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Behavioral Health Department

Hands-on Training, Real World Experience

Clinically experienced faculty, simulation labs and co-operative employment provide unparalleled opportunities for students to learn and excel in the exciting field of behavioral health.

Behavioral Health Counseling Department

Located at the dynamic Center City Health Sciences Campus, complete with a clinical skills simulation lab, the Behavioral Health Counseling major responds to a growing national need for competent mental health and addictions treatment professionals.

Our innovative courses integrate biological, psychological, and social sciences with emerging treatment technologies to offer an unparalleled undergraduate education for those interested in the helping professions. Our clinically experienced faculty and co-operative employment opportunities combine to offer active, real-world learning experiences that give you a head start in pursuing a behavioral health care career.

The advanced skills-based “hands-on” training provided in this Bachelor of Science degree major far exceeds that found at most other universities. Students may enter the workforce well-prepared immediately upon graduation or go on to graduate school, knowing that the quality of their education is well-recognized by leading universities throughout the United States.

Programs

Students interested in the Behavioral Health Counseling major can choose from a variety of program options including full-time or part-time study, co-operative work experience, or two minor programs of study.

Entering freshmen take courses in the humanities and social sciences, as well as biological sciences, writing, and math in their first and second years along with introductory courses in the Behavioral Health Counseling major. You can read about specific behavioral health counseling courses in the course description section.

Bachelor's Full Time
For freshman and transfer students dedicated to full time study, this option is much more specific than traditional undergraduate majors in preparing students for careers in behavioral health care treatment settings or for acceptance into master's and doctoral degree programs in a variety of behavioral healthcare disciplines.

Saturday Scholars
Balance the challenges of education, work, and family life and complete your Bachelor of Science degree in the accelerated Behavioral Health Counseling major entirely on Saturdays.

Certificate in Substance Use Disorder Treatment

Psychiatric Rehabilitation Counseling Minor
This minor provides students with an essential focus on clinical competencies in implementing evidence-based rehabilitation services to people with serious mental illness.

Addictions Counseling Minor
This minor provides students with an essential focus on current best-practice approaches in counseling interventions aimed at assisting people to recover from substance use disorders.

Behavioral Health Counseling Faculty

View Profiles

News & Events

01/19/16

Faculty members from the Behavioral Health Counseling (BHC) Department traveled to Seoul, Korea in November 2015, to present a workshop on a unique partnership with Project HOME, a nonprofit organization that provides housing and other services to men, women, and children in Philadelphia. Associate Clinical Professors Veronica Carey, PhD, and Lisa Schmidt, PhD, shared an innovative approach to teaching psychiatric rehabilitation skills in a community setting at the international meeting of the World Association of Psychosocial Rehabilitation (WAPR) – an event that was attended by 1,400 individuals representing 46 countries.

The workshop described Drexel’s advanced counseling course, BACS 420 Psychiatric Rehabilitation Competencies. This course conducts a couple of classes at the Project HOME site in Philadelphia, allowing students, service recipients, and staff to interact with one another on issues related to psychiatric rehabilitation. Students then have an opportunity to partner with one resident for the term, meeting several times to talk about recovery issues and what it’s like to go back to live, learn, work, and socialize, when you’re experiencing psychiatric symptoms. The partnership between Drexel’s Behavioral Health Counseling Department and Project HOME is entering its sixth year.

Carey stated “The workshop reflected well on Drexel’s initiatives to partner with the community, to not just educate our students, but also to build bridges with persons in the surrounding area of the behavioral health program.” The two BHC professors hope the lessons learned help launch similar initiatives internationally. Schmidt added, “Community-based learning is a model that’s been effective at Drexel and something that international conference attendees can adapt to their particular setting, especially if they are struggling to train staff in the latest skills in psychiatric rehabilitation.”

The pair also learned there is a stark contrast between U.S. mental health systems and those in other countries. For instance, Carey offered, “most Pacific Rim countries still rely on institutionalization to care for persons with serious mental illnesses.” Schmidt added, “We heard about places such as Bangladesh where there is only one Occupational Therapist in the entire country working with people recovering from serious mental illnesses.”  It was such an important opportunity to learn about and then bring back to the Drexel classroom what is happening around the world with respect to rehabilitation and mental health care.

With a majority of conference attendees from Seoul (1,000 individuals representing their professional workforce and student population), the event offered a glimpse into the Korean culture. For instance, Schmidt shared, “The welcome dinner opened with folk music and drumming from a group of high school students.” There were also opportunities for independent touring, which gave insight into Korean religion and architecture. Schmidt continued, “There were several ancient palaces within the city dating back to the 1400s that were very interesting to see.”

Another highlight of the trip – the two had an opportunity to connect with President Fry who was coincidentally hosting an alumni reception in Seoul for international students. Carey said, “It was a great opportunity to meet with families of Drexel’s international students and represent the College of Nursing and Health Professions.”

Overall, the conference offered a great opportunity to further several goals within the BHC Department. These include promoting the program internationally, encouraging others to incorporate community-based learning into their behavioral health education framework, and enriching Drexel’s Behavioral Health Counseling cultural competency curriculum. 

01/19/16

Patrick Kilduff, DO, MPT ‘98, a board-certified family doctor at InterMountain Medical Group in Shavertown, Pennsylvania, was named Best Family Doctor in the Back Mountain by Dallas Post newspaper.

Tobey Schilling, RN, MCAT ’90, has joined Penn Foundation, a behavioral health services center in Sellersville, Pennsylvania, as a psychiatric mental health certified registered nurse practitioner.

Sandy Sheller, MCAT ’04, CFT ’05, clinical director of independent projects for the Salvation Army of the Greater Philadelphia Area, was selected to serve on Mayor-Elect Jim Kenney's Transition Team.

Theresa Sims, RN, BSN ‘11, a cardiothoracic registered nurse and a volunteer with the American Diabetes Association, was a guest on the internet talk radio program, Saturday Morning with Joy Keys, to discuss diabetes awareness.

10/26/15

It’s often said that the road to success is not a straight line, but your experiences along the way define who you are. For Zach Stone, a 2011 graduate of Drexel’s Behavioral Health Counseling program, his path included risks, failures, and challenging the norm, but he always stayed true to his core beliefs.

“You need to help the community. You need to help others. It’s your role in the world as human beings to be there for one another,” said Stone, whose enthusiasm is contagious, even over the phone. In person, his effect is even stronger. Stone knows this, and has strategically capitalized on his strengths to create a unique yet impactful business called the Red Kite Project. It wasn’t easy finding his sweet spot, though, and Stone overcame significant adversity and uncertainty to get where he is today.

It took Stone a bit of time to come to the realization that he could turn his passions for counseling, crisis management and group facilitation into a successful business. In high school, Stone was exposed to gangs, violence, and a culture of apathy. In elementary school he was misdiagnosed with a learning disability, and struggled in traditional learning environments until college.

“I don’t know how I made it through,” said Stone, remembering more uncertain and chaotic times. What Stone did have, though, was a passion he was committed to following and a support system that reverberated community transformation and change.

As a teenager – and even today – Stone’s true passion was group facilitation, and he wasn’t afraid to admit that. His mother suggested he get involved with Help Increase the Peace, an organization focused on addressing violence in prisons and schools with gang violence, which snowballed into participation with other social impact groups. Stone knew he wanted to pursue his passions of helping others, building resiliency, and furthering his education, so he began his search for the right school to help him achieve his goals.

After spending some time at community college in Vermont, Stone ultimately returned to Pennsylvania and completed his associate’s degree at the Community College of Philadelphia. Still hungry for more, Stone enrolled in Drexel’s Behavioral Health Counseling program following his grandfather’s endorsement, and graduated less than two years later. “‘Drexel is for do-ers,” said Stone, remembering his grandfather’s advice. “When I got to Drexel, I realized he was right. It was where I honed my skills and got a graduate-level experience as an undergrad.”

Stone’s degree empowered him to co-found Red Kite Project and dive head-first into one of their first – and most significant – contracts. SEPTA approached Stone and Charlotte DiBartolomeo, CEO, and asked if they could help improve employee performance. Through innovative methods borrowed from post-war and conflict zones like Bosnia and Rwanda, as well as techniques and philosophies learned at Drexel,Stone and DiBartolomeo delivered for SEPTA. For the past five years they have helped reduce assaults on SEPTA employees by nearly 65% and reduced absenteeism of new hires by 50% during the same time period.

The exceptional results achieved during the SEPTA contract piqued interest from the transportation industry, but also drew attention from the medical and military industries. Red Kite Project is now pioneering resiliency building and trauma healing programs to help new companies the same way they helped Septa. “Collaborating with organizations like Apple, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Penn Medicine and the Department of State brings us great honor,” said Stone. “It’s where our future is.”

Now that Stone’s role is shifting away from facilitation and towards strategy and business development, he can focus more on enhancing his product and integrating technology and continued learning into Red Kite Project’s training models.

Stone believes that Red Kite Project should mirror tech start-ups and stay adaptable and agile in dynamic environments. He also remains fully committed to his core principle that organizations need to give back to their communities. “We want to make sure we have a really strong role in our community, wherever that is, because we believe that if we help take care of the city, it will take care of us.”

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