Master of Science in Counseling Psychology
Mount Saint Mary's College
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Mission Statement

 

The Graduate Psychology Program prepares students to apply evidence-based counseling practices and recovery oriented care in a culturally competent manner. Through diverse pedagogical practices, students (1) expand and deepen their understanding of counseling theories, (2) strengthen their critical thinking skills, (3) apply research to practice, and (4) effectively utilize this knowledge in an applied setting. Graduates from this program demonstrate exemplary communication and leadership skills, becoming informed and participatory citizens in a variety of professional roles. 

Course Descriptions

PSY 200 Applying Research to Practice (3)
This course reviews the theoretical and practical understanding of research methods and evidence based practice in the counseling setting. This course will provide students instruction in critically evaluating research in clinical practice, accounting for diverse individual and contextual factors. In addition students will learn about the importance of utilizing and evaluating evidence based practice in the clinical setting.

PSY 202 Lifespan Development (3)
Students are introduced to normal and abnormal development from conception through aging and death. They will develop an understanding of situational and environmental factors that affect both normal and abnormal behavior utilizing a variety of contrasting theoretical models which explore the biological, social, cognitive, socioeconomic and psychological implications of development. Students will then be able to apply these principles to the understanding and treatment of children, adults, seniors and families.

PSY 203 Multicultural Counseling (3)
This course provides students with a systematic study of the cross-cultural issues, values, behaviors and economic factors that influence the counseling process. Students will be provided with the theories and research in counseling clients from diverse populations including severe and non-severe mental disorders. Students will understand how their own cultural values and biases influence the therapeutic process by exploring practical applications and through experiential training.

PSY 225 Counseling Theories (3)
Students will learn a variety of contrasting psychological theories, principles and methods related to the counseling process in a multicultural society with individuals, couples, families and groups of all ages and backgrounds aimed at promoting wellness, and improving restoring and maintaining healthy relationships. Students will then learn to compare and contrast these different theories and examine how recovery oriented care can be applied to each.

PSY 227 Introduction to Counseling (3)
This course provides students with an experiential laboratory to learn and practice listening and attending skills essential to the counseling process. A recovery oriented philosophy will be promoted as the students learn how to assess psychological behaviors and disorders, conceptualize problems, develop treatment goals and utilize therapeutic techniques in their work with individuals. Contextual factors including personal experiences, culture, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, disability, spirituality, gender and sexual orientation will be explored and students will have an opportunity to meet with various consumers and family members to understand their experience.

PSY 230 Assessment (3)
Students will be trained in the assessment process of individuals, couples and families by understanding the theory, administration and interpretation of clinical assessment techniques and instruments. Norm-referenced and criterion- referenced assessment, statistical concepts, social and cultural factors related to assessment and evaluation are explored. Students will learn to utilize assessments in clinical evaluations of people throughout the lifespan and make appropriate referrals when necessary. Prerequisite PSY 268

PSY 234 Career Counseling (3)
Students are provided with an introduction to the major career counseling theories, decision-making models and understanding of the interrelationships among and between work, family and other life roles. Students will conceptualize a career counseling case, by assessing the individual’s career interests and goals, developing intervention techniques and identifying vocational counseling resources. Practical applications and experiential training will be included in this course of study.

PSY 235 Group Counseling (3)
A systematic examination and critical analysis of different theoretical approaches to group treatment is the focus of this course. Students will learn how to assess and treat individuals in a group setting, and understand how all aspects of diversity impacts the group process. Practical applications and experiential training will be included during this course of study. Prerequisite PSY 225

PSY 236 Family Counseling (3)
This course examines different theoretical approaches to the treatment of families. Students will evaluate the empirical data that supports and refutes these theories and learn when and how to assess, plan and provide family counseling in a clinical setting. They will also process their experiences in their own families and understand how this may impact their practice. Students have an opportunity to meet with various consumers and family members to better understand their experience of mental illness, treatment and recovery. Prerequisite PSY 225, 227

PSY 237 Human Sexuality (1) this course is only offered to students who enrolled prior to August 1, 2012
This course explores human sexual behavior in a historical and cross cultural perspective, as well as, the treatment of sexual dysfunction in a counseling practice.

PSY 238 Alcohol and Substance Abuse (1) this course is only available to students who enrolled prior to August 1, 2012
This course will examine the causes, impact and treatment of alcohol and substance abuse. Students will be introduced to different treatment models and understand the role of contextual factors that relate to this treatment

PSY 239 Addiction Counseling (3)
This course will explore the etiology, identification, evaluation, effect, treatment and prevention of psychoactive drug abuse. Students will be able to differentiate between use, abuse, dependence and addiction of alcohol and chemical substances. They will examine the myths, stereotypes and contextual factors which contribute to the use and abuse of substances, patterns of abuse, family dynamics, client education and community resources when working with individuals with substance use or co-occurring disorders.

PSY 240 Spousal Abuse (1) this course is only available to students who enrolled prior to August 1, 2012
This course is an overview of the dynamics and treatment of spousal abuse/domestic violence. Students will explore the causes of battering relationships, social and cultural variables, and the myths about battering. The physical and psychological impact violence has on victims, children, family and society will be examined.

PSY 241 Couples Counseling (3)
This course provides a systematic evaluation and critical analysis of different theoretical approaches to working with couples. Students will learn to assess, provide treatment and promote healthy functioning of premarital, marital and non-marital couples and understand the impact of abuse, divorce, sexual dysfunction, mental illness and diversity has on the couple and their treatment. Students will explore their own experiences and biases and participate in experiential components including role play, case studies and video observations. Prerequisite PSY 225, 227

PSY 254 Crisis and Trauma (3)
This course reviews the psychological, biological and social origins of violence and how crises, violent events and natural disasters impact the individual and their family. Students will learn to utilize crisis intervention techniques, identify when and how to triage and understand how the individual’s background impacts their response to crisis and trauma. Students will also learn about the ethical and legal implication of crisis work including assessing and reporting abuse, suicidality and homicality.

PSY 263 Law and Ethics in Counseling (3)
This course reviews the current legal and ethical standards related to the provision of counseling services in California. Content will include but not be limited to ethical and statutory, regulatory and decisional laws that delineates the scope of practice, documentation of services, psychotherapist-client privilege, confidentiality, client dangerousness to self or others, and treatment of minors with and without parental consent. Professional behavior, licensing practices and the differences in legal and ethical stands for different type of work settings will also be explored.

PSY 265 Psychopharmacology
This course will introduce students to the biological, psychological and neurological aspects of psychopharmacological treatment of all mental disorders. Students will understand their role in working as a member of a treatment team, the impact of culture and ethnicity to pharmacological treatment and the mode of action, side effects and dosage ranges of various drugs. Recovery oriented practices will be explored as it pertains to treatment with medications. Prerequisite PSY 268

PSY 267 Special Topics (3)
Seminar on any one of many topics in the field of psychology. Format varies with topic and instructor(s).

PSY 268 Psychopathology (3)
This course provides students with an integrative overview of the etiology, classification and prognosis of all mental disorders using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-IV TR). Diagnostic criteria, treatment modalities and placement criteria are reviewed for the different disorders, as well as the impact of culture, diversity and economics has on the diagnostic process.

PSY 269A Counseling Practicum (3)
Taken concurrently with the student’s fieldwork placement, this course guides the student in relating counseling principles and recovery oriented care to a variety of clinical settings. All fieldwork sites must be approved by by the department prior to beginning this practicum class. Students will provide 75 hours of face-to-face counseling (individual, couples, family or group counseling) with no more than 25 hours of client advocacy. All MSMC and BBS paperwork during the semester will be maintained throughout the term. While enrolled in PSY 269 A, B, and C the student will participate in personal psychotherapy at least every other week for a total of 25 hours. Prerequisite PSY 203, 225, 227, 235, 236, 241, 254, 263, 268, 274, 281

PSY 269B Advanced Counseling Practicum (3)
This course, taken concurrent with the second semester of the student’s fieldwork placement, continues to guide the student in relating counseling principles and recovery oriented care to a variety of clinical settings. Advanced counseling skills and practice will be introduced during the students 75 hours of face-to-face counseling (individual, couples, family or group counseling or client advocacy) and MSMC and BBS paperwork will be maintained. PSY 298 Capstone Exam will be completed while enrolled in this course, in addition to completing the required personal psychotherapy. Prerequisite PSY 269A

PSY 269C Professional Practices (3)
This course, taken concurrent with the third semester of the student’s fieldwork placement, continues to guide the student in relating counseling principles, recovery oriented care and developing professional practice in their fieldwork setting. Continued development of professional counseling skills and practices are accomplished during the students 75 hours of face-to-face counseling (individual, couples, family or group counseling or client advocacy). All MSMC and BBS paperwork will be maintained in addition to completing the required personal psychotherapy. Prerequisite PSY 269B

PSY 274 Child and Adolescent Counseling (3)
This course examines the theory and process of working with children and adolescents in counseling. Students’ learn how to assess children and adolescents with all types of psychological disorders, conceptualize problems, develop treatment plans, utilize therapeutic techniques and explore issues of abuse. Contextual factors (e.g. child abuse, culture including socioeconomic, ethnicity, sexual orientation, race, disability, spirituality) that impact the counseling process and how students’ personal experiences impact their training and practice as a professional child and adolescent counselor will be explored. Prerequisite PSY 202, 227, 268

PSY 281 Community Mental Health (3)
This course provides students with an overview of the systems of care for severe and non-severe mental disorders including counseling, recovery oriented care and client advocacy. Students will their learn to their role as a member of a treatment team and how to utilize public, private, and community services/resources given contextual factors (e.g. child abuse, domestic violence, culture including socioeconomic, ethnicity, sexual orientation, race, disability, and spirituality) that impact the process of community based treatment.

PSY 290 Workshop (1-3) this course is only offered to students who enrolled prior to August 1, 2012
Experiential class focusing on particular area of interest. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

PSY 291 Written Examination (0)
Comprehensive written examination based on the student's completed coursework. The Written Examination is completed during the last semester of the student's coursework. Students may take the Written Examination a maximum of two times. The Examination must be successfully completed before the end of the semester the student intends to graduate.

PSY 298 Capstone Exam (0)
Students will complete a written and oral analysis of a case provided by the department. The paper and presentation will integrate the content areas of the MFT program and the BBS clinical case vignette guidelines. The capstone exam is taken concurrent with PSY 269B. If the student is unsuccessful in passing the capstone exam it may be repeated only one time and must be completed within one semester of the original exam. Concurrent with PSY 269B

PSY 299 Independent Study (1-3)
Independent exploration of a topic in graduate psychology supervised by department faculty member. Prerequisites: consent of instructor. May be repeated for a total of 6 units.