Approved by Faculty Senate.

University Studies Course Approval


Department or Program: Psychology

Course Number: 431

Course Title: Counseling and Clinical Psychology

Catalog Description: Issues of clinical and counseling practice include ethics, informed consent, malpractice, confidentiality and duty to warn, special populations, and personal characteristics of professionals. Practice in interviewing strategies as part of clinical assessment is included. Prerequisites: PSY 210 and PSY 420. Offered yearly. Grade only.

A2C2 Approved Course? Yes

Requested Approval: Oral Flag

Department Contact Person for this course: Mary Kesler


Description of the requirements and learning activities that promote students’ abilities to:

A. earn significant course credit through extemporaneous oral presentations:

Students earn course credit in three ways in this course, written essay exams (40%), participation in class (20%), and a simulated, videotaped interview with a classmate (40%).

The final interview project is an extemporaneous interview with a "client," with the purpose of eliciting information about a problem. Basic listening skills (attending, questioning, encouraging, paraphrasing, summarizing, and reflecting feelings) are used in an intentional way. Although the interview is not scripted ahead of time, it is planned through the student’s use of a case study and an interview plan, which the student develops.

Daily assignments are given for practice of interviewing skills in and out of class. In class, one or two students observe the interview and records their observations on a form. These are considered as a basic level of class participation. Out of class, the student practices skills with a friend and writes a summary that is turned in to the instructor.

For several class sessions, including those on related career choices and multicultural issues in counseling, students work in groups to prepare material that will be reported orally to the class.

The instructor grades students’ participation in class discussions and group presentations daily.

B. understand the features and types of speaking in their discipline:

Most of the students in this class are considering a career in a counseling or clinical area. Excellent listening and interviewing skills are required. The practice in and out of class, as well as the final interview project, all help students to develop these skills. In addition, students need to be able to discuss their own ideas about a variety of professional topics, which would be valuable to practitioners in supervising others, presenting at conferences, and participating in teams. The discussion of readings in class and the presentations of material to classmates contribute to the student’s development of such oral skills.

C. adapt their speaking to field-specific audiences:

The field-specific audiences are clients, other mental health professionals, and the consumer public. In this class, students learn valuable listening and interviewing skills that can be applied to interactions with many of these audiences. They also learn a systematic way of interviewing for information that can be applied to clients. Any scientific field makes systematic observations, and these skills contribute to the systematic collection of client data.

Through discussion of professional issues, such as professional training, ethics in counseling and clinical psychology, client rights, managed care, multicultural issues, and therapy research, students gain valuable oral experience. This ability to organize their thoughts in a coherent way contributes to their ability to discuss such issues with other professionals.

Finally, through looking at oral skills in sequence and discussing professional issues, students develop the ability to articulate these issues. They are encouraged to consider how the consumer public views the field of counseling and clinical psychology, including some troublesome areas like dual relationships and duty to warn.

 D. receive appropriate feedback from teachers and peers, including suggestions for improvement:

The daily interviewing assignments in class are recorded by one or two observers on a form. Students give them to the instructor to review after each class session. Comments for improvement are noted on the interview and the interviewer gets the form back

On the interviewing assignments out of class, the instructor comments on the interviewer’s performance and later gives them back to the interviewer.

For the final interview, students have several assignments leading up to the final project completion, including development of a plan for the interview. After the final interview is completed, students provide a verbatim transcript of the interview, analyze their performance, and evaluate their progress in these areas. On one of the last days of class, identifying information is removed from each project and each student reviews another student’s project, using a form provided. These are all narrative comments, focusing on both strengths and areas for improvement. The entire project is graded by the instructor according to a format presented to the student ahead of time. Both the instructor’s and the peer reviewer’s comments are given back to the student.

With all of the interviewing assignments, students are instructed to use a section of the interviewing textbook to record their own progress and goals for improvement. In addition, some of the essay questions on the test are focused on their use of these skills.

In the class discussions and group presentations, students get immediate feedback from the instructor, who encourages clarification of their ideas.

E. make use of the technologies used for research and speaking in the field:

Students are required to use video technology for their final projects. Both a practice interview, which comes before they have learned all the interviewing skills, and the final interview must be videotaped. They are encouraged to use VCR’s and computers side by side to transcribe the interviews.

Students are also provided with a bibliography, including appropriate web sites, that they can use to do further research on careers, professional issues, licensing, and training.

Several assignments (see #9 and 10 on schedule) involve the use of the Internet to locate documents on empirically supported therapies.

Videotapes of expert therapists are used to provide models of practice for students. Several of these are used throughout the semester.

F. learn the conventions of evidence, format, usage, and documentation in their fields:

Students learn the use of the various interviewing skills required as a basis in the field, as well as how to organize their thinking to use the skills systematically. They are also exposed to models for these skills in the videotapes and through observing other students. The use of verbatim transcripts gives them a basis for reviewing their own work, but it also is the format used in much therapy process research.

Submitted with this proposal is the syllabus for Psychology 431.

These points are contained in Section IV: Course Approval Process of the University Studies Program and Policies Document



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