Curricular Requirements, Experiences and Objectives
The Counseling Program fully endorses the standards adopted by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP). The following list of the eight common core areas as established by CACREP, and the National Board of Certified Counselors, is addressed by courses that produce the identified knowledge and skill. The courses Western offers follows each competence area. Although the courses specified are targeted to offer the student information and skill relating to the identified standard, this is not meant to imply the standard will not be addressed in other courses. Course content may extend beyond stated standards. Therefore, with an understanding that the Counseling Program attempts to offer each student a grasp of the profession of counseling that is holistic in nature, the following is a breakdown of the core knowledge and skill areas subsumed under the designation Clinical Mental Health Counselor or School Counselor.
The Counselor Education Program fully endorses the 2016 Standards adopted by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP). The following list of the eight common core areas as established by CACREP, and the National Board of Certified Counselors, are addressed by courses that produce the identified knowledge and skill. Although the courses specified are targeted to offer the student information and skill relating to the identified standard, this is not meant to imply the standard will not be addressed in other courses, or that content may extend beyond stated standards. The Counseling Program provides students with the Eight Common Core curricular experiences and opportunities to demonstrate knowledge and skills in each of these common curricular areas (CACREP 2016 Standards). These eight core curricular areas (listed below) are common to both the School and Clinical Mental Health Counselor Programs.
- PROFESSIONAL ORIENTATION AND ETHICAL PRACTICE—studies that provide an understanding of all of the following aspects of professional functioning.
- SOCIAL AND CULTURAL DIVERSITY—studies that provide an understanding of the cultural context of relationships, issues, and trends in a multicultural society.
- HUMAN GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT—studies that provide an understanding of the nature and needs of persons at all developmental levels and in multicultural contexts.
- CAREER DEVELOPMENT—studies that provide an understanding of career development and related life factors.
- HELPING RELATIONSHIPS—studies that provide an understanding of the counseling process in a multicultural society.
- GROUP WORK—studies that provide both theoretical and experiential understandings of group purpose, development, dynamics, theories, methods, skills, and other group approaches in a multicultural society.
- ASSESSMENT—studies that provide an understanding of individual and group approaches to assessment and evaluation in a multicultural.
- RESEARCH AND PROGRAM EVALUATION—studies that provide an understanding of research methods, statistical analysis, needs assessment, and program evaluation.
In addition to the Eight Common Core curriculum areas, program area standards specific to the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program option and the School Counseling program option ensure that those students preparing to work as clinical mental health counselors and school counselors, respectively, will demonstrate the knowledge, skills and practices necessary successful professional practice in their chosen fields. Additional information about the CACREP Standards can be found at www.cacrep.org
Professional Identity, Affiliation and Liability Insurance
Matriculated students in the CMHC and School Counseling programs are urged to consider affiliation with the professional association serving the counseling profession, e.g., the American Counseling Association (ACA), the American School Counseling Association (ASCA). Benefits of membership include receiving the professional journal(s) published by ACA, identification with current professional issues, opportunity to attend state, regional and national meetings, and professional liability insurance.
Student membership in ACA is available at a reduced membership cost. Applications require a faculty member endorsement. Students will also be encouraged to join the Connecticut Counseling Association (CCA) and the Western Connecticut Counseling Association (WCCA) and the Connecticut School Counselor Association (CSCA).
Announcements for state and regional professional meetings are posted on social media feeds, in Blackboard and on the Counseling Program bulletin board (on the fifth floor, near Rooms 516/17). All students are required to obtain liability insurance before engaging in field experiences, Practicum or Internship. Liability insurance is available to ACA or ASCA members at special student rates. A copy of the student’s liability insurance form must be presented to the Practicum or Internship faculty supervisor for inclusion in student’s clinical folder.
When a student is admitted into the Counseling Program, he or she is assigned an advisor who is the coordinator for the option in which the student is enrolled (either School or CMHC).
It is the student’s responsibility to make regular contact (usually once a semester) with his or her advisor regarding courses to be taken and overall progress in the program. Among the advisor’s responsibilities are the following:
- To develop a plan of study with each advisee for timely completion of the degree requirements.
- To advise the student each semester about courses to take in the subsequent semester.
- To communicate any corrective feedback to the student as a result of faculty evaluations of students.
- To review the advisee’s records at the time that the student registers to graduate to determine that the student has met all Program requirements.
- To serve overall as a liaison between the Program and the advisee.