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Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Counseling

Program

The Drexel Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Counseling (BHC) prepares students for careers in mental health and addictions treatment. We offer a competency-based curriculum that addresses the growing need for skilled, direct service providers. BHC graduates are effective and caring professionals who contribute to the healing and well-being of people in recovery, families, and communities.

Our mission is rooted in the core values of service, compassion, initiative, respect, integrity, competence, and intellectual curiosity. The four-year program includes an optional six-month co-op, described in the curriculum section, and is designed for the full-time undergraduate student.

The College of Nursing and Health Professions is located at Drexel University's Center City Health Sciences campus, home to the Clinical Learning Resource Center. This center features a state-of-the-art standardized patient lab which facilitates student acquisition of counseling skills through structured interactions with actors simulating people in need of mental health or addictions treatment.

What you’ll learn

The focus of student learning in this major is on how to do a broad range of evidence-based practices associated with individual and group counseling, person-centered assessment and treatment planning, psychiatric rehabilitation, recovery-oriented treatment of substance-use disorders, child and family-focused interventions and other essential clinical skills in demand by behavioral health care employers.

Students select courses that reflect individual interests and that meet a variety of pre-professional development needs. High achieving students earn Certificates of Advanced Study that signal specialized knowledge and skill in specific areas of behavioral health counseling.

This unique major offers opportunities for on-the-job learning experiences through selected co-op placements or community service arrangements. Co-op students in the Behavioral Health Counseling major have enjoyed work experiences in a variety of behavioral health settings such as psycho-social rehabilitation centers, addictions treatment clinics, inpatient and partial hospitalization settings, children’s treatment services and related facilities.

What makes the Drexel Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Counseling program unique?

  • Our faculty members are known for their research and clinical practice experience in the Greater Philadelphia region.
  • Skills-based co-operative employment experiences enhance the program with real-world knowledge application.
  • You are part of the Drexel College of Nursing and Health Professions with access to stimulating learning environments and interdisciplinary health care scenarios.
  • Our advanced, skills-based curriculum and innovative hands-on training far exceeds that found at most other undergraduate colleges and universities.  

Career Opportunities

Students confidently enter the workforce immediately upon graduation or go on to graduate school, in areas such as social work, counseling, or psychology, knowing that the quality of their education is well-recognized by leading universities throughout the United States.

Graduates easily find employment in behavioral health settings because they are widely acknowledged by the region's employers as being among the best prepared job applicants. This is particularly noteworthy given the increased employer demand for well-trained behavioral health care professionals.  Graduates typically find immediate employment in areas such as:

  • Psychiatric rehabilitation
  • Family and child support services
  • Addictions counseling
  • Case management and services coordination
  • Individual and group counseling
  • Forensic mental health services
  • Crisis intervention

Starting salaries with a bachelor's degree range from $34,000 to $45,000 per year. 

The behavioral healthcare field is tremendously diverse and encompasses far more career opportunities than listed. Career choices exist at all levels of service—from direct care to administration and policy-making. Students will find tremendous benefit both in the employment listings and outreach offered by Drexel's Steinbright Career Development Center and in the diverse professional career experience our faculty brings to our students.

 

Admissions

For Entering Freshmen

To review admission prerequisites, visit the Admission Prerequisites page. 

To find admissions deadlines, apply online, check out financial aid information, and find the current schedule for open houses, visit the Undergraduate Admissions site.

For Transferring Students

Our transfer policies are specifically designed to accommodate students applying from other colleges. Transfer students may enter the program at any point and transfer a maximum of 90 semester credits (135 quarter credits). The courses and credit values show how many general education credits can be transferred in at the discretion of the program. (Please note: This program is offered in quarter credits, not semester credits. One semester credit is equal to 1.5 quarter credits; therefore, a bachelor's degree worth 120 semester credits is equal to 180 quarter credits.)

To review transfer instructions, visit the Transfer Instructions page.

For International Students

To review transfer instructions, visit the International Instructions page.

COMPLIANCE

The College of Nursing and Health Professions has a compliance process that may be required for every student. Some of these steps may take significant time to complete. Please plan accordingly.

Visit the Compliance pages for more information.

Curriculum

Behavioral Health Counseling Co-op

Drexel University has long been known for its co-operative education programs, through which students mix periods of full-time, career-related employment with their studies. Co-op employment is a part of the Behavioral Health Counseling curriculum.

Co-operative employment experiences are directed toward activities that will expose students to the various work environments of behavioral health professionals. These work settings provide students with the opportunity to observe mental health and addictions professionals at work, while assessing their own potential and individualized interests in undertaking careers in behavioral health. In the past year Co-op students in the Behavioral Health Counseling major have been selected to work at a psycho-social rehabilitation center, a methadone clinic, and a psychiatric inpatient unit.

The Drexel co-op is paid and unpaid employment selected from a variety of clinical settings that match the interests, abilities, and aptitudes of the student.

For more information about the Drexel Co-op visit the Steinbright Career Development page at http://www.drexel.edu/scdc/

Accreditation

MSA: Accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools

Program Level Outcomes

At Drexel University we believe that a well-formulated set of Program Level Outcomes [PLO] that support and are consistent with the institutional mission and goals are the building blocks of an effective assessment program. 

Click here to view the College of Nursing and Health Professions department of Behavioral Health Counseling Program Level Outcomes.

Career Opportunities

Students confidently enter the workforce immediately upon graduation or go on to graduate school, in areas such as social work, counseling, or psychology, knowing that the quality of their education is well-recognized by leading universities throughout the United States.

Graduates easily find employment in behavioral health settings because they are widely acknowledged by the region's employers as being among the best prepared job applicants. This is particularly noteworthy given the increased employer demand for well-trained behavioral health care professionals.  Graduates typically find immediate employment in areas such as:

  • Psychiatric rehabilitation
  • Family and child support services
  • Addictions counseling
  • Case management and services coordination
  • Individual and group counseling
  • Forensic mental health services
  • Crisis intervention
Starting salaries with a bachelor's degree range from $34,000 to $45,000 per year. 

The behavioral healthcare field is tremendously diverse and encompasses far more career opportunities than listed. Career choices exist at all levels of service—from direct care to administration and policy-making. Students will find tremendous benefit both in the employment listings and outreach offered by Drexel's Steinbright Career Development Center and in the diverse professional career experience our faculty brings to our students. 

News & Events

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.

01/29/15

If you’ve ever seen the movie Good Will Hunting, you know Matt Damon’s title character, Will Hunting, is a tough cookie to crack.  Through the movie, we watch as psychologist Sean Maguire, played by the late Robin Williams, slowly gains Will’s trust and helps him turn his life around.  But how did he do it?   

On January 22, 2015, Robert Chapman, PhD, an associate clinical professor in the Behavioral Health Counseling department, showed us exactly how.  In his presentation, entitled “Profiling the Effective Counselor, a Look Inside the Person Who Provides the Counseling,” Chapman discussed with the students and alumni in attendance how to be a competent and compelling counselor using clips of poignant scenes from Good Will Hunting to illustrate his points. 

A very important point that Chapman made is that counselors are people first and counselors second and must be authentic individuals.  “Effective counseling takes place when the person who is the counselor connects with the person who is the client, that is when the magic in counseling happens,” said Chapman. “Thirty percent of the outcome of counseling, effective counseling or ineffective counseling, can be attributed to the relationship that develops between the person who is receiving the service and the person who provides the service.  In other words, if I like you, if I trust you, if I believe you’re listening to me, if I believe you’re concerned about me, I am going to work harder, I’m going to pay closer attention, and I’m going to be much more likely to benefit from whatever the counseling is.”  

This is apparent in Good Will Hunting.  Chapman played several clips showing the evolution of Will and Sean’s relationship and how much more effective the counseling became once Will began to trust Sean and truly believe that he was concerned for him.

Cristine Marchetti, ’15 said “This presentation helped reaffirm what I already thought about being a counselor and already working in the field: not focusing so much on technique and rather just continuing that therapeutic alliance with whoever I work with. “

To view Chapman’s presentation, please visit http://bit.ly/1BhA5Wt. The Behavioral Health Counseling department aims to hold two colloquia per term, the next is tentatively scheduled for February.  

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