Enhanced Emotional Intelligence at Weimar University

The freshman year of college is still more than 5 months away and many prospective college students have not yet finalized their choice and are still carefully reviewing their options. 

Whether you have chosen a College/University or not here are some things to consider.

Most college students move away from home and have new responsibilities, pressures and more independence, even interacting with an entirely different group of people, and usual patterns of exercise, sleep and diet are likely to be different as well. All of this can cause increased stress and unfortunately, an increased risk for mental health issues. Sadly, according to the American College Health Association, suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students and studies show that most U.S. universities are unprepared to deal with this mental health pandemic.  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), young adults account for 14% of all suicides. Although young adult males are more likely to be at risk for suicide, every gender and ethnicity is susceptible. Students with lower GPAs, or disabilities are at increased risk. Other risk factors include: 

  • Mental health disorders, especially mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and certain personality disorders
  • Prior suicide attempts
  • Feelings of isolation and lack of support
  • Relationship problems 
  • Physical illness 
  • Poor coping skills 
  • A traumatic event
  • Access to a suicide method  
  • Family history 
  • Impulsivity issues  
  • Screen time greater than 2 hours/day apart from work/school assignments
  • Less than 30 minutes/day of physical fitness exercises
  • Being indoors over 90% of the time
  • C-reactive protein in blood of 2 or greater (often related to unhealthy diet)

Here at Weimar University students are equipped with tools to help them through these changes and have a more successful college experience. The most effective tool found to help combat these various risks is increasing the emotional intelligence of students which is one’s capacity to be aware of, manage, and express one’s emotions and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. Emotional Intelligence has been found to be the key to both personal and professional success. 

To help students navigate their first year away from home, Weimar University has put into place many options to help safeguard students as well as promote continued emotional health.  One of many Weimar advantages is that the average Weimar student in their freshman year has significantly higher emotional intelligence than the average college student elsewhere, and their emotional intelligence improves even more through their Weimar experience.  

That means they are very nice people to be around. They are more likely to be friendly, want to get to know you, have better self-control, and are more compassionate and empathetic, and more willing to help those who are in need.  This may be one of the reasons that Weimar University students are less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety than other college/University students—they are around people who are nicer and kinder, and truly care about you, and far less likely to bully or tease inappropriately.  

Initially, freshmen are offered the opportunity to take the Optimize Your Brain (OYB) 2 credit hour college course, which many have opted to take in the first semester.  The course evaluates their emotional intelligence with a standardized emotional quotient test that is embedded in the DAAT (depression and anxiety assessment test). Based on the answers of the test taker, the test also gives specific recommendations that can improve their mental and emotional health.  The average emotional intelligence of this year’s freshman class that took OYB was 117.6 as the school year began, which is greater than an entire standard deviation above the U.S. college mean (which is 100) and went up to 126.7 which puts the average Weimar freshman in the top 95th percentile of all college students in Emotional Intelligence after completing OYB. 

This course has also been shown to decrease depression and anxiety scores in the majority of students who have depression and/or anxiety. The DAAT screens everyone taking the course for depression or anxiety. If present, students are confidentially referred to the student success coordinator, who is a trained counselor. 

The Student Success Coordinator (SSC) is part of the support team that is available for all students. The SSC works closely with the Director of Student Services and is available to be a support in all areas of the student’s life; social, academic, and spiritual. Our current SSC, Margaret Gallant, has a Master’s Degree in Educational Guidance Counseling and utilizes it to counsel students in many areas such as their academic choices, study skills, time management, personal relationships, and stressors, to name a few.  The Student Success Coordinator also collaborates with professors in supporting students with their course work.  

Another option is for students who screen positive for depression and anxiety to go through a free depression/anxiety outpatient program, paid for by Weimar University. This program has been shown to produce a significant and positive clinical response to a super majority of participants. If specialized counseling is deemed necessary by the Student Success Coordinator, a referral is made to an appropriate professional counselor on or off campus for multiple sessions, if necessary, which is also paid for by Weimar University. Several students who have utilized these services have expressed their sincere gratitude for the help they received.  One student stated “There is no way I could have paid for this outpatient program myself, and to have it on campus was so convenient.  Thank you Weimar for sponsoring me through this program that has worked in improving my mental health.”

In addition, Weimar students have better access to the residential Depression and Anxiety Recovery Program, which produces results superior to usual psychiatric care and traditional counseling. During this program brain biochemistry, genetics, epigenetics, adverse childhood and adult experiences, numerous physical factors, toxins, hormonal, nutrient, and medical tests, etc. are evaluated and addressed so no stone is left unturned in finding and treating the cause of the student’s mental health challenges. 

As you continue to prayerfully consider the future, be assured that at Weimar University the health of students, staff, and patients is highly valued; and, beginning on campus “to heal a hurting world” continues to be our mission. 

** If you are suffering from any of the above symptoms here are some links to help even before arriving on the Weimar University campus.






Lifespan Development (3 Credits)

From conception to old age, this course explores focuses on the biological, psychological, and social developmental issues and milestones for each stage of the lifespan, paying particular attention to the aspects of context, culture, and environmental issues. Topics include, but are not limited to: parenting style (child guidance), social contexts, social stress, poverty, low educational attainment, abuse and neglect, gender and family issues salient to relationships, separation, nontraditional and blended families and inadequate housing and how these affect development. Issues of aging and long-term care are included.

Moral Identity and Faith as a Counselor (3 Credits)

This course explores the formation of the student therapist’s identity as a counselor within the framework of Christianity and how this plays out in a secular world of counseling. This course presents philosophical and ethical perspectives integral to the understanding of the contemporary psychologies. Students learn how to analyze the ethical bias of psychotherapeutic psychologies, identify their underlying philosophical assumptions, and develop an appreciation for the moral components in individual, marital, and family identity formation. Also included will be a workshop to enhance spiritual development.

Christian Counseling and Psychotherapy: Basic Theories and Skills (3 Credits)

This course develops an understanding of the major theoretical orientations used by current practitioners, focusing on systemic approaches. Theories provide a coherent framework for understanding how people change. This course will highlight the Biblical understanding of how change takes place. This course covers the concepts and techniques associated with the primary theories of counseling psychology: psychodynamic, existential-humanistic, cognitive-behavioral, and post-modern; in contrast with wholistic counseling techniques. Also included are the evidence-based treatments, limitations, and outcome research associated with each concept. The course also highlights cultural and spiritual diversity as it applies to the therapeutic process and awareness of the self, interpersonal issues, and spiritual values as they impact the use of theoretical frameworks. This course also introduces the student to basic skill in attending behavior, clinical interviewing and clinical intervention. Finally, this foundational course clarifies key issues in human nature and prepares the student for developing a worldview that is consistent with their theological and spiritual orientation.

Advanced Counseling Theory (3 Credits)

This course will examine several individuals, and family approaches for counseling. The development of specific behavioral, cognitive, humanistic/experiential, psychodynamic and systemic frameworks will be deconstructed. Student will distinguish Christian approach of addressing individual and family concerns. Students will be involved in experiential activities designed to relate the observation, demonstration and practice to research-based explanations. In this course, we will consider how each approach is used in clinical, school, and marriage and family counseling applications. Training in the use of the therapeutic relationship will be a focus for understanding and intervening with clients.

Group Processes in Counseling (3 Credits)

This course introduces students to the theory and practice of group counseling with children, adults, families, and couples. The course focuses on basic group counseling theory including therapeutic group factors, stages of group development, and principles of commonly accepted and research-based group interventions. The course will cover different types of groups, such as support, psycho-educational, and process groups; the tasks, skills, and qualities of effective group leaders; roles of group members; and legal and ethical issues pertaining to groups, group leaders; roles of group members; and legal and ethical issues pertaining to groups. Importance is placed on responsibilities and skills and cultural considerations. Emphasis on small and large group processes and involvement in experiential activities is designed to relate the clinical process to theoretical explanations. Throughout, there is an emphasis on group work within community mental health settings.

Child and Adolescent Counseling (3 Credits)

This course provides an understanding of the broad range of childhood and adolescent problems and maladjustment behaviors. A variety of psychotherapeutic modalities are presented, providing the student with an opportunity to develop knowledge of basic child and adolescent therapy skills, assessments, and treatment strategies. The impact of the development aspects, family dynamics, social environments, and multicultural issues are addressed. In addition, legal and ethical issues and the role of hospitalization are considered.

Addictions Counseling and Treatment (3 Credits)

This course covers the prevention, assessment, and treatment of substance abuse/dependence, behavioral addictions, and co-occurring conditions. Theories of etiology, populations at risk, and the role of persons and systems in supporting or compounding abuse/addiction are discussed. The course reviews the cognitive, affective, behavioral, and neurological effects of psychoactive drug use and the impact of addiction on the family system. Best practices for the screening, assessment, and treatment of addictions and co-occurring behaviors are covered as well as community resources for individuals and family members. Additional focus will be placed on developing understanding of Recovery Oriented Care, social and psychological implications of socioeconomic position, and cultural awareness and competencies.

Counseling Diverse Populations (3 Credits)

This course focuses on the intersection and convergence of culture, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, disability, socioeconomic status, religion, acculturation, and chronological age and how these inform effective mental health care. The goal is to increase awareness of multiple dimensions of diversity in order to prepare students to work sensitively and effectively with California’s multi-cultural population. Attention also is given to issues of privilege, marginality, and oppression, including sexism, racism, classism, ableism, ageism, and heterosexism. Theoretical perspectives on multicultural counseling will be examined as well as strategies for intervention and advocacy. This course will focus on eliminating biases, prejudices, and processes of intentional and unintentional oppression and discrimination. Throughout, effective strategies for communicating about emotionally charged material is emphasized.

Couples and Family Counseling: Post-Modern (3 Credits)

This course continues the study of the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of individuals, couples, and families using interactional and brief models. This course provides advanced training in the theories and techniques of modern and post-modern schools of family therapy including Cognitive Behavioral, Behavioral, Solution-Focused, and Narrative Therapy. Also included are the evidence-based treatments, outcome research, and limitations associated with each theory. Specific family issues addressed include: transition to parenthood, parenting young and school-age children, household division of labor, and blended families. Throughout, careful attention is paid to the historical and cultural context in which the theories were developed and the implications for working with diverse populations in recovery-oriented community mental health settings.

Christian Counseling and Psychotherapy: Advanced Techniques (3 Credits)

This course is designed to further develop the psychotherapeutic skills of students prior to their entry into a clinical placement. Students focus on developing proficiency in the core interviewing qualities, deriving goals for a clinical session, and in making contracts with clients for change. Additionally, students are encouraged to begin developing a theoretical and conceptual understanding of cases and trained to work with diverse populations. Students are also encouraged to address issues regarding the integration of their faith with the practice of psychotherapy.

Assessment of Individuals, Couples, and Families (3 Credits)

This course examines the application of psychological instruments to the assessment of individuals, couples, and families. Fundamentals of psychological assessment are reviewed including standardized and non-standardized testing approaches, basic statistical concepts, and moral, ethical and cultural considerations in assessment. The course will also provide an overview of issues related to cognitive assessment, achievement, aptitude, and neuropsychological assessment. Emphasis will also be on clinical, behavioral, and personality assessment.

Knowing God Better Through Career Development: Theories and Techniques (3 Credits)

This course prepares students to address the intersections of career, values, and life roles in the context of career counseling and responding to career and work-related issues

for majority and marginalized groups. Students will gain core knowledge of major career development theories; examine the implications of sociocultural factors on career development, work transitions, and the career counseling process; gain experience with career counseling assessments and resources; and become familiar with current career development literature.

Crisis and Trauma Counseling (3 Credits)

Students will develop a foundation for assessing and treating post-trauma reactions in adults along with an overview of trauma responses in children. We will begin by reviewing the variety of trauma populations followed by in-depth instruction on the mechanism of development major trauma concerns. The assessment and intervention of post-trauma conditions will be identified. Next, we will address clinical interventions including disaster mental health and exposure-based treatment. Finally, we will review issues affecting therapists working with trauma populations and self-care strategies to prevent compassion fatigue.

Research and Evaluation in Counseling (3 Credits)

The goal of this course is to enable students to become informed consumers of psychological research and to use current research knowledge and tools to improve treatment outcomes. Students will explore methods and issues associated with the conduct and use of research concerning phenomena relevant to counseling psychology. The course provides an overview of hypothesis generation, research design, data collection and interpretation, and utilization of research findings in clinical practice, while considering systemic and sociocultural influences. Students will review seminal research findings including research on specific treatments and common factors across treatments that improve therapy outcome. The course also provides students with assessment tools for evaluating mental health programs and the effectiveness of one’s own clinical practice. Emphasis is given to helping students become knowledgeable consumers of research, including the use of research to inform evidence-based practice.

Clinical Neuroscience and Psychopharmacology (3 Credits)

Fulfills the California Board of Behavioral Sciences requirement for surveying the use of pharmacological agents in patient care. This course provides a basic overview of neurobiology in order to understand the biological bases of behavior and the psychopharmacological treatment of mental disorders. The course includes information about commonly prescribed psychiatric medications for children and adults – indications, contraindications, mechanisms of action, side effects, drug-drug interactions, iatrogenics, and variability related to age, gender, ethnicity, and medical condition. Students will learn how to work cooperatively and effectively with clients, family members, and prescribing clinicians. Additionally, controversies related to the medical model and to specific prescribing practices will be explored.

Psychopathology & Diagnostic Processes (3 Credits)

This course examines the major types of psychopathology. It explores techniques of intake interviewing and determining mental status to formulate a differential diagnosis based upon the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Students will also recognize and understand the controversial history of the development of the DSM. The

course also includes a critical examination of the clinical and experimental literature in psychopathy. Etiologies of cognitive/affective functions and dysfunctions and implications for therapeutic intervention are also addressed.

Human Sexuality and Sex Therapy (3 Credits)

This course will provide students with an understanding of human sexual development with a particular focus upon sexuality counseling from a systems perspective. The goal of this course is to learn about the many facets of human sexuality and the treatment of sexual dysfunctions in a safe and respectful environment. Topics include the physiology, psychology, and sociology of sexuality, including the effects of sexual attitudes and functioning on individuals and families. Gender Identity and LGBTQ and sexual perspectives will be reviewed. Clinical applications, including the treatment of sexual difficulty and dysfunction will also be explored. Students will develop familiarity with the language and terms of sexology and demonstrate an ability to apply this knowledge to clinical situations. Finally, students will explore the above with a framework of Christian compassion and love, exploring how God created sex to be beneficial. A review of AIDS, HIV, and STDs will be given.

Legal, Ethical, and Professional Issues in Counseling (3 Credits)

This course introduces students to the legal, ethical, and moral issues related to the practice of LPCC and MFT in the state of California. This course focuses on contemporary professional law and ethics and moral dilemmas related to counseling practice. Students review statutory, regulatory, and decisional laws related to the scope of therapy practice, including confidentiality, privilege, reporting requirements, family law, and the treatment of minors. Professional codes of ethics (ACA, AAMFT/ CAMFT, and APA) will be reviewed. California law that is relevant to the practice of counseling will be examined including goals and objectives of professional organizations, standards of training, licensure, and the rights and responsibilities of professional counselors. Case examples will be discussed. Consideration is also given to the student practitioner’s values and behaviors, especially in relation to becoming a Christian therapist.

Practicum in Counseling (6, 3 per term)

The purpose of this course is to develop counseling competencies when working with a variety of clients with unique presenting concerns. Specifically, the focus will be on your ability to engage your clients in treatment, establish a working alliance, identify dysfunctional patterns, and use either general strategies or ECBIS strategies to facilitate change. You will work toward the development of a personally acceptable and professionally effective style of establishing and working in helping relationships. We will work toward helping you to examine your behaviors and rationales and to modify for greater effectiveness.

Course Prerequisites:
This is the terminal course for the program and will run concurrently with a weekly seminar that will address issues in counseling practice.