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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

07/30/15

If you were given a week to sample a desired major and connect with professionals in your field, all before coming to college, would you take it? The high school students who attended Drexel’s Exploration in Mental Health Careers hosted by the Behavioral Health Counseling Department certainly did. From June 22 – 26 and July 6 – 10 nearly 30 students made the journey to Drexel to get the inside scoop on all things mental health, and their experiences couldn’t have been more positive.

“I loved the counseling workshop where we practiced skills we learned during the week on one another,” said one student. The counseling skills workshop prepared the students for a more realistic counseling experience in the College’s Standardized Patient Lab that took place later in the week.  Students engaged in a simulated counseling session with Standardized Patient actors who served as clients in 15 minute, digitally recorded sessions. Standardized Patients, which are regularly used in College of Nursing and Health Professions programs, gave the students an authentic Drexel experience. “I was caught off guard by how real and challenging the actors were,” remarked another student.

In addition to counseling simulations, Summer Institute guests sampled creative arts therapies techniques and toured two outpatient facilities in Philadelphia: Horizon House and Sobriety Through Out Patient. The tours exposed students to real patients in actual treatment settings and gave insight to the dynamics of outpatient care. Students were also impressed when given the opportunity to meet Jeffrey Wilush, President and CEO of Horizon House, who spoke with them about the services offered at their locations.

The students found it beneficial to meet professionals and clients in actual treatment facilities, but two aspects they found to be the most exciting and innovative were sampling creative art therapies and simulated counseling sessions. “I had no idea what creative arts therapies were before Summer Institute,” recalled one student, “but could definitely see myself doing that in the future.” Another student revealed that learning and practicing basic counseling skills, then seeing those skills used by professionals in treatment settings, was extremely beneficial. “It was interesting to see such a wide variety of illnesses and people at different places [in their treatment]” she said.

At week's end, at the celebratory lunch in downtown Philadelphia, students’ faces were beaming with excitement. The group collectively felt like they learned a lot about the field of behavioral health, had a rewarding academic and professional experience and made many new friends. We hope to see Summer Institute students at Drexel full-time soon!

06/25/15

Since joining the Behavioral Health Counseling Department in 2006, Robert Chapman, PhD has endeared himself to students and to faculty throughout the College and University with his thought-provoking lectures on alcohol and other drugs and, more specifically, how to better understand the people who abuse these substances.  Among many important contributions to excellence in training the next generation of behavioral health care clinicians is his integration of the Standardized Patient labs in teaching cognitive-behavioral and motivational interviewing counseling skills. 

Chapman is also credited with initiating the Department’s Explorations in Behavioral Health Care Careers Summer Institute for high School students.  He is probably best known both locally and nationally for his written work and numerous conference presentations on best practices in addressing the problems among college students related to alcohol abuse. 

On June 15 at the Department’s Annual Alumni Dinner, Chapman was praised by both former and current students.  “They shared personal accounts of how he inspired them through his metaphorical sayings, his experiential learning activities and his mentorship, often conducted via an open invitation to visit his office to share a cup of tea and conversation,” said colleague, Ron Comer, DSW.  “Dr. Robert’s influence on the Drexel community will be felt for years to come.”


01/29/15

The study of psychiatric rehabilitation has been an important topic among mental health professionals recently. Predicated on skills development, psychiatric rehabilitation aims to stretch the limits of typical medication intervention treatment programs, and instead focuses on the patients holistically. One proponent of such treatment is Veronica Carey, PhD, an assistant clinical professor in the Behavioral Health Counseling department at the College of Nursing and Health Professions.

As Chair of the Academy of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Recovery within the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association, one of the largest psychiatric rehabilitation associations in the country, Carey hopes to use the upcoming Recovery Workforce Summit at the Philadelphia Convention Center as a source of training and development for the psychiatric rehabilitation workforce.

The Recovery Workforce Summit will begin on June 1, 2015 and will consist of a three day long mix of speakers, workshops, live trainings, and educational seminars. Guest speaking sessions will be held in a TED Talk format, educating professionals on pressing issues facing psychiatric rehabilitation workers today. As chair, Carey will overlook the entire program, coordinate guest speakers, and provide a foundation of education for the entire weekend. “Our main goal is to enhance workforce skill-set through interpersonal and engagement skills, motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral training, supporting education, direct skills teaching, and documentation,” explained Carey.  “These are all things people need to be competent to work within the psychiatric rehabilitation program.” Since federal and state governments require mental health professionals to be competent in psychiatric rehabilitation principles, Carey hopes that the Academy and the Summit in Philadelphia will act as the source for that education.   

Psychiatric rehabilitation is aligned with the basic principles of mental health counseling but differs in several significant ways. Historically, patients with mental health disorders were placed on a drug program over an extended period of time, with the hope that the specific drug will counteract the mental health disorder. According to Carey, “Psychiatric rehabilitation goes further by focusing on living, learning, working, and socializing”. These four key areas act as a foundation for improving the person as a whole. “It is crucial for professionals to understand functionality, which means skills, resources, and support,” said Carey.

Psychiatric rehabilitation is growing in importance within the mental health community. Not only is it being recognized nationally, but students in the Behavioral Health Counseling program at the College also test their theory skills in practice, by participating in Project H.O.M.E. This program teaches students to use the principles of psychiatric rehabilitation with actual patients through a fundamental course in the program. Students are assigned “buddies” or actual patients recovering from mental health issues. The students apply what they learned in the classroom to practice throughout the term. “We are also trying to encourage participation from students,” added Carey. “Drexel is also working with Rutgers University, Boston University, and the University of Illinois-Chicago to participate in the upcoming summit”.

Carey has also made an effort for international education. Recently, Carey visited Karachi, Pakistan to treat local mental health professionals on the basics of psychiatric rehabilitation. Although Pakistan has made strides in the area of mental health counseling, it is still very much a clinical based system. Carey hopes that her expertise in the field will train workers in Pakistan to better understand the effectiveness of psychiatric rehabilitation.

As one of the leaders in the field of psychiatric rehabilitation, Carey is working tirelessly to bring her expertise to the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Summit.

Interested faculty, staff, and students are also encouraged to attend the Summit. To learn more about or to register for the program, click here.

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