Program Objectives

  • The Department of Counseling faculty at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, as stated in the departmental mission statement, is committed to providing a two-track graduate program dedicated to preparation in School Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

    This preparation includes a core of courses and experiences that prepare counselors to meet the unique needs and demands of clientele in school and community work settings. The Department of Counseling approaches counseling from an educational and developmental perspective, emphasizing health and wellness through crisis intervention, remediation, prevention, and growth enhancement counseling.

    Upon completion of their program requirements, graduates will:

    Professional and Personal Identity

    1. Understand the history, roles, functions, and professional issues of counselors in various practice settings, including how counselors function as a part of interdisciplinary teams, referral agents, and consultants within the wide array of mental health and school services.
    2. Understand structures and operations of professional organizations, credentialing, training standards, accreditation, and ethical and legal codes affecting professional counselors.
    3. Develop, maintain, and advocate a professional counselor identity.
    4. Demonstrate commitment to the welfare of others.
    5. Strive for optimal personal wellness, maintain an awareness of one’s own developmental needs, and utilize self care strategies.
    6. Conceptualize human behavior and the process of change from a developmental perspective.
    7. Maintain professional behavior and multicultural sensitivity in regard to interactions with other counselors-in-training, faculty, and practicum/internship site supervisors.
    8. Communicate effectively both orally and in writing.
    9. Maintain a professional identity through counseling associations and organizations, which may include participation in workshops and conferences.
    10. Demonstrate personal and professional integrity, including adherence to professional ethical codes and relevant legal standards and expectations.
    11. Demonstrate practices of critically examining research and conducting evaluation as they relate to school or clinical mental health counseling.

    Multicultural and Specific Populations Counseling

    1. Demonstrate increased self-awareness of one’s own cultural lens and how it impacts the counseling process.
    2. Develop a respect and appreciation for similarities and differences in diverse populations and individuals with disabilities.
    3. Understands public policy and the counselor’s role in advocating for equitable and responsive services for all clients, making counseling services accessible/available to diverse and marginalized populations.
    4. Acquire awareness, knowledge, and sensitivity through experiential activities designed to foster an understanding of self and culturally diverse clients.
    5. Demonstrate knowledge of theories of multicultural counseling, identity development, and importance of advocating for social justice.
    6. Demonstrate competencies in providing culturally appropriate and responsive counseling approaches, strategies, and techniques.
    7. Understands the individual, systemic, and political effects of racism, discrimination, sexism, power, privilege, and oppression on oneself and clients/students.
    8. Demonstrate an understanding of the cultural context of relationships, issues, and trends in a multicultural society.

    Human Growth and Development

    1. Understand theories of individual, family, learning, and personality development and significant transitions across the lifespan and counseling implications.
    2. Understand human behavior in the context of developmental crises, psychopathology, and situational/environmental conditions.
    3. Understand the impact of crisis, disaster, and other trauma casing events across the lifespan.
    4. Understand exceptional abilities and strategies for differentiated interventions.
    5. Understand and apply theories and strategies for facilitating optimal development and wellness across the lifespan.
    6. Understand and apply models and theories of resilience in regard to various populations and settings.

    Career Development and Career Counseling

    1. Understand personal, social, economic, cultural, and other factors related to the world of work for individuals throughout the lifespan.
    2. Identify and respond to the unique career development issues of individuals with disabilities.
    3. Apply theories of career development and theories of career choice.
    4. Understand career development program planning, educational planning, placement, organization, implementation, administration, and evaluation.
    5. Locate, identify, evaluate, and disseminate career and educational information.
    6. Demonstrate competency in the utilization of avocational, educational, occupational, and labor market information resources, and career information systems for career counseling and planning.
    7. Utilize assessment instruments and techniques relevant to career planning and decision making.
    8. Understand, access, and use technology to facilitate career planning and development.

    Helping Relationships — Counseling, Intervention, and Prevention

    1. Understand counseling, consultation, and systems theories and apply their associated processes, strategies, and interventions with relevant students/clients, systems, and stakeholders.
    2. Understand principles of prevention and the impact on program planning.
    3. Utilize models of counseling consistent with current professional research/practice, conceptualize client/student issues from various theoretical perspectives, and utilize appropriate counseling interventions.
    4. Develop, apply, and demonstrate a personal therapeutic approach to counseling that is ethical, internally consistent with the counselor’s values and beliefs, and responsive to client/student needs.
    5. Demonstrate an understanding of developmental, wellness, and prevention considerations that are the foundation of effective counseling.
    6. Establish and facilitate constructive, safe, and ethical relationships with clients.
    7. Demonstrate competency in rapport building and conducting client intake and/or student assessment interviews.
    8. Demonstrate competency in basic and advanced individual and group counseling skills.
    9. Understand crisis intervention and suicide prevention models and strategies.
    10. Understand how personal characteristics and behaviors of the counselor influence the helping process.
    11. Understand evidence based treatment planning and monitoring the effectiveness and outcome(s) of the counseling process to enhance student/client development.
    12. Understand and apply theories of addiction and addictive behaviors to prevention, intervention, and treatment as well as understand the impact of co-occurring substance abuse disorders on medical and psychological disorders.
    13. Conceptualize and intervene from a systemic framework when facilitating change for communities, schools, and students/clients.

    Group Counseling

    1. Understand the stages of group development and member/leader behaviors associated with each stage.
    2. Understand the basic principles of group dynamics and apply developmentally appropriate interventions.
    3. Understand and intentionally apply basic and advanced group counseling skills.
    4. Understand theories of group counseling, types of groups, group characteristics, key group concepts, ethical practice, and therapeutic factors of group work.
    5. Engage in group activities both as a member and a leader to understand, appreciate, and synthesize an in-depth understanding of the group counseling process.
    6. Understand the appropriateness and effectiveness of groups in a variety of practice settings.
    7. Demonstrate competencies in developing groups, screening group members, conducting sessions, and evaluating group outcomes.


    1. Understand individual and group approaches to assessment and evaluation with diverse populations and individuals with disabilities.
    2. Understand ethical considerations in selection, administration, scoring, evaluation, and interpretation of assessments.
    3. Understand multiple methods of formal and informal assessments and their strengths and limitations.
    4. Understand assessment across key domain areas such as educational, psychological, clinical, and career.
    5. Understand basic psychometric, educational measurement, and evaluation concepts essential to appropriately utilizing instruments.
    6. Demonstrate competencies in selection, administration, scoring, evaluation, interpretation, and communication of assessments.
    7. Determine the appropriateness, strengths, and limitations of assessment instruments, including implications of cultural bias.
    8. Understand the evolution and current practices of assessment such as utilization of technology.
    9. Apply assessment data to client conceptualizations, appropriate interventions, and evaluation of the counseling process.

    School Counseling

    1. Facilitate the academic, personal/social, and career development of all students and understand the amplified developmental needs of students with disabilities and English Language Learners (ELL).
    2. Understand concepts of designing, implementing, managing, and evaluating a collaborative, comprehensive, developmental school counseling program based on ASCA current standards (responsive service, delivery systems, program management, individual appraisal, and program accountability).
    3. Select, coordinate, and interpret various formal assessment instruments and tests as well as appraise other significant areas (substance abuse, depression, etc.) related to student wellness, growth, and academic performance.
    4. Effectively consult with students, teachers, parents/caregivers, administrators, other school stakeholders, and community agencies on areas including curriculum development, psychosocial development/concerns, advocacy, and empowerment.
    5. Understand and apply effective leadership in a comprehensive school counseling program, the school learning environment, and the overall school culture.
    6. Demonstrate competent crisis prevention, intervention, and postvention counseling skills and programs related to students and the general school community.

    Clinical Mental Health Counseling

    1. Understand concepts of designing, implementing, managing, and evaluating a clinical mental health program.
    2. Develop and implement appropriate biopsychosocial case conceptualization, prevention, treatment planning, diagnostic-based, and/or developmentally appropriate interventions across the continuum of care for clients.
    3. Knows and appropriately applies the principles of the diagnostic process, including differential diagnosis, and use of the current edition of the DSM.
    4. Identify general limitations of the diagnostic process and specific limitations related to crisis, disaster, or trauma situations.
    5. Demonstrates the ability to conduct clinical evaluations including diagnostic interviews, mental status examinations, biopsychosocial histories, suicide assessments, and addiction screenings that lead to accurate diagnoses and appropriate treatment plans.
    6. Understands basic classifications, indications and contraindications of commonly prescribed psychopharmacological medications to determine appropriate and timely referrals for medical evaluation.

    Based on 2009 Standards of the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)