Introduction to the Community Counseling Program

Mission

The mission of the Master of Arts in Community Counseling (MACC) program is to prepare our students with the theory and skills to counsel individuals, couples and families of diverse cultural backgrounds. The program seeks to produce future professional counselors who are exemplary members of society with a lifelong love of learning.

Program Description

The Master of Arts in Community Counseling provides students with a strong foundation in counseling. After graduating from the program and completing additional requirements for licensure, students will be prepared to work in settings that range from private practice to employment in mental health clinics, hospitals, or various social service agencies. The MACC program at Missouri Valley College is a flexible degree program in a rural community that prepares students to be eligible to become Licensed Professional Counselors in Missouri and other states (Please see the Licensure section, below, for additional details.). The class format allows students to maintain full-time employment while simultaneously receiving advanced education and training in the counseling profession.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

  • · Possess foundational knowledge, skills, and attitudes appropriate for a successful professional in the counseling field
  • · Demonstrate reflective thinking and decision-making rooted in self-awareness and self-understanding for establishing and creating healthy therapeutic relationships
  • · Demonstrate an integration of knowledge, theory, and clinical application

In addition, the program has educational training goals for students based on the educational objectives of the National Board for Certified Counselors:

  • · Possess an understanding of developmental aspects of human growth and appreciation for the nature of human development and its integration within the counseling process
  • · Possess an awareness of, and an appreciation for, social and cultural influences on human behavior and to recognize the impact of individual differences on the counseling process
  • · Demonstrate effective individual and group counseling skills which facilitate client growth and demonstrate the ability to evaluate progress toward treatment goals
  • · Possess both theoretical and experiential understandings of group purpose, development, dynamics, counseling theories, group counseling methods and skills, and other group approaches
  • · Understand career development and related life factors and the effects on an individualís mental health and lifestyle and its application within counseling
  • · Possess knowledge and skills in assessment techniques and apply basic concepts to individual and group appraisal
  • · Demonstrate the ability to read, critique, evaluate, and contribute to professional research literature
  • · Understand the counseling profession, develop an identity as a counselor, and demonstrate a willingness to provide counseling services within the ethical guidelines of the counseling profession
  • · Integrate the knowledge and skills needed to be successful as practicing counselors

Conceptual Model

The MACC program of Missouri Valley College defines Community Counseling as the ability to provide relational and emotional support; administer evidenced-based therapeutic interventions grounded in best clinical practices; offer consultation; conduct effective evaluation and appraisal; engage in community education, advocacy, and teaching; and maintain awareness of relevant research to assist the recipient of counseling services to make effective behavioral changes to improve daily psychological functioning.

We recognize the uniqueness of human beings and are dedicated to helping students obtain the knowledge, skills, and experiences necessary to facilitate their development as professional counselors. The student will utilize evidence-based practices and become an effective practitioner that serves the diverse and changing needs of the human community. The MACC program focuses its conceptual model on three core principles that include building effective knowledge, skills, and attitudes, promoting reflective thinking and decision-making through the use of oneís own experiences, and solidifying academic knowledge with clinical application.

We believe that students attain the necessary skills, knowledge, and attitudes in an environment that is both open and flexible as well as involving other learners that are encouraged by active engagement in the learning process. Promoting reflective thinking and decision-making is essential in the development of a successful counselor. We seek to link learning experiences to earlier ones in order to provide interrelated mental concepts, specifically by promoting a sense of self-awareness through encouraging metacognition, and understanding oneís own reactive emotional experiences.

We believe that the most effective learning experiences generalize from the learning environment to everyday application; therefore, repetitive integration of newly attained knowledge must be interfaced with meaningful clinical application. These integrated learning experiences form cognitive and emotional reference points that encourage personal and professional development beyond mere theory. The MACC program supports the scientific notion that theory provides meaning, but that understanding also needs an effective context for the application of such theory.

What We Believe About Teaching and Learning

Contemporary society presents complex challenges, requiring positive adjustment and adequate coping skills in order to realize optimal personal and vocational functioning. Consequently, the MACC program has as its primary mission the preparation of a diverse group of learners who can use counseling techniques competently and ethically to help clients achieve a healthy adjustment in the areas of educational, personal, social, and career development. The faculty are committed to preparing professionals who reflect in action as well as upon action. In addition, the faculty believe future professionals must construct their own meanings from both theory and knowledge of counseling as well as application and performance. We further believe that learning is a lifelong process, and we encourage our students to continue with professional development throughout their careers.

Anchored to current research and best practices, our conceptual framework is embedded in the belief that pre-professionals should be nurtured, prepared, and challenged to be caring, reflective, and competent professionals. Within their preparation, we creatively incorporate the established standards in the field of professional counseling accepted for graduate education by the American Counseling Association (ACA) and the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). These also meet the standards for knowledge in content areas and work behaviors of the National Counselorís Exam (NCE).

We Evaluate the Effectiveness of Our Implementation

Faculty in the MACC program and the Graduate Studies Committee evaluate and assess the effectiveness of our program implementation through a number of methods. We closely scrutinize student scores on the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Exam (CPCE). We also analyze the Practicum Evaluation by the Site Supervisor. Prior to graduation, each graduating student undergoes a Capstone Project review by faculty. This performance-based process gives feedback on the overall effectiveness of our program. In addition, the program is regularly engaged in refining the alignment of its curriculum to state and/or national standards.