Integrating Neurocounseling into Counseling

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 Hear Dr. Lori Russell-Chapin speak about the groundbreaking practice of neurocounseling at Bradley University.


Jennifer:  Hi everyone and welcome to our Neurocounseling webinar.  We’re going to get started here in just a few minutes.  Before we get started I wanted to just go over a few housekeeping details.  Make sure that your volume is up on your computer so that you can hear us.  We will be talking and you can hear us but we cannot hear you.  If you do have any tech questions or anything like that you can click on the Help button or you can ask questions in the Q&A window. We’ll be getting started here in about five minutes.

Hi everyone. Again, thank you for joining us for Bradley University’s Neurocounseling webinar.  My name is Jennifer and I am an Enrollment Advisor with Bradley University and I will be your host – one of your hosts for the evening.  We’re here with Dr. Lori Russell-Chapin to talk about neurocounseling for the Master of Arts in Counseling Program.  The webinar is specifically an in depth look at Neurocounseling.  Again make sure your speakers are turned up so that you can hear us.

Before we get started I want to cover just a few housekeeping details.  If you are having any technical difficulties throughout the presentation, please feel free to select the Host option in your dropdown menu and go ahead and tell me what problem you’re having and I’ll do my best to work with you through the issue.  If you want to ask questions we will be taking questions throughout the presentation and addressing those at the very end so please don’t hesitate to ask while Dr. Lori is speaking.  What you’ll do is to ask a question is just type in your question in the Q&A box which is located down below in the bottom of the screen and I’ll be collecting those throughout the presentation and at the end we will do our best to answer all of those first come, first served.  If we do not get to your question, don’t be discouraged.  We’ll be sure your questions are answered on a one off basis.

Tday we’re going to cover a few things.  The first would be welcoming Dr. Lori Russell-Chapin and her journey in the neurocounseling profession.  Then we’re going to talk about the definition of neurocounseling, the goals of neurocounseling, integration into Bradley’s online MAC program, brain-based treatments and the Q&A section.  Okay.  And without further ado, I would love to introduce to you Dr. Lori Russell-Chapin.  She is a professor at Bradley.  She is the Education of Health Sciences Associate Dean and a co-director for the Center for Collaborative Brain Research.  Welcome, Lori.  Oop, Lori, are you there?

Lori:  Hello everyone.

Jennifer:  There she is.

Lori:  Can you hear me?

Jennifer:  Yes.

Lori:  So fun to talk to everyone and thank you so much for joining me today. I am so excited to share with all of you what Neurocounseling is and answer any questions you might have so, uh, I don’t know if you’re seeing on screen what I’m seeing but there’s a Neurotherapy and Neurofeedback book there and that’s the book that we use in your first – in our curriculum called ENC 607 Bridging Brain and Behavior and there’s a brand new book coming out in March of 2017 that you all would be using if you joined us and it’s called Neurocounseling Clinical Approaches and that is published through the American Counsel Association.  So, so many wonderful new pieces of research coming out.

So, let’s get busy and we’ll talk about this stuff.  I think the first thing we have to do is we need to do some definitions.  So I’m going to talk a little bit about Neurotherapy, Neurofeedback and Neurocounseling and, honestly, they’re all related but they are distinct, too. So, the one that I have on the very top of this slide is called Neurotherapy. And so Neurotherapy is a set of neuromodulation techniques that alter – anything that would alter and modulate your neurons or neuronal functioning.  So if I had you in front of me I would be asking you what do think kind of things might that be?  And eventually you would say:  “Wow, I think counseling actually is an example of neurotherapy because you know we know from brain scans that counseling changes the brain.” But there’s so many things that would be considered Neurotherapy but it’s a big umbrella.  And then underneath the umbrella would be Neurocounseling and Neurocounseling, true as the definition is, bridging brain and behavior and it’s the integration of counseling and neuroscience into the treatment of behavioral and psychological problems.  Uh, what I’m finding – and I think we have been finding this – is that almost every behavior that walks into your counseling office has a physiological or perhaps even neurological underpinning.  We know that almost 80% of everything – every problem that walks into a physician’s office is psychological.  And probably stress related.  But what we can do for neurocounseling is so essential and I think the fact that we can teach people about physiologically based concerns, they walk away with not only psychological skills but also physiological skills.


And then, of course, my favorite thing in the world is Neurofeedback and it’s also under that umbrella.  So neurofeedback would certainly be considered a neurotherapy function as well as neurocounseling but neurofeedback is kind of a little different creature.  It’s a non-invasive method of brain wave self regulation and we actually train the brain to get rid of its dysregulation using the principles of operant and classical conditioning.  And we’re going to have all sorts of classes about how – what causes dysregulation and of course one of the answers is just living life but we’ll have classes on that and teaching you how to bridge brain and behavior.

So the next thing I need to share with you is so why do we want to do this?  What are the goals?  And when you’re in counseling what are the goals of neurocounseling?  And I think it’s many folded but I think the first thing I’d share with you is that you have to have a better understanding of neurobiology and neuroscience.  Because if we do that we can actually shatter some of those personality and behavioral disorders. Here’s one of them I’ll share tonight.  I just recently had a client about two years ago come to me who had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.  On her Millon Clinical Multiphasic Inventory she definitely was bipolar though she had a few other personality disorders, too.  And honestly even as little as 20 and 30 years ago we’re saying:  “If you have a personality disorder what we can do for clients is help them adapt – just help them just change and understand it but to work with it.”  Well, we know now, through neurocounseling, neurotherapy and especially neurofeedback, we can truly train the brain so that you will not see anymore of a personality disorder and my bipolar client no longer can be diagnosed as bipolar because she went through 40 sessions of neurofeedback.  That’s kind of cool.

So anyway, I’m going to help you understand Neurobiology and Neuroscience and how that relates to your clients.  It offers your clients truly an additional aspect of wellness and, you know, it teaches them – and I don’t know if this will make sense to you but I’ve had this consistently happen to me.  I will teach people some physiological techniques to help regulate their dysregulation, things like skin temperature control which we’ll talk about later or diaphragmatic breathing or heart rate variability.  I’ve had people in one session raise their skin temperature 10 degrees by just doing some imagery and good breathing and they leave my office I typically say “skipping” because they have so much more internal locus of control.  And people who don’t even know each other say the same thing.  They say:  “Wow, if I can control that, I can probably control anything.”  So you can see it add to your client’s wellness and treatment strategy and I think because it puts more tools in our toolbox that it allows counselors to be more efficient and efficacious.  And I mean – by that I mean more able to have better success of their goals but it’s qualitative now as well as quantitative.

So we’ve talked about the goals, we’ve given you the definitions and now we need to talk about the benefits.  So here are some of the benefits I see in Neurocounseling.  I do believe that when we bridge brain and behavior and teach people these special skills that it may reduce and at times eliminate reliance on medications.  Specifically with neurofeedback I’ve gotten children off their ADHD stimulant medication or at least reduced it drastically.  Again, I think it offers a much more – bigger opportunity for wellness and it gives you a wider strategy as we said with our goals.  But we’re talking about physical, emotional and behavioral changes.  We’re no longer just thinking about our thoughts and our emotions; we’re working on behaviors but we’re really working on your physiology and your neurology and to me – I just wrote this today – I’m blogging for Psychology Today and you can go into Psychology Today and read some of the things that we’re promoting in our online curriculum but I was blogging just today saying that how important it is that we give people internal locus of control and what’s really wonderful is you can’t go back once you understand these physiological techniques, you see the world in a different perspective.  So I think that’s really important as well.

And then I think and it should go down on this template, it allows us as counselors to more fully evaluate, it enhances our treatment plans and again, we’re offering a much more efficacious plan for clients, whether it’s psychological or behavioral.  And lastly I think another benefit is that it really does provide insight to the physiologic basis of interpersonal as well as therapeutic relationships.  And I’ll give you a quick example.  One of the things we’re going to really work a lot on in Brain and Behavior classes is understanding our entire physiology and I’ve taken so many new Anatomy and Physiology courses and we spent a lot of time on the Polyvagals Theory which was developed by Dr. Stephen Porges and we just brought Dr. Porges to Bradley last March.  But anyway, you have a cranial nerve that’s called the 10th cranial nerve and it starts at the base of – you know, you could put your finger on the base of your brain, it’s kind of the base of your skull and it goes all the way to the bottom of your abdomen. And so we know that we now are getting so much information, called the gut/brain axis as well – we’re getting so much information from the top down and the bottom up and that gives us great implications about our interpersonal relationships, our therapeutic relationships – it’s that 10th cranial nerve that allows us to be safe and how we often are feeling like a therapeutic alliance in counseling.  So there’s so many things we get to teach you.  I could talk to you – oh, I could talk to you all day but I can’t because they’ve got me on a time schedule so here we’re going to continue on.

Those are some of the benefits.  So what we want to talk about next is a little bit about our Masters in Counseling program.  And, again, we are integrating this Neurocounseling into our curriculum and you will take specifically two specific courses, 607 is the Brain and Behavior course that I’ve been talking to you about.  In this course you have two weeks of online instruction and then the third week you come to Bradley for our residency program, for our first one but you do simulations.  Of course we do instructions, we do demonstrations of neurocounseling, I’ll be doing demonstrations of neurofeedback when people come to our residency program where you learn all sorts of wonderful things about the human brain and how our counseling skills actually activate certain parts of our brains and why that’s important to you as a counselor, and your client.  Uh, so we do something called the Head Map of Functions – you maybe know exactly when you do a head map and you need to know exactly if a client comes to you with a stuttering concern – I just was doing neurofeedback earlier today and I was working at the will-call area on the left side of the head, X and T3, you need to know those parts of the brain so that when someone comes into you and says:  “I’m really anxious.”  You’re going:  “Oh, I know, I know.  There’s too much beta waves on the right side of their brain.”  Or they come to you with depression.  You’ll say:  “Oh, I know what’s going on in the brain.  There’s too many beta waves and probably not enough alpha waves in the left part of the prefrontal cortex.”  So those are the kind of things that you’ll learn in 607.

And then a little bit down the road we integrate even more, we take you into EMG 608, called Brain-Based Intervention where you continue to learn practical applications, practical skills.  We talk about mindfulness, we talk about, again, therapeutic lifestyle changes, virtual skin temperature control using the Respirex for – the respirate instrument for blood pressure control.  And you can see on your screen.  There‘s an example of a handheld thermometer that everybody practices in class and you can raise your temperature just understanding how to breath and breathing through your heart.  So we’ll be integrating this throughout our entire Masters program, even in your basic skills classes which is 623, 690 and 691.

And then, let’s see, I want to share with you my love, one of my areas of expertise, I guess – I am board certified in neurofeedback.  Coming to our curriculum does not make you a neurofeedback specialist nor will it give you board certification but I think it gives you a wonderful introduction to the neurofeedback and, again, show demonstrations.  I want to share with you some of the neurofeedback treatment results I’ve had in our clinic.  And this is pretty remarkable so hang on for a second but there are some wonderful – just wonderful efficacy research out there for neurofeedback, 75% reduction of symptoms in children with ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.  The second bullet, again, most people think that just can’t be right but I want you to think about it.  We’ve had a 9 to 23 point IQ increase; if the brain is no longer dysregulated, of course information can come into it more easily and more freely.  That’s remarkable.

For people who have epileptic seizures how about a 70% reduction – I sound like a sales person!  Anyway, you know, we know that for people who have addictions to alcohol that the recidivism rate is incredible but with doing AA and neurofeedback there’s an 80% sobriety rate.  That’s incredible as well.  Um, we have had 80% — not just we but the research is reporting – 80% of posttraumatic stress disorder clients have had no relapse of panic – again, that’s quite remarkable.  We’ve had reduction in depression afer one year, 88%.  And this is what I was telling you was my bipolar client, normalization of the Minnesota Multiphasic Inventory or the Millon Clinical Multiphasic Inventory, elimination of those personality disorders.  Wow is all I have to say.  And I just saw the client I’m talking about.  I hadn’t seen her in two years and she – I just happened to see her on the street – that’s always kind of awkward because you never know quite what to do and she just came up and said:  “Lori, I just got to tell you my life is great and I’m looking forward to Christmas.”  And it was just super fun to talk with her so how lovely is that?  And I’ve already mentioned the reduction and sometimes elimination of medication.  But these are actually nice as well.

Alright.  Let’s go to the next one.  I guess I would love to share with you a little bit of the research I’m doing right now with neurofeedback.  And I will be on sabbatical next semester although I still get to teach 607 Brain and Behavior and next semester I’m going to be doing research with veterans, uh, who have been diagnosed with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.  I think we owe them so much gratitude and I’d love to be able to do some help that would make their lives more manageable or less stressful.  That’s what I’m doing next semester.  But right now I’ve been doing research on Neurofeedback and Bulimia.  And I just presented this after my research; I’ll show you a couple of slides.

So I had this client who came to me.  She was about a 50 year old person, female, who had – who was just an incredible lovely person but had many children, was functioning well but just was having some high anxiety so she came in with high anxiety disorder.  But six sessions in she confided in me that she had also been bulimic and purging and binging and has been doing that for 30 years.  And you can imagine how not only dysregulated her brain was but how her whole physiology – you know, she was struggling with digestive concerns, everything was not going well for her.  I was very grateful that she and I had built a therapeutic alliance so that she could share that with me.  I did – you need to know, though – I did work with her during Cognitive Counseling for almost a year and she did get better.  She really did.  But it just wasn’t enough and so she was healthier but she was still binging and purging.  Uh, so we – she asked if she could maybe talk to me about Neurofeedback and I said I’d love to do that because why not go to the source of all of our problems which is our brain.  You know, these are brain illnesses and brain health – I’d love to quit saying mental health and say more of brain health – but anyway I did a very substantial assessment with her.  I did a 5-channel EEG, lots of paper/pencil self reports and I gave her a Millon which I’m going to share with you in a second, and 40 sessions of Neurofeedback which is like 20 minutes each time and after 40 sessions, this is – I don’t know what else to say – remarkable but my client is no longer purging and hasn’t purged in all of six months for the first time in 30 years.  18-22 symptoms that she gave me on a self-symptom checklist have been reduced and many of the symptoms on the Millon that I told you about earlier had dissipated.  And so we were very successful with our counseling goals.

So I just want to share with you maybe one little grasp from the Millon Clinical Multiphasic Inventory.  There are many different aspects of Millon but this is a pretest and posttest of the severe clinic essential syndrome.  Just take a look at this and you can see the blue are the pretest scores and the red are the posttest scores.  What do you think about that?  I mean – and if you see that dotted line, that’s average and we’re doing really well.  She is also doing extremely well.  So I just wanted to share with you some of the things, like I said, that we’re doing at Bradley, some of the things I’m doing in my clinical practice and I want to turn it over now to our wonderful coaches and academic advisors so they can talk to you a little bit about our program and then I want to leave lots of time for any questions that you all might have.  So I’m going to push it back over to our coaches and academic advisors please.

Jennifer:  Thank you, Lori.  We so appreciate your information.  You definitely have a wealth of knowledge and we so appreciate your time.  We do want to go over some of the program requirements and I will be introducing Davina Ramos-Trevino.  She is going to go over some of the basic program requirements for the Masters of Arts in Counseling program that we’re offering online at Bradley.

Davina:  Hi everyone.  My name is Davina.  My name is really just too long so Davina is fine.  Uh, I want to thank you all for taking time out to join us and of course for Dr. Lori, you know, taking time to give us all this information as well.  With our curriculum we have two concentrations to the Masters of Arts in Counseling with Clinical Mental Health as well as the Professional School Counselor.  So as you can see on your screen, you know, it gives you the number of credits per concentration.  You’ll notice that the non-teacher for the Professional School Counselor has one additional credit.

Our program is structured to be a three year program so you’re looking roughly about a total of nine semesters.  Um, our tuition currently is at $850 per credit and you can see the numbers, you know, for those concentrations that you’re specifically interested in.  We have two one-week residencies for each program.  Again, it is a nine semester curriculum and so your first residency will be within the first semester towards the end and then your second residency and you have to come to campus for both of these will be towards the end of your program in your eighth semester.

With the admissions requirements we definitely want to uh, you know, have our applicants know that we are looking for, you know, elite students.  Uh, one of the admissions requirements is that you have a grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.  There is a non-refundable application fee of $40 and of course $50 for international students.  You will need to request all official transcripts from each educational institution, anything after high school.  You are required to write two short essays.  You will need to request three letters of recommendation and you’ll also need to schedule a virtual interview.

Jennifer:  Thank you, Davina.  Um, that basically covers what our admission requirements are for the program.  We now want to be able to take questions from our audience and so we will start doing that.  One of the questions that we have, that we would like to answer, and Lori, this is probably directed to you for sure:  How do you become board certified in Neurocounseling?

Lori:  Oh, that’s a great question.  Uh, you know, I would tell people that once they get their – let me digress just a second – once they get their 60 hours under their belt they’ll take a couple of exams first because the first thing you want to do is get licensed in your state to become a practicing counselor, right?  So in our curriculum because it’s CACREP approved and we haven’t emphasized that enough, right?  So because it’s CACREP approved our students in their last semester will sit for the National Board of Certified Counseling exam which is typically the exam that you send into your state to get licensed as a professional counselor. The reason I’m doing this back story is that you can’t even do Neurofeedback training until you are a licensed professional.  So once you have your license and then you want to go get some more training, you get supervised like you have in your counseling curriculum.  I’m still being mentored after seven years I’ve been doing Neurofeedback.  And then you take this enormous test because, you know, to become a counselor in our program you will take the NBC test.  You’ll also take your comprehensive exams and, uh, and then you just keep going.  And so when I was taking my board certification exams I took another multiple choice test on physiology, neurology, electricity, chemistry and then I thought my head was going to explode again but it didn’t and yours won’t either so that’s how you get board certified.  So there’s a few hoops you’ve got to get through before you can become a Neurofeedback practitioner.

Jennifer:  Thank you, Lori.  That’s very good information and very helpful to know. Okay, moving on to the next question, we have a student that asked:  My overall GPA is a 2.9, can I still apply?

Davina:  I’ll go ahead and take that question.

Jennifer:  Okay.

Davina:  Yes, you are able to apply.  Applicants that have a GPA that falls 2.5 to 2.99 – they can be admitted on a conditional basis and, of course, if your GPA falls at 3.0 or higher, you know, you’re going to be one of the elite.  You will, after that, also, you will be required to take either the GRE or the MAT exam if your GPA in your last 60 credits is below that 2.9.  But again, yes, you can still apply for the program.

Jennifer:  Thank you for that question.  Another question that we have, Lori, actually it says:  My advisor mentioned that a residency will cover Neurocounseling; what does that residency look like?

Lori:  That’s a great question, so – that’s a really great question.  In fact we just spent a lot of time today as a faculty discussing that.  As you know our program is still relatively new.  We’re entering the end of our first year and I’ve already done two residencies. And so, although this is sort of a tentative agenda coming out of my head because I don’t have it in front of me but you come onto campus and one of the – there are many goals of our residency.  One of the biggest goals is that you finally get to meet all the virtual buddies that you’ve created through your online curriculum and you get to be with them in person.  So one of the biggest goals and this is a CACREP requirement, too, but it’s to create another community for you.  I mean these are real people that you’re doing all this online curriculum work with and so it’s been so much for me from our other two and we have another residency coming up in almost three weeks.  And you build these incredible professional communities and that’s one of the goals.  Uh, the first time you come we’ve already done two weeks or bridging Brain and Behavior but almost the first thing we do is we really want to make sure if you have any questions that you can get answered by all of our faculty and you get to meet all of our faculty that you had in your online curriculum.  So you meet them in person and, you know, we want to be able to answer any questions just about the curriculum.  And that’s another goal.  A third goal is to – want to make sure that you understand our program.  What a great time to get hands-on attention to really understand all the details that are involved in a practicum and internship.  Because there are always questions about our 750 CACREP approved practicum and internships.  So we do that.

nd then I get you right into Neurocounseling.  One of the first things we do is we are going to – so we have a center called the Center for Collaborative Brain Research.  This is a partnership among Bradley University, the Illinois Neurological Institute and a very large hospital in Peoria called OSF St. Francis.  And one of the first things we’re doing that very first afternoon that people get here is we’re headed to the hospital because we get to tour the inner office of the FMRI machine and its so amazing that they have these seamless place where they can – truly if they need to, they could do an FMRI scan of the brain and see what’s going on with that.  If someone needed surgery they just open up this door and they seamlessly roll him or her to another room, do the operation, bring them back, do another scan so they know exactly before they even close him up:  “Have I done what I’m supposed to do?”  So I just want the people to get a little bit of flavor of what FMRI research looks like.  Then we come back and talk about the function of Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging.  It has changed the counseling profession because we now know the counseling changes the brain through that brain scanning and, you know, neuro modulation at its best.  So we talk a little bit about that, we get into more research on Neurocounseling, we talk a little bit about Neurofeedback.  That same afternoon we are demonstrated Neurofeedback and, depending on the number of students we have in our residency, several of the students are – you know, I pick names out of a hat and we do a 5-channel EEG on them, if they want, so that they can show, with their informed consent – they can show some of the results to their other classmates and so we know exactly what’s going on and you get a better like flavor and feel for what’s happening.  The rest of the time that we’re here you’re meeting with our campus-based students so that’s another goal because our campus-based and our online program are exactly the same, as are the CACREP mandates.  So I think it’s really fun for our campus-based students to meet the online students and it’s essential that our online students meet our campus-based students.

During your residency as well you are presenting some projects in 607 – one is the head map of function presentation and there’s a little research presentation, too.  And so we are honing and making sure that you have really the best writing and presentation skills that you have as well.  There is a final in that exam – in that residency as well but we also have one of the nights – I can’t tell you which it is – but there’s a counseling honorary, it’s called Chi Sigma Iota, it’s an international counseling honorary and with certain grade point average all of you online students will be invited to join and so we’re having a reception with our Chi Sigma Iota students as well.  It is jam packed.  It’s fun – people are so tired when they’re done but I think they get a wonderful practical application of what we’re trying to do online and it really shows and demonstrates how you can bridge Brain and Behavior.

Jennifer:  Thank you, Lori.  Yes, very exciting to learn more about that residency.  It is pretty vital to the program and, like you mentioned, they have lots of opportunities to get together with their current fellow students to, you know, just form that community even greater, so thank you so much.  We have another question from the audience that is:  What prerequisites do you need?  My background is special education, specifically focused on hearing impaired, not counseling.   I’m going to let Davina go ahead and answer that.

Davina:  Okay.  Uh, the prerequisite for our program is that you have a minimum of a Bachelors degree from a regionally accredited school and it needs to be within the US.  The GPA, of course, as we mentioned previously in the presentation, that it needs to be at least a 3.0 on a 4.0 grading scale.  But again, you can get admitted with a GPA of 2.5 to 2.99, just needing to understand that that conditional basis is that you take a GRE or MAT.

Lori:  Davina, may I add to that?

Davina:  Yes, please.

Lori:  Okay, I appreciated, Davina, all those criteria.  I also wanted the person who asked the question to know a little bit because they’re saying:  “I don’t have a counseling degree.”  And honestly, some of my best students in my campus-based program, you know, don’t have a psychology degree.  Many think well, that’s the natural – and it is, it is the natural.  If you have a psychology degree you’re going to be pretty set.  On one hand you might think you know more than you do so you have to kind of go backwards but some of my best students are music students.  I mean they don’t know anything about counseling but they have this wonderful creative mind and I think counseling has a lot of creative skills, too.  So I think this participant’s question about, you know, I’m a teacher and I have a specialty in hearing disorders – I think it would be a perfect match for us.

Jennifer:  Yes, thank you so much, Lori.  That’s very true.  Okay, we have another question that is about our internship, it says:  Are internships required and how long do they run?  I can have Davina go ahead and answer that one as well.  And Lori, if you have anything to add, please do.

Davina:  There are two internships that are required and the internships need to be a combination for both, a total of 650 hours.  Lori, do you want to add to that?

Lori:  Yeah, please.  Thank you, Davina.  So, uh, this gets a little complicated but I think the participants need to know there are advisors, there are people helping you with this whole program of study and, um, so Davina was absolutely correct but there’s also a practicum first and then there’s an internship and when you get done with both the practicum and the internships it’s 750 clock hours.  So what I have so many of our students doing is about a year before you’re ready, I say go and we’ll help you with this to some degree but you are all around the United States so it’s easier for me in Peoria but I can give you some basic criteria standards.  So about a year before your practicum starts you need to go start observing.  Where are counselors in my city?  And what are they doing?  And what kind of site or setting might I want to intern?  So our interns and practicum internship students are in hospitals, they’re in schools, they’re in children’s homes, they’re in nursing homes, they’re in community agency settings.  You know a year in advance you go kind of scope that out and then start going to people and saying:  “I am getting a Masters in Counseling through Bradley University and I’m looking for a site.”  And then we’re going to help you find a supervisor because you’re going to be doing counseling but you are practicing under someone else’s license.  So if I am your faculty advisor, let’s say I’m teaching 690 practicum or 691 which is internship so I’m your Bradley University faculty teacher, you are practicing under my license.  So we have to observe you carefully and because all counselors are – you can practice law.  You cannot practice counseling without a license of a professional counselor.  And so we’ll help you navigate through that but, you know, we ask each of you to kind of thinking – if you come into our program in the next few weeks, I’d ask you to start thinking:  “Where do I want to intern?”  It’s a wonderful opportunity.

Jennifer:  Yes, thank you so much, Lori.  Actually I’m probably going to have you answer this next question that is:  Is there a way to expedite the completion of this program, make it shorter than three years?

Lori: That is such a great program.  You know, that’s funny, because we were just truly talking about this today in our meeting with all the faculty.  That is – our campus-based and our online program is exactly the same so it’s three years whether you’re campus-based or three years whether your online.  What I have found in working with my online students, and this is true for my campus-based, too, but maybe I would say the students I’ve had in our campus-based curriculum are exceptional students.  You all are busy, you’re probably – you might have children, you’ve got a full time job and you’re trying to juggle this online curriculum.  So I’ll give you an example.  Just right now I’m just putting my grade list today for the Ethics class.  So my students in the same cohort, so you might throw in a cohort in the program three different times, you can come in three different times in the year so you might join with the same cohort.  My students are finishing up an Ethics course but they’re also taking their Research course – I mean they’re also taking their Research course at the same time.  And so I’m trying to answer this participant’s question – I don’t think you can speed it up because, honestly, it’s pretty intense, pretty overwhelming, and we strategically made it so that you could not – wouldn’t get lost.  So I think the answer to you question right now is you really can’t and we’re not letting our campus-based students do that and we’re just not letting our online students do it.  And I do know there are programs out in the United States that allow you to do it quicker but we want you to be the best practitioner you can be and you have to be able to assimilate the knowledge.

Jennifer:  Great, thank you so much, Lori.  I definitely do hear that question often so I appreciate your answering that thoroughly.  Um, I do have another question that comes from one of the attendees:  Are you able to do this program part time and continue working part time? It says:  I’m an older person working professionally, how might somebody like me fund this program?  I can go ahead and kind of touch on this a little bit.  The program the way it’s set up as a three year like Lori was mentioning, you are basically taking two courses for the most part per semester at 7 weeks each so you’ll have 7 weeks and then another 7 week course back-to-back.  It is designed in its form of being online to work with people that are working part time or even full time, really.  So the opportunity to work on this online and work at the same time – it is designed to do that.  The other part of that is Financial Aid.  If you’re depending on how you are paying for school – if you’re paying and using Financial Aid, you do – the way the program is set up, you will be taking the courses, like I mentioned, in a semester.  We have 15 weeks so you may have 3 courses that semester but you’ll have 9 credits – no more than 9 credits and that’s what you need to continue to receive Financial Aid, to be considered a full time for Financial Aid.  So that kind of comes to the next question that was asked:  How might someone like me fund the program?  You are able to apply for FAFSA which is a free application for federal student aid and there are funds available if you meet the requirements and you qualify, you could receive up to $20,500 per year to pay for a program like this.  And it would be loans, it would need to be paid back.  There are no grants or scholarships available at the graduate level.  But if you get in contact with your Enrollment Advisor or call the number we can definitely give you links to the information to go look into the FAFSA and even different scholarships possibly that are available out there, separate from Bradley.  And then we…

Lori:  Jennifer may I add to that?

Jenifer:  Yes, please do.

Lori:  May I add something to this participant’s question.  I think maybe you’ve already done this but one of the things I’d really encourage everybody to do is to go online and really check out the curriculum.  Our CACREP approved program – we are a very old and stable program and we’ve been CACREP accredited since 1993 which is a very long time.  We were one of the first programs in the United States to go to the 60 hour mandated program so that’s a mandate – all of us have to do that throughout the United States now.  But I think the best way to figure this out is to go and look at our website, check it out thoroughly and then go into our curriculum and read about the courses.  To me, and I know I’m so biased, but if you will read the courses that you get to take I think you’re going to be so excited about becoming a counselor so I want you to really understand what you’re getting into and I think, if you see that match there and you go:  “Oh, I want to learn this.  I do want to take a course on grief and loss.  I want to take a course on Crisis Intervention.  I want to understand the brain.  I want to understand” – I could do this all night.  “But I want to understand all these things.”  And if you’re excited about it then you know it’s a good fit.  And I think that’s going to really help you sort of manage because you’re going to be so motivated but it will help manage your time.

Jennifer:  Thank you, Lori.  I couldn’t agree more.  I appreciate that answer, definitely a key to this program is that people will be excited about wanting to take those courses and wanting to just dive in and, you know, it’s definitely a positive.  One other question we have was the comprehensive exam – you mentioned earlier some of the exams you’ll be taking for licensure and such and then also the Neurocounseling focus, one attendee asks:    What happens if I fail the comprehensive exam that’s at the end of the program?  Will I have another opportunity?  Can you answer that?

Lori:  Yes, you started to say applicant.  I like applicant better than participant.  So everybody should apply.  But anyway, the question is a great question.  Uh, yes, absolutely.  You know, we are investing time in you and you’re investing time in us and honestly, this is so exciting for me to report to you but just today we got our pass rate for this exam, for the comprehensive exam that all of our students have to take and we had 100% pass rate.  Now, that’s just so cool.  But that has not always happened so if someone doesn’t quite pass it we are invested in you so we mentor.  We till mentor you and we’ll say:  “Okay, there are eight components to this test.  These are all the CACREP components in our curriculum.  And if you pass six but you fail two, then we’ll work with you, we’ll mentor you, we’ll tutor you and so when you take it again, you’re going to pass it.”  That’s so cool.  So that’s our comprehensive exam.  If the same thing happens with the National Board of Certified Counseling exam – you can retake that, too.  There are, of course, like wait times.  In our program there’s only a month wait time to retake it.  We have to have time to tutor you but in the National Certified Counseling exam I think there’s a much greater – maybe like six months but don’t quote me on that one.  So yes, people have opportunities to retake things.

Jennifer:  Fantastic.  Thank you, Lori.  Uh, I did have another question from an applicant.  I had to accept a call during the webinar.  Will the slides be available for download afterwards?  Yes, I want to address that and make sure that everybody that is on the call understands that once the webinar is ended there will be a time period where it will be available at some point to be e-mailed to you.  You will get a copy of the webinar in its entirety, the whole recording and everything so yes, that will be available for you at a future time.

Uh, actually, Lori, this is a good question and I think both Davina and I hear this on the phone but you’re in the classroom and so maybe you could answer this. Somebody is asking:  What’s the average age of the online student?

Lori:  Oh, what a great question. I’m finding – I’m going to go back a little bit.  The average age of our campus-based students tends to be about late 20’s, early 30’s.  The average age of our online population tends to be a little bit later in life, early 30’s and into their 40’s.  And I think it’s because people are going back to school.  You know, they already have a job but they realize:  “I know what I want.”  And they are then directed into the counseling field.  So it’s a little bit later age but I don’t – I don’t even want you to think about that because to me it doesn’t matter how old you are.  One of the funnest things I’ve ever done is I used to teach the class on Aging and — Aging and Epigenetics and what I used to do is we would have our counseling students and then we’d have OLLI at Bradley which is a really fun curriculum for people who are 60 years and older, and we would combine the aging class and have people who were in their 60’s with people in their 20’s and I cannot tell you what that diversity does to the classroom.  So whether you’re on campus or whether you’re online, having diversity is the best thing you could have.  And so it doesn’t matter your age – it truly doesn’t.  I do sometimes think that perhaps the older students might ruin some of the curves because they’re – they know why they’re there and they’re dedicated but it just motivates everybody to do as well as they can.

Jennifer:  Thank you, Lori.  I do appreciate your answer.  Another question is:  How are the exams administered?  Is it tough to find somewhere to take a proctored exam?  I actually can add to that, uh, and I think people will often ask, you know, in the course setting or in the class itself online how are those exams taken but how would the comprehensive exam be taken, I guess?

Lori:  Uh, so all your tests, you take the quizzes that you take in your online curriculum – they’re taken right through our Sakai System – it’s a learning management system and, you know, you have to come in with a password and you have to take the exam, it’s taken at a certain time and it opens and it closes at a certain time.  Uh, it’s going to be the same way with everything else.  There’ll be a certain site that you can go to and you’ll have the course already paid for but you’ll have some secure password that allows you to take the exam.  And so we’ll help you through that process but there will always be something that will be secure and has a password so only you can take the exam.

Jennifer:  Great.  Thank you o much.  Uh, another question is:  Are the online class hours specific or flexible?  I can answer that.  The classes themselves – it’s asynchronous so you have access to your courses 24/7.  You are not required to be in front of your computer at a specific time for any specific reason.  Like Lori mentioned, the courses are available – or the exams or tests or things like that are open at a certain time and close at a certain time but you’re never required to be in front of your computer, say at 4 o’clock on a Thursday, that type of thing.  If there are live lectures that are streamed they will be recorded for later viewing, that type of thing.  So, um, fully available to you at any time 24/7.  You will have due dates and things like tat as things come due and everything is done on central standard time.

Lori:  I would add to that, too, Jennifer, that we are offering virtual office hours that are synchronous so I might have – I’ll announce it to everybody that if you need a little extra help and you want to talk to me in person synchronously, I’ll have a virtual office hour.  I had one the other night at 7:00 central time which of course made it a little earlier for people on the west coast and a little later for people on the east coast but if people want to join me, I just had an office hour and you just would come in through what’s called our UCU and that’s how we kind of hang out and, uh, so everybody’s – you didn’t have to come if you didn’t want to but I was available if you needed me.

Jennifer:  Thank you, awesome.  That’s so nice to be able to offer to the students that flexible time or that, you know, period of time for them to come talk to you, just like you would if you were at the campus so it makes sense.  Another question:  What are the class sizes?  How many students are in each course?

Lori:  I could answer that if you want me to.

Jennifer:  Yes, please.

Lori:  Okay and please, anybody jump in.  It really depends on your cohort size.  However it’s been really interesting because of our CACREP standards which really help you the students make sure you’re getting the kind of training that you need, but our clinical classes have a ratio of 6 to 1 – clinical would mean that you’re learning, you know, skills and/or practicing skills, practicum internship through practicum.  The other classes have a ratio of 12 to 1.  So those are pretty incredible – well, they’re really incredible ratios and so you’re going to get a lot of attention and I think that’s really good news for the students and then I think sometimes it’s bad news because you get so much attention.  So I think they’re wonderful ratios.

Jennifer:  Yes, Lori, thank you so much.  I appreciate that.  That is amazing ratio to be able to have you do really feel connected to the other members of the course.  Um, another question is and it actually comes in about reviewing transcripts and it’s:  Can Bradley review my transcripts to see what I would still need outstanding for the Masters degree program?  So I guess they’re asking if they have, you know, a counseling degree, if they’re non-degree seeking, can we evaluate those to see what they would still need to take in order to serve their licensure.

Lori:  Well, I’m not sure I totally understand the question but here’s what we do at Bradley.  So let’s say you had a Masters but you wanted to make sure you would get licensed.  I’m not sure this is exactly what the attendee is talking about but so someone has to – you have to look and audit your transcripts.  So for a fee of about $40, it might even be $50, excuse me – but for a nominal fee we will take the time and look at your transcripts.  If you then enroll in our program we apply that fee to your tuition and that’s what we have been doing for our certificate program so I’m guessing it’s going to be very similar.  If the person’s asking this question though:  “If you don’t have a Masters degree and you want to transfer courses in.  If they’ve never been counted toward another degree Bradley can look at those transfer courses and decide whether or not we want to accept them.  I just accepted someone’s 604, which is our research course, in so they don’t have to take it again.  You always will have to do 60 hours but we will transfer up to about 9 hours potentially if those courses match our curriculum.  And then you still have to take 9 other hours but, you know, that’s easy to do in our curriculum.

Jennifer:  Okay, great.  Thank you, Lori.  Well, that looks like all the questions that we have in the time that we had.  If your question was not answered we will be looking into it in more detail and getting back to you so, um, know that.  And we thank you, Lori, so much for your time.  We appreciate you and, you know, it’s always a pleasure to talk to you and to hear your background and to hear what you’re passionate about so thank you so much.

Lori:  Well, you’re welcome.  And may I make an ending quote?

Jennifer:  Absolutely, please.

Lori:  Okay.  Well, I have so many people that I – one of my favorite theorists, his name is Dr. Robert Sapolsky.  He’s from Stanford.  He’s written a wonderful book called Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers but he has a great quote and his quote is:  “Perhaps most excitingly, we are uncovering the brain basis of our behaviors, normal, abnormal and in-between.  We are mapping a Neurobiology of what makes us us.”  And that’s what I think our counseling program is about.  It’s going to teach you about what makes us us and let you help other people who probably their brain is dysregulated and you can help them become better, healthier people.  Well, thank you so much, Jennifer, for allowing me to join you today.

Jennifer:  Again, thank you, Lori.  That was awesome.  I’m going to have to go write that quote down.

Lori:  It’s great.  I love that quote.


Jennifer:  Well, thank you, everyone, for attending.  Again, you will be receiving a copy of this webinar and if your question wasn’t answered we will get into that and we will respond back to you.  Thank you and have a good night.

Take advantage of a one-of-a-kind opportunity to hear Dr. Lori Russell-Chapin, a faculty expert, speak about the groundbreaking practice of neurocounseling at Bradley University. Lori has presented at numerous conferences and is the author of “Neurotherapy and Neurofeedback: Brain-Based Treatment for Psychological and Behavioral Problems.”

Discover the impact research in the fields of neurobiology and neuropsychology has had on the counseling profession. The following questions will be answered:

  • What is neurocounseling?
  • How does neurocounseling work?
  • What conditions can neurocounseling treat?
  • What does neurocounseling mean for the counseling field?
*The information provided in this webinar is intended for informational purposes only and is subject to change without notice. Information may be changed or updated without notice.