On Monday and Thursday evenings in July, LCU graduate counseling students provided counseling services to children living at Texas Boys Ranch. The experience for the graduate students and the residents of Texas Boys Ranch was life changing. After the encounter, perceptions on how to work with children and adolescents changed for many of the graduate counseling students as they participated in this counseling opportunity.
“This experience has opened my eyes to how much even just a little interaction with a child can influence their life and how important it is that they have a safe support system around them,” said Eric Dickey, counseling graduate student.
The LCU students got hands on experience in assessing the needs of children, in conducting unstructured interviews with adolescents, and in adapting their counseling methods as the needs of the children and adolescents changed. After working with the adolescents, the graduate students developed a treatment plan and identified age-appropriate goals for the children.
“Working with the residents at Texas Boys Ranch was designed to give students practical experience in working with both children and adolescents. An unexpected benefit of the experience was the connection that the LCU students made with kids at TBR,” said Dr. Beth Robinson, Director of Graduate Programs in Behavioral Sciences.
One of the benefits of the counseling experience for the graduate students was developing skills in working with children. Many counseling programs focus on adult interventions and do not provide students with opportunities to work with children and adolescents.
“The experience of working with kids at Texas Boys Ranch has been extremely valuable. My previous coursework has been entirely in the classroom,” said Link Blevins, a participant in the TBR counseling experience. “This opportunity has allowed me to put my education into practice. I have a deeper desire to work with kids than I realized.”
Students participated in this counseling experience as part of the course, COU 5383: Counseling Children, Adolescents, and Their Parents, which both school counseling and professional counseling students were enrolled in.
“This class has helped me realize how much of an impact one person or event can have on a life. I’ve realized that counseling kids is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing,” said Kortney Gholson, graduate counseling student.
The Master of Science in School Counseling prepares students for certification as a school counselor in Texas. It also prepares students to take licensure exams as a Licensed Professional Counselor and as a Marriage and Family Therapist in Texas.