Course Catalog

Foundational Assessment Skills

Course Description

Developing an accurate understanding of our client’s real concerns and planning appropriate interventions are essential first steps for effective counseling. In this course you will deepen your knowledge and practice specific skills to help you assess your clients in a competent and confident way. It focuses on key topics such as: 1) active listening and influencing skills that are essential for establishing rapport, gathering information, and helping motivate our clients to change, 2) basic principles for conceptualizing clients’ problems, setting realistic goals, and planning appropriate treatment, and 3) processes and procedures for an intake interview.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course students will:

  • demonstrate basic competence in applying active listening skills to establish a therapeutic alliance and conduct an intake interview
  • demonstrate basic competence in how to conceptualize clients’ problems
  • demonstrate basic competence in how to set realistic, specific goals and develop appropriate treatment plans

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Cognitive Behavior Therapy: Theory and Practical Skills

Course Description

Have you heard or read about cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) but are unsure what it actually involves? Have you relied primarily on a psychoanalytic approach to counseling but find yourself serving clients who want more structured, short-term help for their problems? Have you even tried using CBT with clients but felt stiff and ineffective when implementing its techniques? This foundational course on Cognitive Behavior Therapy: Theory and Practical Skills is designed to help counselors in China learn to practice CBT more confidently and competently. Students will learn to implement cognitive restructuring and a variety of behavioral interventions (e.g., behavioral activation, diaphragm breathing, relaxation exercises). The instructor will draw on examples from her years of successful clinical experience conducting CBT with her clients to convey essential knowledge and practical skills you need to actually use CBT to work with your clients. Role play practice and self-change exercises will be integrated into the course to enhance experiential learning. This course is best combined with a follow-up group supervision course in which you will conduct CBT with an actual client and have an opportunity to practically apply what you learn.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course students will:

  • demonstrate an understanding of how to identify and change automatic negative thoughts
  • demonstrate an understanding of how to identify and change underlying intermediate and core beliefs
  • demonstrate an ability to develop a cognitive case conceptualization to guide your therapy with a client
  • demonstrate an ability to conduct key behavioral interventions (e.g., behavioral activation, diaphragm breathing, relaxation exercises)
  • demonstrate an understanding of how to modify standard approaches to fit the needs of diverse clients

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Essentials of Diagnosis

Course Description

Even though the 2012 Chinese National Mental Health law makes clear that mental health counselors are not responsible to provide formal diagnoses for patients with mental disorders, there are many important reasons that counselors need to have a working understanding of psychiatric diagnoses. For example, clients may need help to evaluate the appropriateness of a psychiatric diagnosis they received from a psychiatrist who only talked to them for a few minutes. Counselors need to understand the range of diagnoses to clarify if a client has a serious mental disorder that requires a referral to a psychiatrist and a medication evaluation. Accurate diagnoses also help counselors identify when patients can benefit from evidence-based treatment that have been developed for particular kinds of disorders. This foundational course on Essentials of Diagnosis introduces counselors to an overview of the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5 (Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) psychiatric diagnostic classification system. It provides students with a mental map to help them navigate the world of mental disorders, with particular focus on diagnoses that they are more likely to encounter in their clinical practice. Students will also learn how to ask clinically useful questions to help them clarify if a client meets the diagnostic criteria for a particular disorder.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course students will:

  • demonstrate understanding of the DSM-5’s approach to diagnosing a mental disorder
  • demonstrate understanding of the dangers of over-diagnosis and under-diagnosis of mental disorders
  • demonstrate understanding of when a counselor should refer a client to a psychiatrist for diagnosis and medication evaluation
  • demonstrate an ability to explain to clients the nature of common psychiatric diagnoses (e.g., different kinds of depression) in accurate, understandable terms

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