Emphasis Area Descriptions

Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling Major students are required to enroll in an emphasis area or complete six credit hours of electives.  Elective courses may be taken from multiple emphasis areas.  Students may apply to more than one emphasis area, but the exit requirements must be fulfilled for each emphasis area, including demonstration of competencies (See Counseling Student Handbook for more detail.)  Marriage, Couple, and Family students are welcome to complete an emphasis area, but it would require six credits beyond graduation requirements.

The emphasis areas may include: 

Addictions Counseling

Students pursuing an emphasis in addictions counseling are working toward the development of greater depth of understanding in assessment and interventions related to addictions, particularly useful for comorbidity.  Since comorbidity with drugs and alcohol is common in clinical settings, this is a very practical emphasis area.  The coursework is aligned in such a way as to provide partial fulfillment of the educational criteria leading to eligibility for the Advanced Certified Alcohol/Drug Counselor (ACADC) credential in the State of Idaho.  The Practicum/Internship requirement for the ACADC is 2000 hours.  1000 of these hours could be completed during the NNU Counselor Education Program.

Trauma, Grief, and Crisis

The Trauma, Grief, and Crisis specialization prepares students with more clinical depth in the capacity to counsel individuals through trauma, complicated bereavement, and crisis. Student outcomes include gaining assessment and intervention skills to assist clients in working through theory and practice of trauma counseling, complicated bereavement, and understanding models of crisis training and intervention.  PTSD, mass disaster, sexual assault, domestic violence, mental illness, and suicide prevention are addressed in the coursework.


This emphasis area prepares students to use Viktor E. Frankl's Logotherapy in clinical practice.  The required courses are designed to increase knowledge and skill in addressing spiritual and existential concerns of meaning in life, freedom and responsibility, uniqueness of the human condition, and death.  Upon completion of the curriculum in this emphasis area, students are eligible to apply for the Academic Associate credential from the Viktor Frankl Institute of Logotherapy.

Play Therapy 

In order to satisfy its mission to promote the value of play, play therapy, and credentialed play therapists, the Association of Play Therapy (APT) wishes to increase the availability of play therapy instructions at colleges and universities.  This emphasis area provides part of the coursework needed to become a credentialed Play Therapist.  Coursework includes essential elements and principles of play therapy, including history, theories, modalities, techniques, applications and skills.  Experiential components focus on basic play therapy skill development within the context of ethical and diversity-sensitive practice.