Perhaps you’re considering becoming a part of the AUO Counseling Psychology program, or maybe you’ve already made your decision to join us. We’re glad to have you. If you like being in a crowd, you should feel right at home since the Counseling Psychology program has around 400 students.
Counseling Psychology students are a diverse group. Some of them have previous training in education, counseling, social work, substance abuse, marriage and family therapy and psychology. Many of our students have been working in the mental health profession for a number of years; some are relatively new to the field; and others are eager to take that first step as a therapist or mental health professional.
Regardless of your educational background and your work experience, the goal of the Counseling Psychology program is to add to your knowledge and to increase your skills. You will have the opportunity to take courses where you can learn more about specific theoretical orientations and how to incorporate ethical guidelines into your work. You will also be able to learn and practice specific skills. Some examples of these skills include diagnosis, developing treatment plans, understanding group dynamics, gaining knowledge of how to work with couples and families, providing consultation, and supervising others.
Why do we offer all of these courses? A small voice heard across the country says, “So we can pass comps.” We reply, “Yes, small voice, it is a good thing to pass comps.” Last term, fourteen brave Counseling Psychology students took the comps challenge . . .and we haven’t heard from them since.
No, sorry; that’s not right. We have heard from them—we think they are auditioning for the next season of Survivor.
The fact is that the knowledge you gain from these courses will help you pass comps, but that is only one marker on your journey to becoming a better professional. As a professional, you will be empowered by understanding a theoretical framework and applying specific skills that will guide your work, regardless of the specific position you hold. We want you to be a confident counselor. Dr. Reflects-A-Lot, unfortunately, is only able to parrot the stereotypes of therapy. While “Aarghhh” may be a good exit line for a pirate, it is probably not the last word you want to hear from your clients.
So pat yourself on the back for being a part of this doctoral program. Take a deep breath as you think about the next assignment you have to start working on tonight. Make a commitment to take full advantage of every learning opportunity you encounter, and take pride in being a part of a profession that strives to alleviate the pain and maximize the potential of those with whom we work.