One of the greatest benefits of earning a master of arts in counseling degree online is the ability to earn your degree from a respected institution no matter where you live. That said, New York City and NYU have a unique culture of their own, and as part of both Counseling@NYU programs, students get to visit the campus and the city–allowing them to bridge the relationships they are building in the virtual space to reality.
From August 3-5, Counseling@NYU hosted its first on-campus immersion for the online program. In attendance at this inaugural event were school counseling graduate students that have been in the program for seven to 11 months. These students came together for a weekend of learning, self-discovery, and building friendships.
The Counseling@NYU immersion is a key aspect of a student’s learning in the program, and occurs in conjunction with the Group Dynamics: Theory and Practice course. The purpose of this course is to provide students with an understanding of group process and group dynamics and how to utilize groups in interventions with children, adolescents, and even adults.
In order to appropriately understand how groups function and operate, students need to observe and participate in groups themselves. The immersion allows for students to do just that. Counseling@NYU students spent approximately 16 hours over the course of the three-day immersion in group intensives: personal, powerful group sessions with their classmates during which students explore group dynamics on a personal, interpersonal, and group level. In these groups, students are able to see how emotions, behavior, and thought contribute to group life.
Along with the group intensives, the school counseling students completed 3.5 hours of Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) Training. The purpose of this training is to educate school counselors on how to ensure all students attend school in an environment free from discrimination, intimidation, taunting, harassment, and bullying on school property.
Overall, the immersion allows students to take what they have learned throughout their courses so far and apply those theories and knowledge in real-world settings with their peers, which they will be able to take back to their communities, field placements, and into their careers when they finish the program.
Forging Stronger Relationships
One of the benefits of on-campus immersions is the opportunity for students to meet their faculty, classmates, and other NYU support staff in person. The online program enables students to build relationships with other aspiring counselors living across the country. When students arrive at the immersion, they have already built relationships with their classmates, and the opportunity to meet each other in person strengthens those bonds.
“It was amazing to watch students greet each other like they were old friends as we welcomed them to NYU,” said Program Director Dr. Lisa Suzuki. “The welcome event was noisy with the voices of students intermingling.”
Faculty from a variety of online courses in counseling stopped by to greet students throughout the weekend as well.
The excitement of being on campus and being able to work with their classmates in an in-person environment was never more evident than at the immersion’s closing dinner. Dr. LaRue Allen, Chair of the Applied Psychology Department, and Dr. Suzuki gave closing statements to the students, expressing how proud they were of everyone in attendance. They also said that they are already looking forward to the program’s first graduation, which will take place in 2018. Students also had the opportunity to take the microphone at the closing dinner, thanking their professors for their support, classmates for their friendship, and their student support team for helping them achieve their goals.
Moving forward, both school counseling and mental health and wellness counseling students will complete an immersion as part of their program. To learn more about the curriculum for Counseling@NYU’s online graduate degrees in counseling, request information to speak with an admissions counselor.