Saybrook’s counseling programs are specifically focused on the knowledge, experience, and practical skills students will need to enter professional practice. Graduates from department of counseling programs may be eligible for professional licensure as a Professional Counselor, or equivalent, depending on the state.
Our programs are committed to a developmental approach in understanding individuals, groups, couples and families within their broader social and cultural context, and with a full appreciation of the inseparable nature of spirit, body, and mind. At Saybrook University, we understand that contemporary clinical research - in the form of analyses and meta-analyses of evidence-based studies in counseling - continues to confirm that person-centered and interpersonal dimensions of counseling are at the heart of therapeutic effectiveness. Our programs embrace the idea that a person-to-person connection is an essential element and key to counseling. With contemporary research in mind, program study will include core counseling courses, hands-on training, and close mentoring from faculty and field experience supervisors who are active and experienced in the field.
Accomplished counseling faculty members are active in both academia and professional practice, with specializations in family systems, couples and family counseling, child and adolescent counseling, leadership development, transformative approaches to therapy, health and wellness, mindfulness, multi-cultural counseling, ethics, mental health advocacy and humanistic-integrative approaches to counseling. Faculty offer extensive experience as innovative providers in mental health care and are poised to support clinicians-in-training. They assist students in navigating the world of professional development and licensing, while remaining true to a holistic approach to counseling. Students and alumni affect lives and systems through clinical practice and scholarship in diverse settings. They are instrumental leaders in working with those who are seeking to deepen the purpose and meaning of their lives.
Department of Counseling Mission, Core Values, Dispositions & Program Learning Outcomes
Department Mission Statement: Counseling faculty are committed to preparing competent mental health professionals who inspire transformational change in individuals, families and communities toward a just, humane and sustainable world.
Department Core Values & Dispositions: The Counseling Department has adopted a set of professional and personal qualities to be demonstrated by all students and faculty. These qualities are directly linked to the mission and core values of Saybrook University. HUMANITI is a representation of our core values. All members of the counseling community are expected to embody these qualities inside and outside courses to the greatest extent possible. The qualities include:
- Holistic: We approach what we do from a holistic and systemic perspective based on a belief in the inherent interconnectedness of all things.
- Unconditional Positive Regard: We create relationships and communities built on compassion, respect, authentic voice, deep listening, reflective awareness, support and challenge leading to responsible presence and action.
- Multiple Perspectives: We seek to honor difference because we recognize that there are many ways of knowing and there are inherent strengths in diverse perspectives.
- Academic Rigor: We are committed to rigor in our academic and clinical experiences, with the desire to best serve others.
- New Possibilities: We are creative, imaginative and courageous leaders who challenge assumptions and imagine and embody new possibilities.
- Integrity: We live and conduct our work and relationships with integrity.
- Transformation: We are scholar-practitioners who seek and apply knowledge to solve problems and foster personal, relational and social transformation.
- Inclusive: We value life and embrace our responsibility to support the potential of those we serve to thrive in a just, inclusive, healthy and sustainable world.
Program Learning Outcomes: The program learning outcomes were directly born out of the department core values. Upon completion of either of the two counseling programs, students can expect to have gained expertise of the following:
Program Learning Outcome #1: Upon completing the program, students will demonstrate an ability to assess, integrate and respond to individual and relational dynamics within a systemic framework.
Program Learning Outcome #2: Upon completing the program, students will be able to discern the elements of an effective therapeutic alliance and demonstrate the ability to co-construct and maintain a counseling relationship
Program Learning Outcome #3: Upon completing the program, students will be able to examine and demonstrate an understanding of diverse experiences and the role of privilege, marginalization, and how aspects of power impact individual, familial, group and community experiences.
Program Learning Outcome #4: Upon completing the program, students will have demonstrated the ability to critique and synthesize theory as they integrate this knowledge into their counseling practice.
Program Learning Outcome #5: Upon completing the program, students will illustrate their role in advocating for individual and social change by utilizing effective communication skills across dialogues with peers, clients, supervisors and faculty.
Program Learning Outcome #6: Upon completing the program, students will be able to apply relevant professional ethical codes to guide their work and ethical decision making.
Program Learning Outcome #7: Upon completing the program, students will use professional literature, research and best practices to support individual, familial, group and community change.
Program Learning Outcome #8: Upon completing the program, students will be able to describe the relationship between their “self” as a therapist, their professional identity as a counselor, and their responsibility to serve clients and the community.
Licensed practitioners in Clinical Mental Health Counseling have many career opportunities. In addition to independent practice, our graduates work in nonprofit service centers, substance recovery centers, community mental health centers, schools, university campuses, domestic violence centers, hospice outreach, adoption and foster transitional care, and others. Examples of recent employers include:
- community health centers
- family service agencies
- school districts
- university counseling centers
- hospitals, medical, residential and ambulatory care
- family support agencies
- juvenile justice and child protective services
- substance abuse clinics and recovery treatment centers
- non-profit organizations
- group and independent practice association
The Department of Counseling offers the following two degree options:
MA Counseling (Hybrid Online Program): A career-focused, clinical mental health counseling program with practicum/internship training, this program prepares students for licensing as a mental health professional and empowers students to shape and craft their professional development and practice orientation. This is a hybrid program that blends residential conference attendance (each semester of the program), with online course instruction.
MA Counseling, Seattle (Residential based program): A career-focused, clinical mental health counseling program with practicum/internship training, this program prepares students for licensing as a mental health professional and empowers students to shape and craft their professional development and practice orientation. This is a residential program that blends residential conference attendance with the broader university (each semester of the program), with Educational Conferences each semester in Bellevue. The bulk of the coursework is delivered in a weekend format, with some online work to support engagement between conferences.