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Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions

PSYG 500 - Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy    3 credits

Familiarizes the student with the major theoretical schools of counseling and psychotherapy, including: Psychoanalytic, Existential, Humanistic, Behavioral, Gestalt, Cognitive, and Family Systems. Students will learn to distinguish among different approaches and acquire a working knowledge of the terminology and concepts identified with each approach.

PSYG 503 - Psychopathology    3 credits

This course explores the emotional, cognitive, somatic, and behavioral symptoms of mental disturbance. Students will become acquainted with the subjective experience of various symptoms and symptom clusters, patterns of family and community responses to afflicted individuals, and research and evolving theories pertaining to the etiology of symptoms. Students will also be introduced to the use of the DSM-5 as a format for the classification of disorders and the choice of appropriate treatment. Students will acquire a working knowledge of the DSM-5 and will develop the ability to diagnose various mental disorders. Prerequisite: PSYG 500, or may be taken concurrently with PSYG 500.

PSYG 506 - Techniques of Counseling and Psychotherapy I    3 credits

This course fosters the development of basic counseling and psychotherapy skills through a combination of didactic instruction and role-plays (including required videotaped role-plays). Focus is on establishing a therapeutic rapport, formulating appropriate directions for therapy, and conceptualizing strategies for intervention. Specific skills include listening, suicide intervention, assessment, formulation of questions, and empathic responses. Prerequisites: PSYG 500 and 503

PSYG 508 - Techniques of Counseling and Psychotherapy II    3 credits

Focuses on advanced contemporary psychodynamic methods of using the therapeutic relationship for long-term change. Emphasis is placed on the unconscious, the therapeutic alliance, transference and counter-transference, defenses and resistance, treating personality disorders, and case conceptualization.  This course incorporates experiential training which includes videotaping or live observation of role-plays. Prerequisites: PSYG 500, 503 and 506

PSYG 510 - Research Design and Methodology    3 credits

An overview of many frequently used research designs in psychology. Through a study of research methodology, students learn how to select an appropriate research design and how to employ valid procedures in collecting data. The course will foster analytical and critical thinking skills through a combination of theory and practical experience, prepare students to read relevant research in their field and to write a research proposal, and provide background for future work in the area of research.

PSYG 512 - Legal and Ethical Issues in Counseling and Psychotherapy    3 credits

The course familiarizes students with the history and development of professional ethics and standards and their legal implications in the areas of counseling and psychotherapy. Students will be required to become familiar with the Codes of Ethical Conduct of the American Counseling Association, the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy and the American Psychological Association. Topics covered include: privileged communication, confidentiality, rights of client and agency, civil commitment, licensure, and relevant State of Pennsylvania laws and statutes. Prerequisites: PSYG 500 and 503.

PSYG 514 - Development Across the Lifespan: Individual and Family     3 credits

Covers human development from a lifespan perspective, with in-depth exploration of selected topics relevant to different periods in the life cycle for individuals and families. Students will be introduced to theoretical and empirical approaches to understanding key developmental issues as well as the role of the family and social context in human development.

PSYG 561 - Independent Research in Clinical and Counseling Psychology I    3 credits

This course is for students who wish to advance their research experience under the supervision of a mentor. Any research must meet criteria for exemption by the IRB (See IRB Guidelines).  All students will make a presentation of their project at the end of the semester. The course will promote an integrative understanding of the subject by a) exposing students to relevant literature, and b) may promote opportunities for them to interact with key stakeholders.  Students have two options: 1) Students will complete a comprehensive Literature Review and 2) Students will complete a full proposal.  Only those who choose option 2 and successfully complete these requirements (A- or higher) will be eligible to continue to Independent Study II. (Pre-requisite: PSYG 510 with a grade of A or A-)

PSYG 562 - Independent Research in Clinical and Counseling Psychology II    3 credits

This course is a continuation of Independent Study I. Students may conduct the research, and report on the results and write an article that would be suitable for submission to a peer-reviewed journal in professional psychology (Pre-requisite: Independent Study I with a complete full proposal).

PSYG 530 - Group Therapy     3 credits

Presents a theoretical and experiential understanding of group therapy techniques and processes. Students observe group process, practice interventions, and critique their own development as group therapists. Active involvement in didactic, practice groups is required.

PSYG 532 - The Role of Culture & Gender in Counseling and Psychotherapy                 3 credits

This course examines how ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and other cultural factors influence psychological experience, expectations for therapy and the therapeutic relationship. Emphasis will be on developing a fuller appreciation for the complexities of cultural factors both in students’ own lives and those of persons from different backgrounds.

PSYG 536 - Psychological Assessment    3 credits

This course introduces the student to the theory and practice in psychological assessment. Students will learn the history and theoretical foundation of psychological assessment. Students will also acquire an understanding of basic statistical concepts in relation to psychological testing and explore various instruments. The course will increase the students’ awareness of ethical /legal assessment issues with culturally diverse populations. Prerequisite: PSYG 503

This course is not intended to prepare the student for proficiency or qualification in the independent administration, scoring and interpretation of psychological tests at the doctoral level. 

PSYG 542 - Career Development and Counseling    3 credits

This course is an overview of career development theory with a focus on clinical application. It is designed to help students develop an understanding of career development through the lifespan, apply career counseling techniques, gain exposure to career assessment inventories, identify career information resources, implement career education programs, and address legal and ethical issues related to employment.

PSYG 544 - Eating Disorders    3 credits

This course surveys various theories of the etiology, clinical perspectives, and integrated treatment approaches for eating disorders. Developmental, biopsychosocial, and cultural considerations will be discussed.

PSYG 546 - Bereavement Counseling    3 credits

Introduces the student to the theory and practice of therapeutic interventions for bereavement and grieving.  Developmental issues will be discussed as they relate to the bereavement process.                                                                            

PSYG 602 - Play Therapy    3 credits

This course provides an introduction to the major theories and techniques of play therapy as it is used to address a wide variety of clinical problems, in both individual and family settings. Classes include: lecture, class discussion, exploration of materials, practice of techniques, and viewing of videotape presentations by current leaders in the field. Prerequisites: PSYG 500, PSYG 514.

PSYG 604 - A Systemic Approach to the Problems of Adolescents    3 credits

Reviews normal adolescent development and the psychological and psychosocial problems commonly experienced during this phase of life. Problems to be discussed will include: delinquency, drug abuse, violence, eating disorders, depression, and suicide. Though a variety of approaches will be considered, the family systems model will be emphasized. Prerequisites: PSYG 514, PSYG 608).

PSYG 608 – Couple and Family Therapy    3 credits

Introduces the student to the field of family therapy and systems thinking. Material covered will span the entire history of family therapy, from the early movement in Palo Alto and Philadelphia, to Bowen, Satir, the Milan Team, strategic, and narrative models. Although this course is primarily oriented to studying theory, some basic practice issues are discussed. Video used.

PSYG 612 - Advanced Theories of Couple and Family Therapy    3 credits

In-depth analysis of major family theories selected from those reviewed in PSYG 608 (Couple and Family Therapy). Models will be selected from the following:  Bowenian, Structural, Strategic, Milan and Narrative.  Students will read original texts and critically examine the views taken by proponents of each theory. Prerequisite: PSYG 608

PSYG 614 - Couple and Family Therapy Techniques    3 credits

Introduces the skills necessary to begin clinical work with a family or couple. All aspects of treatment will be explored and practiced by the students. Videotapes will be produced by the student. Prerequisites: PSYG 608 and 612

PSYG 615 - Special Topics in Child and Adolescent Therapy    3 credits

(Title of the course will be included on transcript)

PSYG 616 - Advanced Couple and Family Therapy Techniques    3 credits

Uses family role-play to examine the therapeutic techniques best suited to the situations presented by that family. Each student will be videotaped in the role of therapist for a role-play family. The student’s therapeutic style and skill will be critiqued by the class and instructor. Students will also role-play a family member for an extended period in order to understand the experience of being a client. Didactic lectures will cover advanced techniques with stepfamilies, child-problem families, and families with addiction. Prerequisites: PSYG 608, 612, and 614

PSYG 618 - Human Sexuality and Marriage    3 credits

Introduction to a theoretical understanding of the physiological and developmental stages of human sexuality. Taking a thorough sex history and addressing some sexual dysfunctions will be included. Working with couples in conjoint therapy will also be emphasized.

PSYG 622 - Introduction to the Assessment & Treatment of Psychological Trauma       3 credits

This course covers: the history of the study of trauma; current knowledge regarding the physiological, biochemical, neurological, psychological and interpersonal sequelae of trauma; trauma and memory; incidence and prevalence of trauma in various populations; protective factors; and specialized treatment techniques.

PSYG 624 - Treatment of Complex Chronic Trauma Responses    3 credits

This course develops skills in assessing and treating complex trauma responses arising from repeated and/or long-term toxic experience. Course content includes: the effects of chronic trauma on development; diagnostic dilemmas; establishing safety in and out of the therapeutic relationship; responding to self-injurious attempts at self-soothing; working with dissociative states; pacing the processing of traumatic material; challenges to the therapeutic relationship; and therapist self-care and self-awareness. Prerequisite: PSYG 622.

PSYG 628 - Working Effectively in Trauma-Intensive Communities    3 credits

This course focuses on the assessment, intervention, consulting, and collaboration skills needed to work effectively both in environments that tend to engender trauma responses (e.g., drug or gang-infested neighborhoods, war zones, prisons) and in environments in which a large portion of the population is suffering from trauma responses (e.g., shelters, prisons, refugee camps, the foster care system, residential treatment settings). Prerequisite: PSYG 622

PSYG 630 - Foundations of Addictive Behaviors    3 credits

Surveys theories and research in the field of addiction. Covers substance abuse as well as models of addiction applied to eating disorders, gambling, and sexual promiscuity.

PYSG 635: Special Topics in Diversity    3 credits

Topics will vary and will be noted on the course syllabus. Title of the course will be included on transcript.

PSYG 636 - Special Topics in Addictions    3 credits

Topics will vary and will be noted on the course syllabus. Title of the course will be included on transcript.

PSYG 638 - Systemic Treatment of Addictions    3 credits

Covers the topic of understanding and treating the family affected by the presence of addicted members. Research and treatment options will be discussed. Prerequisite: PSYG 608.

PSYG 640 - Competencies for LGBTQ Counseling    3 credits

This course is designed to introduce students to and build competencies for clinical work and counseling with members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer communities.  It includes discussion and immersive exercises to better understand these communities and opportunities for developing specific skills to assist in working with these communities.

PSYG 645 - Special Topics (General)    3 credits

Topics will vary and will be noted on the course syllabus. Title of the course will be included on transcript.

PSYG 652 - Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorders    3 credits

This course is designed to provide students with a basic understanding of the current research into the etiology and range of manifestations of autism spectrum disorders. This course will also provide students with knowledge about effective methods of assessment and intervention for autism spectrum disorders.

PSYG 654 - Treatment Approaches to Autism Spectrum Disorders    3 credits

This course focuses on various, evidence-based treatment approaches to Autism Spectrum Disorders.  Applied Behavior Analysis is taught, as well as cognitive therapies, coaching and relationship-based approaches. The class includes practice sessions and other experiential ways of learning.

PSYG 656 - Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Psychosocial, Legal & Medical Issues   3 credits

This course explores these various aspects of adult life for the autistic person. It includes concepts of self-advocacy, housing, higher education, employment and the role of government agencies like the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

PSYG 658 - Treating Families with an Autistic Member over the Lifespan    3 credits

This course examines marriages, siblings, extended families and adult relationships for people on the autism spectrum over their lifespan. Family therapy with these clients and their families will be observed and discussed. Specific family therapy approaches and techniques will be examined, learned and practiced.

PSYG 660 - Functional Behavior Assessment and Crisis Intervention    3 credits

This course is designed for students to learn basic concepts and techniques in functional behavior assessment (FBA) and crisis intervention, with a particular emphasis on working with individuals with autism spectrum disorders and other serious emotional and behavioral disorders. By the end of this course, students will demonstrate competence in conducting FBAs, developing positive behavior support plans based on FBA data, measuring behavioral progress, data collection and analysis, identifying potential crisis situations that may occur, and proactively developing crisis intervention plans. This course is required for students in the autism spectrum disorders concentration within the Master’s program in clinical and counseling psychology (Prerequisite: PSYG 652).

PSYG 662 - Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents    3 credits

This course introduces students to the skills necessary in the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents.   Students will develop an awareness of the unique challenges that are involved in working with children and adolescents, and review relevant interview strategies and treatment techniques. Prerequisite:  PSYG 514.

PSYG 672 - Assessment and Treatment of Co-Occurring Disorders    3 credits

This course provides students with an understanding of co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse disorders and their impact on the individual, family, and community. It includes an integrated approach to address the issues accompanying the disorder. Students will have the opportunity to practice these skills, and receive feedback from the instructor, and their peers (Prerequisite: PSYG 630).

PSYG 675 –Advanced Techniques in Trauma Intervention    3 credits

This course focuses on the review and practice of skills in advanced techniques of trauma work with individuals and groups, including intervention in large scale traumatic events that have broad impact. Prerequisite: PSYG 622

PSYG 680 - Introduction to Geropsychology    3 credits

This course provides an overview of theories and concepts related to the practice of counseling and psychotherapy with older adults. Students will be introduced to relevant theories of aging and models of treatment.  In addition, students will explore society’s views on aging as they relate to countertransference issues in work with elders.  Students will gain understanding of specific cultural and gender issues related to aging and how to approach diversity issues in older adults from a social justice perspective.  Students will be informed about neurological and physical changes associated with aging and their impact on treatment.  Finally, through exercises and in-person interviews, students will gain the ability to develop rapport with older adults and focus on issues of importance to this population.

PSYG 682 - Working with Latino Families    3 credits

The purpose of this course is helping students become better equipped in understanding the factors that influence the psychological experiences of Latino families in the U.S.  Students will be introduced to the skills necessary to provide clinical work to Latino families and couples.   To this end, a number of relevant topics will be examined, including immigration, acculturation, ethnic identity, stereotypes and discrimination.  The readings encompass many Latino ethnic groups, but they are not representative of all Latino families residing in the U.S.  Students will explore and practice all aspects of treatment. Students will produce videotapes.

PSYG 684 – Mindfulness and Psychotherapy     3 credits

This course is an overview of the application of mindfulness practice to psychology and counseling.  The course begins with the history of spiritual and wisdom-based traditions of meditation and contemplative practice. Research on the relationship of mindfulness to well-being and brain functioning is reviewed. The application of mindfulness to current treatment approaches in counseling, including specific challenges such as depression, anxiety, co-occurring disorders and trauma, is presented. Given the importance of a subjective understanding of the foundations of mindfulness, experiential practice in mindfulness techniques is a core aspect of the course.  

PSYG 705 - Practicum    3 credits

This course requires at least 100 hours of on-site experience. It will provide the opportunity for students to develop proficiency in diagnosing various mental disorders on the basis of a comprehensive diagnostic interview. Students will also be trained in developing treatment plans and strategies appropriate to particular diagnoses. Opportunities will also be provided for students to gain exposure in different therapeutic environments in which they will observe and assist in various therapeutic modalities. Students are also required to attend a weekly group supervision seminar. Prerequisites: PSYG 500, 503, 506 and 512

PSYG 710 - MFT Internship I    3 credits

This is the first course of field experience for students in the Couple and Family Therapy Concentration.  It is analogous to the practicum for other concentrations.  Students learn the rudiments of working with a real client population, paperwork requirements, diagnosis and treatment planning. Students must attend a weekly group seminar at the college which covers case presentations, trouble-shooting at the site, supervision of cases and other site-related issues.  Students should be sure to attain at least one-third of their site and contact hours during this time.

PSYG 715, 725, 735 - Internship    3 credits

(each term)

This is a field placement designed to provide students with supervised experience conducting counseling and psychotherapy. There are four options for completion of internship based upon a student’s needs and goals. Students who want to obtain LPC licensure have two choices. These students can complete the minimum 600 hours of internship in either two or three consecutive terms. Students who want to obtain MFT licensure need to complete the minimum 300 hours of direct client contact over a period of a full calendar year, which would be three consecutive terms of internship which includes PSYG 710.  Students are required to attend a weekly group supervision seminar on campus throughout each term in which they are enrolled in Internship. Prerequisites: Thirty (30) total credits including: PSYG 500, 503, 506, 508, 512, 705 (except for MFT students) and two concentration courses.

PSYG 740 - Internship IV (MFT Only)    3 credits 

Under extenuating circumstances, MFT students may apply for an additional semester of Internship in order to complete the required number of hours. The request must be made to the Coordinator of Master’s Field Placement and approved by the Co-Coordinators of the Master’s Program prior to registration.

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