MSiMH Courses

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Course Descriptions – Required Courses, 66 credits

GSMH 510 – Intro to Psychotherapeutics (weekend format) (1 credit)

An introduction to the fundamentals of psychotherapeutic work that sets the stage for the MSiMH program. As a cohort, students will explore issues of group dynamics, safety and vulnerability in the context of the program, and their future work together.

GSMH 511 – Psychological/Character Development (2 credits)

Learn the basic childhood patterns of psychological development. Emphasis is placed on how particular types of wounding can lead to habitual protective mechanisms that manifest as distinct personality characteristics. Specific treatment orientations and strategies for working with particular character types are presented. Students will explore their own character strengths and challenges in an effort to develop their own therapeutic range.

GSMH 512 – 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 such as anxiety, depression and ADD/ADHD.

GSMH 520 – Personal Growth (weekend format) (4 credits)

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 healthcare professional. Interpersonal skills learned in this class will help students confidently navigate difficult conversations with colleagues and patients.

GSMH 521 – Group Consultation I (2 credits)

Students meet with a clinical supervisor 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.

GSMH 530 – Ethics of Psychotherapeutic Relationships (1 credit)

Students learn how to differentiate between the psychotherapeutic relationship and the doctor-patient relationship. Ethical issues unique to working in mental health are covered, and students will develop decision making and consultation skills for managing dual relationships, power dynamics and ethical dilemmas in practice. Students will learn sound risk management practices and will know how to take action when ethical and legal dilemmas emerge.

GSMH 531 – 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 is defined and students will learn how to set therapeutic expectations, create and maintain boundaries, and begin and end the therapeutic relationship.

GSMH 540 – Psychological Diagnosis (3 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 diagnoses commonly found in naturopathic and Chinese medical practices. Students will gain a general knowledge of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) while also taking a more nuanced look at diagnosis from a characterological perspective.

GSMH 541 – Biopsychosocial Assessment and Evaluations (2 credits)

This course covers the basic assessment of cognitive functioning; selected measures of psychosocial, emotional and personality functioning; ethical, cultural and clinical issues associated with psychological assessment; case formulation and integrative report writing; and the principles of psychological measurement. Emphasis is placed on report writing as an important part of learning to convey interpretations to others in a clear and concise way.

GSMH 600 – Culturalism, Diversity and Social Justice (3 credits)

This course examines how culture and diversity shape psychological processes. Psychological and political underpinnings of culture and diversity are explored, including cultural and social cognition, self- and group identity formation, psychology of multiculturalism, stereotyping, prejudice and gender. Students will dissect health issues in the light of disparities due to socioeconomics, education, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, culture and ability. This course will also challenge students to take a closer, more critical view of psychopathology by examining how mental disorders are experienced and understood by those who have them.

GSMH 601 – Research Methods (3 credits)

This course is an introduction to the design, analysis and critique of different experimentation methods in psychology and integrative medicine. Qualitative and quantitative research methodology are 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.

GSMH 620, 643 – Psychotherapeutic Strategies I & II (3 credits each)

Building on the basic counseling skills developed earlier in the program, this series provides students with a variety of effective ways for working with patients in the psychotherapeutic setting. Aspects of somatic psychotherapy, attachment work, mindfulness-based therapies, trauma work and resourcing will be covered. Students learn how to determine which techniques are most appropriate for particular character types, client challenges and clinical settings.

GSMH 614, 622, 631 – Clinical Practicum I-III (5 credits each)

Clinical shifts specialize in mental health concerns and 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 healthcare practitioners. Format: clinical rotation; students see clients as student practitioners and are overseen by an attending clinician.

GSMH 532, 613, 621 – Group Consultation II-IV (2 credits each)

Group consultation at this stage of the program provides more in-depth exploration and conceptualization for cases that students are working with in the clinic. This course provides a safe space for students to practice techniques with professional guidance, as well as process any challenges they might be experiencing as a developing practitioner.

GSMH 630 – Professional Growth (3 credits)

With an emphasis on professional growth, students explore how personal habits, biases, resources, bodily expression, interpersonal dynamics and moment-to-moment choices revealed in Personal Growth (GSMH 520) influence their work as a healthcare practitioner. This class provides students with an opportunity to work through personal issues of practicing medicine and will also address general themes that often challenge complementary and alternative medicine practitioners (e.g., underdog mentality, challenges with self-promotion and marketing, ethical dilemmas, scarcity and competition).

GSMH 716 Psychotherapy: Theory and Application (2 credits)

This course is a survey of various counseling modalities that (1) represent significant developments in psychotherapeutic theory and techniques; and/or (2) have specific applicability to a holistic treatment perspective. Cognitive, behavioral, systems-based, body-based and self-based theories will be explored, and students will consider the efficacy of different methods for specific client populations. Various theories of change will be discussed and students will learn how to set therapeutic expectations, refer patients for treatment, and collaborate with members of an integrated healthcare team in support of continuity of care. Format: lecture, demonstration, class discussion.

Course Descriptions – Elective Courses, 6 credits

At least half of the 6 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.

GSMH 700E – Introduction to Addictions (2 credits)

This course explores neurobiological, genetic, social, behavioral and cultural influences on individual vulnerabilities to addictive behavior. Topics include substance-based addictions (e.g., alcohol, drugs, tobacco, food) as well as addiction behaviors (e.g., gambling, internet gaming, sex). Controversies and advances in addiction theory and treatment modalities are discussed. Students will examine their own relationship to the spectrum of use, habit, dependency and addiction by engaging in (1) an abstinence project, and (2) a behavior acquisition project of their choice.

GSMH 702E – 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 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.

GSMH 703E – Trauma Work (3 credits)

This course presents an 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.

GSMH 704E – 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 Five-Element theory, Shan Ren Dao and herbal considerations.

GSMH 705E – 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 provides students with practical skills for working with clients.

GSMH 706E – Introduction to Expressive Art Therapy (2 credits)

Art media is explored as a treatment modality. Art therapy origins, historical development, current research, and application to diverse populations are covered. Experiential coursework provides a foundational understanding of individual and group processes in art therapy.

GSMH 707E – Working with Autism Spectrum Disorders (3 credits)

This course covers 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; and pharmacological, dietary and behavioral approaches to care.

GSMH 708E – Body Image and Disordered Eating (2 credits)

This course explores 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. This course reviews the etiology, diagnosis and treatment of eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia and binge eating. An interdisciplinary approach to treatment will be considered, including psychological, cognitive and physiological interventions.

GSMH 709E – Evolutionary Psychology (2 credits)

The evolutionary basis of human behavior is examined, with a focus 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.

GSMH 710E – Motivational Interviewing and Behavior Change (3 credits)

Motivational interviewing is a nonjudgmental, 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 is placed on using motivational interviewing in the healthcare setting and enabling clients to make healthier lifestyle choices.

GSMH 711E – Personality Theory and Assessment (2 credits)

This course covers a broad array of theories and empirical findings in the field of personality psychology. Current and key issues related to personality are covered, including how personality is measured, how it is influenced by various factors, issues of contention, 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.

GSMH 712E – The Psychology of Sexual Orientation (3 credits)

This course examines 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.

GSMH 713E – Crisis Management and Psychological First Aid (3 credits)

Crisis intervention is not psychotherapy; rather, it is a specialized acute emergency mental health intervention. This course prepares students to understand a wide range of crisis intervention services for both the individual and for groups, and provides students with the knowledge and cultural competence required to respond to crisis and disaster situations. Psychological theories, conflict management and negotiation skills are covered.

GSMH 714E – 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 a psychotherapeutic technique in the mid-1970s, 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.

GSMH 715E – 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 nonjudgmental 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.

GSMH 716E – Advanced Skills Tutorial (2 credits)

This course provides advanced training for individuals who are interested in deepening their understanding of specific MSiMH curriculum (e.g., character map, developmental arc, counseling skills) while developing group facilitation and teaching techniques. Part of the class includes small group training with the instructor; the other part involves practicing new skills in the classroom where students assist in facilitating targeted exercises.

CM 26E – Shan Ren Dao Retreat (4 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 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 with 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.