, and childhood disorders; and other psychological disorders as described in the DSM-IV-TR. Students practice scholarly-writing skills in APA style through a final research paper on a topic of interest related to psychopharmacology. (Prerequisites: COUN 6225.)
This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the personal and systemic impact of crises, disasters, and other trauma-causing events on individuals, couples, families, and communities. Students examine theories and response models as they relate to sexual trauma, crisis in individuals and families, crisis in the community, and crisis in the nation and in the world. They explore and discuss topics related to counselor competencies, vicarious trauma and counter transference, specific diagnoses, and advocacy. Students also engage in assignments designed to provide practical application of crisis assessment. Through contemporary articles and case studies, they consider and discuss cultural, legal, and ethical issues related to crisis, trauma, and disaster events and response.
Students in this course focus on experiential learning, which is an essential component of applied professional training. Students complete a supervised practicum experience at an approved site for a minimum of 100 hours, allowing them to develop their counseling skills and professional knowledge while under supervision. Students communicate with the class and the practicum faculty members at least twice a week during the quarter to discuss cases and present videos of student-client sessions. Through these exchanges, students demonstrate learning and acquire feedback and additional knowledge in regard to clinical practice. This course requires students to engage in a face-to-face residency. (Prerequisites: Approval of the field experience coordinator.)
Students in this course focus on experiential learning, which is an essential component of applied professional training. Students complete a supervised practicum experience at an approved site for a minimum of 100 hours, allowing them to develop their counseling skills and professional knowledge while under supervision. Students communicate with the class and the practicum faculty members at least twice a week during the quarter to discuss cases and present videos of student-client sessions. Through these exchanges, students demonstrate learning and acquire feedback and additional knowledge in regard to clinical practice. This course requires students to engage in a face-to-face residency. (Prerequisites: Approval of field experience coordinator.)
This course is a continuation of COUN 6682a Internship I. During this second term of internship, students focus on refining clinical and professional skills while working to complete their 600 hours of clinical instruction. Under clinical supervision, students continue to perform a variety of counseling activities, including but not limited to counseling individuals and groups, keeping records, writing reports, and administering referrals. Students also complete weekly assignments and attend weekly group supervision teleconferences to further refine their clinical and professional skills. (Prerequisites: COUN 6682a.)
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