Course Descriptions

What You Will Learn as an Online Student

Counseling@Northwestern courses have been carefully designed by Northwestern faculty in conjunction with a skilled production team to teach effective therapeutic techniques while supplementing relevant clinical experiences and immersions. Our program follows a cohort model, so each course builds on the one before it.

As a Counseling@Northwestern student, you will take the following types of courses:

Bridge students also take three introductory courses as part of their program.

Required Courses

You will take all of the following courses whether you are in the Bridge or Standard Program.

406-6 Research Methods in Counseling

This course provides an understanding of types of research methods, basic statistics, and ethical considerations in research; principles, practices, and applications of needs assessment and program evaluations.

411-6 Individuals & Systems: Psychodynamic Viewpoints

This course covers psychodynamic theories of personality and social systems; application to analysis of interpersonal and helping relationships; personality development and dynamics; and psychopathology, assessment, and intervention in relation to individuals and organizations.

412-6 Theories and Techniques of Group Counseling and Psychotherapy

This course provides an understanding of group dynamics and intergroup relations, including purpose, development, dynamics, theories, methods, and skills, in a multicultural context. The course explores application to decision-making groups, educational groups, therapy groups, and human-service delivery groups and systems. This course includes participation in a weekend group relations conference.

415-6 Psychopathology in Counseling

This course covers development of diagnosis skills using the DSM-5; application of diagnostic information to current events; clinical, developmental, and family systems research; and the onset and dynamics of common psychiatric disorders.

416-6 Theories of Counseling & Psychotherapy

This course is an-depth examination of the basic theoretical frameworks that inform the practice of counseling and psychotherapy.

422-6 Foundations of Family, Marital, and Couples Counseling

This course covers theoretical foundations of family, marital, and couples therapy as well as a systematic examination of major models, theories, skills, and practices.

426-6 Assessment in Counseling (Adult Focus)

This course provides an understanding of individual approaches to assessment in a multicultural society across the life span and review of commonly used assessments in counseling, including rationale, characteristics, administration, and interpretation. This course has an additional specific focus on adult development.

427-6 Career Development

This course covers theories of career choice, career commitment, and life-course development applied to research and practice in career counseling.

452-6 Theory & Technique of Substance Abuse

This course is an introduction to substance abuse and addiction; effects of addictions on relationships, jobs, and community; current treatment options; and the counselor’s role in recovery.

480-6 Counseling Methods: Skills for Counseling & Psychotherapy

This course focuses on the development of skills, concepts, and core competencies related to the practice of counseling and psychotherapy. The course includes evaluation of practice sessions with actual clients and must be taken in conjunction with 486-6, 487-6, and 488-6 Supervised Practicum in Counseling.

481-6 Counseling Methods: Strategies for Counseling & Psychotherapy

This course familiarizes students with advanced methods and concepts related to case conceptualization, treatment planning, and interventions. The course includes evaluation of practice sessions with actual clients and must be taken in conjunction with 486-6, 487-6, and 488-6 Supervised Practicum in Counseling.

482-6 Counseling Methods: Outreach, Prevention, & Advocacy

This course familiarizes students with advanced strategies and concepts related to mental health agency service delivery methods.

483-6 Ethics and Legal Issues in Counseling

This course provides an understanding of the ACA ethical standards and their application to treatment as well as a review of ethical decision-making models and major ethical and legal issues in the practice of professional counseling.

484-6 Cultural Diversity in Counseling

This course is an introduction to the process of providing counseling from a multicultural perspective. The course provides an understanding of issues and trends in a multicultural and diverse society.

485-6 Advanced Topics in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

This course is a review of all aspects of the roles of professional counselors including history, roles, organizational structures, counselor identity, licensure requirements, and current treatment topics.

486-6, 487-6, 488-6 Supervised Practicum in Counseling

This is the first fieldwork experience, in which students offer clinical mental health counseling services to clients in a Practicum setting. This Practicum is taken in conjunction with the Methods series, 480-6, 481-6, and 482-6.

489-6, 490-6, 491-6 Supervised Internship in Counseling

This is the advanced fieldwork experience, in which students engage in a comprehensive clinical training experience where they enact all aspects of the role of a clinical mental health counselor.

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Development Courses

You will choose one of the following two development courses:

413-6 Human Growth & Development (Child & Adolescent Focus)

This course provides an understanding of the nature and needs of persons at all developmental levels in a multicultural context, as well as implications for assessment and preventive and/or supportive intervention strategies. The course has an additional specific focus on child and adolescent development.

414-6 Human Growth & Development (Adult Focus)

This course provides an understanding of the nature and needs of persons at all developmental levels in a multicultural context, as well as implications for assessment and preventive and/or supportive intervention strategies. The course has an additional specific focus on adult development.

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Therapy Courses

You will choose one of the following two therapy courses:

417-6 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

This course covers the application of the cognitive behavioral approach with a broad range of populations. An integrated approach is emphasized.

436-6 Child and Adolescent Counseling and Psychotherapy

This course offers an examination of central issues in child and adolescent counseling and psychotherapy, including psychoanalytic, play, cognitive-behavioral, and behavioral treatment approaches. Emphasis is placed on high-frequency problems for which children and adolescents enter therapy.

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Elective Courses

You will choose one of the following two electives:

453-6 Evaluation and Treatment of Trauma Disorders

This course is a review of the nature of posttraumatic conditions; the psychobiology underlying stress, trauma, and dissociation; and the treatment of posttraumatic conditions.

429-6 Sex Therapy

This course is a multidimensional, biophysical approach to the diagnosis and treatment of sexual difficulty in individuals and couples. Sexual problems discussed include disorders of desire, aversion, arousal, orgasm, and pain.

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Bridge Courses

You will take the following courses only if you enroll in the Bridge to Counseling Program.

477-6 Introduction to Clinical Practice

This course is designed exclusively for students entering the program with nontraditional backgrounds and making a career transition into the field of counseling. The primary objectives of the course are to help students acquire an orientation to the counseling profession, explore a range of basic issues relevant to the field, and learn about the role of a mental health counselor.

478-6 Introduction to Clinical Interviewing

This course enhances the development of clinical skills through understanding of both the pragmatics and the complexities of the clinical interviewing process and the treatment process as a whole.

479-6 Current Topics in Counseling

This course centers on a number of topics in contemporary counseling of relevance to the beginning practitioner. The objective is to introduce a range of selected clinical topics, issues, dilemmas, treatment orientations, and modalities that will be encountered as students move into their practice fieldwork experience.

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