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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.


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

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News & Events


On January 11, US News and World Report published their 2017 Best Jobs list and 52 of the top 100 are in health care. Nurse practitioner and physician assistant are number two and three on that list with no surprise as the demand for more skilled health care professionals skyrockets. Susannah Snider, personal finance editor at U.S. News said in a press release about the jobs list, "Health care jobs often require a human element, so they can't be exported or entirely replaced by robots – at least not yet.
“Continued growth in the health care sector, low unemployment rates and high salaries make these jobs especially desirable. Plus, individuals can pursue a range of health care positions that require varying levels of skill and education," furthered Snider. While the opportunities for PAs and NPs expand practically every specialty — orthopedics, endocrinology, cardiology, pediatrics — a reported 80% of nurse practitioners choose primary care whereas a study from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) states physician assistants tend to practice outside of primary care. 
Regardless of the position a person chooses, it’s all good news for CNHP. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics cited nurse practitioner and physician assistant among the fastest growing occupations with 35% and 30% growth respectively. This expansion can be attributed to a few factors including a move to patient-centered care models and an aging population. But another reason is the expansion of coverage for an additional 20 million people through Affordable Care Act. “The ACA recognized physician assistants as an essential part of the solution to the primary care shortage by formally acknowledging them as one of the three primary care health providers,” said Patrick Auth, PhD, MS, PA-C, CNHP clinical professor and department chair. “They also committed to expanding the number of PAs by providing financial support for scholarships and loan forgiveness programs, as well as by funding the training of 600 new PAs,” he continued.
“The Affordable Care Act (ACA) allowed millions of Americans to have access to insurance to pay for the cost of their health care. That meant hospitals and providers reduced their cost of indigent care.  While these figures have presented a hopeful outlook on what new health care reform may mean, one recent report has portrayed a potentially much different outcome.
The study conducted by the Commonwealth Fund revealed repealing the ACA, likely starting with the insurance premium tax credits and the expansion of Medicaid eligibility would result in a doubling in the number of uninsured Americans while having widespread economic and employment impacts. In 2019, the study predicts a loss of 2.6 million jobs nation-wide, primarily in the private sector, with around a third of them in the health care industry. Pennsylvania could see around 137,000 jobs lost. 
Elizabeth W. Gonzalez, PhD, PMHCNS-BC, associate professor and department chair of the doctoral nursing program and Kymberlee Montgomery, DrNP, CRNP-BC, CNE ’09, associate clinical professor and department chair of the nurse practitioner program, both suggest that it is too early to tell what any real impact will be to healthcare or employment. “The ACA also lowered Medicare spending by allowing people to enter into share savings plans with accountable care organizations where providers are reimbursed based on the quality, not the quantity, of their services,” Gonzalez said. “This emphasis on quality has resulted in significant savings, lower cost of health care for seniors, individuals with disabilities, low income families, and children. The ACA encourages a focus on the patient experience and this has led to some wonderful innovations because clinicians are being paid to focus on ways to enhance the quality of the care they provide patients,” she added. 
“The Affordable Care Act introduced patients to the role of the nurse practitioner. Patients were forced to see us for primary care — nurse practitioners provided care at a lower cost,” stated Montgomery. “Now patients want to see us because of the level of care we provided.” There are just so many unknowns where the ACA is concerned. While the current administration seems determined to repeal the law, they haven’t yet put forth a replacement that will provide affordable healthcare for those who would undoubtedly lose what they currently have. It’s uncertain whether a new law might be proposed that would guarantee that no jobs created under the ACA are lost or if patient outcomes will decline.” But both Gonzalez and Montgomery feel that advanced practice nursing will continue to be a cost effective way to deliver outstanding clinical services. While it’s tough to speculate, Montgomery thinks opportunities for nurse practitioners will continue to grow regardless. “Who knows, it might make it better for the nurse practitioner especially because we provide high-quality, comprehensive care at lower costs,” she said.

By: Roberta Perry and Kinzey Lynch `17



The Mannequin Challenge was one of the most widespread trends of the past year. As 2016 drew to a close, the CNHP marketing and communications team found a way to use the challenge to ring in the holidays with the College.
So was born the 1st Annual CNHP Holiday Challenge. Departments throughout CNHP were invited to submit their best versions of a festive Mannequin Challenge. Entrants were judged by the interim dean and associate deans of the College based on creativity, humor, and execution. The winner would be presented with a trophy for their team to display, along with bragging rights throughout 2017. It is the hope that the theme of this annual holiday contest would change. Each year the theme would reflect a popular or current trend.
Three groups entered the 2016 challenge. CNHP operations and assessment department set their submission to Christmas Vacation while Behavioral Health Counseling went for an oldie, but goodie, Rocking Around the Christmas Tree. The third department and the winner of the 1st Annual CNHP Holiday Challenge was the marketing and communications team whose challenge was set to the tune It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. 
Winners and runner ups were announced before the holiday break. Be sure to enter your department in next year's Holiday Video Challenge.


Today's higher education system is more diverse than it has ever been. With the development and globalization of technology, more students have access to education past high school. Over the past 125 years, Drexel University has been a pioneer in embracing these global and societal changes and today, sets the bar in bringing about diversity in higher education.

Veronica Carey, PhD, CPRP, associate clinical professor, was recently appointed as the Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the College of Nursing and Health Profession.
"My first task in this new role is to work with board members in each department to ensure that all students, faculty and staff feel included and involved in the University," Carey explained. "Diversity stretches beyond race and religion. In many cases, inclusion incorporates gender, age and even profession. So I am charged with making sure that we as a University are aware of the needs of everyone throughout the College."
Carey feels that her experiences both traveling abroad and here at Drexel will allow her to provide a unique perspective on instilling equity and inclusion.
"This past May, I acted as moderator for a unique program entitled ‘Global Minds, What Students Need to Know.’ This presentation focused on mental health and how it is treated in different countries around the world. The event was hosted in an effort to start a global conversation between students and faculty by having participants connect via Skype with professionals from India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Singapore, Korea and China. Experiences like this have enabled me to bring together people from all walks of life and professional backgrounds."
As Carey takes on this new role she will be charged with identifying how effective CNHP is in meeting the needs of faculty, staff and students and seeing in what ways the College can be more responsive.
"I believe the most important component in encouraging diversity, equity and inclusion is being responsive. Understanding the needs of others and being involved in meeting those needs is hypercritical to maintaining diversity."
Kinzey Lynch ‘19
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