School Adjustment Counseling

Master of Arts in Educational Psychology plus the Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in School Adjustment Counseling

The Master of Arts in Educational Psychology (MAEP) degree is awarded after 30 credits. With completion of the coursework, the program portfolio, and the Advanced Practicum, the candidate is eligible for an Initial license. With the Initial license, the individual is employable as a School Adjustment Counselor and has five years to finish the CAGS which is necessary for the Professional license. In addition to the CAGS, the candidate must work for three years as a School Adjustment Counselor to be eligible for the Professional license under the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Initial License: Candidates are required to submit documentation of successful completion of the Communication and Literacy Skills Test of the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) before being accepted into the graduate programs leading to licensure. This is a requirement for an Initial license by the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Learning Outcomes for School Adjustment Counseling

School Adjustment Counseling Candidates will:

  • Understand and communicate knowledge of strategies used for the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, physical and sexual abuse, the spectrum of mental illnesses, and violence in Pre-K-12 students and community settings.
  • Plan and implement therapy and interventions with an understanding of the principals of child and adolescent development as they relate to the needs of diverse individuals from various cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
  • Apply core counseling theory and research regarding the cultural context of relationships relating to treatment planning and goal acquisition while considering the trends in a multicultural and diverse society.
  • Exhibit the knowledge and skills needed to deliver a range of professional counseling and consultation services ethically and effectively within an educational and community setting.
  • Provide and implement interventions in collaboration with clients, families, and support agencies.
  • Understand and communicate working knowledge of federal, state, municipal, and school laws/regulations as they apply to the needs of the client population.
  • Engage in effective oral and written communication when addressing clinical mental health concerns.
  • Apply the skills needed to conduct differential diagnoses in accordance with the current standards in the field of mental health services.

In the classroom. In the workforce.

What You'll Learn

In this program you will learn law and regulations as they apply clients, skills to to ethically counsel in an educational setting, and apply counseling theory in the context of a diverse society.

Future Studies

After successful completion of coursework in School Adjustment Counseling candidates are employable as a School Adjustment Counselors and have five years to finish the CAGS in order to earn a Professional license.

Career Opportunities

A degree in School Counseling with CAGS completion, and three years of work as an adjustment counselor makes you eligible for Professional license under the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Foundation Courses

  • PSY5215*: Counseling Theory and Practice
  • PSY5230*: Principles and Practice of Guidance
  • PSY5240*: Theoretical Basis for School Counseling Practice
  • PSY5415: Psychology of Development
  • PSY6230: Psychology of the Exceptional Child
  • PSY6505: Issues and Ethics in Psychology
  • PSY6330: Theories of Learning Disabilities
  • PSY5315: Group Counseling
  • PSY6605: Therapeutic Techniques and Consultation
  • PSY5205: Applied Research Methodology

Master of Arts in Educational Psychology awarded after 30 credits.

Specialty Area Courses

  • PSY5345: Advanced Abnormal Psychology
  • PSY6515: Psychopharmacology and Substance Abuse
  • PSY6850*: Diagnostic Psychoeducational Assessment
  • PSY6678/6679: Advanced Practicum with Seminar I/II***

Professional Area Courses

  • PSY6845*: Advanced Counseling Theory and Practice
  • PSY5241: The Juvenile Justice System
  • CRJ5660: Substance Abuse Issues in Criminal Justice
  • PSY6829/31: Clinical Experience in School Adjustment Counseling I/II

Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies awarded after 30 additional credits.

*Field Experience required

***Candidates are eligible for endorsement by American International College for Initial licensure in School Adjustment Counseling to the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education upon completion of all coursework through PSY6678 Advanced Practicum with Seminar. The candidate is then eligible for employment as a School Adjustment Counselor. Candidates must apply directly to MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for their Initial license. The Initial license expires at the end of five (5) years.

Course Descriptions

This course will examine in some detail the influence of psychoanalytic, interpersonal/social, cognitive, and behavioristic theories on present therapeutic techniques. Each style of counseling is evaluated and the relationship between the nature of the disturbance and the effectiveness of each approach is discussed. The response to counseling of those from various racial and cultural groups will be considered. Classroom discussion will be used in conjunction with film and audio tape presentations to translate theoretical understanding into effective counseling behavior.

This is an introductory course designed to acquaint the student with the basics of the need, meaning, and ethics of guidance services. Issues related to school guidance practices, with an overview of the role and function of the school counselor, will be reviewed. Specifically, student scheduling, testing and assessment, career guidance, and college placement will be emphasized. Current trends in the field, as well as general guidance issues, will be explored. Emphasis will be placed on the fact that the guidance counselor serves as part of a collaborative team with a strong focus on consultation.

This course will provide students with a broad, integrated perspective on the discipline of psychology and its practice. Students will begin with an overview of the philosophical ideas from which psychology developed. Major theoretical positions in psychology will be explored from an historical perspective moving to the present positions and focusing on current practice. These include: Structuralism, Functionalism, Behaviorism, Gestalt, Psychoanalysis, Social Learning, Information Processing, and Cognitive models. Emphasis is placed on the educational and clinical implications of these basic positions. The neurological basis of learning and memory will be considered also. The student will develop an understanding of current trends in practice through a basic understanding of the theoretical foundations of psychology.

This course addresses the physical, cognitive, and social-emotional development of children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly, including a description of behaviors that are present at the various stages, and explanations for those behaviors in terms of relative contributions of heredity and environment. The sociocultural and social economic factors that may contribute to a development outcome are considered.

Exceptional children are those for whom special educational programming is considered necessary. In this course, we consider the characteristics, prevalence, etiology, neurological correlates (if applicable), developmental course, assessment, and treatment for the categories of learning disabilities (including reading disability and nonverbal LD), ADHD, Aspergers syndrome, children with limited English proficiency, children from culturally diverse backgrounds, and the gifted and talented.

The purpose of this course is to acquaint the student with the major issues in the practice of psychology. The course will involve an intense analysis of the philosophical, technical, and consultative issues contributing to the professional identity and function of the psychologist in a public school or clinical setting. Emphasis will be placed on the setting, the practical application of theory, and the demands placed on the setting, the practical application of theory, and the demands placed on the practicing school psychologist. This course stresses professional ethics and general standards of conduct. The guide for this section of the course is the American Psychological Associations Code of Ethics.

This course is designed to familiarize the student with the field of learning disabilities and acquaint students with the various concepts of learning disability and the changing and developing perspectives during the past 20 years. Included will be a review and evaluation of the evidence for the existence of a social learning disability and nonverbal learning disabilities. The evidence for a neurological basis of learning disabilities is explored. Definitions and terms are introduced and discussed. Particular emphasis is placed on the concept that a learning disability is not a single entity that will respond to a single remedial strategy, but exists rather as a multi-dimensional phenomenon basically occurring in the context of school-related tasks.

The emphasis in this course will be on human growth and the counseling process within the group setting. Among the concepts included are curative factors, interpersonal learning, group composition, and tasks and techniques for change. Drug addictions, poverty, and education will be explored in understanding the individual response to group counseling. The class itself will experience these concepts by both participating in a personal growth group and reviewing appropriate literature.

This course will provide students with techniques to integrate the theories of treatment into specific situations that the counselor or psychologist will confront in actual practice. Topics will range from working with clients in multiple system membership to consultation around behavioral/emotional issues in schools as well as clinics. The consultation model will be considered as it relates to counselors and psychologists within a multicultural model.

This course links statistical analysis and research methodology in order that the student may become a sophisticated research consumer as well as research producer. The student must learn to understand the logic of the research enterprise and have a basic grasp of the conceptual base on which the statistical tests of significance rest. Understanding research strategy and the logic behind the statistical tests is the underlying theme of the course. This will allow students to understand the nature of empirical research in developing education interventions and therapeutic strategies. Students are also required to learn the SPSS computer program.

This course examines disorders in adulthood, adolescence, and childhood with consideration of the relationship between biological, social, psychological, and environmental factors, as well as problems in classification and potential behavior systems. The concepts of normal and abnormal will be explored especially when attempting to understand the behaviors of culturally diverse groups. The symptomatological disorders, including borderline personalities, and various phobic and obsessive-compulsive syndromes will be studied. Also covered will be dis-compensation, stress, anxiety, and defense.

This course covers the fundamental principles of pharmacology, drug actions, tolerance, addiction, clinical use of psychotic medications, substance abuse, and addiction treatment. Research that explores the efficacy of medications taken during treatment, specific treatment programs, and the degree of recidivism is presented.

The purpose of this course is to learn to carry out a psychoeducational assessment using appropriate assessment instruments and to write an effective report of the assessment. To achieve this, the class will become familiar with the particulars of testing and test administration, and will critique and study formal and informal tests and testing procedures in the areas of reading, math, language, attention deficit, and behavior. The influence and impact of standardized tests on groups such as racial, ethnic, cultural minorities, and English language learners will be explored. This course will deal with the techniques of synthesizing and integrating psychological and practical information into an effective report and educational plan. Emphasis will be placed on assessment techniques, an overview of presenting problems, the development of appropriate intervention strategies, the presentation of psychological reports, and consultation and collaboration with both parents and professionals.

The purpose of this course is to continue to have school counselors develop the psychological, behavioral, and therapeutic skills in order to provide basic counseling services to students in elementary, middle, and high school. Emphasis will be on the practical strategies to help students with problems such as depression and anxiety that are consistent in most student issues such as academic underachievement, peer relationship problems, cultural differences, emotional disorders, and the issues of homosexual and bisexual youth.

An in-depth look at the juvenile justice system from its historical origins to current practices. Special emphasis is placed on juvenile justice terminology, landmark cases, and procedures used with juveniles and their families. The social, economic, and racial considerations of juveniles in difficulty with the law will be considered.

This course examines the impact of drugs and alcohol use/abuse on individual, society and the criminal justice system. The course will focus on various categories of abusable substances, their physical and psychological effects, and the continuum of treatment modalities used in combating chemical dependency. Since drug and alcohol use account for the single largest category of criminal arrests and convictions in the United States, specific focus will be on the criminal justice’s responses to drug/alcohol related crimes: law enforcement, innovative treatment approaches and drug testing technologies.

The purpose of the clinical experience is to provide a culminating experience for the student under the direct mentorship of a licensed School Adjustment Counselor, Licensed Guidance Counselor, Licensed Mental Health Counselor LMHC or School Psychologist with assistance from a college supervisor. A seminar is a component of the Clinical Experience. The student has the opportunity to develop and apply skills gained during coursework to practice as a counselor. The advisor, mentor and seminar instructor help the student develop appropriate goals, effectively use interpersonal skills, counseling skills, and consultation skills and to determine areas to be further developed. The student completes an action based research project during this 700-hour clinical experience. Since the student must qualify for an initial license before beginning the clinical experience this experience may be done on the job and is necessary for the professional license. PREREQUISITES: Initial license in School Guidance Counseling, permission from the Program Director

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