This course reviews the legal, ethical, and behavioral standards expected of practicing counselors by professional associations and governmental bodies. In addition, the course engages students in a consideration of how Scriptural principles bear upon personal and professional conduct. The effect of community roles and issues of personal identity of the counseling professional are explored and analyzed.

This course examines the ethics, practice, and suitability of pastors or laity serving as spiritual directors.  Students will learn the appropriate skills for leading spiritual direction in individual and peer group supervision settings. They will explore the differences in serving as spiritual directors in the congregation and in the community. This course may be repeated as an elective for students who want to explore additional models of spiritual direction from other accredited graduate programs.

As part of the core theological curriculum in the Center, this course serves to introduce students to the diversity of American religions that they might encounter in the professional practices of counseling, chaplaincy, pastoral care, and spiritual direction. Topics include the development of religious tolerance in the United States; the development of varieties of American Christianity, especially within Protestantism and Roman Catholicism; the arrival and enculturation of Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism in America. An ability to identify the core values of each tradition and how these might manifest in professional contexts will be a core feature of the course. For Clinical Mental Health Counseling students, assignments emphasize application course content to the field of professional counseling.

The goal of this course is for students to develop an understanding of the nature of crisis in the lives of individuals and communities from the perspective of theology and scripture.  In addition, students increase their knowledge of the ways in which the social sciences ground the work of the chaplain in various settings and situations.  Models of care, intervention, and advocacy are addressed.  

Tending effectively to others’ spiritual needs requires not only a compassionate heart, but also an agile and informed mind. This course will bring the heart and mind into productive conversation with one another. It will sharpen your ability to read and think both critically and reflectively; to express yourself clearly; and to cultivate habits that nourish the whole person. It will prepare you to complete writing tasks typical of your program of study, but also ask that you situate these tasks within a larger framework of vocational health and practice. Course requirements include a substantial formal written work relevant to your vocation and a cumulative writing portfolio.