Jul 19, 2024  
2024-2025 Catalog 
2024-2025 Catalog

Counseling Psychology: Social Justice Community Counseling, M.A.

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The Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology at Delaware Valley University 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 University 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

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.

MPCAC Program Competencies A-K

A.  Professional identity; and ethical and professional standards 

1. Ethical/Legal Standards and Policy: Demonstrates knowledge and application of ethical concepts, and awareness of legal issues regarding professional activities with individuals, groups, and organizations

  • Knowledge of ethical, legal and professional standards and guidelines: Demonstrates knowledge and understanding of relevant ethical/professional codes, standards and guidelines, laws, statutes, rules, and regulations 
  • Awareness and application of ethical decision making: Recognizes situations that challenge adherence to professional values and demonstrates the application of an ethical decision-making model by applying it to ethical dilemmas  
  • Ethical Conduct: Demonstrates integration of ethical values in professional conduct 

2. Professional Values and Attitudes: Exhibits behavior and comportment that reflect the values and attitudes of counseling and psychology 

  • Evidences adherence to professional values throughout professional work 
  • Demonstrates understanding of counseling and psychological practice as an applied behavioral science 
  • Maintains professionally appropriate communication and conduct across different settings 
  • Demonstrates personal accountability and accepts responsibility for own actions 
  • Demonstrates concern for the welfare of others 
  • Displays an appropriately defined professional identity 

B. Evidence-based theories and practice of counseling and psychotherapy 

1. Knowledge:  Demonstrates knowledge of individual and group theories of counseling and psychotherapy consistent with program orientation and goals 

2. Relationships: Relates effectively with individuals, groups, and communities 

  • Forms and maintains productive and respectful relationships with clients, peers/colleagues, supervisors, and professionals from within and across disciplines  
  • Negotiates differences and handles conflict satisfactorily
  • Provides effective feedback to others, receives feedback non-defensively, and integrates feedback appropriately
  • Communicates clearly using verbal, nonverbal, and written skills in a professional context; demonstrates clear understanding and use of professional language 

3. Intervention: Applies evidence-based intervention and prevention strategies designed to alleviate suffering and to promote health and well-being of individuals, groups, and/or organizations (e.g., career, group, family, and/or systems-level interventions) 

  • Formulates and conceptualizes cases; plans and implements interventions utilizing at least one consistent theoretical orientation
  • Displays skills in developing the therapeutic alliance
  • Evaluates intervention progress and modifies intervention or prevention strategies on the basis of evaluation of clients’ or groups’ progress and/or client feedback

C. Multiculturalism and diversity 

Demonstrates knowledge, self-awareness, and skills in working with individuals, groups, and communities who represent various cultural and personal backgrounds and characteristics

1. Knowledge and Self-Awareness: 

  • Demonstrates knowledge and awareness of self, as shaped by individual and cultural diversity (e.g., cultural, individual, and role differences, including those based on age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language, and socioeconomic status) and context.
  • Demonstrates knowledge and awareness of others, as shaped by individual and cultural diversity and context.

2. Skills:  Applies knowledge of self and others as cultural beings in assessment, treatment, consultation, and all other professional interactions; is able to work effectively with diverse individuals in assessment, treatment, and consultation.

Theories of psychopathology and relevant classification systems 

1. Knowledge:   

  • Demonstrates knowledge of theories of psychopathology, including but not limited to, biological and sociocultural theories 
  • Demonstrates knowledge of classification systems of behavior and limitations of those systems 

2.  Skills:  Applies concepts of normal/abnormal behavior to case formulation, diagnosis, and treatment planning in the context of stages of human development and diversity  

E. Tests, measurements, and other assessments of behavior 

 1.  Knowledge: 

  • Demonstrates knowledge of content, reliability and validity, and purposes of assessment measures frequently used by counselors and psychological practitioners.
  • Demonstrates awareness of strengths and limitations (including cultural limitations) of administration, scoring, and interpretation of assessment measures. 

2.  Skills:  Selects and utilizes appropriate assessment measures across domains of functioning, practice settings, and cultural groups.

F. Research methods and program evaluation 

 1.  Knowledge:   

  • Demonstrates knowledge of scientific methods commonly used by counselors and psychology practitioners in their clinical work
  • Demonstrates knowledge of use of scientific methods to add to the knowledge base of counseling and psychology 
  • Demonstrates knowledge of application of scientific methods to evaluating practices, interventions, and programs 

2.  Skills:  Critiques published research effectively

G. Career development and/or the role of work in peoples’ lives 

  • Demonstrates knowledge of the role of work in peoples’ lives 
  • Demonstrates understanding of the development of work and career choices across the life span

H. Biological basis of behavior 

  • Demonstrates knowledge and understanding of the relationship between biological factors and human functioning

I. Developmental basis of behavior  

  • Demonstrates knowledge and understanding of human development, wellness, and learned bases of behavior across the lifespan.

J. Social/organizational/community basis of behavior 

  • Demonstrates knowledge of individuals in the context of their environment and how the environment (e.g., geographical, ideological, demographic, familial, institutional) affects functioning.  Demonstrates understanding of the use of systems changes (whether by prevention or intervention) to enhance the functioning of individuals, families, groups, organizations, and/or institutions.

K. Understanding and use of supervision during applied experiences 

1. Knowledge: Demonstrates understanding of the role and practice of supervision. 

2. Skills:   

  • Responds appropriately to supervision 
  • Engages in reflective practices 
  • Engages in appropriate self-care strategies 

Required Social Justice Course (3 Credits)

Social Justice Electives (6 credits)

Choose 2 courses (for a total of 6 credits).

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