MSiMH Courses

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Course Descriptions

Required Courses, 66 credits

GSMH 510 Intro to Psychotherapeutics: Weekend Retreat (1 credit)

This course introduces students to the fundamentals of psychotherapeutic work and sets the stage for the Certificate and the Master’s programs. As a cohort, students will explore issues group dynamic, safety, and vulnerability in the context of self-exploration and psychotherapeutic work. All core program faculty will be present.

Format: Mix of lecture, group work, and experiential exercises.

GSMH511 Psychological/Character Development (2 credits)

Students will learn basic childhood patterns of psychological development. Emphasis will be placed on how particular types of wounding can lead to habitual protective mechanisms that manifest as distinct personality characteristics. This course provides a sophisticated therapeutic map for guiding clinical strategy: as students are able to identify character patterns that clients often present, they can then contextualize such personality traits, beliefs, and actions within a framework of wounding and resource. Specific treatment orientations and strategies for working with particular character types will be presented. Students will explore their own character strengths and challenges in an effort to develop their own therapeutic range.

Format: Readings, lecture, experiential exercises, and demonstration.

GSMH520 Personal Growth (4 credits)

The first of a two-course series, this class emphasizes personal growth and is specifically designed to enhance self-awareness and cultivate interpersonal skills. Students will use mindful awareness to explore personal habits, biases, resources, bodily expression, interpersonal dynamics, and moment-to-moment choices. This cultivation of self-awareness is an essential skill for working effectively with others and will provide a strong foundation for students as they develop their personal identity as a health care professional. Interpersonal skills learned in this class will help students confidently navigate difficult conversations with colleagues and patients. The practical theory and techniques presented in this course can be applied immediately in life and will be expanded upon throughout the program.

Format: Lecture, experiential exercises, and demonstration; weekend format to provide sufficient time for exploration and processing.

GSMH531 Counseling Skills (3 credits)

This course covers introductory counseling skills, including contact statements, listening, facilitating client reflection, and going deeper. Students will use mindful awareness to monitor their personal experience as a counselor, attuning to specific client behaviors or therapeutic content that challenges or activates their own psychological process. The counseling relationship will be defined, and students will learn how to set therapeutic expectations, create and maintain boundaries, and begin and end the therapeutic relationship. This course will begin to differentiate between the psychotherapeutic relationship and the doctor-patient relationship.

Format: Lecture, experiential exercises, demonstration, and practice.

GSMH716 Psychotherapy: Theory and Application (2 credits)

This course examines major theories of behavioral change with an emphasis on experiential, mindful techniques working at the mind-body interface. Students will engage in a critical analysis of applied theory, comparing experiential approaches with other psychotherapeutic methods in the context of culture, history, and scientific evidence. Cognitive, behavioral, systems-based, body-based, and self-based theories will be explored, and students will apply different theoretical approaches to cases in order to concretize key skills and concepts. By the end of this course, students should be able to articulate their own approach to change, identify with which theories they are most aligned, and support their choices with available evidence.

Format: Lecture, experiential exercises and demonstration.

GSMH530 Ethics of the Psychotherapeutic Relationships (1 credit)

This course will teach students to differentiate between the psychotherapeutic relationship and the doctor-patient relationship. Naturopathic and Chinese medicine practitioner guest speakers who specialize in mental health will share how they navigate these relationships within their defined scope of practice. Ethical issues unique to working in mental health will be covered, and students will develop decision-making and consultation skills for managing ethical dilemmas in practice. Students will learn sound risk management practices, know how to take action when ethical and legal dilemmas emerge, and understand when and how to report information to appropriate authorities as required by law.  Throughout the course, students will explore their personal values as they relate to a professional ethical code.

Format: Lecture, experiential exercises, and group discussion.

GSMH540 Psychological Diagnosis (2 credits)

This course covers topics in mental health and psychiatric medicine, including the common diagnostic features in psychopathologic disorders. Emphasis is placed on recognizing mental health states and diagnosis commonly found in naturopathic medical practices. Students will gain a general knowledge of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), including characterological perspectives for common conditions.

Format: Lecture.

GSMH611, GSMH623, GSMH632, GSMH711 Practice Tutorial I, II, III, IV (2 credits total spread over multiple terms)

This course provides 6 hours of supervised, skills-based practice for students to strengthen their counseling work. The format of the class relies heavily on the “fish-bowl” model: students will practice therapist-client work in front of others so that peers can participate in the learning process. Instructional time is devoted to providing feedback regarding the choice and application of specific counseling skills, interpretation of client material and themes, and the overarching direction of therapeutic strategies. Students are expected to practice outside of the supervised time. This small-group class is limited to 6 people.

GSMH541 Biopsychosocial Assessment and Evaluation (3 credits)

This course begins the process of developing competence in biopsychosocial evaluation and assessment. Basic assessment of presenting problem; mental health, family, and trauma history; risk factors, cultural, social, and occupational functioning; alcohol and other drug use, brief mental status exam; and character patterns will be covered. Focus will be given to developing professional clinical interviewing skills while maintaining sensitivity to client presentation and character issues. In addition, students will learn to formulate a working diagnosis, case conceptualization, and treatment recommendations and to synthesize this information into a cohesive and concise written report.

Format: Lecture, demonstration, and experiential work.

GSMH600 Cross-cultural Psychology (2 credits)

The course focuses on the relationship between culture and psychological processes. The primary goals of the course are to: (1) provide students with the conceptual tools for thinking about the relationship between culture and psychological phenomena and (2) sensitize students to psychological issues particularly relevant to the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of culturally diverse populations. Specific topics include: (a) conceptualizing the role of culture in psychological processes; (b) cross-cultural and cross-ethnic differences in the manifestations of psychopathology; (c) differences and similarities in the treatment of mental illness across cultures (and ethnic groups); and (d) The relevance of cultural and social issues to graduate training in psychology.

Format: Lecture and discussion.

GSMH601 Evidence-Informed Practice (3 credits)

The course offers an introduction to the design, analysis, and critique of different experimentation methods in psychology and integrative medicine. Qualitative and quantitative research methodology will be covered and the selection and application of appropriate research methods and designs will be explored.  Students will demonstrate the ability to interpret and critically appraise the primary psychology literature.

Format: Lecture, discussion, and student presentation.

GSMH521, GSMH532, GSMH613, GSMH621 Consultation I, II, III, IV (8 credits total spread over multiple terms)

Students meet with a clinical mentor to discuss psychotherapeutic strategies and case management. This course integrates assessment, intervention, cultural competence, case conceptualization and documentation, self-evaluation, and other areas related to competence as a mental healthcare practitioner. Format: Lecture, demonstration, experiential work, and practice.

GSMH612 Integrative Psychopharmacology (4 credits)

This class provides a strong foundation for naturopathic and Chinese medicine practitioners who want to specialize in mental health care. The neurobiochemistry and pharmacology for conventional drugs most often seen in mental health practice are covered, and students learn dietary approaches and natural supplements used to treat common mental health concerns as well as supplement-drug interactions. Emphasis is placed on developing psychopharmacologic treatment plans and medical case management for common mental health concerns like anxiety, depression and ADD/ADHD.

Format: Lecture.

GSMH620, GSMH630, GSMH603 Practice Strategies I, II, and III (9 credits total, 3 credits per course)

This series prepares students to work effectively in a clinical setting. Courses cover a mix of material ranging from clinical skill building and managing the therapeutic relationship to creating short-term treatment plans and long-term treatment visions. Students refine their use of a variety of clinical maps including, character, sensitivity cycle, medical, and attachment maps, to guide assessment and decision-making. In addition, these courses cover a practical approach to running a private practice, including necessary forms, reporting responsibilities, charting, insurance, marketing oneself and describing one’s work.

Format: Lecture, experiential exercises, small group practice.

GSMH614, GSMH622, GSMH631 Practicum I, II, III (12 credits: 6 clinic shifts)

Licensed naturopathic doctors and Chinese medicine practitioners will conduct clinic shifts through the NCNM and CCM teaching clinics. These shifts will specialize in mental health concerns and will provide students an opportunity to integrate and apply skills in assessment, counseling, psychotherapeutic processing, psychopharmacology, cultural competence, case conceptualization and documentation, and self-evaluation, honing their skills as integrative mental health care practitioners.

Format: Clinical rotation. Students see clients as student doctors and are overseen by an attending physician.

Elective Courses, 8 credits

At least half of the eight required elective credits for the MSiMH degree must be taken from courses designated as counting toward the program. The remainder may come from any approved graduate-level elective course offered at NUNM, as long as course prerequisites are met.

GSMH715E Applied Mindfulness (2 credits)

Mindfulness is the ability to be genuinely aware of exactly what is happening in one’s internal and external environment. This practice of non-judgmental awareness represents a radical shift in how most people pay attention to and experience the moment-to-moment unfolding of their lives.  This course will train students in the art of mindful awareness and provide concrete skills for the application of mindfulness to psychological exploration and clinical work.

GSMH714E Introduction to Hakomi (3 credits)

The Hakomi method is a form of somatic psychotherapy that combines mindfulness, gentleness, and experiential explorations of client behavior. Formalized as psychotherapeutic technique in the mid-1970’s, Hakomi draws from an enormous range of influences, including Buddhism, Taoism, Gestalt, Feldenkrais, Bioenergetics, neuro-linguistic programming, and General Systems Theory. Throughout this course students will learn the Hakomi method and gain concrete skills for immediate application in the clinical setting.

GSMH702E Attachment work (3 credits)

This course covers the neurobiology and implications of the attachment drive in childhood. Students will learn to assess attachment states in adult clients, recognize the need for intervention, and learn to create to create the necessary conditions for secure attachment in the therapeutic relationship. Students will explore their own attachment states, identify how this impacts their therapeutic work, and develop skills for working with clients that complement their own clinical style.

GSMH700E Introduction to Addictions (2 credits)

This course covers current theories and research regarding addiction and addiction processes. Students will explore neurobiological, genetic, social, behavioral and cultural influences on individual vulnerabilities to addictive behavior.  Topics include sub-stance-based addictions (alcohol, drugs. tobacco, food) as well as behavioral addictions (gambling, internet gaming, sex, etc.). Controversies and advances in treatment perspectives will be explored. Students will examine their own relationship to the spectrum of use, habit and dependency by engaging in 1) an abstinence project, and 2) a behavior acquisition project of their choosing.

GSMH703E Introduction to Working with Trauma (3 credits)

This course presents integrated framework for working with neurological trauma. Students will develop skills in the following areas: assessment; recognizing trauma signs and patterns; safety concerns; distinguishing neurological from developmental trauma; pacing and titration of experience; the pursuit of self-regulation; somatic resourcing, PTSD considerations; interventions for the somatic release of trauma; vicarious and therapist self-care; and knowing when to refer.

GSMH704E Chinese Medicine Applications for Mental Health (3 credits)

Chinese medicine practitioners are called upon to counsel patients and regularly deliver herbs as part of their therapeutic approach. This course covers key theories, systems, and therapies for addressing mental health concerns, including 5 Element theory, Shen Ren Dao, and herbal considerations.

GSMH705E Nutrition for Mental Health – Cooking Class (2 credits)

Students will discover how to use food as medicine to treat a variety of mental health conditions. This course examines how bioactive compounds in foods influence neurobiochemistry and how food choices can impact health and disease. A hands-on cooking component will provide students with practical skills for working with clients.

GSMH706E Introduction to Expressive Art Therapy (2 credits)

This course explores art media as a treatment modality. Art therapy origins, historical development, current research, and application to diverse populations will be covered. Experiential coursework will provide a foundational understanding of individual and group processes in art therapy.

GSMH707E Working with Autism Spectrum Disorders (3 credits)

This course will cover clinical practices for early identification, assessment, and diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders. Factors that affect communication, learning and development will be discussed, as well as evidence-based instructional strategies, social interventions, pharmacological, dietary, and behavioral approaches to care.

GSMH708E Body Image and Disordered Eating (2 credits)

This course will explore body image theories, research, and clinical applications. Students will learn empirical methods to assess body image dissatisfaction, and psychological models for understanding and treating body image dissatisfaction will be covered. This course will also review the etiology, diagnosis and treatment of eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and binge eating disorder. An interdisciplinary approach to treatment will be considered, including psychological, cognitive, and physiological interventions.

GSMH709E Evolutionary Psychology (2 credits)

This course examines of the evolutionary basis of human behavior, focusing on how natural selection has shaped the social, cognitive, developmental, and emotional processes of humans. Topics include mating strategies, altruism and cooperation, parental care and family relations, theory of mind, neuropsychology, and language.

GSMH710E Motivational Interviewing and Behavior Change (3 credits)

Motivational Interviewing is a non-judgmental, non-confrontational, client-centered method for eliciting behavioral change. Students will develop specific skills that will help clients explore ambivalence and discover intrinsic motivation, including: the use of open-ended questions, affirmations, reflective listening, and summative statements. Emphasis will be placed on using motivational interviewing in the healthcare setting and enabling clients to make healthier lifestyle choices.

GSMH711E Personality Theory and Assessment (2 credits)

This course will cover a broad array of theories and empirical findings in the field of Personality Psychology. Current and key issues related to personality will be covered, including how personality is measured, how it is influenced by various factors (e.g., genetics, social interactions), issues of contention (e.g., ways to view personality disorders), and how understanding personality is important in a number of real-world contexts, including its relation to physical and mental illness, self-injury and suicide. Prominent methods of personality assessment will be covered.

GSMH712E The Psychology of Sexual Identity (3 credits)

This course will examine the development and psychological implications of sexual orientation, gender identity, and sexuality. Specific topics include historical perspective, theories of sexuality, sex research, sexual anatomy, sexual variation, sexual response, gender, sexual dysfunction and sex therapy. Students will compare and contrast psychological research and scholarly works with popular media depictions of these topics. Students will also explore how culture, gender, and race intersect with sexual orientation and sexuality.

CM 26E Shan Ren Dao: Retreat into Stillness, Advance into Wellness (3 credits)

Shan Ren Dao (path of the Real Person) is a five element healing system that facilitates healing through the releasing of emotions such as blame, anger and judgment. This two-week retreat takes place during the summer and is an opportunity for students to learn the Shan Ren Dao system and engage in focused and sustained personal work in a deep and meaningful way. Mornings begin Qigong practice and days include lectures on Wang Fengyi teachings and the Shan Ren Dao system, plus contemplative exercises that guide participants in exploring the personal relevance of the teachings. Exploration typically includes journaling, meditation, and visualization. In the evenings, participants receive support in releasing emotions that arise during the day. Students need not have background in qigong or Chinese medicine to participate.

GSMH713E Crisis Management and Psychological First-Aid (3 credits)

This course will provide students with the knowledge and cultural competence required to respond to crisis and disaster situations. Psychological theories, conflict management, and negotiation skills will be covered as students are prepared to work with trauma and disaster victims.  Crisis Intervention is not psychotherapy; rather, it is a specialized acute emergency mental health intervention. This course will prepare participants to understand a wide range of crisis intervention services for both the individual and for groups. Fundamentals of Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) will be outlined and student will gain knowledge and tools to provide several group crisis interventions, specifically demobilizations, defusings and the Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD). The need for appropriate follow-up services and referrals when necessary will also be discussed.

GSMH518E Nature-Based Therapy (2 credits)

Various and differentiated models exist for therapeutic work practiced under the umbrella of eco-therapy. These therapeutic models include environmental stewardship and activism, horticulture/gardening, therapeutic wilderness excursion, engagement with both wild and domesticated animals, and therapy inspired by and/or occurring within natural settings (nature-based therapies). This course focuses on nature-based therapy. We will explore both theoretical and practical implications for therapeutic engagement with the natural world, including the notion of “nature as co-therapist”. We will review research that supports the theoretical foundations of nature-based counseling and students will learn and practice therapeutic interventions in an outdoor setting. We will explore topics such as environmental identity, grief and despair about environmental issues, restorative effects of natural settings and stimuli, and contemporary influences that affect the human-nature relationship. This is an experiential course that stretches beyond traditional counseling and focuses on how to engage the human-nature relationship for the practitioner and the client. Nature-based therapy is open to students in any program.

GSMH719E Mindfulness-Based Body Work (3 credits)

This hands-on, experiential course teaches students how to expand their bodywork technique of choice (massage, acupuncture, structural integration, craniosacral, etc.) to include a psycho-emotional approach to care. Students will assess the appropriateness of a psychotherapeutic approach to bodywork, including client openness, emotional stability, and signs of trauma. Specific techniques that help clients identify experiences and life themes underlying physical symptoms will be covered, and students will learn how to incorporate mindfulness-based techniques to engage clients in their healing process. All skills taught in this class can be used within the bodywork scope of practice.

Prereq: BAS5111L Clinical Anatomy Lab 1 or CM515 Palpation and Perception I

GSMH716 Applied Psychotherapy I (2 credits)

Psychophysiology is a field of study that explores how thoughts and beliefs affect our physiology and how behavior patterns can affect the mind. Applied psychophysiology encompasses techniques and modalities that support the regulation of this psycho-physiological connection. This course is the first in a three-course series that explores health and wellbeing through a psychophysiological lens and trains students in applied psychophysiologic techniques. A variety of tools that support self-regulation are introduced in this first course, including open focus, autogenics, peripheral temperature regulation, breath training, and mindfulness.

GSMH724E Applied Psychotherapy II: Introduction to Instrumentation (2 credits)

This is the second in a three-course series that teaches students how to assess, track, and address the physiological manifestations of mental/emotional states. In preparation to work with clients, students will learn how to assess and modulate their own nervous system activity through a variety of bio- and neuro-feedback techniques. Peripheral biofeedback equipment will be used to assess and monitor heart rate variability, muscle tension, skin conductance and peripheral temperature. Neurofeedback equipment will also be used to monitor the central nervous system. Students will learn how to use equipment by practicing on one another; in this way learners become more proficient in mastering their own self-regulation and managing stress.

GSMH734E Applied Psychotherapy III (2 credits)

This is the third in a three-course series that teaches students how to assess, track, and address the physiological manifestations of mental/emotional states. Students will continue to learn to help clients assess and modulate their own nervous system activity through a variety of bio- and neuro-feedback techniques. Previous courses in this series introduced students to instrumentation and assessment, here emphasis will be placed on developing treatment plans. The theory and rationale for deciding which instruments are most suited for specific clinical presentations will be discussed. Students will practice history taking, assessment, and intervention in preparation for using applied psyphy techniques in a clinical setting.

GSMH720E, GSMH721E, GSMH722E, GSMH723E Practice Tutorial – Elective I, II, III, IV (2 credits total spread over multiple terms)

This course provides 6 hours of supervised, skills-based practice for students to strengthen their counseling work. The format of the class relies heavily on the “fish-bowl” model: students will practice therapist-client work in front of others so that peers can participate in the learning process. Instructional time is devoted to providing feedback regarding the choice and application of specific counseling skills, interpretation of client material and themes, and the overarching direction of therapeutic strategies. Students are expected to practice outside of the supervised time. This small-group class is limited to six people.