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Counseling students present master's thesis research

2006 School and Community Counseling Master's Degree Thesis Summaries.
2006 School and Community Counseling Master's Degree Thesis Summaries

Master's students in counseling and human development presented their projects and thesis research at the Annual Master's Symposium in Counselor Education in April in the Common Room of the Interfaith Chapel.

Master's theses include three options: scholarly presentation of an issue or theory in relation to counseling practices; development of a therapeutic resource for school/community practitioners and/or clients; development of an intervention or other counseling modality for groups of clients.

The research projects for this year are:

Karyn Sauers, Understanding Self-Injury in Adolescents and Counseling Implications for School Counselors: Self-Injury is a growing problem among groups of adolescents.. The thesis presents school counselors with an understanding of self-injurious behavior as well as knowledge on how to work with students who self-injure.

Jo Kenyon, Narrative Resources for Personal and Political Counseling in a School Setting: Many narrative theories and stories are told from a community counseling perspective, neglecting the values of narrative therapies for school counseling. This thesis resource is a collection of narrative ideas and experiences along with the author’s thoughts. Its purpose is to provide a starting point for any new school counselor interested in learning more about narrative therapy.

Jung Kuo, Self-Efficacy and Self-Management of Battered Women: The psychological distress that often follows an abusive relationship can last up to 10 years or beyond after leaving a violent relationship. The first part of this thesis discusses common needs and challenges of women suffering intimate abuse. The second part focuses on the Trans-Theoretical model of change and the benefits relevant to self-efficacy and self-management of battered women.

Erica Dewey, Identifying and Preventing Suicidal Ideation in Adolescents: Suicide among adolescents is a prevalent issue in the United States . An initial step in preventing adolescent suicide is training school staff, parents, community members, and students on how to identify students, who are at-risk for, or are showing warning signs of, suicidal ideation. The school counselor is integral in each step of intervention and post-vention by developing and implementing supplemental programs, providing intervention counseling to students who are experiencing suicidal thoughts, serving as a liaison among schools, parents, and students, and providing grief counseling for students in the event of a completed suicide.  

Taryn Spear, The Effects of Developmental Disabilities on the Family Dynamics: Family as System: This thesis discusses the effects of developmental disabilities on family dynamics. Family Systems Theory is reviewed and provides the interpretive framework for this thesis. The purpose of this thesis is to inform the reader of the effects of developmental disabilities on the family dynamics, the importance of viewing the family as a system, and how this theory is guiding counseling theory and practice today.

Tessa Greeno, Bullying in Middle School: Bullying has become an overwhelming problem in today’s middle schools, with many students involved in bullying situations daily. This essay presents a brief history of the study of violence in schools, cultural contexts of violence in schools, an overview of literature devoted to bullying, and a discussion of reactive and proactive solutions to bullying. In addition, implications for the field of school counseling regarding bullying in schools are examined.

Laura Bliss, Self-Esteem and the Learning Disabled Student: This thesis explores the research which establishes that self-esteem has a negative impact on the learning-disabled student. Further, it provides information for how school counselors can help to foster healthy levels of self-esteem through peer mediation, self-help groups, and extracurricular actives.

Lena M. Kieliszak, Gender Inequality In America : The Shared Problems and a Shared Preventive Approach: This paper represents an exploration of barriers rooted in the history of social inequality for women in America . Preventive counseling with families is promoted as an important model in counseling for sharing civic and personal concerns and responsibility for systemic change in gendered cultural practices. An example of changing cultural practice is presented in the case of prioritizing minority, low-income women by instituting mental health practice thereby expanding therapeutic alliances and collaboration in an obstetrics and gynecology setting.

Ashley Wall, Pregnant Adolescents in Academic Settings: Issues and Strategies for School Counselors: Teen pregnancy continues to be an important issue facing all members of society. Because school counselors play an important role in working with pregnant teens, it is critical that they are aware of the effects and consequences of teen pregnancy, as well as the varying emotional and physical reactions that will likely surface. This thesis provides counselors with an understanding of various approaches and techniques that can be utilized when working with this population.

Sara Goodnow, Preventive Interventions for Mothers-Loss Families: One population for which preventive counseling may be particularly useful is families that recently suffered the loss of a mother. This paper aims to explore the unique circumstances of mother-loss families, and addresses some specific needs and risks that that those families may face. An overview of the prevention theory and model will be presented, and the conclusion offers recommendations for preventive intervention strategies to foster adjustment and resilience for members of mother loss families.

Tamara A. Potter, Promoting Cultural Competence and Social Justice:Leading innovative practice in schools for the needs of LGBT youth: Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth struggle with heterosexism,homophobia and harassment in American school systems. While discourses regarding diversity and multiculturalism have expanded within our schools, issues pertaining to the unique needs and challenges of LGBT students remain largely ignored. The present paper draws attention to the sociopolitical influences contributing to the marginalization of this young population. The author argues for more specialized training and active leadership roles of school counselors in promoting cultural competence and social justice at various levels.

Katie Treahy, The Use of Play Therapy in Elementary Schools: Implications for Counselors: A considerable amount of research has indicated that children’s natural means of expressing themselves is through play. Play therapy is designed to provide children with an alternative voice through toys and other materials to express their thoughts, feelings, and emotions. This paper explores the different theoretical approaches to play therapy, and how they can be applied when working with a variety of children specifically in a school setting.

Brian C. Cool, Walking Free: “Walking Free” provides inmates a resource-based manual identifying educational and rehabilitation programs in the Monroe County Correctional Facility, and how to access these programs. It provides understandable information on common mental health illnesses and client identified ways to treat symptoms while incarcerated. Finally, it gives inmates an opportunity to engage members of their immediate support system in the treatment process while incarcerated and treatment plan post incarceration

Kristina Barbero, Families in Transitions: A Guide for School Counselors: This theses addresses divorce and the effects it has on school-age children, from a school counselor’s point of view. Forms of preventive interventions that are used in schools to aid in helping children cope with divorce are presented. Information on how to facilitate Families in Transition Groups, is shared and school counselors are encouraged to embrace these ideas and incorporate them into their school districts.

Megan McElhinney, The Realities of Teenage Depression: Etiology, Treatment, and Implications for School Counselors: This thesis concentrates on exposing the debilitating nature of depression in teenagers. Depression, often mistaken for other disorders or behavioral problems in teens, can have serious effects if untreated, including isolation from activities, peers, and family, bullying, cutting, and most devastatingly, suicide. Different types of depression will be discussed, as well as the debate on whether depression is rooted in genetics or if the environment is largely to blame for the onset of this mental disorder.

Heather Noto, Resource Guide: Relationships, Sexuality, and Developmental Disabilities: A Professional’s Guide to Implementing a Strength-Based Counseling Approach: This manual was developed as a guide for those who encounter individuals with developmental disabilities who indicate an interest or display behavior warranting education or counseling with respect to interpersonal relationships and/or sexuality. This manual guides individuals with developmental disabilities to explore new realms of possibilities for personal, interpersonal, and social identities. This guide to relationships and sexuality counseling/education will include approaches that encourage new meaning making about individual self-concept, self-esteem, feeling and emotions, desire, relationship building, and companionship in addition to sexuality education.

Douglas Cook, Athletics: A Facilitative and Meaningful Context for Values and Character Education in Student-Athletes: This thesis explores the gap in understanding what values and character mean in relation to school athletic programs. School counselors have to step out of the “norm” of a career and school counselor in a school and expands their role as a Character Educator. As a result, the counselor will be able to assist coaches, parents, and students to help develop a solid sports program.