Master of Science in Counseling

Counseling Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions

Please use the following key to determine requirement satisfaction for each course.
M = required for LMFT
C = required for LPC
S = required for School Counseling
E = Elective

Note: Available courses from any track may be taken as electives as long as any pre-requisites have been met

HDCN 6301. Counseling Theories*
This course is an advanced study of the major theories in the field of counseling, as well as an exploration of the historical perspectives and philosophies upon which they are based. Theories to be addressed include the Psychoanalytic theories, Individual Psychology, Family Therapy, Person-Centered Therapy, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, Cognitive Therapy, Gestalt Therapy, Multicultural Theory, and Existential Therapy. A special emphasis will be place on the axiom, “know thyself.” 

HDCN 6302. Basic Clinical Methods for Individuals, Couples and Families*
The goal of this course is to teach you the personal characteristics and process skills that are the basis of an effective counselor for individuals, couples, and families. This class will provide you with an overview of basic skills that are employed in a counseling setting. Students will be able to demonstrate basic characteristics of effective communication, and general counseling skills. Evaluation will be based on several factors, including strengths and deficits in intrapersonal and interpersonal counseling skills as demonstrated in videotapes, role-play and/or written assignments. Adjusting counseling for various individuals and groups to reflect their diverse backgrounds, cultures, ages, etc. is emphasized, as well as students developing their own personal approach to communication, counseling, and personal awareness. Professional identity and interpersonal development on the person of the counselor will be greatly focused on throughout this course. 

HDCN 6303. Counseling Methods: Group*
The goal of this course is to provide students with an overview of the study of group dynamics and the major approaches to group modalities. Students will study various group modalities, including group guidance, task-groups, group counseling, and group psychotherapy. Various theoretical approaches to group counseling will also be reviewed. Emphasis will be on how to effectively start, lead, terminate, and evaluate a therapy group process. Students will work on developing an understanding of the skills requisite to group membership and leadership. Students will examine their approach to group counseling exploring the dynamics of relationships unique to a group setting. As a result, group skill development opportunities, observation experiences, and mandatory laboratory group experience will occur each week. Group counseling will highlight a variety of different groups, including children, adolescents, adults, and geriatric group work spanning across diverse settings. Evaluation will be based on several factors, including strengths and deficits in intrapersonal and interpersonal group counseling skills as demonstrated via role-plays, class exercises, examination, and/or written assignments Prerequisite: HDCN 6301 Counseling Theories. 

HDCN 6304. Counseling Diverse Communities*
In this course, students become familiar with culturally competent, socially just counseling practices through an examination of contexts including culture, class, race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ability, and differing life styles. This course is designed to foster cultural competence through education, training, self-awareness, and experiential learning. Cultural competence involves awareness and sensitivity to the political and pragmatic effects that contexts of personal, community, and popular culture have on lived experience. These contexts will be examined as they apply to individual, familial, and social interactions and functioning and to the counseling process. Course goals include promoting awareness of marginalizing discourse, exploring implications of minority or marginalized group membership, acknowledging power and privilege, and considering social justice issues in a counseling context. The content of this course is intended to promote self-reflection and examination of personal and professional assumptions regarding culture, class, race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and ability.  

HDCN 6305. Advanced Clinical Methods for Individuals, Couples and Families*
This course is a continuation of the first Basic Counseling Methods: Individuals, Couples, and Families class with an emphasis on practicing counseling skills. The major methods and techniques used in counseling individuals, couples and families are examined with a focus on applicability to different client(s) needs in a variety of settings. The relationship between specific individual and systemic theories and their counseling applications will continue to be assessed. Evaluation will be based on several factors, including strengths and deficits in intrapersonal and interpersonal counseling skills as demonstrated in role-play and/or written assignments. Adjusting counseling for various clients and counseling settings to reflect their diverse backgrounds, cultures, ages, systemic dynamics, etc. is emphasized, as well as students developing their own personal approach to counseling. Personal growth continues to be a focus. Prerequisite: HDCN 6302 Basic Clinical Methods for Individuals, Couples and Families. 

HDCN 6308. Counseling: Elementary School
The ultimate goal of this course is prepare you for successful completion of school counselor certification, provide you with the skills and knowledge to plan, implement, and evaluate a developmental guidance program, and to assume a campus leadership role. S

HDCN 6309. Counseling: Secondary School
The ultimate goal of this course is prepare you for successful completion of school counselor certification, provide you with the skills and knowledge to plan, implement, and evaluate a developmental guidance program, and to assume a campus leadership role. S

HDCN 6311. Couples Therapy: Theories and Treatment
This course will address the principles and techniques of effective therapy with couples primarily utilizing the approach of John Gottman. Various other models will be explored with a focus on applicability to different client needs in a variety of settings. Relevant topical issues will be intertwined with class assignments, class discussions, and role-plays. Evaluation will be based on several factors, including strengths and deficits in intrapersonal and interpersonal counseling skills as demonstrated in role-play and/or written assignments. A special emphasis will continue to be placed on the axiom, “know thyself.” M

HDCN 6314. Sexual Counseling - Therapy
The focus of this course will be on sexual experiences as a part of life experiences and the development of the skills and tools necessary to strengthen a client’s positive relational and sexual functioning in a therapeutic setting. This course is designed as a study of sexual issues, positive sexual functioning, sexual problems, and sexual disorders that confront the counselor or therapist. This is a “how to” course, with the expectation being that each student will develop the knowledge and skills needed to orchestrate counseling sessions when the topic is sexuality. The student will work on understanding his or her own sexual attitudes and beliefs in order to bring as much congruence as possible into the therapy room. Thus, personal values clarification, sex education, cultural messages, gender role development, and relational patterns will be examined throughout the course. M

HDCN 6316. Family Therapy I: Intergenerational Theories and Treatment
The purpose of this course is to provide a theoretical and clinical foundation for counseling with individuals, couples, families, and other groups from systemic, relational, and contextual perspectives. Students will become familiar with foundational models of family therapy (FT), the history and development of family therapy models, and the application of these models to clinical situations. The emphasis in this course is on traditional FT models whose focus is on family of origin functioning and intergenerational dynamics. Strong emphasis will be placed on viewing the family as an emotional unit, on understanding the individual client within the context of his or her family of origin, and on strategies for applying this knowledge in a clinical setting.

HDCN 6317. Family Therapy II: Contemporary Theories and Treatment
This course offers continued theoretical and clinical foundations for counseling with individuals, couples, families, and other groups from the perspective of contemporary systemic models.  Students will become familiar with models influenced by social constructionist and postmodern philosophies, as well as the history and development of contemporary models, and the application of these models to clinical situations.

HDCN 6320. Life Span Development*
Examines physical, cognitive, communicative and linguistic, and social and emotional development processes of individuals and families through the life span. Topics are addressed within the context of the major theories of development with a focus on chronological and developmental age and cultural and socioeconomic diversity. Students learn appropriate developmental and systemic practices useful in interventions across the life span.

HDCN 6321. Lifestyle and Career Development*
The major theories of vocational choice, career decision-making, and lifestyle development are examined with sources of occupational and educational information and career decision-making processes. 

HDCN 6323. Adolescent Counseling
The cognitive, emotional, moral, physical, and psychosocial development of the pre/adolescent advises mental health professionals and is foundation of this course. Typical development will be presented in contrast to emotional distress, disorders, cultural factors, special issues and populations. Developmentally sensitive individual and group play therapy modalities will be presented in response to pre/adolescent presentations. Topics explored will include trauma, grief, sexuality, substance abuse and legal and ethical issues in working with minors. . E

HDCN 6325. Therapeutic Parenting.
This course will teach students how to actively engage parents as partners in play in the therapeutic process in working with minors in a counseling setting. A variety of parenting approaches will be explored, with heavy emphasis on Landreth's 10-week filial/play therapy modality, entitled Child Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT). Additionally, in this course, current literature on how brain development can be enhanced by caretakers of children and teenagers will be reviewed. Students will also get exposure to various parenting issues, including developmental concerns, DSM-5 diagnoses, resistance, and external circumstances affecting the parent-child relationship. E

HDCN 6330. Psychopathology: Adult*
This course covers the domain of psychopathology as it is represented in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition (DSM-5, 2014). The scientific bases of contemporary theories and research of major psychological disorders will be studied. The societal implications of mental disorders will be explored. Students will be educated about the types and causes of mental disorders, their assessment, treatment plans, referrals for services, prognosis, related research in psychotherapy, and prevention. The legal, ethical, and cultural issues related to psychopathology, behavior of mental health professionals, and society will be deliberated. 

HDCN 6331. Psychopathology: Child and Adolescent
Abnormal behavior in children and adolescents is examined. Psychopathology is presented using an integrative approach including the biological, psychological, social, cultural, familial, and political forces that currently define abnormal behavior. The history, theories, research, DSM IV-TR diagnostic categories, and psychopharmacological treatments are covered. E

HDCN 6340. Assessment of Individuals, Couples and Families*
The basic appraisal terms, concepts, various instruments, procedures, methods, and interview techniques used for developmental, behavioral, cognitive, learning, and personality assessment are covered. Emphasis is placed on understanding, critiquing, and using assessment results to develop an appropriate diagnosis and counseling approach. Basic assessment skills are critical to the professional counselor as a consumer of tests and test information. The ultimate goal of this course is to increase your knowledge and competency while stimulating your interest in conducting assessments. Prerequisite: HDCN 6349 Research Design & Statistics. 

HDCN 6342. Cognitive, Career and Educational Assessment
This course will address basic appraisal and assessment concepts applicable to the school setting. Procedures, methods, and the use of various testing instruments will be reviewed, as will ethical consideration in terms of research and practice. Case studies are an integral part of this examination of cognitive assessment, educational assessment, and career guidance and development. Prerequisite: HDCN 6340 Assessment.S

HDCN 6343. Play Therapy
This course is designed to (1) help students to learn the clinical importance of relating to and working with children through play; (2) assist those who work with children in obtaining an understanding of the major theories of play therapy; (3) develop an awareness of the child’s world as viewed by the child; (4) increase students’ understanding of children and their behavior; (5) engender students’ facility in working with caregivers of child clients; (7) help students develop a philosophy of and approach to play therapy that is effective; and (7) promote self-exploration and self-understanding. The intent is to make this course informative, challenging, and worthwhile in helping you learn how to work with children in counseling. E

HDCN 6344. Expressive Arts Therapy: Creative and Therapeutic Processes
In this course, students will review the philosophy, history, theory, and practice of therapeutic intervention utilizing primarily visual and written expression. Students will explore the parallels between the creative process and therapeutic processes as well as the role of creativity for counselor and client in therapy. Attention will be focused on creative expression as a catalyst for therapeutic change, and as a vehicle for counselor self-development. Class sessions will include lecture content, demonstrations, and interactive/experiential activities. Students need not have an arts background or particular artistic aptitude to succeed in this course. E

HDCN 6347. Mindfulness-based Expressive Art Therapy
This course allows students to study, experience, and apply a variety of expressive arts therapy approaches for promoting mindfulness and its benefits to mental health and well-being. Students will become familiar with evidence-based methods of mindfulness-based therapies (e.g., mindfulness-based stress reduction, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy), as well as the neurobiological mechanisms by which such approaches produce therapeutic change. In addition, students will study the relationship between expressive arts and contemplative/mindfulness practices in traditional healing and contemporary psychotherapy. Experiential learning will allow students to apply theories and techniques with regard to diverse client populations, contexts, and clinical issues. Students need not have an arts background or particular artistic aptitude to succeed in this course.E

HDCN 6348. Embodied Expressive Art Therapies
In this course, students will become familiar with mind-body approaches to psychotherapy that integrate body awareness, movement, drama, physiological processes, and physical action. Emphasis will be placed on theories and methods with strong practice-based and/or empirical evidence. The mind-body connection will also be explored from a neurobiological perspective, with implications for psychotherapy practice and therapeutic change. Although this course has no pre-requisites, students should ideally possess some prior coursework in counseling theories and practices. Class sessions will include lecture content, demonstrations, and interactive/experiential activities. Students need not have an arts background or particular artistic aptitude to succeed in this course..E

HDCN 6349. Research Design and Statistics*
Examines the methods and types of research design and statistics commonly used in human development, education, and counseling research, with an emphasis on the process, ethics, and steps required to conduct and read research critically. MCS

HDCN 6351. Psychopharmacology and Substance Misuse
Examines the pharmacological, psychological, and sociological impact of licit and illicit drug-taking behavior; introduces each major drug category and major psychotropic medications for chemical dependency and mental health disorders; explores major theories of addiction with application to the process of misuse, dependency, and recovery; and identifies the continuum of care and various counseling and pharmacological treatment approaches utilized in the field with people who present with substance misuse, those with dual diagnoses, and their families.E

HDCN 6352. Psychology of Addictions*
In this course, students become familiar with the etiology of addiction and addiction theory. This course is designed to foster the ability to understand and communicate in the language common to addictive behaviors, dual-diagnosis, and the impact of addiction on families and society. Students will develop competency in screening for addictive behavior, appropriate treatment of addiction, and an understanding of culturally-specific vulnerability to addictive behaviors. E

HDCN 6353. Treatment Management
This course prepares the counseling student to take the state licensing exam as an alcohol and drug abuse counselor. Substance abuse assessment, case management, documentation, legal concerns, practice management, and treatment options will be addressed. E

HDCN 6355. Affirmative Therapy with Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Clients
The central focus of this course is the development of affirming professional competency in assessment and intervention with sexual minorities. Cultural context and practice implications of heteronormativity in therapists and clients will be examined. Further, skills and practices with consideration to external factors and internal processes that can impact the lives and mental health of LGB persons will be addressed. Current understandings of micro-aggression and minority stress will be reviewed. Additional implications of intersecting identities of race, ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status and religion on the development of sexual orientation and identity integration will be highlighted. The course will also examine affirming and culturally responsive strategies for addressing co-occurring diagnoses of major mental health, substance misuse, and major medical including HIV and AIDS. E

HDCN 6356. Affirmative Therapy with Transgender Clients
This course will focus on the development of affirming professional competency to support and assist transgender and gender diverse clients. The diversity of ways of being a gender and the importance of language for those that are gender diverse, transgender, and intersex will be explored. Trans-positive practices to assist with the effects of biological, familial, social, cultural and psychological factors in shaping gender experiences and self-understanding throughout the life span will be focused. Gender dysphoria and gender diversity will be distinguished from sometimes co-occurring major mental health or substance misuse diagnoses. The evolving role of the therapist in coordination of care with medical needs and services related and unrelated to transition, standards of care and the medical options available that are specific to transition will be reviewed. Understanding the disproportionate rates of homelessness, HIV, substance misuse, abuse, domestic violence and other social and health care disparities in the context of the gender minority stress framework will be a part of this study.E

HDCN 6357. Affirmative Therapy with LGBT Couples and Families
This course will help to develop affirming practice strategies by examining a broader social context effecting and considering many LBGT family constellations. It will challenge underlying assumptions found in development of family models and theoretical foundations used to guide couple and family therapy. The similar and useful aspects of major theories will be practiced. Adjustment that can be made for successful LBGT work will be considered. Culturally responsive intervention skills will be focused. Strategies to address more common presenting issues can include but will not be limited to: the coming out family crisis during youth and difference during adulthood, double gender effects and common issues in same sex couples, differing levels of identity integration effects in partnering, bisexual relationship considerations, mixed orientation or gender identity marriages, relational ambiguity, family planning options with legal considerations, parenting by LBGT, parenting LBGT youth by heterosexual parents, family management of stigma and lack of institutional support..E

HDCN 6381. Ethics and Mental Health*
Presents fundamental ethical principals and their application to legal and related professional issues in the field of counseling. Reviews ethical codes, standards of conduct, and the law. Examines ethical cannons and guidelines promulgated by the American Counseling Association, American Association for Marriage andFamily Therapy, American School Counselor Association, Texas Ethics Commission, Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors, Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists, Texas State Chemical Dependency Counselors Program, and Texas State Board of Education. MCS

HDCN 6382. Psychology of Conflict
Cross-listed with HDDR 6319.  E

HDCN 6383. Negotiation & Dispute Resolution
Cross-listed with HDDR 6302.E

HDCN 6384. Mediation & Dispute Resolution
Cross-listed with HDDR 6303. E

HDCN 6386. Family Law
Cross-listed with HDDR 6332. E

HDCN 6387. Family Mediation
Cross-listed with HDDR 6331. E

HDCN 6391. Selected Topics: Counseling - Various topics in counseling are selected for advanced study. Students may choose a specific interest area in which he or she wishes to pursue additional expertise. Course may be repeated.
Behavioral Science: 
This course will be an examination of the fundamental principles of behavioral science research. There will be an overview of the conceptual need for research, history of research, statistics, and ethics plus an introduction of the methods or designs commonly employed and the procedures utilized to collect and analyze data. The purpose of this course is to provide you with the basic tools you will need to succeed in the behavioral sciences, but to also decipher the truth from little statistical lies. Although most students find statistics intimidating, I would like to convince you during our time together that statistics can be understandable, important, and (dare I say) fun. No more mathematics than basic high school algebra is necessary to succeed in this course.E

HDCN 6392. Selected Topics: Marriage and Family
Various topics in marriage and family therapy are selected for advanced study. Students may choose a specific interest area in which he or she wishes to pursue additional expertise. Course may be repeated.
Family Play Therapy: 
The intent is to make this course informative, challenging, and worthwhile in helping you learn how to work with children and families in a counseling context using play. A variety of learning activities have been structured to provide you with opportunities designed to encourage your growth as a counselor across family settings in using play techniques to help assess and counsel families with minor children. The degree to which you perceive this experience enhancing your personal and professional growth will largely be a function of your own goals for this experience, as well as the responsibility and initiative you assume in achieving these goals. Overall, this course is designed to (1) help students to learn the clinical importance of relating to and working with families through play; (2) assist those who work with families in obtaining an understanding of the various dynamics to observe with families and individuals in a play therapy context; (3) increase students’ understanding of the variety of play therapy techniques available; teach basic family play therapy skills imperative for building a relationship with the families with children; and (4) promote self-exploration and self-understanding.E

Family Violence: This course explores family violence with primary emphasis on the problems of spouse abuse and child abuse. Analysis of each of these areas of family violence focuses specifically on the epidemiology of the problem, characteristics of the families, etiological theories, and treatment approaches. *This class may be taken by individuals who do or do not have knowledge about family abuse. The class will not act as a counseling session for anyone. However, due to the sensitive nature of family violence, assignments and classroom activities or discussions may be disturbing for those who have experienced domestic abuse or know someone who has. The National Domestic Violence Hotline for confidential crisis counseling and referral is available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day at 1-800-799-7233.E

HDCN 6395. Supervised Clinical Practicum*
Practicum is designed as a beginning clinical experience to build your knowledge and skills as a counselor through opportunities in an applied setting under supervision where you will demonstrate your clinical skills prior to moving onto an off-site internship. Practicum allows you to gain experience with actual clients, develop the ability to handle a variety of clinical issues and responsibilities, evaluate your practice and observe others in a constructive manner, develop a healthy mastery of ethical practice, and establish professional relationships with co-practicum students, clients, supervisors, and professionals in the field. Content areas include: counselor characteristics and behaviors that influence helping processes including gender and ethnic differences, verbal and nonverbal behaviors, personal characteristics, orientations and skills; client characteristics and behaviors that influence helping processes including gender and ethnic differences, verbal and nonverbal behaviors and personal characteristics, traits, capabilities and life circumstances; factors that influence helping processes including environmental and social factors, relationships external to the helping process and commitment to change. MCS

HDCN 6398. Internship I*
Prerequisite:  HDCN 6395 Supervised Clinical Practicum.  The purpose of off-site practicum/internship includes practicing specific skills and providing services in order to prepare to work as a professional in the field and to understand professional roles by experiencing the milieu in which they are performed. Fieldwork experiences serve as a transition to professionalism between classroom theory and everyday reality for those entering the field.. MCS

HDCN 6399. Internship II*
Prerequisite:  HDCN 6398 Internship in Counseling I.  Refines counseling skills in real-world settings under close supervision. Qualified supervisors at the student-selected internship site provide direct supervision. Types of direct and indirect service hours vary according to LPC, LMFT, LCDC, and school counseling requirements and populations served at the internship site. The curriculum is focused on group supervision and professional development. MCS

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