Master’s-level counseling psychologists are part of the mental health care field. They are practitioners skilled in the art of behavior assessment and change. These skills are utilized in a variety of professions, including business, education, medicine, mental health, allied human services, and social services. Mental health delivery is a thriving field and offers many opportunities for personal and professional growth in a variety of settings. The demands of today’s society make this field one of continued growth.
Arcadia’s graduates are prepared to meet the current and future needs of the profession. The program is structured to develop professional level competence in the following:
- therapeutic techniques
- use of diagnostic nomenclature
- psychological assessment
- consultation and educational strategies
- knowledge of and adherence to professional ethical standards
- interpersonal and cultural sensitivity
Applied Behavior Analysis
Behavior analysis services help people to
learn new behaviors and to increase or reduce existing behaviors. These
services range from addressing challenging behaviors of an individual
person to changing the behavior of an entire organization or community.
Behavior analysis has many applications, such as developing training
procedures that build verbal skills in children with autism, helping
teachers to work with students in inclusive settings, and preventing
delinquency. Behavior analysis has been applied to a great variety of
problems such as couples therapy, individual behavior therapy,
behavioral consultation, and addictions treatment. For more information,
see listing for Arcadia Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior
This certificate program responds to the increased need for trained professionals to work with children with autism and their families. Living with autism generates many challenges and families often report high levels of stress as they learn to cope with a variety of issues, from personal relationships to supporting siblings and finding appropriate services throughout the person’s lifetime. Even though no single treatment has been identified to cure autism or other severe disability, a good therapeutic and educational program can effectively teach skills that will improve the person’s independence, as well as reduce the occurrence of challenging behaviors that frequently hinder the person’s participation in typical community activities.
Child and Family: Growing Needs
Many families today have a family member—child or adult—with mental health needs. Studies estimate that about 20 percent of children today have some type of mental health need. Arcadia’s specialty in the area of Child and Family Therapy recognizes the simultaneous mental health needs of parents, families and children, and the impact of child on family or family on child.
Counselors are needed who are trained specifically to treat children, adolescents and their families. Courses focus on child and family mental health, including psycho¬pathology and treatment strategies, as well as adolescent, couples and family therapy.
Community Public Health
Counselors are often asked to educate the public on mental health issues and implement wellness/recovery programs; however, counseling curricula usually offer minimal training in these areas. Public Health principles support both the prevention and advocacy missions of counselors as well as the Counseling Psychology program’s emphasis on evidence-based practice and assessment. Through this concentration, students will be able to learn about the systemic forces impacting mental as well as physical health, and how to intervene not simply with individuals, but also within communities to create health-promoting environments and practices.
Mental Health Counseling
Arcadia’s Mental Health Counseling program provides a solid core in counseling plus opportunities for electives in specialty areas of interest. Electives include, but are not limited to, the psychology of women, addictive behaviors, and community perspectives on sexual assault counseling as well as Trauma and Child/Family Therapy courses.
Professional school counselors serve a vital role in maximizing student achievement in complex and diverse school environments. Arcadia’s program prepares students for positions in the public schools in Pennsylvania as elementary and secondary school counselors. The program is structured to meet the standards set by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Trauma: An Emerging Field
The past decade has produced a clear rise in trauma-related events—“terrifying experiences that rupture people’s sense of predictability and invulnerability”—confronting the general population on many levels, from individual to international. Arcadia’s specialization in trauma responds to the growing need for counselors to assist clients who have been impacted by traumatic experiences, such as natural disasters, sexual or physical abuse, war, or other devastating events.
Advanced counselor training in trauma includes both short-term interventions and long-term care. Specialty courses focus on advanced treatment and recovery in trauma-intensive environments, strategies for treating grief and bereavement, and disaster mental health training (in collaboration with the Red Cross). Several Arcadia faculty members have firsthand experience in trauma counseling, having served as volunteers with the Red Cross hurricane recovery efforts in Texas and Louisiana.