Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) - Course Descriptions

Course Titles, Descriptions, & Objectives

Human Development & Change
Description: This course explores how humans grow, learn, and mature across the life-span. Special attention will begiven to identifying developmentally specific challenges and how to address them in counseling from a Christian perspective. Each student will engage in a personal exploration project.
  1. Identify typical developmental milestones across the lifespan
  2. Articulate a coherent biblical framework for the nature of persons, problems, and means of personal growth and change—both theoretically and personally
  3. Describe how one’s culture impacts models of change
  4. Understand one’s own personal development, especially as it relates to historical and cultural influences
  5. Develop greater awareness of desired development as a person and as a counselor
Description: Based on a deep understanding of human suffering, students in this course will explore the multi-faceted experience of those struggling with common psychological maladies. Effective interventions will be identified and practiced. Students will also critique a variety of taxonomies used to classify pathology.
  1. Articulate a full-orbed understanding of the nature and causes of human suffering
  2. Understand and critique the diathesis-stress model and other theories regarding the etiology of mental illness
  3. Summarize the major characteristics of the most frequently observed problems-in-living, including the DSM criterion
  4. Recognize personal connections with the spectrum of problems-in-living
  5. Formulate a basic and yet holistic intervention strategy for each category of problems
  6. Communicate effectively with individuals and families of diverse backgrounds regarding the nature of problems and the means to change
  7. Enter into the suffering of others through demonstrating humility and sensitivity to the hurting
Helping Relationships
Description: Based on the biblical model of love, the nature of persons, problems and means of change, and informed by clinical research, students in this course will explore and practice the elements, skills, and character qualities needed to build effective helping relationships.
  1. Articulate how a process model for helping skills fits within a coherent biblical framework for the nature of persons, problems, and the means of personal growth and change
  2. Demonstrate the basic elements of effective helping relationships
  3. Identify potential personal hindrances to effective service as well as plan for personal and professional growth
  4. Summarize the major theoretical influences on contemporary counseling goals and processes
  5. Recognize ethical and cultural issues that arise in building helping relationships
Counseling & Physiology
Description: Building upon the foundation of a biblical anthropology, this course will develop practical approaches to counseling issues having physiological manifestations, particularly those which affect intellect and mood. In addition, the course will include an introduction to psychopharmacology and will provide criteria for medical and/or psychiatric referral.
  1. Articulate a biblical view of the person as a body-spirit entity
  2. Explain the general counseling implications that arise from such a biblical view of the person
  3. Describe how neurons, neurotransmitters, and psychoactive medications work in the brain
  4. List the classes of legal psychoactive medications and their uses
  5. Synthesize a wise approach for the use or non-use of psychoactive medications in counseling
  6. Critique the presuppositions of biologically-based psychiatry while demonstrating the ability to profit from the insights and methodologies of psychiatry in counseling situations
  7. Formulate specific approaches to helping clients who struggle with several categories of problems in living
  8. List criteria that might prompt a medical/psychiatric consultation for your client
Models of Counseling
Description: Classical and current theories of counseling will be explored and evaluated in light of the Bible, psychological sophistication, and practical relevance. Theories receiving major focus Include; Psychoanalysis, behaviorism, person-centered, family systems and current psychodynamic theory.
  1. Identify the philosophical assumptions of each theory covered in class
  2. Identify and explain the various techniques based on these theories
  3. Demonstrate the capacity to appreciate what is of value in each theory
  4. Demonstrate the ability to identify where each theory is challenged by Scripture and theology
  5. Begin to build a distinctively Christian model of psychology
Marriage & Family Therapy
Description: This course will focus on the theories and practices of marriage and family counseling. Students will be encouraged to think through the major causes of marriage problems and how to skillfully address these issues in the counseling context.
  1. Identify the major areas of marriage struggles
  2. Articulate the major challenge(s) to marriage from a theological perspective
  3. Develop strategies and skills to help marriages and families, considering family culture, ethnicity, religious beliefs, and lifecycle
  4. Demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the biblical data related to sexuality
  5. Recognize the general stages of the family life cycle and the challenges related to each stage
Child & Adolescent Counseling
Description: This course will focus on the theory and practice of child, adolescent, and family counseling. Assessment tools unique to these populations will be identified and special focus will be given to the corresponding sections of the DSM. Distinctive treatment strategies such as play therapy will also be highlighted in the course. Finally, this course will also explore where these ideas fit within a Christian framework.
  1. Articulate the various ways of conceptualizing a case with a child or adolescent
  2. Exhibit familiarity with and appropriate use of child and adolescent assessment tools
  3. Display a thorough knowledge of the sections of the DSM related to child and adolescent disorders
  4. Demonstrate a working knowledge of the theory and practice of play therapy
  5. Grow in the ability to analyze aspects of child and adolescent theory and practice from a Christian worldview
Advanced Marital Therapy
Description: This course explores advanced skills needed for competent couples therapy. More specifically, students will learn strategies to deal with and train couples to recognize emotional connection points, and effective strategies to prevent and deal with infidelity.
  1. Articulate and demonstrate the theory and practice of emotion-focused therapy
  2. Identify challenges and possible solutions to the problem of infidelity
Advanced Topics
Description: Varying elective courses offered in rotation (in 1,2 & 3 credit format) for advanced professional counseling training. Previous courses have included: anxiety, brain Injury, borderline personality disorder, addictions, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, domestic violence, women and depression, advanced child therapy.
  1. Skills and knowledge outcomes vary with each elective course
Counseling & the Biblical Text I, II, III
Description: Counselors from the Christian tradition recognize the value and influence of the Scriptures in shaping worldview and clinical practice. These three courses provide a general orientation to the biblical texts and to the various skills and disciplines needed to read, interpret, apply, and communicate the text to their life and professional work. Students will also engage the questions of postmodernism and contemporary culture as they impact the task of biblical interpretation application.
  1. Identify the various literary, cultural, and historical features of the biblical text and recognize how these features determine how we read and understand Scripture
  2. Explain how contemporary insights about truth and interpretation affect our method of reading Scripture
  3. Identify major themes of individual books and Testaments and their fit in the Christotelic mission of God
  4. Develop wise, ethical, humble uses of texts regarding common problems in living with people of faith
Counseling & Theology: Cultural Issues
Description: This course addresses the question of what it means to think theologically about counseling in our contemporary setting. Christian counselors should reflect on how to fulfill their calling in the light of the teaching of the Bible, the history of Christian tradition, and the specific opportunities and challenges presented by contemporary culture.
  1. Define theology and explain its nature, task, and purpose
  2. Relate the discipline of theology and our cultural setting to the tasks of Christian counseling
  3. Understand modernity and post-modernity with reference to the self
  4. Understand biblical passages with reference to the self
  5. Identify areas of personal and professional growth through the material studied in the course
Counseling & Theology: God and Human Beings
Description: This course examines the Christian story and Christian beliefs concerning the being and character of God, his works of creation and providence, the nature of human beings, the nature and implications of sin, and the identity and mission of Christ. In addition, the identity and mission of the Holy Spirit, the nature and application of salvation, the nature and mission of the church, and eschatology are studied. Attention is given to the implications of these theological themes to the life and work of the Christian counselor.
  1. Think through the major categories of constructive, systematic theology, reflecting biblical teachings, historical trajectories, and cultural applications
  2. Integrate constructive theological reflection with relevant areas of personal interest in psychology and counseling
  3. Articulate the results of significant research into a narrowed theological topic and its relevance to psychology and counseling
Practicum & Professional Orientation
Description: This course is designed to orient students to the counseling profession and to develop their professional identity and skills. Students explore current professional counselor ethics standards, licensure requirements, and make case consultation presentations. Students are placed in small groups to discuss professional development, case consultations, and impact of counseling on the personal life of the counselor. During this course students will complete 100 hours of practicum field work at an approved site.
  1. Have broader exposure to a variety of counseling issues commonly encountered
  2. Identify and critique personal strengths and challenges in a professional environment
  3. Develop case presentation and consultation skills
  4. Have a greater passion for people who are hurting and in need of God’s love and wise counsel
  5. Write clearly in clinical formats and discuss them in a supervised settings
Internship & Professional Seminar I, II
Description: The purpose of these courses is to orient students to the internship experience and to assist and encourage them in their clinical work. They will focus on how to get the most out of internship experiences, counselor identity, group consultation on counseling cases, discussion of problems, and theological and ethical issues related to particular counseling environments. During these courses students will be in the process of completing 600 hours of internship at an approved setting.
  1. Effectively counsel the variety of people encountered at training sites
  2. Identify and critique personal strengths and challenges in the professional environment
  3. Solidify professional identity
  4. Increase love for diverse people groups and aptitude in providing wise counsel

Continuing Education for Licensed Professional Counselors

Biblical Seminary offers pre-approved continuing education contact hours for professional counselors (based on PA Code 49.36 (a) (3)). Professional counselors are required to complete 30 contact hours of continuing education every 2 years, including at least 3 hours focused on the area of ethics.

Holders of the LPC are eligible to audit courses and receive a certificate verifying the contact hours and course titles completed.[1]

LPCs seeking CEs must register and pay in advance, provide Biblical Seminary with a current license number, attend all sessions (signing in and out) and complete a course survey to be eligible to receive their certificate.

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[1] Auditors do not need to complete out of class assignmentsand will not receive a grade for the course. Audited courses would not be eligible for transfer into any program at Biblical Seminary as auditors are not matriculated students.

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