Child and Adolescent Specialization

Help Young People in Need

Counseling@Northwestern offers a Child and Adolescent specialization so you can make a difference for the increasing number of American youth facing challenges related to mental illness. 

  • 13–20 percent of children living in the United States experience a mental disorder in a given year.*
  • 50 percent of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and 75 percent begin by age 24.
  • 70 percent of youth in state and local juvenile justice systems have a mental illness.

Required Specialization Courses

The specialization comprises two courses focused on specialized techniques for working effectively with youth. Specialization courses are taken in the Practicum year, during the second quarter for Standard Program students and the third quarter for Bridge Program students.

  • 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.
  • Child and Adolescent Counseling and Psychotherapy: This course examines central issues in child and teen counseling and psychotherapy, including psychoanalytic, play, cognitive-behavioral, and behavioral treatment approaches. Emphasis is placed on the high-frequency problems for which children and adolescents enter therapy.

If you choose the specialization, you will take the same number of total credits as students who do not specialize. You will also be fully prepared to work with adults in professional counseling settings. If you want to learn more about child and adolescent counseling but do not want to declare the specialization, you can work with an adviser to enroll in one or two courses in this area.

*This information was most recently published from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in 2013.