Mental health counselors are required to have a diagnosis and assessment course in which they learn how to identify, correctly diagnose, and treat mental disorders (such as depression or anxiety). This requirement is by Oregon State law and the accreditation standards for the counseling profession.
Diagnosis and assessment is taught in every counselor education program, and usually in a face-to-face format. The title and course number for the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program’s course is TCE 577 Psychopathology and Advanced Psychodiagnostics. Given the high amount of content, the course has been typically delivered by lectures with practice in class.
The new hybrid version of TCE 577 will be taught spring quarter 2014. The anticipated enrollment is 20 students. All of the students will be completing the first or second year of their program, which means that they will have seen actual clients through their practicum. Thus, it will be easy for them to apply their learning concepts onto real cases.
I anticipate that this course will meet every other week for 3 hours at a time. My plan to hybridize the course is to put most of my lectures online via video. To ensure that students master the large amount of content, I will give reading assignments which are quizzed. Finally, I will post an actual case every other week, where students will be required to diagnose during class. These cases will be quite complex, and they will require the students to perform a full data collection, diagnostic assessment, mental status examination, and treatment plan. In this manner, the online and in class learning will be simultaneous and linked through ongoing discussion and application.