Samuel Sanabria, Ph.D., Department Chair/Director
The Graduate Studies in Counseling program prepares clinical mental health counselors as agents of social change and for productive careers in which they engage with clients in cultivating and increasing freedom in their lives. The core guiding principles of our graduate program are academic excellence, transformative education, social justice and advocacy, diversity, ethical practice, and responsible leadership. We strive to build an inclusive community of learners and global citizens. The program fosters personal and intellectual growth through collaborative relationships among students, faculty, staff, and community stakeholders.
The Graduate Studies in Counseling (GSC) program is a 63-semester-hour program designed to prepare individuals to become clinical mental health counselors. The program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) in the specialty area of clinical mental health counseling and fulfills the State of Florida coursework, practica, and internship requirements for licensure as a mental health counselor. The curriculum includes didactic courses, seminars, laboratory courses, and practical experiences necessary to pursue a counseling career in a wide array of community-based settings.
Graduate Studies in Counseling offers two certificates of specialization. The Certificate Program in Family and Relationship Therapy provides an optional specialization for currently enrolled clinical mental health counseling students in conjunction with the core curriculum. The Certificate Program also meets the curricular requirements for licensure as a marriage and family therapist in Florida. The department also offers a Certificate in College and University Counseling, a concentration focusing on counseling and student development with the college population.
Personal Development of the Counselor
The Department of Graduate Studies in Counseling is committed to providing a program that includes a personal growth component with experiences that will extend students’ competencies as persons and as professionals engaged in helping relationships. The academic program operates with the philosophy that effectiveness as a professional counselor depends upon personal development, the ability to communicate effectively, professional conduct, commitment, and intellectual preparation. As part of the curriculum, students are expected to examine their own values, motivations, personal characteristics, and relationships with others. Thus, students are required to participate actively in growth experiences within the program. Prominent examples include participation in a small group experience in CPY 520 ; completion of a minimum of 10 individual counseling sessions with a licensed mental health professional during the first year of enrollment; development of a family genogram in CPY 550 ; and various course requirements involving journal keeping, self-reflection papers, in-class role-play, practice demonstrations, and other activities that call for personal reflection and interpersonal exploration. Ultimately, students are required to develop an individually relevant philosophy and approach to the helping process based on an expanded awareness of their beliefs and values in conjunction with an understanding of contemporary theory and methods.
Respect for Diversity
The Graduate Studies in Counseling program welcomes and values students of diverse racial/ethnic/cultural identities, spiritual traditions, sexual orientations, genders and gender identities, social classes, abilities, ages, worldviews, and other backgrounds. We believe that a program comprised of students, staff, and faculty representing diverse identities, experiences, and perspectives enriches and deepens the counselor education process and prepares future counselors for effective practice in the 21st century.
The Program strives to provide a learning environment that cultivates an understanding and appreciation of the multicultural world in which we live and an awareness of the effects of oppression. We do not expect all graduates of our program to think the same way, but we do expect that they will be accepting of differences and actively strive to understand and incorporate into practice other people’s perspectives, behaviors, and world views. Both faculty and students work to increase personal awareness regarding the full range of human experience and to eliminate oppressive practices and abuses of power in all areas of the program, the counseling profession, and the world at large.
Students are expected to interact with others with sensitivity and understanding, to listen effectively to the words and ideas of others, to communicate respectfully, to resolve conflicts professionally, to be able to examine personal issues that impact their counseling relationships, and to conduct themselves professionally in compliance with the most recent ethical standards of the American Counseling Association.
Based on the Mission Statement for Rollins College, the Graduate Studies in Counseling program, and the standards of the counseling profession-as expressed by the faculty, the American Counseling Association (ACA) and related professional organizations, the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), and the licensure requirements of the State of Florida-students graduating from the Rollins’ Clinical Mental Health Counseling program will demonstrate the following knowledge, skills, and behaviors upon graduation from the program:
- Professional Counseling Orientation and Ethical Practice
Counseling students will demonstrate knowledge of the practice of counseling as a profession; adopt the identity, values, and conduct of a clinical mental health counselor; demonstrate knowledge of the legal issues that impact the profession and practice of counseling; and, demonstrate the ability to practice skillfully within the ethical guidelines established by the ACA.
- Social and Cultural Diversity
Counseling students will demonstrate knowledge of the effects of systemic, social, and cultural factors on human behavior, both on those who hold dominant and non-dominant culture identities and social locations; demonstrate understanding of how the dynamics of power, privilege, and oppression impact clients’ lived experiences, the counseling relationship, client case conceptualization, and treatment planning; and, demonstrate attitudes, beliefs, knowledge, skills, and actions as guided by the Multicultural and Social Justice Counseling Competencies (2015) and Advocacy Competencies (2003) endorsed by the ACA.
- Human Growth and Development
Counseling students will demonstrate knowledge of human development across the lifespan and the effects of normal and abnormal development on client functioning; and, skillfully apply knowledge of human and family developmental stages and experiences in constructing developmentally appropriate client assessments, counseling goals, and treatment approaches in their work with clients.
- Career Development
Counseling students will demonstrate knowledge and application of career development theory in working with individuals of all ages and across all stages of life; demonstrate understanding of contextual influences, such as economic conditions and cultural factors on career decisions and job performance in therapeutic work with clients; and, demonstrate competence in understanding the intersections between mental health, life satisfaction, the world of work, and client roles and identities.
- Counseling and Helping Relationships
Counseling students will demonstrate the ability to skillfully create therapeutic working alliances with clients; demonstrate effective therapeutic helping skills that promote positive client change and counseling outcomes; and, demonstrate the ability to adapt the helping relationship to the unique needs of a diverse range of clients.
- Group Counseling and Group Work
Counseling students will demonstrate knowledge of the purpose and function of different types of groups and of group process dynamics; apply group counseling theories and group leadership styles that promote positive therapeutic relationships; and, demonstrate the ability to skillfully create therapeutic change through effective group counseling.
- Assessment and Testing
Counseling students will demonstrate the ability to identify valid, reliable, developmentally, and culturally appropriate assessment tools; demonstrate the ability to skillfully facilitate client assessment procedures; and, effectively utilize assessment findings and evaluation results to inform treatment planning and counseling interventions for the benefit of client progress.
- Research and Program Evaluation
Counseling students will demonstrate knowledge of research methods and how research findings inform evidence-based practice; demonstrate ability to skillfully select, analyze, evaluate, and apply professional research to professional counseling practice decisions and theory-based interventions; and, apply program evaluation approaches to their practice settings to better serve clients.
- Human Sexuality Counseling
Counseling students will demonstrate knowledge of a lifespan developmental approach to understanding human sexuality, the medical and psycho-social aspects of sexual function, and sexuality counseling theories and techniques; and, will skillfully conduct evaluation of clients’ physical, psychological, and social sexual development.
- Counseling in Community Settings
Counseling students will demonstrate knowledge of the roles and functions of counselors as they practice in diverse communities and the effects of societal and ecological forces on client functioning; demonstrate ability to skillfully provide assessment and intervention for individuals and families during times of crisis and trauma; and, demonstrate competency in advocating for client groups by working in partnership with community members.
- Clinical Mental Health Counseling Foundations
Counseling students will demonstrate knowledge of the foundational principles, theories, and models of care utilized in the ethical and effective practice of the clinical mental health counseling profession; demonstrate ability to skillfully select and administer psychological assessments specific to the practice of clinical mental health counseling and client concerns; demonstrate the ability to skillfully conceptualize client cases, design, and operationalize treatment plans for client progress, and ethically document client care.
- Clinical Mental Health Counseling Contextual Dimensions
Counseling students will demonstrate knowledge of and skill in the roles and settings associated with the continuum of care of clinical mental health counseling services; demonstrate skill in diagnosing mental health problems; demonstrate the ability to implement clinically effective treatment approaches for substance use disorders, particularly as they affect individuals with mental illness; demonstrate the ability to implement clinically effective treatment approaches for crises and trauma conditions, particularly as they affect individuals with mental illness; and, demonstrate knowledge of the effects of neurobiological indicators and psychopharmacological interventions on human functioning.
- Clinical Mental Health Counseling Practice
Counseling students will demonstrate knowledge of and skills in the practice of clinical mental health counseling, including holistic and contextual assessment of client functioning; demonstrate the ability to apply practice strategies for prevention and intervention of mental health concerns; demonstrate skill in working with clients from a range of diverse backgrounds, experiences, and identities; and, demonstrate the ability to effectively consult with other professionals and advocate for the best care of clients.
- Social Justice and Advocacy
Counseling students will demonstrate understanding of the counselor’s role in social advocacy; demonstrate knowledge of and skills in the application of social justice principles in the practice of counseling, including fairness and equity in accessing resources, exercising civil rights, and procuring mental health treatment, particularly in the cases of individuals and groups of people who experience marginalization; and, demonstrate the ability to engage in individual and/or collective actions to correct injustices or improve social conditions that support and benefit the welfare of individuals, groups, and general society.
- Professional Counselor Conduct and Dispositions
Counseling students will demonstrate knowledge of and the ability to consistently enact the attitudes, characteristics, behaviors, dispositions, and conduct defined by the Graduate Studies in Counseling program and the counseling profession as exemplars of counseling professionals.