Counselor Education Program

The Counselor Education Program, operating on two campuses, West Palm Beach and Orlando, is designed to prepare students to seek Florida licensure in Marriage and Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling or Florida certification in School Counseling. For those who do not plan to seek licensure but would like to advance their understanding of human development, wellness, and helping skills, the major in General Counseling Studies is recommended. This degree is designed to provide students with both a foundational knowledge of the helping process and the opportunity to concentrate in areas important to their interests and career goals.

About Our Program 

The mission of the Counselor Education Program is to facilitate a holistic educational experience, through which students develop personal and professional qualities, competencies, ethical judgment, and spiritual awareness, as they prepare for professional service in school counseling, clinical mental health counseling, marriage and family therapy, student affairs, or for advanced study in a related field.

The heritage of Christian faith expressed in the University's values and the knowledge discovered within the counseling and helping professions have shaped the Counselor Education Program's "distinctively Christian and clinically professional" identity. Through a rigorous academic curriculum, field-based experiential learning, personal growth experiences, and a close mentoring relationships with highly skilled faculty, students are prepared to enter the field of professional counseling in a wide variety of settings, including schools and universities, community agencies, private practices, humanitarian and government agencies.

Located in culturally and ethnically diverse South and Central Florida, PBA’s counseling program attracts and serves the student body representative of the local demographics. Located in culturally and ethnically diverse South and Central Florida, PBA’s counseling program attracts and serves the student body representative of the local demographics. Many of them speak other languages and are deeply engaged in service and advocacy for under-served groups and causes.

The Counselor Education Program offers graduate studies in these majors:

  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC)
  • Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling (MCFC)
  • School Counseling (SC)
  • General Counseling Studies (Non-Licensure) (GCS)

The program, operating on two campuses, West Palm Beach and Orlando, is designed to prepare students to seek Florida licensure in Marriage and Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling or Florida certification in School Counseling. For those who do not plan to seek licensure but would like to advance their understanding of human development, wellness, and helping skills, the major in General Counseling Studies is recommended. This degree is designed to provide students with both a foundational knowledge of the helping process and the opportunity to concentrate in areas important to their interests and career goals.

Clinical Mental Health Counseling:

  1. Exhibit proficiency in counseling skills unique to forming and utilizing professional relationships in school and community settings.
  2. Perform competently in the foundational knowledge base, outlined by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Program (CACREP), as well as the specific subject matter (2016 CACREP Standards 5.C) required for delivery of ethical, professional care in a counseling specialization. The knowledge base required by CACREP include the following core area:
  3. professional counseling orientation and ethical practice,
  4. social and cultural diversity,
  5. human growth and development,
  6. career development,
  7. counseling and helping relationships,
  8. group counseling and group work,
  9. assessment and testing, and
  10. research and program evaluation (2016 CACREP Standards 2.F.1-8).
  11. Demonstrate ability to integrate theologically informed and spiritually sensitive interventions in counseling practice when appropriate and desired by clients.
  12. Effectively apply counseling knowledge, skills and dispositions in professional practice.

Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling

Through coursework and clinical training, students majoring in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling will:

  1. Exhibit proficiency in counseling skills unique to forming and utilizing professional relationships in school and community settings.
  2. Perform competently in the foundational knowledge base, outlined by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Program (CACREP), as well as the specific subject matter (2016 CACREP Standards 5.F) required for delivery of ethical, professional care in a counseling specialization. The knowledge base required by CACREP include the following core area:
  3. professional counseling orientation and ethical practice,
  4. social and cultural diversity,
  5. human growth and development,
  6. career development,
  7. counseling and helping relationships,
  8. group counseling and group work,
  9. assessment and testing, and
  10. research and program evaluation (2016 CACREP Standards 2.F.1-8).
  11. Demonstrate ability to integrate theologically informed and spiritually sensitive interventions in counseling practice when appropriate and desired by clients.
  12. Effectively apply counseling knowledge, skills and dispositions in professional practice.

School Counseling

Through coursework and clinical training, students majoring in School Counseling will:

  1. Exhibit proficiency in counseling skills unique to forming and utilizing professional relationships in school and community settings.
  2. Perform competently in the foundational knowledge base, outlined by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Program (CACREP), as well as the specific subject matter (2016 CACREP Standards 5.G) required for delivery of ethical, professional care in a counseling specialization. The knowledge base required by CACREP include the following core area:
  3. professional counseling orientation and ethical practice,
  4. social and cultural diversity,
  5. human growth and development,
  6. career development,
  7. counseling and helping relationships,
  8. group counseling and group work,
  9. assessment and testing, and
  10. research and program evaluation (2016 CACREP Standards 2.F.1-8).
  11. Demonstrate ability to integrate theologically informed and spiritually sensitive interventions in counseling practice when appropriate and desired by clients.
  12. Effectively apply counseling knowledge, skills and dispositions in professional practice.

General Counseling Studies (Non Licensure)

Students majoring in General Counseling Studies (Non-Licensure) will:

  1. Demonstrate competence in helping skills unique to forming and utilizing professional relationships in in a variety of settings, including community, faith-based, non-profits, and higher education.
     
  2. Demonstrate knowledge, in the areas of including human growth and development, group work, ethics in counseling, crisis intervention, and multicultural awareness, in preparation for a career in the helping field.
     
  3. Demonstrate ability to integrate theologically informed and spiritually sensitive interventions when appropriate and desired by those who are being served.

 

Instruction is primarily offered in a traditional, residential format, with a growing number of courses taught online or as a hybrid. Courses specific to concentrations in Student Affairs and Higher Education and Crisis and Trauma Counseling are offered entirely online. The certificate program in Crisis and Trauma Counseling is offered entirely online. Play Therapy concentration and graduate certificate programs are offered residentially, in a traditional setting or as a hybrid. All programs, concentrations and certificates are available on both locations (West Palm Beach and Orlando).

Research and Program Evaluation course will be taught online, both synchronously, via live conferences, and asynchronously, through the use of recorded lectures. Weekly practice quizzes will allow students to assess their progress in the course and workbook activities will reinforce the presented material. Online discussion will be used to relate the importance of research concepts to students’ personal and professional lives.

 Optional Concentrations

Certificates

Additional Training

  • Addictions (you will find this info under Certified Addiction Professional in the Catalog)
  • The detailed information for each major, concentration, and additional training (addictions) can be found in the 2019-2020 Catalog.

Faculty 

Olga Dietlin, Ph.D.* (Program Co-Chair, Academic Unit Leader)

Thomas Dodson, Ph.D., NCC, NCSC*

Philip J. Henry, Ph.D.*

David A. Lawson, Psy.D.* (Program Co-Chair)

Kathryn Maslowe, Psy.D.

Laura Rendon Finnell, NCC, LMHC

Larry E. Shyers, Ph.D., NCC, LMHC*

Andrea Tackore, Ph.D., LMHC*

Steven Vensel, Ph.D.*

*Program core faculty

 To see all of our faculty members, click here

Staff 

  • Susan Allem, Program Secretary 
  • Rose Vassell, Clinical Coordinator (Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling) 

  1. Earn a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution
  2. Achieve undergraduate minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale with exceptions, on a case-by-case basis
  3. Submit:
    • Online application and application fee
    • Official transcript from college/university where bachelor's degree was conferred and from college/university where prerequisite courses were taken
    • Three confidential Counselor Education recommendation forms
    • Essay (prompt provided)
    • Official GRE or MAT test score*
  4. Faculty Interview

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Millers Analogy Test (MAT). GRE/MAT are waived for students that have earned a Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution with a 3.0 cumulative grade point average or higher..

Note: Admission decision recommendations are made by the Counselor Education Program's Faculty Selection Committee and include consideration of each applicant's articulation of career goals, record of academic achievement, relevant preparation and experience, potential success in becoming a counselor, and attitude of openness to diverse cultures and people.

Master of Counseling Curriculum Requirements

Course requirements for each individual major under the M.S. in Counseling can be found via the links below.

  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling
  • School Counseling
  • General Counseling Studies (Non-Licensure)

Degree completion requirements:

Clinical Mental Health Counseling major: Successful completion of the prescribed curriculum of 60 credit hours with a 3.0 cumulative GPA and a grade of "B" or higher in COU 5133 - Counseling Skills and Characteristics, COU 5123 - Legal, Ethical, and Professional Standards, and COU 5XX3 – Diagnosis and Treatment in Counseling, as well as practicum and internship courses; 1,000 hours of supervised practicum and internship under a supervisor approved by the program faculty; and an exit exam.

Marriage, Couple, and Family major: Successful completion of the prescribed curriculum of 60 credit hours with a 3.0 cumulative GPA and a grade of "B" or higher in COU 5133 - Counseling Skills and Characteristics, COU 5123 - Legal, Ethical, and Professional Standards, and COU 5XX3 – Diagnosis and Treatment in Counseling, as well as practicum and internship courses; 700 hours of supervised practicum and internship under a supervisor approved by the program faculty; and an exit exam.

School Counseling major: Successful completion of the prescribed curriculum of 60 credit hours with a 3.0 cumulative GPA and a grade of "B" or higher in COU 5133 - Counseling Skills and Characteristics, COU 5123 - Legal, Ethical, and Professional Standards, and COU 5322 - Psychosocial Issues of Childhood and Adolescence, as well as practicum and internship courses; 700 hours of supervised practicum and internship under a supervisor approved by the program faculty; and an exit exam.

General Counseling Studies major: Successful completion of the prescribed curriculum of 36 credit hours with a 3.0 cumulative GPA and a grade of "B" or higher in COU 5133 - Counseling Skills and Characteristics and COU 5123 - Legal, Ethical, and Professional Standards.

Note:

In addition to the graduation requirements specific to each major, student performance is assessed throughout the program in key performance indicators, overall progress, and professional dispositions, as outlined in the Counselor Education Handbook.

Palm Beach Atlantic University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). In addition, the Counselor Education program is making significant progress toward applying for the accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) for Clinical Mental Health Counseling. As such, the program curriculum and objectives are based on the eight core counseling standards and program-specific standards found in the 2016 CACREP Standards. Furthermore, students are evaluated on each of these standards throughout the course of the program. This evaluation process is outlined in the Student Evaluation and Review section of the Counselor Education Handbook. The 2016 CACREP Standards can be found at https://www.cacrep.org/for-programs/2016-cacrep-standards.

Palm Beach Atlantic makes every effort to offer financial assistance through a variety of programs (federal and institutional) to deserving students. Scholarships are available for qualified students ranging from $1,000 - $4,000 based on full-time status. In addition, Federal Work-study awards and student loans may also be available. Students must apply for financial aid each year by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Assistance (FAFSA) online at www.fafsa.ed.gov.

Learn more about opportunities for Financial Aid; for questions on work-study or loan eligibility please contact finaid@pba.edu.

  • (cost per credit hour and the entire program)
  • $1,000 scholarship

Department Contact 

  

image-alt

Olga Dietlin

Program Co-Chair, Academic Unit Leader
The School of Education and Behavioral Studies Counselor Education (GR)

work email

office: (561) 803-2612

 

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David Lawson

Professor of Counseling
The School of Education and Behavioral Studies Counselor Education (GR)

work email

office: (561) 803-2366