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The Department of Counseling was created in 1958, awarded its first degrees in 1960, and became the first counseling program in the United States to be nationally accredited in 1981. Currently, all the Department's programs are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). The newest specialty, Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling major, commenced in the fall of 2000 and received CACREP accreditation in the spring of 2002. A Masters of Counseling Evening School Program was offered from 1991-2011 in three-year cohorts on the ISU-Pocatello campus. In addition to its masters' degree programs, the Department offers a nationally recognized Ph.D. program in Counselor Education and Counseling.

Mission Statement

The principal mission of the Department of Counseling is to prepare quality counselors for various settings in Idaho and the nation. More specifically, we seek to prepare quality School Counselors for public schools in K-12 settings; Marriage, Couple and Family Counselors; and Clinical Mental Health Counselors for community agencies and other mental health settings, and Student Affairs Counselors for working in college settings such as advising, residence halls, and career centers.

In addition, we prepare doctoral level counselor educators and supervisors to work primarily in institutions of higher learning as faculty members. 

We believe it is also our mission to:

  •       instill a strong sense of professional identity in students,
  •       help students gain an appreciation of the rich knowledge base in counselor education,
  •       develop student expertise in the skills of counseling,
  •       aid students to become certified and/or licensed,
  •       aid students/graduates in their initial job placement,
  •       teach and perform research applicable to the practice of counseling, counselor education and supervision,
  •       aid students in understanding the diversity of views and cultures within our profession and the environment in which counselors practice.

The Department of Counseling also has a mission within the Kasiska Division of Health Sciences, College of Health Professions, which is to represent the mental health perspective within Division and to consult with Division faculty and departments encouraging a holistic perspective for health care services.


The general philosophy of the Department of Counseling at Idaho State University is based upon the following beliefs:

  • Individuals have a self-actualizing tendency, characterized by positive growth, change, and self-responsibility.
  • The counseling relationship is one that is best conducted through such interpersonal qualities as warmth, genuineness, respect, involvement, commitment, and congruency and in a setting of equality, cooperation, and mutual respect.
  • The client has the capacity to accept and to take responsibility for his/her behavior and his/her environment.
  • All individuals should be treated with respect, dignity, and worth.
  • As a result of the counseling process, clients can better understand their perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors so that they can help themselves in the future by selecting appropriate alternatives.
  • The professionally trained counselor should develop an integrated counseling style, characterized by the recognition of the need to work with a client in a variety of areas including cognitive processes, feelings, and intra- and interpersonal behavioral processes.
  • Counselors and clients should understand the process for the development of the social/cultural environment in which they live.
  • The counseling process is an effective means for helping clients to learn how to interact constructively with themselves, others, and their environments.

Diversity Policy

In the spirit of the Department of Counseling's commitment to recruiting and retaining a diverse student body who is prepared to provide counseling services in a pluralistic society, we will follow the diversity action plan developed by the Graduate School and articulated within the Graduate School Recruiting Plan. To accomplish this recruitment, we will actively provide recruitment materials (i.e., program brochures, program planning sheets) to a representative of the Graduate School who will be recruiting across the nation and specifically at the Northwest Association of Independent Colleges with the aim of increasing our enrollment of students from diverse backgrounds.

Graduate Programs/Majors

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.): Counselor Education and Counseling

Educational Specialist (Ed.S.): Counseling

Master of Counseling (M.COUN): Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling; Clinical Mental Health Counseling; School Counseling; and Student Affairs Counseling

Goals, Objectives, and Expected Outcomes-Doctoral Program

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) is the highest university award given in recognition of completion of academic preparation for professional practice in counseling. Candidates are provided primarily with courses and practicum experiences which will be instrumental in assisting them to function more effectively as professional counselor supervisors, researchers, practitioners.

The Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Counseling is designed to prepare counselor educators for work in counselor education programs and doctoral level counselors for work in university counseling centers and other counseling sites. The major emphasis of this program is to prepare graduates for a career in university teaching, supervision, and research in counseling programs.

Counselor education and counseling students at Idaho State University will be:

1.        Prepared to teach courses in counseling skills and counseling theories.

2.        Prepared to supervise counselors and counseling students who are providing individual/triadic, group, and/or marital, couple and family counseling.

3.        Prepared to teach selected courses in one or more of the CACREP major areas.

4.        Prepared to teach selected courses in the general CACREP common core.

5.        Prepared to evaluate counselor education programs and counseling sites.

6.        Knowledgeable of professional issues in the field of counselor education and counseling profession.

7.        Knowledgeable of ethical issues and practices in the field of counselor education and counseling profession.

8.        Experienced in developing and conducting qualitative and quantitative research.

9.        Experienced in writing for professional publication.

10.     Experienced in the advisement and mentoring of Master of Counseling students.

11.     Knowledgeable and skilled in providing advanced clinical counseling skills.

12.     Knowledgeable of the sociological manifestations of cultural diversity.

Master of Counseling Program:

The general objective of the Master of Counseling (M.COUN.) degree is to prepare students to be professional counselors. The Department of Counseling faculty believes that the development of a strong professional identity, a rich knowledge base, and expertise in the skills of counseling are essential to functioning as a professional in each counseling setting.

The Master of Counseling degree is designed to be the strong foundation upon which graduates enter a lifetime career in the helping professions. This program prepares counselors to respond to the multitude of changes in society and to the ever-expanding counseling profession. In addition to knowledge and experience in the following eight common-core areas, graduates have specialized knowledge and skills as identified in the objectives of the Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling; Clinical Mental Health Counseling; School Counseling; and Student Affairs Counseling majors.

The Department of Counseling has curricular and professional objectives for each Master of Counseling student. Each of these objectives has specific outcome measures.

Curricular Objectives:

1.        Students will have knowledge of Human Growth and Development in order to understand the nature and needs of persons at all developmental levels and in multicultural contexts.

2.        Students will have knowledge of Social and Cultural Foundations to be effective in a multicultural and diverse society.

3.        Students will be knowledgeable and skillful in Counseling and Consultation processes.

4.        Students will be knowledgeable about group development, dynamics, counseling theory, group counseling methods, and group work approaches.

5.        Students will be knowledgeable and understand career development and related factors.

6.        Students will understand and be knowledgeable about individual and group approaches to assessment and evaluation.

7.        Students will be knowledgeable about various research methods and, statistical analysis, needs assessments and program evaluation.

8.        Students will be knowledgeable about the profession of counseling including history, organizational structures, ethics, standards, and credentialing.

Student Professional Objectives:

In addition to the above curricular objectives, the Department of Counseling has program specific objectives. These include:

9.        School Counseling students will obtain certification as school counselors.

10.     Students in all majors (Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, School Counseling, and Student Affairs Counseling) will obtain the appropriate state licensure as professional counselors.

Assessment Plan

Idaho State University’s Counselor Education program has a documented, empirically based plan for systematically evaluating the program objectives, including student learning. The Department gathers aggregate student assessment data that address (1) student knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions; (2) demographic and other characteristics of applicants, students, and graduates; and (3) data from systematic follow-up studies of graduates, site supervisors, and employers of program graduates. The information gathered is shared with the Department of Counseling Advisory Board, ISU administration, to the public via our webpage, and discussed by faculty to assess the effectiveness of departmental courses, program requirements, and other pertinent elements of the program. This information is then used to update and change the previous majors to improve the quality of the program.

Advising Policy

The Department of Counseling, as an accredited program through the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, is required to provide an advisor for each student admitted and enrolled in the Department of Counseling's programs.

Operationally this means that prior to enrollment all students are assigned an advisor. Students receive a letter from the department informing them of their advisor's name and contact information. In addition, students are provided with a program planning sheet for their intended major. Doctoral students are assigned to the department chair.

The first semester of enrollment all students take a professional issues class. In this class, it is explained that all students are expected to meet with their assigned advisor at least once per month. Additionally, it is also explained that the assigned advisor is a temporary adviser and that during spring semester of their first year, all master's students have the opportunity to choose a permanent advisor. This occurs usually early in April. Doctoral students also choose a permanent advisor but there is more leeway in terms of time. For doctoral students, this choice must be made prior to their fourth semester in the program.

All students are expected to see their advisor at least once per month during their entire time in the program. The faculty believe that good advising equates to fewer program errors, petitions, course issues, and ensures success in the program.


The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), has granted accreditation through October 31, 2025 to the following programs in the Department of Counseling at Idaho State University:

Doctor of Philosophy Counselor Education and Counseling

Educational Specialist Counseling

Master of Counseling Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling

Master of Counseling Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Master of Counseling School Counseling

Master of Counseling Student Affairs Counseling

Contact Us

(208) 282-3156


(208) 282-2583

1440 E. Terry Street

Garrison Hall, Bld 63

Room 725

Pocatello, ID 83209-8120


Map of ISU

Mailing Address:
921 South 8th Ave., Stop 8120
Pocatello, ID 83209-8120

Mailing and Physical Address:
Meridian Health Science Center
1311 East Central Drive
Meridian, ID 83642
(208) 373-1717

Dr. Elizabeth Horn




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