LVC and WellSpan Health Create Master's in Counseling Psychology Degree

A new master's degree in counseling psychology at Lebanon Valley College will prepare mental health and counseling professionals to address growing regional healthcare needs. WellSpan Health has partnered with the College to provide start-up funding and internship and practicum opportunities for the advanced degree. The program is planned to launch its first courses in fall 2020. 

Dr. Lou Manza, chair and professor of psychology at Lebanon Valley College, led the program’s development. He and his faculty colleagues collaborated with staff at WellSpan Philhaven, a behavioral health organization that serves Adams, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, and York counties. The partnership is also fully supported by WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital, which has provided powerful medicine and comforting care to the residents of Lebanon County for more than 125 years.

“A master’s in counseling psychology is a high-demand degree among students and healthcare organizations. There’s a clear regional need—and it’s one that Lebanon Valley College is well-prepared to answer by building on our strong undergraduate psychology program,” said Manza. He cited data from the Economic Development and Employer Planning System projects that jobs for clinical, counseling, and school psychologists will grow 9.4% from 2016 to 2026. 

The program will be delivered through a mix of online and in-person coursework offered in eight-week course blocks with full- and part-time enrollment options. Core courses include Trauma Counseling, Abnormal Behavior, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, among others. Electives cover topics ranging from Addiction and Substance Abuse Counseling to Art Therapy, Crisis Intervention, Family Counseling, Military and Police Counseling, and Stress Management. Graduates will have acquired 100 hours of supervised practicum and 600 hours of supervised internship experience and be prepared for the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification and eventual Licensure as a Professional Counselor designation.

“We are happy to support Lebanon Valley College,” said Tom Harlow, senior vice president of WellSpan Health and president of WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital. “This program will help us to better serve patients and residents of our local community, especially those who have behavioral health challenges.” 

WellSpan’s support will enable the College to hire three doctoral-level full-time faculty and provide support for program operations and development. The goal is to have the master’s in counseling psychology accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.

“This is an innovative partnership that benefits our region in so many ways. WellSpan’s investment in Lebanon Valley College will have a sustained positive impact on the College and our region,” said Dr. Lewis E. Thayne, president of Lebanon Valley College.

WellSpan Philhaven is a preferred partner for the program., and qualified employees will have opportunities to teach in the program.

About WellSpan Health

WellSpan Health is an integrated health system that serves the communities of central Pennsylvania and northern Maryland. The organization is comprised of approximately 1,500 employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians, a regional behavioral health organization, a home care organization, eight respected hospitals, more than 19,000 employees, and more than 170 patient care locations. WellSpan is a charitable, mission-driven organization, committed to exceptional care for all, lifelong wellness and healthy communities.