Today, counseling constitutes an important part of the modern health care system. At the same time, counseling implies the development of professional skills which allow specialists to work with patients and develop effective approaches to their treatment. In such a situation, professional education plays the determinant role and students should choose programs which provide large opportunities for their professional development, through training and learning. At this point, it is necessary to focus on the necessity of the development of professional knowledge which should be backed up by practical skills that should be developed or improved in the course of learning process. The overall goal of any reliable counseling program is the training of specialists who are able to work independently and provide patients with professional help. At the same time, different universities offer different counseling programs, which may vary consistently, though, as a rule, their ultimate goals are similar. In such a context, it is possible to compare and contrast graduate counseling programs of the Bellevue University, Huntington University, and the University of Vermont.
Basically, the ultimate goal of each of the three programs mentioned is the training of professional counselors, who are trained and prepared to work with patients, regardless of their problems and state. At the same time, it should be said that programs use a different principles and approaches. To put it more precisely, the Huntington University’s program is primarily focused on traditional Christian principles and values. In such a way, a priori the graduate counseling program of the Huntington University implies that students will be trained on the basis of Christian moral, principles and beliefs. In this respect, it is important to stress that the program aims at the provision of the Christ-centered quality counselor training that promotes both scholarship and service. However, the program is mainly concerned with the quality of service and their accordance to Christian norms and principles, while scholarship is secondary in a way, though it does not necessarily mean that the program is deprived of scientific basis or that the professional education and training is secondary in terms of this program.
In fact, the focus of the Huntington University’s program on Christian values distinguishes this program from other graduate counseling programs, namely those of the Bellevue University and the University of Vermont. Both the Bellevue University and the University of Vermont are focused on professional education and scholarship, academic and professional development is traditionally primary concerns of both aforementioned programs. At this point, they are different from the Huntington University’s program because they do not focus on Christian beliefs and norms as the milestone of the program. Instead, the Vermont University and the Bellevue University primarily focus on the use of progressive and effective methods of counseling and training which can help students to develop their professional skills and come prepared to work using new methods and approaches to counseling, even if they are different from traditional one. In such a way, all of the three aforementioned programs declare their concern with the quality of training but the Huntington University is a bit rigid in its training in regard to ideological or moral values, which lay the foundation to the program itself, while the University of Vermont and the Bellevue University are more flexible in this regard.
Basically, such a difference may be very important because if new methods contradict to traditional Christina moral and beliefs, the Huntington University is unlikely to include these methods in the program. In stark contrast, the University of Vermont and the Bellevue University are likely to include new methods on the condition that they have proved their effectiveness or if they are truly prospective in counseling.
On the other hand, the Huntington University’s program has its own advantages because it is grounded on values and principles which have persisted for centuries and are still relevant. Moreover, these principles may be partially traced in programs of other universities including the University of Vermont and the Bellevue University, although they do not emphasize the religious ground of these principles and values.
At the same time, the Huntington’s University rigidity or conservatism is still quite reliable because Christian principles and values have proved their effectiveness and they have a huge potential in the field of counseling because counseling elements are present in Christianity.
But the resistibility of the program to innovations can raise serious problems, especially if new, more effective approaches and methods are developed.
As for the timeline of programs they vary slightly from 48-60 days in the Bellevue University to 51-60 days in the University of Vermont.
Nevertheless, neither graduate counseling program exceeds 60 days. In such a way, programs’ timeline is sufficient to train and prepare counselors to provide services to patients.
Thus, in conclusion, it should be said that the existing graduate counseling programs can use different approaches and have a different background but their overall goals and objectives coincide in principles. All of the aforementioned programs are centered on training of professional counselors able to work independently and within health care organizations.