What is Unique to the Counseling Psychology Concentration?

Here and Now Focus

This concentration is designed for individuals who want an overall orientation to the field of counseling from a transpersonal and humanistic orientation. The program emphasizes experiential learning with a strong focus on presence in the here and now. This focal point of study is grounded in the counseling relationship, meditation practice, and Gestalt principles. Theory is integrated in classes that emphasize direct learning through personal growth and the guided development of interpersonal skills. A nonviolent approach to communication is part of our fundamental approach.

Developing Personal and Professional Identity

Students are encouraged to develop a therapeutic approach which matches each individual’s interests, abilities and talents. Learning to “know thyself” is a tenet of the field of transpersonal psychology. Students are encouraged to listen within to discover the unique gift each has to offer others. Feedback from faculty and peers in the program enhances the growth and personal discovery that students experience in the program.

Understanding the Roots of Suffering

A strong understanding of the root causes of human suffering is explored through multiple lenses that include meditation, human development, family systems, body awareness and the interactive field of healing relationships. Students learn to sit with whatever arises as they are exposed to a broad spectrum of problems, emotions and situations that may be encountered in actual counseling settings. Learning to trust the process of compassionate healing develops from receiving and giving compassionate presence in practice throughout the program.

Diverse and Intimate Learning Environment

A selective admissions process admits up to fifty students into the Counseling Psychology concentration every year. Students share a core set of courses with Art Therapy and Wilderness Therapy students. The mix provides contact with a diverse array of students and a healthy environment for developing friendship and collegiality. Each semester of study involves concentrated learning experiences with small groups. These classes, of no more than ten to twelve students, provide yearlong experiences of working intimately with peers.

Mindfulness in Psychotherapy

Students in this concentration take 7 credits of meditation instruction as part of their required course load. These courses integrate the contemplative qualities developed through meditation with the practice of counseling. Focus is on the development of the therapist and the compassionate field created with the client. An understanding of the essential principles of meditation and how meditation supports the counseling relationship is explored in depth.

Gestalt Awareness Practice

An understanding of Gestalt therapy is developed and practiced in two consecutive courses during the second year of the clinical sequence. Gestalt emphasizes the principles of awareness, contact and responsibility. It is rooted in the disciplines of existential and eastern philosophy and psychodynamic, perceptual and body psychologies. Balancing the inward focus of meditation, Gestalt offers an interpersonal awareness practice that emphasizes personal presence within the I-Thou relationship. Gestalt works directly with the emotions of fear, grief, anger and joy and is applicable in diverse settings and with other methodologies.

Elective Offerings and Specialized Studies

The program offers a range of electives that compliment required studies and meet a variety of interests in counseling and transpersonal studies. The faculty members who teach these courses are practitioners and specialists in these domains. Course work is designed to enhance personal and professional awareness and knowledge. Please note that offerings of electives may change due to changes in student interest and varying enrollment trends.

Transpersonal Approaches

The following coursework reflects various approaches to transpersonal psychotherapy and the evolution of the field.

  • The Diamond Approach
  • Holotropic Breathwork
  • Hakomi Therapy
  • Integral Psychology
  • Psychology of Wilderness (including rites of passage)
  • Ecopsychology: Transpersonal Perspectives

Contemplative Approaches

Contemplative studies are designed to increase mindfulness and the awareness of the practitioner. A number of courses in this area are offered including:

  • Touching the Moment: Mindfulness Retreat
  • Taming the Wild Horse (retreat on working with emotions)
  • Psychology of Meditation I and II
  • Meditation Practicum I and II
    (Students may also take courses in the Religious Studies department.)

Marriage and Family Therapy

Many of the courses in Marriage and Family are designed to assist students who need to meet requirements in states that offer Marriage and Family licensure for master’s level practitioners. These courses include theoretical and experiential learning components.

  • Grief Counseling
  • Transforming Addictions
  • Human Sexuality
  • Couples Counseling: Imago Therapy
  • Marriage and Couples Therapy

Jungian Studies

The work of Carl Jung is a major field of study in the field of Transpersonal Psychology. These courses offer an introduction to the application of Jungian psychology to the field of counseling.

  • Jungian Dreamwork
  • Storytelling and Mythology

Body Awareness

All students in the Counseling Psychology concentration are required to take 2 credits of body awareness. These courses include:

  • Authentic Movement
  • Yoga and the Chakras: A Therapeutic Approach
  • Contemplative Voicework

(Students may also choose from general university courses including T’ai Chi Ch’uan, Aikido or Yoga.)

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