A licensed professional counselor (LPC) provides mental health counseling services to individuals, couples and families. LPCs generally complete a master's degree program in psychology, counseling psychology or mental health, and they are typically required to obtain a state license to practice counseling. Counseling degree programs include a clinical experience that is completed after all the coursework.
In addition, between 2,000 and 4,000 hours of supervised work after the degree program is needed for licensure. Graduates must pass a state-approved exam to get licensed. Continuing education requirements must also be met to maintain licensure.
Counseling classes that prepare individuals to become LPCs usually address the following topics:
- Cultural awareness
- Group and one-on-one counseling methods
- Grief counseling strategies
- Trauma, crisis, and recovery patients
- Human behavior and learning
List of Classes
Ethics in Counseling Course
Ethics courses deal with professional principles for counselors. Students take this course during the first semester of study so that they understand the implications of working with human subjects. Ethics is sometimes intermingled with legal issues. Ethics guidelines are codified in most states' counseling licensing laws and by organizations, such as the American Counseling Association.
Patient Assessment Course
Evaluating a patient's emotional and general mental well-being is part of a counselor's job. In this class, students learn how to assess and evaluate patients using accepted methods, including testing and interviewing. Selecting the best method for evaluation is a key component.
Counseling Children and Adolescents Course
The focus of this course is for students to learn techniques that are appropriate for counseling children and adolescents who have social and emotional problems. Students who plan to focus their counseling careers on children and adolescents may take this course after completing a prerequisite in counseling research methods. Students focusing on other areas of counseling, such as adult counseling, may take this course in their second year of study.
Marriage and Family Counseling Course
Although not always grouped together, marriage and family counseling students learn how the framework of the family influences family member relationships. Students learn theories related to how different types of families function. Couples counseling techniques are sometimes part of a family counseling course. This course is generally taken mid-program.
Human Development Course
Human development classes cover human physiology and human behaviors associated with different stages of life. Theories behind the occurrence of certain behaviors, such as addictive behavior, are reviewed. Understanding lifespan behavior changes is integral to diagnosing a patient and providing treatment. This course is normally taken in the first semester.
Counseling Research Methods Course
In counseling research methods courses, students learn to interpret data derived from psychological studies. Instructors also go over how to conduct statistical analysis and evaluate completed research. This quantitative research course is one of the first courses required in most graduate counseling programs. Research methods courses prepare graduate students for designing their own research during their graduate programs.