Master of Arts in Counseling Program Student Handbook

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1 Master of Arts in Counseling Program Student Handbook Harding School of Theology 1000 Cherry Road Memphis TN (901)

2 Preface The Faculty and staff of Harding School of Theology welcome you to your study in the Master of Arts in Counseling degree program (MAC). This handbook will serve as a guide and our contract with you during your program with us. Please feel free to consult with our Dean, MAC Program Director, or your faculty advisor if you have any questions. We hope your time spent here at HST will be extremely rewarding as you study and prepare yourself for ministry as a counselor. We are concerned about your spiritual formation and your academic training. We believe these to be parallel processes of growth as a counselor. We are delighted to have you join our community of mission. Dr. Edward A. Gray Master of Arts in Counseling Program Director 1

3 Introduction Mission Statements Objectives Program Descriptions Faculty Professional Associations Licensure Admission Procedures Curriculum Supervised Experiences Exit Examination Academic Policies Tuition and Fees Scholarships Faculty Endorsement Student Limitations Academic Requirements Non-Academic Requirements Academic Grievance Procedure Student Welfare Student Agreement Table of Contents 2

4 Harding School of Theology Counseling Department Introduction The Counseling Department Student Handbook is designed for use with The Harding School of Theology Graduate Catalog and the Harding School of Theology Student Handbook. These official documents are revised periodically. It is the student s responsibility to obtain the latest editions of these documents. This Handbook is designed to be a reference for students enrolled in the program, but is not intended to take the place of syllabi and academic advising. Note the student agreement that is to be signed on page 14 and turn this in to the MAC Program Director. Mission Statements Harding School of Theology Mission Statement: Harding School of Theology challenges Christian leaders to develop deeper faith in God and higher standards of ministry and scholarship. Counseling Department Mission Statement: Harding School of Theology equips students as Christian leaders to serve people from diverse cultural, social, and spiritual backgrounds with compassion and competency. Objectives Upon successful completion of the program, students will be expected to: 1. Articulate a foundation for counseling ministry and personal values based on an integration of theology and psychology. 2. Demonstrate knowledge regarding treating clients of a different ethnic, racial, spiritual, or other cultural background. 3. Demonstrate effective counseling skills with a focus on the importance of the therapeutic relationship, assessment, diagnosis, case management, and counseling ethics. 4. Demonstrate a commitment to personal spiritual formation and self-awareness. Program Description The Master of Arts in Counseling degree is designed to meet professional and academic requirements for licensure in Tennessee as a marriage and family therapist and/or a professional counselor. This professional degree emphasizes clinical skill development for effective counseling ministry in both church and community settings. Faculty Edward Gray, Ed.D., LMFT, LPC- MHSP, MAC Program Director Kevin Shelby, M.M.F.T., Ph.D Candidate 3

5 Assisting Faculty Katherine Wilson Blackney, B.S., M.A.M.F.T, Ph.D., LPC-MHSP Lauren Cox, M.A., Ph.D. Candidate Mary Margaret Johnson, B.A., M.A., M.A.M.F.T, LPC-MHSP John Kennedy, B.B.A., M.A., Ph.D. Randy McPherson, Ed.D. Tyler Rogers B.A., M.A.M.F.T., Ph.D. George Tsirgiotis, B.A., M.S.Ed., M.A.R., LPC, LMFT Professional Associations The Master of Arts in Counseling program trains students to the standards set forth by The American Counseling Association (ACA) and The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). As such, students are encouraged to become members of the appropriate professional organization as an important step in establishing their professional identity. Professional Organization Links: ACA: AAMFT: Licensure Students seeking licensure in Tennessee can contact the Tennessee Department of Health Related Boards for Professional Counselors and Marital and Family Therapists at: (615) local or nationwide 227 French Landing Suite 300 Nashville, TN Admission Procedures Admission to the Program Applicants for the Master of Arts in Counseling Program are determined on an individual basis with the following criteria considered: (1) academic preparation (2) character (3) educational interests (4) academic potential. Effort is made to admit all students who qualify and who can benefit from the unique educational program and opportunities available at Harding regardless of their religious faith, national origin, 4

6 sex, race or color. When applying, students should be aware of the distinct purpose of Harding School of Theology and be willing to commit themselves to upholding institutional values. Step 1: Application. Prospective students may apply up to one year before their intended start date. Applicants for the Master of Arts in Counseling Program will provide: a. A completed, signed application with $50 application fee. Apply online. b. At least three letters of recommendation along with the standard reference forms (names provided in the application for admission) c. Transcripts from previous colleges and universities. GPA must be 3.0 (4.0 scale) for regular admission; 2.7 for probationary admission d. Background check (conducted online) e. GRE scores at or above the 50th percentile; GRE writing score at or above the 50 th percentile f. Students not meeting GPA and/or GRE minimums will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Step 2: Applicants completing requirements in Step 1 will be sent materials to complete and return for further evaluation. a. Personal essay b. Sentence completion assignment Step 3: The counseling faculty will evaluate the admission file. They will look for applicants who will be well served by the Master of Arts in Counseling Program and whom they will invite to the next stage of the application process which is an interview with counseling faculty. (Applicants not invited to the next stage of the application process will receive a letter stating that their application process has come to an end.) Qualified applicants will be notified regarding the faculty interviews. Admission. Admitted students will receive: a. An admissions letter from the associate dean with enrollment information. This will include: 1. Scholarship application 2. Contact information for academic advising b. Pre-enrollment documents from the Admissions Office. Enrollment. Students will be given academic advising to ensure they make most efficient use of their courses. Please note: This is not an evening program or distance program. Although a few courses are offered occasionally in the evening or as intensives in the summer, students will have to take daytime courses that meet once per week for three hours. Please see the course schedule for more information. Prerequisites Twelve semester hours of undergraduate Bible or related courses are required as prerequisites for the Master of Arts in Counseling degree. Students in this program who have not fulfilled these prerequisites may satisfy them by taking Bible courses for undergraduate credit. Students also have the option of taking 5000 and 5200 on the graduate level to fulfill this requirement. 5

7 Other Program Requirements Transfer and International Students Up to 30 semester hours of graduate credit from another degree program from an acceptable institution with equivalent course work may be applied toward coursework requirements, subject to approval of the counseling department. Degree Requirements and Curriculum Requests for the Master of Arts in Counseling degree may be submitted prior to a student s final semester but must be submitted no later than the first week of the final semester. The graduation fee must be paid to the Business Office the last semester before graduation. Advising Each student is assigned a faculty member to serve as an academic advisor upon entering the program. Students are required to talk with their advisor at least once per term for individual advising. While advisors are available to help students in planning, it is ultimately the student's responsibility to meet the requirements for the degree according to the catalog of the year entered, and for meeting appropriate state certification or licensure requirements, if applicable. For graduation clearance, approved degree requirements will be audited by the Associate Dean s Office. Curriculum Professional Counseling is defined by the American Counseling Association as [T]he application of mental health, psychological, or human development principles, through cognitive, affective, behavioral or systematic intervention strategies, that address wellness, personal growth, or career development, as well as pathology. Though the HST Master of Arts in Counseling degree is not a CACREP accredited program, students are required to develop certain knowledge, values, attitudes, and skills in areas outlined by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) standards. These are reflected in HST course syllabi. Master of Arts in Counseling To earn this degree, a student must successfully complete the following 66 hours of coursework I. CORE: (57 hours) MFT Counseling Skills Practicum Credit Hours: 3 MFT Foundations of Counseling Credit Hours: 3 1 MFT Addiction and Violence in Families Credit Hours: 1 MFT Grief, Crisis, & Trauma Counseling Credit Hours: 1 MFT Child and Adolescent Therapy Credit Hours: 1 MFT Theories of Personality and Counseling Credit Hours: 3 MFT Psychopathology Credit Hours: 3 MFT Treatment Planning and Clinical Intervention Credit Hours: 3 MFT Systems and Communication Theory Credit Hours: 3 MFT Theories of Marital and Family Therapy Credit Hours: 3 6

8 MFT Marital Therapy Credit Hours: 3 MFT Family Therapy Credit Hours: 3 MFT Human Sexuality and Sex Therapy Credit Hours: 3 MFT Family Development and Parenting Credit Hours: 3 MFT Research in Counseling Credit Hours: 3 MFT Counseling Ethics and Professional Issues Credit Hours: 3 MFT Testing and Assessment in Counseling Credit Hours: 3 MFT Career Counseling Credit Hours: 3 MFT Multicultural Counseling Credit Hours: 3 MFT Group Counseling Credit Hours: 3 MFT Advanced Seminar in Counselor Development Credit Hours: 3 Note(s): 1 Foundations of Counseling (MFT 5732) must be taken within the first nine hours and passed with a grade of C or better. If a lower grade is earned, the class must be retaken the next available semester until an acceptable grade is received. II. Electives: (3 hours) Choose ONE of the following courses: BDOC Ethics and Character Formation Credit Hours: 3 BDOC Providence and Suffering Credit Hours: 3 BOLD Wisdom Literature Credit Hours: 3 BMIS 5901BMIS Spiritual Leadership Credit Hours: 3 III. Internship/Practicum: (6 hours) MFT Internship in Counseling Credit Hours: 3 MFT Internship in Counseling Credit Hours: 3 MFT Internship in Counseling Credit Hours: 3 (Additional requirement for some states) Supervised Experiences Harding School of Theology s Master of Arts in Counseling requires all candidates to complete a supervised counseling skills practicum (5731) for 3 hours credit and 6 credit hours of internship experience (5790, 5791). Students select from a variety of placement opportunities such as mental health centers, hospitals, community agencies, church counseling centers and family service agencies for supervised clinical experience in counseling. Individual supervision is provided by the sponsoring agency, and group supervision is given on campus by HST faculty. (Students must complete at least 150 direct counseling hours each semester of internship. LPCseeking students must elect an agency placement with appropriate on-site supervision with a minimum of 300 clock hours of agency service for one of the semesters of internship.) Prerequisites: 5751, 5755, 5780 and permission of the Master of Arts in Counseling Program Director. State licensure boards differ on their required number of hours in a practicum and internship. Some states require 9 semester hours of practicum / internship. If there is a particular state in 7

9 which you are interested in licensure, research the particular state requirements and HST faculty will assist you in your planning. PRACTICUM: In the first year a student will take Counseling Skills Practicum, (MFT 5731), and complete 100 hours of experience to gain familiarity with counseling by way of observation and counseling practice, guided learning of site practices and procedures, and guided participation in site activities. INTERNSHIP: The second and third semesters of internship experience, (MFT 5790, MFT 5791), occur later in a student s program after a major portion of classes are completed. The internship year requires two semesters of supervised counseling and related responsibilities with clients. Each semester the student must complete at least 150 clinical counseling hours along with other additional internship responsibilities of training and clinical documentation. A student enrolls for 3 hours of internship per semester to meet the year requirement and potential minimum of 500 or maximum of 700 total hours needed for some state licensure requirements. See your academic advisor for specifics about these clinical hours depending on the licensure pursuit requirements for LMFT and/or LPC for states in which you are interested in pursuing career opportunities. Obtaining a field site is a joint responsibility of the faculty and the student. Counseling faculty will assist a counseling student in obtaining potential practicum/internship sites. However, it is the student s responsibility to research possibilities for potential practicum/internships. The student is responsible for contacting the university faculty for guidance as needed. If the student has been unable to obtain a field site after several interviews, he or she should contact the faculty for further assistance. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the student to find his or her field placement. For practicum students, this should be done at least 4 weeks before the start of the semester in which they plan to take Counseling Skills Practicum (5730). Due to the competitive nature of internships, students should make plans at least 3-4 months before the semester in which they plan to engage in their internship (5790 & 5791). Exit Examination Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Exam (CPCE): Each student must successfully complete the CPCE, which serves as a degree exit examination during MFT 5785, Advanced Seminar in Counselor Development. The purpose of the CPCE is to assess the student s knowledge of counseling to ensure minimum competence in the field prior to graduation. The CPCE will prepare students for the National Counselor Exam (NCE) and provide collective feedback that can be used by HST faculty in assessment of students and program curriculum. Upon successful completion of the CPCE, students will have the option to take the National Counselor Examination (NCE) if they wish, since preparation for the NCE is very similar to the CPCE. For your convenience at the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) website, there is a list of preparation materials, which includes NBCC s own preparation guides as well as other study programs. 8

10 Academic Policies Course Load: A student who takes nine hours in the fall or spring or six hours in the summer is considered a full-time student. MAC students wishing to take more than 9 hours per semester must have permission from their academic advisor. Students enrolled in 9 hours should not be engaged in outside work activities that require more than 15 hours per week. Types of Course Offerings Regular Weekly Courses: Most of the Master of Arts in Counseling degree is offered in a weekly format of classes meeting for three hours once per week throughout the semester during the daytime hours. This is not an evening program. Occasionally a course may meet in the evenings due to the availability of the professor at that time. A standard full-time load is 9 hours. A student should not be working more that hours per week if enrolled for 9 hours. Summer Intensive Courses: Intensive courses are offered in the summer semester. No more than six hours may be taken. Courses consist of heavy reading in advance of class meetings, six days of lectures, discussions, and exams on campus. Papers and projects are due following the class. Consult the HST General Catalog for registration requirements. Tuition and Fees See the current HST General Catalog for current tuition and fees. Financial aid is available to most Harding School of Theology Students in the form of Federal and Private Loans, programs, and vocational rehabilitation programs. Requests for information and assistance should be directed to Harding School of Theology, 1000 Cherry Road, Memphis, TN 38117; telephone: , or Harding University, Box 12282, Searcy, AR ; telephone: or (toll free); Scholarships Generous donors throughout the years have provided continuing and endowed scholarship funds to assist qualified students in their desire to train for greater service in God s kingdom. Some of these gifts are designed to honor a loved one or a respected Christian leader. Some of the funds are established simply as a way to support those studying for ministry. All of the funds bring honor to God and encouragement to students. Three factors are considered in evaluating each applicant: academic ability, financial need, and promise for Christian ministry. Scholarships are awarded for one academic year, which begins with the fall semester and ends with the summer semester. Continuing students must reapply each year by March 1 before the academic year assistance is sought. Applications received after this date will be considered if funds are available. New students should apply for scholarship as they apply for admission. 9

11 Faculty Endorsement Department faculty members welcome the opportunity to assist students in obtaining employment, licensure and further graduate education. Most faculty members support students efforts to obtain employment through writing letters of recommendation, endorsements, and the like. Students are encouraged to approach faculty members to solicit an endorsement, and to provide appropriate forms, notifications, or necessary documentation in a timely fashion. Faculty members reserve the right to decline a student s request. Annual Student Review Student Limitations Each student will meet with the full-time HST MAC Counseling Faculty regarding their progress in the MAC program every year during the spring semester. The HST Counseling Faculty adhere to the Ethical Standards of the American Counseling Association which state: Counselor educators, through ongoing evaluation are aware of and address the inability of some students to achieve counseling competencies. Counselor educators do the following: 1. assist students in securing remedial assistance when needed, 2. seek professional consultation and document their decision to dismiss or refer students for assistance, and 3. ensure that students have recourse in a timely manner to address decisions requiring them to seek assistance or to dismiss them and provide students with due process according to institutional policies and procedures. (ACA, F.9.b. Limitations 2014). If retention issues arise, the HST Counseling Faculty will be directed by the following retention procedures. These procedures (Informal and Formal) are described in the following paragraphs. Informal Procedures Whenever possible, faculty will attempt to resolve issues with students by meeting with them individually to discuss concerns. If the concerns are of a serious nature or if the individual meeting cannot resolve the concerns, the following process will be initiated: 1. The faculty member(s) will meet with the student(s) and outline the specific concern(s). During this meeting a plan will be developed to correct and/or remediate the concern(s). Follow-up meetings will be conducted with the student to be sure the plan is being followed and has been successfully completed. 2. The counseling program faculty member(s) will discuss the plan of action (completed in step 1 above) in subsequent meetings of the counseling faculty. The purpose of these discussions will be to monitor student progress. Becoming a professional counselor and/or marriage and family therapist requires hard work and self-examination. Although you will enjoy personal and professional growth opportunities through readings, assignments, projects, experiential activities, and practicum/internship experiences, you may also expect that some of your training may possibly invoke strong 10

12 negative emotional reactions. You may experience a heightened awareness of past and/or present emotionally charged issues. You are encouraged to make faculty and staff members aware of strong personal reactions related to course materials, assignments, and experiences. Also, as part of your ongoing development in the counseling profession, you may be asked to seek professional counseling for any issues affecting your personal and/or professional development. Should you experience extreme reactions to your training experiences, you should consult with your departmental advisor to discuss appropriate courses of action. These may include entering personal therapy, deferring taking the course, or withdrawal from the program. Formal Procedures If the informal approach outlined above fails to achieve the desired outcome or if the concern is too serious for informal procedures, then formal retention procedures will be initiated as follows: 1. The faculty member(s) will present their concerns to the Counseling faculty. 2. The MAC Program Director will schedule a Counseling Department faculty meeting to discuss the concern(s). 3. The counselor faculty will review the concern(s) and decide whether to proceed with the formal retention review. If the majority of the counseling faculty decide the concern(s) is not of such a nature to require a hearing, then the procedure stops here. If on the other hand, the majority of the counseling faculty decides the concern(s) is serious enough to warrant a hearing, a formal hearing will be scheduled. The concerned faculty member(s) will present a description of the concern(s). 4. At least ten (10) working days prior to the formal hearing, the student(s) will be informed by the Counseling Program Director of the formal Retention Review and the specific concerns. 5. The faculty member(s) initiating the hearing and the concerned student(s) will be invited to meet with the counseling faculty to present pertinent information. When appropriate, other individuals may be asked to attend and provide information. 6. Following the Retention Review, the counseling faculty will decide on a resolution that may include any of the following: a. The concern(s) do not warrant further action; the student should remain in the counseling program. b. The student will be placed on probation within the counseling department. A written plan for removing the student from probation will be recommended by the counseling faculty. The plan will be given to the student and will be monitored by the student's advisor. Progress reports will be submitted to the counseling faculty according to the time schedule specified in the plan. The counseling faculty will meet and decide if the student should be removed from probation. c. The student will be recommended for dismissal from the Counseling Program and will not be permitted to enroll in further counseling classes. Within ten (10) working days following the Retention Review, the Counseling Program Director will communicate the faculty's decision to the student and to the HST Dean. The student(s) may appeal the decision by following the Student Appeals/Grievance Procedures outlined in the HST Student Handbook. 11

13 Academic Requirements Grade Point Average (GPA) for Degrees and Identified Programs of Study: An average GPA level of 3.00 is required in all course work. No grade below C is acceptable for graduate credit, (but will be used to calculate GPA), and only 9 semester hours of C credit may be counted. These must be balanced by 9 semester hours of A credit. Courses in which a grade of C has been received may be repeated. No course may be repeated more than once. NOTE: Licensure boards may require a grade of B or better in core coursework in order to apply for licensure. Non-Academic Requirements Professional counseling requires more than academic proficiency. Faculty will conduct ongoing evaluations of students suitability and appropriateness for the counseling profession as well as their academic performance. Students who do not appear to possess those qualities or skills associated with effective counseling may be advised to withdraw from the program. In these cases, students shall be assisted in identifying an area of study or specialization that is more suited or appropriate to their talents and skills. In addition to the preceding, students are referred to the current edition of the Harding School of Theology Graduate Catalog Code of Conduct. Success in the Master of Arts in Counseling Program consists of more than grades. Work habits and attitudes play a major role in the success of any counseling student. Any of the following actions are considered just cause for immediate dismissal from the Master of Arts in Counseling Program: 1. Dishonesty (cheating, plagiarism, etc.) 2. Disclosure of client confidential information with unauthorized individuals 3. Negligence of misconduct. 4. Mistreatment of clients, fellow students, research participants, or faculty. 5. Abusing a client, fellow student, faculty member, or staff member, (including abusive language). 6. Violations of the rules, regulations, and principles in the ACA Ethical Code, AAMFT Ethical Code and HST Student Handbook, and Harding University Code of Student Affairs. 7. Receipt of a Fail grade in Practicum or Internship. 8. Willful submission of false information or alteration of any official records, counseling reports, papers, examinations or dissertations. 9. Willful conduct that may cause injury to self or others. 10. Unethical behavior as defined by ethical guidelines and practice (e.g., ACA, AAMFT). 11. Sexual harassment as defined by Harding University. Academic Grievance Procedure It is the intent of the Master of Arts in Counseling Program to provide graduate students the right to a fair hearing on academic and non-academic matters. Both informal and formal channels of due process are available to work with students on complaints, appeals, and grievances. Refer to to the current edition of the Harding School of Theology student handbook for this process. 12

14 ACA Code of Ethics, 2014 F.8. Student Welfare Student Welfare F.8.a. Program Information and Orientation Counselor educators recognize that program orientation is a developmental process that begins upon students initial contact with the counselor education program and continues throughout the educational and clinical training of students. Counselor education faculty provides prospective and current students with information about the counselor education program s expectations, including: 1. the values and ethical principles of the profession; 2. the type and level of skill and knowledge acquisition required for successful completion of the training; 3. technology requirements; 4. program training goals, objectives, and mission, and subject matter to be covered; 5. bases for evaluation; 6. training components that encourage self-growth or self-disclosure as part of the training process; 7. the type of supervision settings and requirements of the sites for required clinical field experiences; 8. student and supervisor evaluation and dismissal policies and procedures; and 9. up-to-date employment prospects for graduates. F.8.b. Student Career Advising Counselor educators provide career advisement for their students and make them aware of opportunities in the field. F.8.c. Self-Growth Experiences Self-growth is an expected component of counselor education. Counselor educators are mindful of ethical principles when they require students to engage in self-growth experiences. Counselor educators and supervisors inform students that they have a right to decide what information will be shared or withheld in class. F.8.d. Addressing Personal Concerns Counselor educators may require students to address any personal concerns that have the potential to affect professional competency. F.9. Evaluation and Remediation F.9.a. Evaluation of Students Counselor educators clearly state to students, prior to and throughout the training program, the levels of competency expected, appraisal methods, and timing of evaluations for both didactic and clinical competencies. Counselor educators provide students with ongoing feedback regarding their performance throughout the training program. F.9.b. Limitations Counselor educators, through ongoing evaluation, are aware of and address the inability of some students to achieve counseling competencies. Counselor educators do the following: 1. assist students in securing remedial assistance when needed, 2. seek professional consultation and document their decision to dismiss or refer students 13

15 for assistance, and 3. ensure that students have recourse in a timely manner to address decisions requiring them to seek assistance or to dismiss them and provide students with due process according to institutional policies and procedures. F.9.c. Counseling for Students If students request counseling, or if counseling services are suggested as part of a remediation process, counselor educators assist students in identifying appropriate services. Student Agreement In recognition that student counselors have an ethical responsibility to progress in their graduate career, to manage their personal lives in a healthful fashion, and to seek appropriate assistance for personal problems or conflicts, I affirm that I have read and understand the above Master of Arts in Counseling Program Student Handbook and Ethics Codes. I accept and understand that I am subject to the above student limitations, Harding School of Theology Student Handbook, Harding University s Code of Conduct, and the current AAMFT and ACA Codes of Ethics while enrolled at HST. Signature of student: Date: MAC Director: Date: 14

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