PROGRAM MISSION STATEMENT
The Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology at Delaware Valley College prepares culturally competent mental health practitioners. Inspired by systems theory and a social justice lens, the program emphasizes practical application of theory, a strong link between policy and science, a commitment to social advocacy, and an understanding of how social, cultural, political and economic factors influence human development.
Program Goals, Objectives and Competencies
The primary purpose of the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology program at Delaware Valley College is to prepare master’s level generalists for the practice of counseling. A unique feature of the program is its emphasis on training counselors to recognize, understand and act upon the oppressive social structures that often play a role in the experience of distress among those unequally advantaged within society. This emphasis is in keeping with the long-held value of social justice within the discipline of Counseling Psychology, and in fact is an attempt to move the field forward by actualizing this value within a training program. Program goals and related objectives and competencies are detailed below.
• Blend knowledge and experiences to prepare the student to fulfill a role in society as an informed, ethical, culturally competent professional
• Develop in each graduate student the skills, knowledge and commitment to function effectively in their career and profession
• Demonstrate familiarity with the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, empirical findings, and historical trends in counseling psychology and an understanding of research methods
• Explain normative developmental influences and pathways, along with how they interact with other systems to impact human development
• Adeptly interact with diverse individuals in occupational and community settings who differ across dimensions including but not limited to culture, race, sexual orientation, gender, age, socioeconomic status, religion, gender identity, education and ability status
• Analyze inequitable social, political, and economic conditions that impede the development of individuals, families and communities
Goal 1. Professional Counselor Identity, Ethical Behavior, and Social Justice Practices. Students will acquire knowledge related to the history of the helping profession; professional counseling roles and functions; ethical standards related to professional organizations in the field of counseling; and public policy processes including system advocacy strategies on behalf of the profession, clients, and the communities that counselors serve.
Goal 2. Human Development and Wellness Across the Life Span. Students will acquire knowledge and skills related to life span development; maturational and structural theories of human development; wellness counseling theories; strategies to deal with developmental processes and transitions; human behavior; disabilities; environmental, contextual and multicultural factors that contribute to healthy human development and relevant culturally competent counseling practices; and the promotion of social justice in society.
Goal 3. Neuroscientific, Physical, and Biological Foundations of Human Development and Wellness. Students will acquire knowledge related to neuroscience, health and wellness; addictions; and the use of neuroscientific research findings for culturally competent counseling practices and social justice advocacy interventions.
Goal 4. Ecological, Contextual, Multicultural, Social Justice Foundations of Human Development. Students will acquire knowledge and skills related to the study of culture from ecological, contextual, multicultural, and social justice perspectives; evidence-based strategies for working with diverse groups (related to but not limited to age, race, culture, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender, class, religion/spirituality); the impact of power, privilege, and oppression and micro/macro aggressions on human development; and culturally competent counseling and social justice advocacy interventions.
Goal 5. Counseling, Consultation, and Social Justice Advocacy Theories and Skills. Students will acquire knowledge and skills related to preventive counseling; consultation; individual, group, couples, marriage, family and addictions counseling; systems change intervention strategies and skills; and social justice advocacy interventions.
Goal 6. Group Theory, Practice, and Social Justice Advocacy. Students will acquire knowledge and skills related to principles of group dynamics, group process, and group leadership; theories and methods of group counseling; and the application of group work theory and practice to organizational dynamics and social justice advocacy in different environmental settings (e.g., family, school, university, workplace, and community settings).
Goal 7. Career and Life Development. Students will acquire knowledge and skills related to the study of vocational/career development theories and decision-making models; career assessment instruments and techniques; occupational and related educational systems; career development applications; career counseling processes/techniques; and the application of social justice theories to people’s vocational/career development.
Goal 8. Assessment of Human Behavior and Organizational/Community/ Institutional systems. Students will acquire knowledge and skills related to assessment and diagnosis of individual psychiatric disorders as defined by classification systems such as the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM) and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD); understanding of defined diagnostic disorders relative to the helping context; knowledge of cultural biases associated with classification systems; assessment strategies designed to promote healthy human functioning; and assessment strategies that focus on organizational/community/social justice advocacy dynamics as they impact human development, wellness, and the perpetuation of psychiatric disorders as listed in various classification systems.
Goal 9. Tests and Measurements. Students will acquire knowledge and skills related to the theoretical and historical basis for, as well as knowledge of cultural biases associated with: assessment techniques; testing methods; knowledge of various types of tests and evaluation strategies that result in knowledgeable selection, administration, interpretation; and use of assessment/evaluation instruments and techniques that foster social justice among diverse client populations.
Goal 10. Traditional and Social Justice-Oriented Research and Evaluations. Students will acquire knowledge and skills related to quantitative and qualitative research design and methods; statistical analyses, principles, practices, and application of needs assessments; the design and process of program evaluation; organizational, community, and social justice advocacy evaluation strategies; and knowledge of cultural biases associated with research practices.
Goal 11. Practicum/Internship experiences. Students will complete at least three (3) academic terms (1 semester of practicum, 100 hours; and 2 semesters of internship, 300 hours per semester, 600 hours total) supervised field placement experiences that focus on issues related to the promotion of mental health, human development, wellness, cultural competence, and social justice advocacy. The internship experiences (commensurate with program goals and State licensure requirements) shall be completed under the clinical supervision of appropriately credentialed professionals (e.g., licensed professional counselor, social worker, marriage and family therapist, school counselor, psychologist, or physician with a specialty in psychiatry).
In order to provide flexibility and provide avenues to meet different career goals, students can choose whether they want to pursue a 48-credit degree (option #1) or a 60-credit degree (option #2).
Option 1: 48 credits. Students who are not seeking certification/licensure or students interested in pursuing more advanced training, such as a doctoral degree.
Option 2: 60 credits. This satisfies the course and credit requirement apply for licensure in Pennsylvania.
Areas of Specialization
Students choose an area of specialization in either (1) Social Justice Community Counseling or (2) Child & Adolescent Counseling. All students complete the standard core course sequence plus courses in their chosen area of specialization. Students also have a choice of elective credits.