The counselor education program at West Virginia University forwards the land grant mission of the University in a rural state by providing a strong practitioner training program focused on the unique needs of the Appalachian region and other diverse communities. We are committed to preparing entry-level community mental health and school counselors to work competently and ethically within a pluralistic society. Our central organizing approach to counseling rests in the understanding of the human development needs of individuals, couples, families, and groups across the lifespan.
This program is nationally accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs (CACREP). A CACREP-based core curriculum provides the minimum knowledge and skills considered necessary for anyone serving in these fields. These include:
- Human Growth and Development
- Group Work
- Social and Cultural Foundations
- Research and Program Evaluation
- Professional Orientation
- Career and Lifestyle Development
- Helping Relationships
(Note: The Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is currently accredited under
the 2001 standards for Community Counseling programs as a Community Counseling
program. The CACREP 2009 standards combine the Community Counseling
and Mental Health Counseling standards into standards for Clinical Mental Health
Counseling programs. The counseling program intends to seek accreditation for
this program as a Clinical Mental Health Counseling program when it comes up
for reaccreditation, per CACREP guidelines.)
The following objectives correspond with the specific requirements of CACREP and are derived from our mission statement:
Professional Orientation and Identity – Students will demonstrate an understanding
of counseling as a profession, develop a professional identity, and demonstrate
their ability to function effectively within the ethical guidelines established
by the American Counseling Association in settings that offer counseling and
related services to diverse populations.
Counseling Theory – Students will learn a range of counseling theories
applicable when working in a pluralistic society with individuals, groups,
couples, families, and children in the counseling process, and demonstrate
the ability to apply this knowledge in a therapeutic manner within rural and
Helping Relationships – Students will develop skills to work with individuals,
groups, couples, families, and children that promote therapeutic change and
demonstrate their ability to evaluate progress in meeting counseling objectives.
Social and Cultural Diversity – Students will develop an awareness of the
impact of social and cultural factors on human behavior and recognize the role
of individual differences in establishing and working toward counseling objectives.
Human Growth and Development – Students will learn stages of development
throughout the lifespan and the importance of assessing and considering developmental
goals when working with both children and adults.
Career Development – Students will learn the role of career development
theory as applied to working with children, adolescents, and adults and the
impact of economic and cultural factors on career decisions, job performance,
Group Dynamics – Students will learn the purpose and function of groups,
group dynamics, and the application of counseling theories and leadership skills
within the group setting to promote decision-making and growth.
Assessment – Students will learn to determine appropriate assessment techniques
when working with individuals, groups, couples, families, children and adolescents
and utilize relevant information within the counseling process.
Research and Program Evaluation – Students will develop the ability to
read and evaluate professional research literature and incorporate such information
into their professional development.
Specialization – Students will develop specific knowledge relevant to the
student’s area of interest (i.e. addictions, mental health, children, school)
and will learn for their area of interest how to provide professional services
including assessment, prevention, referral, and program development, implementation,
Experiential Learning – Students will demonstrate the knowledge and skills
necessary to be an effective professional counselor through supervised practicum
and internship experiences.
Personal Growth and Understanding – Students will explore values and beliefs
as they pertain to their evolving roles as professional counselors and develop
a level of self-understanding that leads to an integrated personal approach
to counseling and client advocacy.