Psychology 640

PSYC 640: Professional Orientation and Function in Mental Health Counseling

Prerequisite: Graduate standing in clinical psychology or permission of instructor

Credit Hours: (3)

An orientation to professional counseling with an emphasis on mental health counseling. The course traces the historical development and trends in counseling as a discipline, and assesses current identity and functions. The roles of professional organizations and associations are analyzed. The laws and ethics regarding the practice of professional counseling are studied. Issues related to mental health practice are included. Collaborative consultation and issues of outreach and treatment/prevention strategies will also be discussed.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

  • Historical and philosophical foundations of counseling, standards for practice, and credentialing.
  • Theoretical Foundations of counseling
  • Review of roles, functions of professional organizations: American Counseling Association, American Rehabilitation Association, and the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and the American Psychological Association, American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.
  • The profession of counseling is presented with an emphasis on the following specialty areas in counseling: Mental Health Counseling, Grief Counseling, Career Counseling, Employee Assistance Counseling, Substance Abuse Counseling, Marriage and Family Counseling, College Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling, Pastoral Counseling, And Counseling Offenders.
  • Legal Issues witch will covered will include the law governing the practice of counseling in the United States, and legal issues relating to licensure, confidentially, and other legal aspects. A review of licensure laws by state for mental health counseling and licensed professional counselors will be included. Expert witness status is examined.
  • Counseling in managed care and HMO settings, which will include the review of types of manage care, HMOs, financial issues, and ethical issues relevant to mental health providers and manage care.
  • Insurance issues for mental health professionals will be examined
  • Outreach, prevention, promotion and advocacy for positive mental health approaches will be presented.
  • The relationship of counselors to other human service providers will be considered.
  • The profession of mental health counseling (mental health counseling movement) is presented with attention to the following: different roles that mental health counselors play in different settings, types of clients that mental health counselors serve, theories and treatment procedures of mental disorders, procedures for referral and consultation, and types of approaches including individual, group and family.
  • The differing varieties of consultation – e.g., mental health, process organizational, etc. – and their appropriate uses will be introduced.
  • The value of the various forms of consultation, ethical issues, and research on effectiveness will be covered.


Detailed Description of Course

The course will use professional texts, outside readings, class presentations, and exercises to demonstrate issues that professional counselors and mental health providers encounter. The student will be required to interview a professional in a specialty field of counseling, research a specialty field and make an oral presentation in class.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

The students will develop knowledge of counseling as profession. The students will become familiar with the areas of work in counseling, the ethical and legal issues in practice, and have an understanding and have a theoretical and historical perspective of counseling. The student will have an understanding of practice issues relating to counseling and mental health counseling. The student will also learn about consultative activities relating to the development and presentation of programs in prevention, outreach and staff training and will become familiar with ethical issues in consultation activities.


Assessment Measures

Graded assignments will include in-class exams, a final examination, and a project which will involve planning one or more components of a program evaluation in a local mental health, health, or other human service system.


Other Course Information



Review and Approval

May, 2010