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This graduate level laboratory course is designed to develop the basic counseling skills that will enable students to understand the client, to develop a trusting relationship with the client, and to facilitate the client’s self-exploration. This course will be hands-on and experiential, and there will be several opportunities throughout to practice clinical skills. Although both individual and family counseling will be emphasized, the course will retain a systemic theoretical focus. This course is designed to help students begin their journey toward professional development, and will focus on elements of the self of the therapist, ethics, as well as issues of diversity and social justice in treating clients.

Students spent one hour or more at two different locations: one within their comfort zone, and one outside of their comfort zone. The only requirements were that these places be within the city limits of Philadelphia, and that the one out of their comfort zone differed from how students identified in at least one sociocultural way (race, culture, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic class, religion/spirituality). Students were required to journal about their experiences, in the form of video documentary. Since they were required to have video cameras to tape class role-plays for other assignments, they were instructed to bring their video cameras with them to their locations to document their thoughts, feelings, and reactions to their time there (or directly after if they were unable to film directly at the location). Conducting the 3-5 minute video journals for each location was designed to document the experience immediately, and watching the video journals was designed to help write the accompanying reflection paper.