The Counseling and Human Services Program recently instituted a new slogan for their department: “Preparing Tomorrow’s Counselors Today”.
This is what some of the faculty and students had to say about the new slogan and how it relates to the education they receive in the CHS department.
Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Dr. Ben Willis:
“Preparing tomorrow’s counselors today” means that our department is focused on helping students to develop the skills, knowledge, dispositions, and resources to be able to respond to the challenges that they will have as practitioners. I see that we work to help students build a firm professional foundation to be able to address their challenges and help their clients. Alongside the Jesuit mission and values of our university, we help students to develop critical thinking and reflection skills to be able to be aware of themselves, their community’s needs, and ways to address those needs. To be able to “set the world on fire,” our graduates need to be able to respond to the current needs and to be flexible and responsive to ongoing changes in our world.We help students to be able to see the world as it is and help them develop a perspective and approach to be able to make positive changes to the world through their communities and their work with others. In summary, we prepare our students to become the counselors that tomorrow’s world will need by developing the students into passionate, reflective, responsive, and resourceful professional counselors through the course of the program.
The counseling department’s new slogan encompasses many important aspects of the counseling profession, which are demonstrated through education, practice, advocacy and connection. I feel this slogan represents the active movement of student potential towards growth, change and awareness both personally and professionally. It means the preparation and process of becoming a counselor begins now, with a combined effort between professors and students towards professional development.
The University of Scranton’s counseling program takes a proactive, integrative and collaborative approach that pro- motes growth and innovation for the future community. Through the consistent encouragement of self-reflection, students develop an awareness of themselves that strengthen them as individuals and future counselors. Meaningful discussions also persist, creating strong collaboration among professors and students that build on important thoughts and ideas. With continued advocacy for the counseling profession and hope for a unified understanding of counseling, there is potential for achieving a greater community.
Encouraging self-reflection, leading to sustained personal and professional growth and well- ness is the principle that resonates most with me. Incorporating self-reflection into daily practice produces many benefits in the professional and personal realm. It also creates a foundation of ethical decision making, which can maintain and strengthen the therapeutic bond be- tween counselor and client. I feel that the continued support for self-reflection generates a deeper understanding of the self, which improves how we interact, understand and respond to clients. As counselors, we should challenge ourselves by demonstrating and embracing growth by the act of reflection. Having the courage to look deeper at ourselves allows us to be more competent and effective counselors.
A trend that I see emerging within the counseling profession is more movement, advocacy and support for health and wellness with a more holistic approach to mental health. The counseling program encourages the identification of strengths when working with clients, along with sensitivity to diversity and support for person-first terminology. This creates more unity, specifically with the counseling profession and development of professional identity.
Dr. Julie Cerrito:
“Preparing tomorrow’s counselors today” means that, as faculty, we strive to be on the cutting edge of what is current and contemporary in the field of counseling. We are keenly aware of what is happening on a state, national, and international level with respect to the field and we are constantly adjusting and modifying our curriculum to respond to those ever-changing needs. The new slogan reflects a forward-thinking, progressive mentality that we, as a department, embody. We also en- courage students to develop this ideology during their academic preparation and clinical training with us. 2. What is a way you see your program demonstrating this vision successfully now/in the future?
We are currently working on major curriculum revisions to more holistically focus on the varied roles and responsibilities school counselors have. We examine sociopolitical trends and needs in education and weave those into coursework and assignments. We are noticing crossover in disciplines and creating new courses to bridge those needs. For example, we are developing a new course that would combine school counseling and rehabilitation counseling majors together to discuss implications for students who are transitioning. There are great benefits in students learning about other specialty areas in counseling with a recognition of how those areas often overlap.
I think that the Counseling and Human Services Department’s new slogan, “preparing tomorrow’s counselors today” is deeply powerful and meaningful. I believe that now more than ever, caring, compassionate and competent counselors are needed in this world. This slogan recognizes the call for action and holds all faculty and students accountable to be prepared to go out into the world and be the best possible counselors. This department truly does help each student grow to their potential. The classes, meetings, clinical opportunities, and relationships all breathe life into the changes we wish to see in the future.
Right now, the profession of school counseling is in a state of change and growth. School Counselors are no longer solely focused on academics, college applications, or letters of recommendation. These counselors are now taking a very holistic approach and caring for the whole person of each student. School counselors work to meet the unique developmental needs of each student in three realms: academic, college and career, and now social/ emotional. School counselors recognize that in order to truly help each student in these three do- mains, they must work collaboratively as a team with their communities and promote wellness in their schools. These are two things that the counseling program wholeheartedly prepares us to do. From the moment a student starts their counseling program, to well beyond graduation, this department works to foster a wellness framework. Additionally, the counseling programs put a strong emphasis on building relationships. Through classes, group projects, and even the warm atmosphere, every student learns that they must work together to succeed and reach their goals. I believe that these two factors are strong evidence of the program’s commitment to its new slogan, “preparing tomorrow’s counselors today.”
With our recent merger (CACREP/CORE), it has really highlighted within our profession that we are all counselors first, and as a result it has heightened our thinking about what attitudes, skills, and behaviors we need to have in order to be successful, not just at the beginning of our career, but throughout our lives. We want to be prepared for the issues that we encounter in our work today, as well as those we will encounter. When I think about what some of those areas are, for me, as a rehabilitation counselor, one thing I think about is the fact that all counselors need to understand disability in its broadest sense. I am really excited that CACREP has a committee that is working on infusing all of the disability areas into the classes and education that all other counselors receive.
I also think it is important to recognize that the counselor of the future today needs to be trauma focused, and do a complete trauma history, not just if this is a client’s presenting concern. We need to know how to help a person work through lasting effects of events that might have occurred earlier in life. Addiction is another area that counselors need to be thoroughly trained in, along with assessment and diagnosis. I think what our program does best is that we are able to look at all of this, and still maintain our wellness and strengths-based focus for individuals.
I am completing my 40th year in rehabilitation counseling, and I can say that there’s never been a time when I thought, “why did I choose rehab counseling?” Along the way, there has been a lot of continuing education, in addition to my own degrees, that have kept me cur- rent. As I look to the future of what rehabilitation counselors need, I see some of those things mentioned previously, and I see our students embracing a commitment to joining professional organizations such as ACA. I think the Counseling Today publication is a great way of keeping up to date about what issues are arising that we need to be aware of as counselors.
Having merged with CACREP now gives rehabilitation counselors that opportunity to really be on equal footing with our peers in counseling related areas. To include in our focus, not only the traditional paths of rehab counselors, but to continue to embrace those clinical opportunities that arise for rehab counselors to work in more settings, is something we pride ourselves on. We aim to help our students find ways to embrace their master’s degrees and keep current during their long and successful careers.
We look forward to welcoming Dr. Rebecca Dalgin back as she is going to transition the program from a 48-credit program to a 60 credit clinical rehabilitation counseling program, which will be so important for our students going forward, enabling them to make the most of the future and present them with all the best opportunities to succeed. We want our students to have a degree that will carry them throughout their lifetime.
The University of Scranton has fostered a community that encourages innovation and inspires students to strive for the magis. By requiring work beyond the classroom and remaining true to the Jesuit tradition of cura personalis, the university and the Counseling and Human Services Department support students in ways that help to prepare competent professionals and practitioners for a competitive labor market in an ever-changing world of the future.
The CHS Department has truly embraced the call to move to the future with the new departmental slogan—“preparing tomorrow’s counselors today.” While the slogan is new, the forward-thinking perspective is something that has been a part of the department long before this addition.
As a rehabilitation counseling graduate student, forward oriented thinking is critical for innovation and growth within the profession. I found myself looking to the future of the profession, as many did, at the merger of CACREP and CORE just last year, and at the passage of Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA) in 2014. Even more frequently, I often find myself looking to research and current trends to inform my practice and learning as practicum counselor and graduate student.
As a graduate student, the slogan means a commitment to learning and the profession and a determination for both professional and personal growth and wellness. The CHS department challenges me every day to be a counselor for tomorrow. My day to day work within the Counselor Training Center is complemented by coursework and projects that continually keep me looking ahead. The new slogan speaks the department’s commitment to the future of the profession and communicates a departmental culture that promotes both self-reflection and innovation.
Counseling and Human Services:
As a faculty member in the Counseling and Human Services Department for many years, I have the opportunity to reflect on our department slogan and vision with a different lens. This semester I am the Acting Program Director for the Counseling and Human Services Department as Dr. Paul Datti is on sabbatical. What an enjoyable semester it has been to interact with undergraduate students, and I had the privilege of initiating the process to recommend many CHS students for awards or other special recognition.
Competent, real-world ready practitioners so describes our CHS majors. Whether they are planning professional work when they graduate or planning graduate school, CHS majors are ready and capable. I am so proud of how positive their internship site supervisors describe their work as they complete two internships during their undergraduate studies. The topics CHS majors pursue for papers and class projects address contemporary and current issues in the human services field. For years, I have taught graduate courses and when I have CHS graduates in my courses they are always talented and prepared for graduate classes.
CHS majors are active in the community through the Counseling and Human Services Association, TUA organization, and their community-based learning. Their endeavors through these venues put our vision of preparing tomorrow’s counselors today into action.
Our department demonstrated our new vision during this part year through a number of retreats, “extra” meetings, and time spent together. We truly followed the strategic planning process to arrive at our slogan and guiding principles. My colleagues and I have truly invested in creating meaningful guiding principles for our department.
Reading the University’s undergraduate tagline: “preparing tomorrow’s human services professionals today”, it was not hard to find myself within those words. Reflection and self-exploration have always been an integral part of the CHS major, and throughout this process I have realized time and again how well prepared I am for the future. Through our community-based learning, the Jesuit ideals, and our own values as budding human service professionals, my classmates and I have an inherent passion in being men and women for others. I never would have grown and matured in the ways that I have if I had not come to the University of Scranton, and I feel as if I know myself and those around me in a deeper way because of this strong sense of community. Our deep dedication within and outside of this program to inclusion and advocacy radiates beyond the bounds of this campus. All of the department’s guiding principles stand out to me for different reasons, but the one that has stuck with me is, “cultivating a rigorous and supportive academic learning environment”. The CHS faculty has always been there to support and push us to continually develop. We all have rooted ourselves in commitment to this field, grown through the dirt, and any ceiling we thought was above us we have shattered. This program has molded and shaped me in a myriad of ways, by encouraging the opportunity to embark on real world experiences to help me cultivate myself into the best human service professional I can be. Beyond graduation, I will take my skills and “go forth and set the world on fire” by igniting these passions within every and all lives that I touch. I am grateful for every assignment, every experience, and every professor, and I will leave this university rich in empathy and the knowledge that experiencing raw humanity isn’t something you can learn from a textbook, and that thinking about what you want to do with the rest of your life it is no longer about how much money you make. Rather, did you sit with the person sitting alone? Did you bring a smile to the face of someone that didn’t think they had a reason to? Ultimately, the guiding principle that has stood out to me the most is that we do not have to wait until tomorrow to make a difference, when there is so much we can do today.
Counseling Training Center:
Geri Barber, Director:
“Preparing tomorrow’s counselors today” means we as a department are committed to doing our part to ensure that those who want and need assistance to enhance the quality of their lives have readily available access to that assistance. As we work towards removing the stigma that is attached to counseling and more people who need assistance move towards it with less hesitancy and shame, we as a counseling community need to be prepared. I believe the department’s slogan, “preparing tomorrow’s counselors today,” embodies the essence of preparation by being proactive and responsive.
The Counselor Training Center is all about preparation, giving students an opportunity to enhance and expand their skills. Through practice and supervision students can literally be transformed in the “today” of practicum into the counselors of tomorrow. It might be said that the CTC is where the counselors of tomorrow begin to demonstrate today, that they are prepared. Through varied opportunities with campus-based and community clients, practicum counselors can experience the growth-producing and healing impact that a counseling relationship can have. The CTC will continue to be responsive to the needs of counseling students, as well as university and community-based clients it serves through continued program development and facility enhancements. Personally, it is and has been a joy to witness beginning practitioners grow in confidence and professionalism as they hone their skills to truly be the counselors of tomorrow.
To learn more about the Counseling programs at The University of Scranton, check out our Graduate Programs pages!