To accomplish the mission of the program and to prepare program graduates to work in a variety of settings including community agencies, government agencies, and other community-based services, we offer students broad knowledge of the counseling field including theory, research, ethical practices and decision-making, and a well-developed set of interpersonal and counseling skills. The curriculum educates students in the knowledge base of the field including current research combined with supervised clinical experience in counseling to practice that knowledge base. It is recognized that interaction between these elements is essential.
Counselors have extensive contact with other helping professionals, paraprofessionals, self-help groups, community leaders, and other members of the community. The faculty is committed to the development of program graduates who can work competently, creatively and collaboratively with individuals from a variety of backgrounds. As part of accomplishing this, students are encouraged to learn about existing community resources and make maximum use of them in their counseling as well as assess needs for resource creation or modification to meet identified community needs.
Program graduates are also prepared to work with the wider environment as consultants, advocates and change agents. Besides proficiency in working with clients to modify their behavior to accomplish goals, proficiency is developed to interact with the environment to negotiate and, if needed, modify the environment in the interests of providing high quality services to clients.
Faculty members seek to promote an open environment for the consideration and discussion of a wide variety of theories and points of view. As part of this orientation, information and methodology from a range of disciplines are presented and discussed. In teaching professional counseling skills, many faculty members have training and experience in cognitive and behavioral counseling approaches such as the Boston University approach for assisting individuals with mental illness to choose, get and keep goals of their choice in the community. Key tenets in this approach include active involvement of the individual in planning and goal setting, behavioral improvement in the environment of need in the community as a critical outcome, and a primary focus on improving competency to assume community-based roles. The uniqueness of the individual is also emphasized with choice, empowerment and growth identified as core values. Services are individualized for the needs and preferences as part of the counseling relationship with a focus on the identification and use of client personal strengths. Among the roles individuals are interested in attaining and maintaining are worker, student, independent community resident, and member of a social network.
The faculty encourages applications from individuals from diverse backgrounds interested in studying for this degree. We recognize the need for diversity as part of preparing to serve clients in our pluralistic society and welcome applications from a wide variety of personal, social, ethnic, cultural and educational backgrounds.
All Department faculty members strive to create an environment rich in opportunities, experiences, and knowledge that enhances the education of our students. We are committed to the highest standards of excellence in preparing the professionals of tomorrow. We seek out the latest research to inform our academic and professional practice, and share our knowledge in a stimulating, friendly and professional atmosphere.