PY 5900A – Fundamentals of Therapeutic Interaction
Learning & Practicing New Counseling Skills
Duration: 16 weeks (Fall)
Prerequisites: Must be admitted to the Antioch Online Clinical Mental Health Counseling graduate program
This course introduces basic counseling skills and provides opportunities to put those skills into practice. Throughout your practice you’ll receive supervision and feedback to help advance your abilities to work with clients. You will be asked to journal each week to further reflect on these experiences and gain further feedback and from your instructor. Projects also involve a critical analysis of a few sessions and practice creating progress notes to better prepare you for your professional development as a clinical mental health counselor. Supervision and substantial feedback to your counseling skills are a large part of this course, and an overall assessment of your readiness to move forward in the program toward field work will occur at the end of the course.
The focus of the course is on the nature of counseling, the acquisition of fundamental counseling skills, and the relationship of skills to theoretical concepts, in particular, those of the Humanistic and Person-Centered perspectives. The course includes both didactic and experiential formats and is designed to be a first opportunity to try out new skills. Methods will include lectures, small group activities, large group observation of student practice, and dyadic role plays in which students take turns assuming roles of both ‘counselor’ and ‘client.’ Students will explore the interpersonal dynamics of the helping relationship and develop self-in-role skills, such as self-reflection and strategies for self-care.
Coursework in Fundamentals of Therapeutic Interaction provides experiential assignments and opportunities to help prepare you for practice as a clinical mental health counselor.
Sample Work: Transcript Analysis Project
For this project students are to transcribe a role-played counseling session in which you were the counselor, typing every word and utterance made by you and by your client. In your critique of the session, you’ll reflect on the nuances of the conversation — where was your attention, what were your intentions with each statement you made, how did you feel connected and disconnected to your client and at what points — to determine what went well and what you would change about the session and what your goals are for the next session.
Sample Course Topics
Throughout the course your studies will focus on a core set of topics that coincide with the course’s learning objectives. Sample topics are listed below and are subject to change based on the instructor.
- Introduction to Fundamentals of Therapeutic Interaction Systems
- The Therapeutic Relationship
- Reflecting Skills: Reflecting Feelings and Meaning
- Reflecting Skills: Meaning and Summarizing
- Assessment, Initial Interview and Goal Setting
- Change Techniques and Challenging Skills
- Termination Sessions and Referrals
- Therapeutic Factors and Course Summary
You’ll begin to link some theories of counseling together as you advance your practical experiences in counseling. At the end of this course you will be able to consistently demonstrate:
- An understanding of the counseling process, role and context.
- The ability to establish a helping relationship using basic counseling skills.
- Effective listening and response skills during counseling sessions.
- The ability to identify and respond to a client’s nonverbal behavior.
- Awareness of the “self-in-role” of counselor, including professional interactions and management of boundaries.
- Awareness of personal and cultural characteristics that influence the counseling process.
- An ability to self-identify skill strengths and areas for growth.
- Awareness of behaviors and differences that influence helping processes; i.e.: age, gender, and cultural differences.
- Proficiency in receiving and providing substantive feedback and supervision.
- A personal model of counseling.
- Utilizing a systems perspective in initial assessment.
- Integrating technological strategies as appropriate in counseling.
- Knowledge of ethical guidelines for the counseling profession.
Throughout the course you’ll sharpen your practical experience through role-playing exercises and practice sessions. You’ll participate in sessions with peers that are recorded counseling sessions in which you are the counselor and another student is the client. After each session, you’ll submit written progress notes. These serve as a record of counseling sessions between “counselor” and “client” and help you begin the process of being able to evaluate a client’s progress over the duration of their time with you.
For more information about this course, or other courses in the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Antioch Online, please call (855) 792-1049 or request more information.