This course is designed to introduce the student to the history, development and philosophy of clinical mental health counseling, codes of ethics, legal aspects of practice, legislation and government policy relevant to clinical mental health counseling, standards of preparation, and the role identity of persons providing counseling. Course material includes strategies for advocating on behalf of the profession and for persons with mental health issues, professional counseling organizations including membership benefits, activities, services to members, and current issues, professional clinical mental health counseling credentialing including certification, licensure, and accreditation, and the effects of public policy on these issues, current labor market information relevant to opportunities for practice within the counseling profession, ethical standards of professional counseling organizations and credentialing bodies, applications of ethical and legal considerations in clinical mental health counseling, technology’s impact on the counseling profession, strategies basic records management and record-keeping, third party reimbursement and other practice and management issues relevant to clinical mental health counseling, as well as personal and professional self-evaluation and self-care strategies and the role of counseling supervision in the profession.

This course is designed to introduce students to theories of normal human growth, individual and family development, and learning across the lifespan. Students will be introduced to the impact of biological and neurological mechanisms on mental health, as well as physiological, environmental and systemic factors that affect human development, functioning and behavior. Students will also be exposed to a general framework for understanding the process and stages of human intellectual, physical, social, and emotional development from prenatal origins through adulthood, differing abilities, as well as techniques for differentiated interventions. The effects of crises, disasters and trauma on diverse individuals will be discussed. Legal and ethical issues related to human development, as well as diversity issues, including gender issues, sexual orientation, gifted and talented development, grief and loss, and aging, will be reviewed in relation to human services. Students will learn ethical and culturally relevant strategies for promoting resilience and optimum development and wellness across the lifespan. 

Students enroll in the Counseling Practicum course during the semesters in which they undertake a practicum at a site approved in advance by the instructor of the course and the Center administration. Students should expect to spend between 10-20 hours per week (minimum of 100 hours by the end of the semester) at their approved practicum site in client sessions (minimum of 40 hours) and administrative work (minimum of 60 hours). Early consultation with the instructor regarding practicum placement—at least several months before the start of the course—is strongly advised. Though the Counseling Practicum instructor and the Center office can provide student a list of possible sites, students are ultimately responsible for interviewing at and securing their own practicum placement. In weekly class meetings, students will receive instruction, supervision, and feedback in counseling methods and techniques. The instructor will assist students in learning how to correctly document the practicum hours for the State of Texas and with paperwork required by the placement site. Students will be evaluated by their site supervisors; meeting the standards reflected in these evaluations satisfactorily is required to pass the course. All requirements of this course must be met satisfactorily prior to registering for Internship I or II.

This course examines the ethics, practice, and theory of spiritual direction.  Students will learn the appropriate skills for leading spiritual direction in individual and peer group supervision settings. This course is to be repeated for four semesters in order to learn the breadth of skills and concepts for spiritual direction and for applying these skills to various pastoral care ministries. Each semester will follow the same design of practice, supervision, group spiritual direction, and directed readings. The directed readings will change each semester.

This course will explore the practice of providing pastoral care with diverse people. We will introduce the subject of multiculturalism by researching several ethnic cultures upon where human diversity is rooted and/or lived out. Additionally, we will view human diversity issues among the genders, LGBTQ community, spiritual/religious groups, and marginalized individuals in society. We will gain cross-cultural communication skills and examine cultural values in relationships. From a theological perspective the incarnation metaphor will be used as a model in understanding multicultural and diversity issues. In principle, the discipline of pastoral care acknowledges diversity as a gift not as an obstacle—students will be given the opportunity to put this principle into practice.

This course examines ecclesial and non-ecclesial organizations and how chaplains and pastors function in them. Students are introduced to significant writings in the field of systems theory. The course helps students focus on critical self-reflection, “differentiation of self,” and on analyzing personal experience in light of systems theory. Students craft genograms with a view towards understanding how family of origin issues play out in their individual styles of leadership. Students also learn to employ systems theory to assess and evaluate complex systems.