Gerontology and Counseling – CEFS 630

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 11/02/2020

Course Description

This course acquaints the counselor with the issues and problems unique to the elderly in American society. Topics such as suffering, societal attitude, and family structure are examined.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


With a growing elderly population, professional counselors will be needed to meet the mental health needs of the elderly and their families.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

This course is designed to meet the Department of Counselor Education and Family Studies Program Learning Outcomes 16. Students enrolled in clinical mental health counseling programs must demonstrate an understanding of counseling theories. Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to demonstrate required knowledge, skills, and professional development objectives pertaining to theory, including all of the following:

    1. Distinguish between various theories pertaining to normal aging.
    2. Apply knowledge of the physiological, psychological, and social changes of the normal adult development cycle to an elderly client.
    3. Demonstrate knowledge of the diversity and socioeconomic factors related to aging.
    4. Assess community resources available in the student’s area, and avenues of advocacy for the elderly.
    5. Practice the structured life review to an elderly client.
    6. Identify pathopsychological issues common in the elderly.
    7. Demonstrate the ability to use psychological and social assessments with the elderly.
    8. Identify the ethical issues related to gerontological counseling.


  • Course Objectives/Assessment Matrix:

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:



Reading/Class Discussion




G.2.a. multicultural & pluralistic trends

Quiz ch. 1,13

Aging in America

• Hillier, ch. 1, 13,


G.1.b. strategies for interagency/interorganization collaboration and communications


Quiz Ch. 15 ; Community Resources Handbook

Politics, Policies, Programs

• Hillier, ch. 15


G.2b. acculturative experiences, including specific experiential learning activities.


Kottler workbook, Quiz Ch. 2, 13; Structured Life Review

Stereotypes, Women, Ethnic Groups

• Hillier, Chapter 2, 13


G.3.a. theories of individual and family development and transitions

Quiz Ch. 3, 11, 14

Social & Psychological Theories of Late Life Development

• Hillier, Chapter 3, 11, 14


G.3.b. theories of learning and personality development, including current understandings about neurobiological behavior


Quiz Ch. 4, 5

Physical and Mental in Elderly

• Hillier, Chapter 4, 5 human behavior, including an understanding of developmental crises,

disability, psychopathology, and situational and environmental factors that affect both normal and abnormal behavior.


Quiz Ch. 4,5,7,12; Structured Life Review; Caregiver Interview

Physical & Mental Health in Elderly

• Hillier, Chapter 4, 5, 7, 12


G.1.i. advocacy processes needed to address institutional and social barriers that impede access, equity, and success for clients.


Advocacy Project

Quiz Ch. 6, 8, 10, 15; Community Resources Handbook; Public Education Video


Community Resources & Advocacy

• Hillier, Chapter 6, 8, 10, 15


G.1.j. applications of ethical and legal considerations in professional counseling.

Quiz Ch. 9, 10

Ethical & Legal Considerations

• Hillier, chapter 9, 10





Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (4)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to create a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. Each thread must be 350–400 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. Each thread must contain at least 1 scholarly source cited in current APA format. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to at least 1 other classmate's thread and post at least 1 reply to the instructor’s comment or question. Each reply must be 250–300 words and use at least 1 scholarly source in current APA format.

Assessment and Structured Life Review

Client Consent and Assessment Forms

The student will select an elderly client for the Assessment and Structured Life Review assignment. During the first visit, the student will obtain written consent from his/her client and administer an assessment. The student will then conduct a series of 7–8 interviews and record them for use in his/her Structured Life Review Paper.

Structured Life Review Paper

The student will write a 12–14-page research-based paper in current APA format that focuses on the structured life review of his/her chosen client. The student will conduct and audio record a series of 8 (including initial visit), 1-hour sessions and use the information gathered in his/her interviews and assessment with the client to complete this paper. A 150–250-word abstract must be included in the paper. Any references used must be in current APA format.

Caregiver Interview Paper

The student will conduct an interview with a primary caregiver of an elderly adult and write a 4–6-page summary paper in current APA format. A 150–250-word abstract must be included in the paper.

Community Resources and Advocacy Handbook

The student will research community resources available to senior citizens in his/her community in order to write a 4–5-page handbook. The student must obtain at least 22 resources, as outlined in the assignment instructions, and then list and record contact information for each.

Quizzes (15)

Each quiz will cover the Reading & Study material for the module/week in which it is assigned. Each quiz will be open-book/open-notes, contain 10 true/false, multiple-choice, and essay questions, and have a 20-minute time limit.