Professional Counseling

Mission Statement

The mission of the Professional Counseling Program is to prepare culturally and ethically competent counselors to serve the historically underserved peoples of the Appalachian region and beyond. Program graduates will be able to utilize psychological principles and counseling techniques to assist clients in the areas of educational, personal, social, and vocational development.

The program is designed to encourage personal and professional growth. Graduates of the Professional Counseling Programs are prepared to provide counseling and consultation services in school, mental health, or community agency settings and are eligible to stand for licensure or certification in their respective area of specialty after graduation.

The Program

The purpose of the CACREP accredited programs in Counseling is to prepare candidates for effective performance in professional positions in counseling in school and non-school settings. The prospective candidate should consult the Program Director of the Professional Counseling program prior to enrollment regarding the appropriateness of this curriculum to his or her situation and professional objectives. The program places heavy emphasis on the interpersonal and helping relationship and requires considerable commitment on the part of the candidate. Once admitted, the candidate must consult with their faculty advisor concerning proper sequencing of courses and licensure requirements. 

The Professional Counseling program combines academic preparation in the areas of counseling and research with practicum and internship assignments. Emphasis areas are available in either PreK-12 School Counseling or Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Candidates in the two concentrations (PreK-12 School and Clinical Mental Health Counseling) must take the Common Counseling Core.

Degrees and Certificates


COUN-501: Prof Orientation/Ethics

Credits 3

An introduction and orientation to the counseling profession, including an overview of the theories, professional roles, training and credentialing standards of the profession, problems, issues, trends and ethical responsibilities in the field of counseling, and multiple approaches to service provision with diverse populations.

COUN-508: Foundations of School Counseling

Credits 3

This course studies the history and trends of the modern school guidance and counseling movement and examines the challenges and situations the school counselor faces in the school setting. Curriculum development and teaching methods utilizing best practices for the effective delivery of a comprehensive guidance program encompassing cultural diversities and special needs are emphasized. Ethical and legal standards, as well as organizations governing the profession of school counseling are addressed.

COUN-509: Foundations of Mental Health Counseling

Credits 3

This course provides an overview of the history, philosophy, and current trends in clinical mental health counseling. Attention is paid to the role and scope of practice of the mental health counselor, including prevention, intervention, consultation, education, and advocacy, as well as the operation of programs and networks that promote mental health in a multicultural society. Ethical and legal standards, as well as organizations governing the profession of clinical mental health counseling are addressed.

COUN-521: Career Counseling

Credits 3

This course studies the various theories, practices, methods, and processes of career development and educational planning and provides information on the interpretation and utilization of current data pertaining to career development and counseling.

COUN-531: Social/Cultural Aspects

Credits 3

This course will highlight the importance of diverse cultural factors on the counseling relationship. It provides a study of social changes and trends in sex roles stereotyping, societal subgroups, and diverse lifestyles. Attention is given to how stereotyping and personal world views may influence counselors' judgments and dynamics within the counseling relationship.

COUN-541: Counseling Skills

Credits 3

This course provides an understanding of the philosophical bases of the counseling processes. It focuses on the application of counseling theories and inculcation of core counseling micro-skills, emphasizing the analysis of solution-focused brief counseling approaches to bring an integrative perspective to problems of parents and their children.

COUN-551: Personality/Mental Health Issues

Credits 3

This course provides an overview of the personality theories with application to counseling and education and includes adjustment issues and various perspectives of mental health with application to education and counseling settings.

COUN-577: Addiction Counseling

Credits 3

This course provides students with an overview of the theories and etiology of addictions and addictive behaviors. Topics to be covered include substance abuse and other addiction issues, diagnosis, comorbidity, treatment planning, and psychopharmacology. Students will explore treating diverse populations from individual, family, and group counseling approaches.

COUN-581: Human Growth & Development

Credits 3

This course emphasizes the study of the psychological, intellectual, moral, social, and physical development of the individual across the life span and analysis of current research with diverse populations.

COUN-593: Practicum

Credits 3

The practicum is a field-based experience consisting of 100 supervised clock hours which provide candidates with opportunities to put into practice the knowledge and skills developed in their program of counseling study. Pass/Fail grade.

COUN-595: Topics in Counseling

Credits 3

A special topic developed by a member of the graduate faculty to enrich the existing course offerings and to afford expanded learning and experiences for candidates. Topics are announced in advance and the faculty member submits an outline with requirements to the Dean of the School of Education prior to offering the topic.

COUN-611: Counseling Theories

Credits 3

This course provides an overview of various theoretical orientations used in counseling. The experiential part of the course gives candidates practice in using counseling and relationship skills in preparation for counseling practicum and/or field experience.

COUN-621: Crisis Intervention and Consultation

Credits 3

The purpose of this course is to highlight the importance of crisis intervention and disaster relief counseling and the role consultation plays in the counseling relationship. Focus will be on working with clients who are in crisis, disaster response and other current topics in crisis intervention and consultation.

COUN-631: Group Counseling

Credits 3

The course emphasizes didactic and experiential learning in group counseling and guidance. This course involves experience as a group leader and/or group participant.

COUN-651: Evidence-Based Trmnt/Planning

Credits 3

This course is designed to assist clinical mental health counselors in designing client-centered, individualized, and culturally sound treatment plans for a wide variety of clinical mental health disorders. Candidates completing this course with satisfactory evaluation will be able to create basic treatment plans using evidence-based interventions for depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and other common presenting problems, and to construct means of evaluation for client progress.

COUN-654: Populations in MH Counseling

Credits 3

The course covers the rationale, scope, and nature of providing counseling services to a range of populations in community mental health settings. Populations, groups, and their unique counseling needs will be explored, with topics such as homelessness, addiction and recovery, military veterans, and crisis stabilization explored in depth in both the classroom seminar setting, and in extensive seminars, tours, and discussions with licensed mental health clinicians at remote sites. The course will explore the roles and functions of clinical mental health counselors in various practice settings and the importance of relationships between counselors and other professionals, including interdisciplinary treatment teams. A primary focus will be the range of mental health service delivery, such as inpatient, outpatient, partial treatment, and aftercare, and the clinical mental health counseling services network.

COUN-662: Psychopathology

Credits 3

This course studies disorders and pathologies that affect children, adolescents, and adults. Etiologies and the current diagnostic criteria (DSM IVTR) are analyzed along with treatments and interventions appropriate for these disorders.

COUN-669: Psychopharmacology

Credits 3

The understanding of the basic neurobiology of psychopathology and how psychotropic medications treat such conditions is the foundation of this class. An emphasis is placed on the role of the counselor as a member of a treatment team who helps facilitate client treatment compliance and monitors the efficacy and side effect manifestations of psychotropic treatment, while helping to integrate that treatment with other nonpharmacological modalities.

COUN-671: Assessment in Counseling

Credits 3

Individual assessment of cognitive, affective, motor, and academic performance. Topics covered include review of psychometric properties of standardized assessment, clinical assessment interviewing, structured observations, rating scales and the role of assessment in the treatment planning process. Candidates will administer a standardized test, complete structured observations, clinical assessments interviews, rating scales, and an integrated assessment report.

COUN-677: Legal & Ethical Issues in Professional Counseling

Credits 3

The course surveys moral, ethical, and legal codes that govern and influence behavior and decision making in professional counseling. The students will learn key statutes and case law that pertain to counseling practice as well as how that relates to the American Counseling Association Code of Ethics. Special focus of attention will be paid to HIPAA, Privacy and Limitations, and Tennessee Licensure Statues for Professional Counseling.

COUN-681: Children and Families

Credits 3

This course provides for the study of family dynamics and key issues and addresses the related needs of children. Emphasis is on using insights from family systems thinking, basic concepts of marriage and family counseling, and solution-focused brief counseling approaches to bring an integrative perspective to problems of parents and their children. Skills training for parents in handling behavior disorders is also studied.

COUN-687: Foundations of Marriage and Family Counseling

Credits 3

This course provides an overview of Marriage and Family counseling theories, trends, and practical applications of approaches in relationship counseling. An historical overview of family relationships across multiple cultures and a survey of assessments utilized in Marriage and Family counseling are reviewed.

COUN-698: Internship/Seminar School Counseling

Credits 6

The internship is a capstone experience designed to provide school counseling candidates opportunities to use and apply the knowledge, concepts, and skills acquired in their graduate program. Interns take on role(s) of a guidance counselor at their school site(s). They will engage in a full range of activities including student planning, implementation of a guidance curriculum, individual and group counseling, services for the disabled, and staff development. Six hundred on-site clock hours are required; and supervision is provided through scheduled professional seminars and field supervision on the school site. Pass/Fail grade.

COUN-699: Internship/Seminar Mental Health Counseling

Credits 6

This internship is a capstone experience designed to provide clinical mental health counseling candidates opportunities to use and apply the knowledge, concepts, and skills acquired in their graduate program. Interns take on the role(s) of a counselor at their placement site(s). They will engage in a full range of activities, including intake, assessment, diagnosis, and individual and group counseling. Six hundred on-site clock hours are required, and weekly faculty supervision is provided on an individual and group basis, as well as on-site supervision by an appropriately credentialed practitioner. Pass/Fail grade.