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School Counseling Mission

Our task is to prepare individuals for competence, character, service, and leadership as professional school counselors in K-12 settings. Students who complete our program will reflect God’s excellence, grace, mercy, and goodness as representatives of Seattle Pacific University.

The philosophy and purpose of the School Counseling Program are to:

  • Educate in the history, theory, and research of psychology and education; 
  • Train for excellence in the professional use of skills in counseling, consultation and referral, coordination of guidance programs, and assessment for the purpose of helping students achieve the school’s learning goals;
  • Experience the ongoing direct application of learning in the school counseling context;
  • Integrate the whole person of the school counselor for a life balanced in the devotion of one’s heart, soul, mind, and strength. As faculty and students, we will seek to model Biblical principles such as honesty, integrity, compassion, self-discipline, congruence, redemption, commitment, and community. 

These endeavors will be facilitated by a faculty who strive to create and model a teaching/learning environment suitable for learners with diverse backgrounds, learning preferences, and life experiences so that our graduates will be able to serve all students in the school setting.

School counseling Conceptual Framework

The conceptual framework of Seattle Pacific University’s program in School Counseling is based on the theory that supports a developmental, systemic approach to facilitating the healthy educational, career, multi-cultural, personal-social, and spiritual development of students. This framework rests on the following principles:

School Counselors:

  • Are integral to a comprehensive developmental approach to education. 
  • Focus on prevention and developmental strategies and sound educational interventions based on empirical research and best practice. 
  • Adopt a strengths-based approach, applying theory and research from the field of positive psychology.
  • Stress collaboration and consultation with other school personnel and community resources to meet the needs of all students. 
  • Maintain the highest level of professional and ethical competence.
  • Work within the guidelines of the American School Counselor Association and relevant Washington State statutes. 

Our students receive extensive in-class and school-site based training in the areas of lifespan development, counseling, collaboration, consultation, and coordination. School counselors are seen as an educator who engages in a proactive, prevention-oriented, developmental-systemic, and multicultural approach to counseling, education, family, and community. Also, in keeping with our mission statement (see below), students are viewed in their entirety, including, e.g., their emotional, educational, and spiritual needs.

Student development must be determined accurately with the highest and most current levels of professional knowledge and skill. Educational decision-making is based fundamentally on current practice, assessment results, and legal and ethical guidelines. School counselors actively participate in educational decisions regarding students.

Schools are but one element in the student's world, and in order for students to find appropriate help and support, the family/community must be involved in the prevention and intervention process. School counselors are knowledgeable about the school and community resources and can refer students when appropriate.

The School Counseling Program reflects the mission statements of the School of Education: to prepare educators for service and leadership in schools and communities by developing their professional competence and character within a framework of Christian faith and values. In a practical sense, this means that individuals earning certification as school counselors from Seattle Pacific University will practice ethical principles in their work in schools.

In each of the aforementioned areas, the program emphasizes the role of research in the knowledge and evaluation of programs that will help students succeed. It is a performance-based program in that students are required to demonstrate high standards of knowledge and skills while working with faculty and students in K-12 schools throughout their program. Students completing this program will be able to support students and teachers in achieving Washington State learning standards.