Fall 2019 Newsletter

New M.S. in Counseling Program

To diagnose and treat the mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders affecting approximately 1 in 5 American children today, we started an M.S. in Counseling program! It is the first in the state of California to offer an LPCC (licensed professional clinical counseling) degree which specializes in children and adolescents.

This Fall, our first cohort of 25 students completed a variety of courses in areas such as Diagnosis and Treatment Planning as well as Therapy Interventions and Play Techniques. The program includes full and part-time options, evening courses, and fieldwork opportunities to meet the required practicum hours set by the Board of Behavioral Sciences. Applications are currently being accepted for Fall 2020. Last year many exceptional applicants applied - be sure to get your materials in before the March 1st deadline!

Our new M.S. in Counseling Program is a wonderful complement to our existing M.S. in Child Life program, which trains allied healthcare professionals to support children and their families facing challenging experiences, particularly traumatic medical situations.

If you’re interested in our new Counseling Program, with specialization in children and adolescents, or our Child Life Program, visit our website or contact us for more information.

Bringing Psych to a Campus Near You: New Online & Monrovia Campuses

Psychology has Bachelors degree completion programs available at regional campuses throughout southern California - including Inland Empire, the High Desert, Orange County, San Diego, Murrietta - and now Monrovia and online! Regional programs offer the same psych curriculum as the Azusa campus but at flexible, evening times great for local transfer students and professionals.

If you’re a student on the Azusa campus travelling home for the Summer and want to take a psych course, like Senior Sem or Data Analysis, consider taking it at one of the regional campuses! For more information, contact the psychology department or check out the link!

Updates from San Diego/Murrieta & Inland Empire/High Desert Campus: We’re excited to welcome Dr. Heather Hoshiko as the new program director for the San Diego & Murrieta regional campuses! Heather earned her PsyD, studying burnout, and she’s eager to help us grow our relationships with local community colleges and universities near San Diego & Murrieta.

The Murrieta psych club is off to another great start in Year 2! They’re planning local and international opportunities to serve and put together care packages with crafts and school supplies for children living in poverty in the Estonian/Russian border town of Narva.

Inland Empire hosted its first Back to School Mixer and chartered its own Psych Club chapter! High Desert continues to grow in size, setting the program’s record for graduation size this December.

Psychology Textbook Library: A New Way to Support Students in Financial Need

Textbooks can be expensive! For many psych students with demonstrated financial need, the cost of textbooks can all too often discourage them from staying at APU, completing their degree, or buying (and reading) the text for a course.

To support our students, the psych department is launching a new Psychology Textbook Library! But we need your help!

We’re gathering funds to buy back used copies of the common textbooks from psych courses. Once we build our library, students in financial need will be able to check-out their psych textbooks every semester, free of charge. No need to drop out or go without food to afford a textbook.

There are three ways you can help us build our library!

If you’re a psych student or recent alumni, please donate used copies of your psych textbooks to the psychology office. If you’d like to sell them to us, we’ll purchase them for a reduced cost. We know you could sell them for more but if you donate them to us, they’ll go to a great cause!

If you (or your parent or someone you know) would like to donate funds to purchase used textbooks, you can donate at apu.edu/givebas. Be sure to select “Psychology Textbook Library” from the drop-down menu.

If you have social media or know someone who does, help us spread the word! Let people know about our Psychology Textbook Library via apu.edu/givebas. The more funds and used books we collect to build our library, the more students we can support!

Living (and Learning) Communities

A high impact practice in college - which builds community, sense of belonging, academic engagement, and improves graduation and retention rates - is to be a part of a living learning (or just learning) community.

Last year, the psych department created a living learning community where incoming psychology majors lived together in the same dorm (affectionately referred to as the “psych ward”) and learned together (by taking the same section of psych courses in Fall & Spring). These common experiences were built-in ways to make friends and engage in psychology.

Because last year’s living learning community was so successful, we created two new learning communities this year. Unlike their living and learning counterparts, the new groups just learn together. The first group includes Freshman psych majors who commute. The second group consists of transfer students.

When they’re not studying, the three living (or just) learning communities have opportunities to party-it-up. In September, they ate ice-cream and played lawn games. In October, they ate pizza and painted pumpkins. Soon in November, they’ll eat a “friends-giving” feast with psych faculty.

Faculty Corner: Adolescent Drug Abuse

Psych faculty member, Dr. Rachel Castaneda has received several grants to study why adolescents use drugs and how to implement interventions to get them to quit. She’s developed a faith-integrated Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) online training course.

Her latest research involves two large grants from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) aimed at enhancing healthcare providers’ ability to address substance use disorders (SUDs) and HIV risk behaviors.

The first grant, Dr. Castaneda will be collaborating with the School of Nursing and co-director, Dr. Lynda Reed, to enhance the curriculum and training protocols for nurse practitioner (NP) students and field preceptors at community sites in the use of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorders.

The second grant, titled “Project Wellness” is a five-year collaborative effort with two community-based organizations. This grant will aim to improve access to substance use and HIV risk integrated services among racial/ethnic youth ages 13-24 using a peer navigator approach. Both grants are expected to have significant impacts on the way SUDs are viewed and treated in local communities.