Philosophy and Objectives of the Program
The Clinical Counseling training program offers the Master of Science degree through integrated academic, scientific, and professional training. The program provides students with intensive instruction in the theoretical framework of psychology and clinical counseling and broad experience in empirically supported methods of practice in clinical counseling.
Our program design is informed by the scientist-practitioner model of training in psychology. The training goal of the Clinical Counseling program is to produce clinicians who can integrate the science of mental health research with practice. Accordingly, graduates of the program will be proficient consumers of the research literature who in turn utilize empirically supported treatment methodologies to help their clients. Although our ultimate training goal is to produce proficient service providers, interested students can avail themselves of additional training and research experiences during their course of study thereby becoming producers of mental health research. Given that the scientist-practitioner model of training is ideal for psychologists who utilize scientific methods in the conduct of professional practice (Belar & Perry, 1992), we believe a training philosophy informed by this model will produce excellent counselors as well. To this end, the core courses are organized as integrated theory-research-practice units with a problem-solving emphasis.
The Clinical Counseling core curriculum is constructed as a general degree and the program does not presently offer formal tracks or concentrations. However, through the selection of electives, students can focus a portion of their training on specific areas of interest (e.g., assessment, nutrition, alternative medicine, psychopathology, etc). The overall training emphasis of the program involves both a biological and a behavioral approach to the understanding and treatment of abnormal behavior and its relationship to normal behavior. Our training program is designed to prepare the graduate to enter the field of Clinical Counseling. Students who complete our training program will have the necessary educational credentials to apply for licensure as a Professional Counselor/Clinical Professional Counselor in Illinois. Although licensure requirements vary from state to state, it is anticipated that our program’s curriculum will meet the educational criteria for other states that license counselors. Prospective students should confirm the licensing requirements of other states prior to enrolling. The University’s programs are approved by the Illinois Board of Higher Education and our degree program is approved by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. More details on our accreditation are available here.
The Clinical Counseling curriculum is designed to prepare the student for clinical service. Students receive training in the identification and treatment of a broad range of mental and nervous disorders. A variety of assessment and intervention approaches are covered with an emphasis on empirically supported techniques. Our graduates are well-prepared clinicians and consumers of the research literature. The training ensures the development of broad-based clinical skills and encourages close, cooperative work with other healthcare specialists, such as physicians, other mental health professionals and allied health professionals.
Upon entering the Clinical Counseling program, students are assigned a faculty advisor. Advisors guide students through the selection of electives, independent study and practicum experiences necessary to complete the program and meet the student’s training goals and needs. The advisor provides information, direction, feedback and long-term guidance. Advisors meet with students regularly to review academic performance and to discuss the student’s future plans. In addition, an annual meeting of the student-advisor-DCT is held to review a student’s program and appropriate recommendations are made for further training and professional development needs.
For questions about the program, please call Kenneth H. Kessler, Ph.D., Program Director at (847) 578-8740 or email him at Kenneth.Kessler@rosalindfranklin.edu.