Course Spotlight featuring Professor Seth Hayden

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Jennifer:Hello. I would like to start by thanking you for joining us for Wake Forest University’s Online Master of Art in Counseling and Human Services Webinar Series.


During this webcast, you will have a chance to hear from one of our professors speak about their professional background and their interests within the counseling and human services field.


My name is Jennifer [inaudible 00:00:29], and I am an enrollment advisor in the Graduate Admissions Office. Our feature faculty today is assistant professor and clinical mental health program coordinator, Seth Hayden. Thank you Professor Hayden, for taking the time to talk to us today.


Prof. S. Hayden:Thank you, Jennifer. I appreciate it. I appreciate the opportunity to talk a little bit about myself and a little bit of my interests and hopefully that will be informative for those who are on this presentation, because I do think that it’s important that people who are considering various counseling programs to have some sense of people who are involved in the program, ’cause I do think that that’s gonna influence the experience.


And so a little bit of my background. I received a bachelor’s in psychology as well as a bachelor’s in education from the University of Memphis. I became actually licensed as a teacher in the state of Tennessee although I did not pursue that as a career, because I then went into graduate school at the University of Memphis for my master’s in counseling. From there, I went into a doctoral program at the University of Virginia and received my PhD in counselor education from there.


In terms of my various clinical work, so it’s been somewhat varied, although it’s become much more focused as I have progressed in my career. So I’ve provided services in a dual diagnosis unit and that is co-occurring substance abuse and mental health within a hospital. I have provided services in a community agency that focused on domestic violence and focused on it really from all points of view, working with the perpetrators as well as the victims from children up to adults.


I have provided mental health services within a school setting, so I was not a school counselor, I was a mental health provider positioned within a school as part of a grant. And so, was part of [inaudible 00:02:44] School’s Healthy Students Grant, in Virginia when I was there, and so I did that for a couple of years. And then I also supervised others who were doing it.


I have been a program director within a university career center. And so I worked in a university career center overseeing the direct services that were provided. And the career center at the institution where I was, was really essentially a counseling clinic that provided career services. So it focused primarily on the integration of theory, research and practice, which is really I think a theme of my work in terms of how is it that we integrate aspects of counseling theory, counseling research, into the provision of counseling? And so those were some things that I focused on. A lot of my work happened there with that.


I’ve been at Wake Forest University since 2014, and I teach various courses here. I teach the research and statistical analysis and counseling course. I teach the career development and counseling course. Have taught the professional capstone, the professional orientation course, internship as well. And so I’ve taught a fair amount of the course, but I would say the primary ones that I’ve focused on would be career development and counseling and the research statistical analysis course. That I think speaks a little bit to my identity as a counselor.


And so I am licensed in North Carolina as well as in Virginia. I am a national certified counselor, a certified clinical mental health counselor, and an approved clinical supervisor. I still provide pro bono services to veterans who are experiencing homelessness. So I teach as well as also still practice to a limited degree, which I think is important and not uncommon in our department to do that. And so that’s a little bit of my background in terms of to this point.


My teaching philosophy with the online format, I think to me a primary word would be engagement. I would say that that’s a theme of mine is that I want students to be actively engaged in their learning. And so some ways in which I try to facilitate that engagement is I have my online office hours. In my online office hours, I’ll at times provide a limited discussion on a topic for that particular week. And my hope is that students will come and we can interact over some specific thing that we’re focusing on during that time of the course, so that we can talk to each other about it, they can ask questions around it, and then also they can ask questions about general aspects of the course. And so that’s one component of engagement.


Another thing that I do is I will often provide additional thoughts and resources to students in the online courses, again that is pertinent to what we’re focusing on at that point. And so I’ll tell personal stories via announcements. I’ll talk about the applicability of the information. There’s that engagement component again, is that I want them to engage. I also at times will poke around a little bit on discussion forums and try to interact with students there. And we have other instructors who would do that as well.


And so, one of the things is I think nice about actually online learning, is that if I was to be teaching on campus, which I do, there are times where students can be in the room but not necessarily be engaged. So they may choose not to participate. They may, for whatever reason, they may not feel like they’re directly connected. And in an online format, I actually think that’s a little harder to not be connected, because there’s discussion forums that are students are tasked with responding to. There’s an accountability around that participation, which I actually think is beneficial to both the instructor and the student, is that I do get a sense of where students are and what their thinking is. And so, I think that there are times where that engagement can come through in other kinds of ways.


So I wanna be engaged with students. I encourage them to reach out to me, whether it be the online office hour or apart from that. I’ve actually had a fair amount of interaction with students apart from the prescribed online office hour. I want them to feel they’re connected and they have resources here and that we can talk about various things if they’re interested, specifically to the course, but also to the counseling in geneal. That’s a little bit of my teaching philosophy is primarily just engagement.


And then, I guess another thing quickly would be application. So I want students to feel as if the information they’re learning has direct application to their work as a counselor. And so that’s important to me as a professor is to help people understand the relevance of the information, because that works for me and that’s when things started making sense for me in various subjects, and that’s I think really the purpose of a counseling degree, which is a practitioner degree. We’re preparing people to go out in the world and provide counseling services. And so, I think every course has a responsibility to ensure that the information within it directly relates to practice. And so application is another I think element of my teaching philosophy.


What attracted me to the counseling field is I am fascinated by what makes people tick. I have had that fascination for a long time about how people engage in relationships, how people make decisions, because it’s just so fascinating to me how people think and feel and how two people can experience the same thing and see it so differently. I’ve certainly benefited from my own help at times in my life and so that peaked my interest.


But then, it’s just so again interesting to me that I have that opportunity to help somebody who is struggling because they’re seeing things in a particular way or they’re feeling a particular way and to be there to actually try to be of help. Ultimately I think our relationship is the thing that’s going to be of help. So it’s not as if I’m the one who’s going to change things for them. I think we’re gonna have to work together and be very collaborative to do that.


With that being said, hopefully I’ve learned some things over my career that allows me to have some kind of positive influence on the struggles that they’re encountering. And to me, when I have a good session with a client and I’m feeling like they’re really making some traction, it’s a very gratifying feeling. It’s very satisfying to have that experience. And one of the many reasons that I keep coming back and doing this is because I really appreciate that. And I appreciate the opportunity to be of help to whatever degree that that occurs within that relationship.


In terms of current research, one of my areas of focus is military service members, veterans and families. And so I’ve provided services to that population as I indicated. I do a little pro bono work now. I’ve also worked with veterans who are experiencing traumatic brain injury, posttraumatic stress disorder, career development concerns. So that population in general is an area of focus of mine.


And so I’m currently looking at how it is that military spouses feel supported in then transition from the military to civilian life. And so another colleague and I are creating a research study around that. Also, that connection between career development and mental health is another area of focus of mine and I’m currently analyzing data around that connection, elements of mental health such as worry and anxiety and how that affects one’s consideration of their career development. And so some of those research oriented activities are I think an element of where I’m at, at this point.


To me, when I do scholarly work, and that means present at conferences, do academic writing, there’s that thought of the application, because to me, research at its best informs practice. And so, whenever I’m writing those kinds of things or I’m presenting to other practitioners, that is important to me, that I don’t get too far off into research stuff without the thought of how does this directly feed into effective practice? And again coming back to my theme of integration of theory, research, and practice is a primary element of my work. So those are some things that I’m focusing on at this point.


Jennifer:Okay, great. Thank you so much for providing kind of a little bit of background and what brought you to Wake Forest overall. This concludes our faculty spotlight. Again, thank you so much, Professor Hayden. It’s much appreciated. For those that may have any questions about the Online Master’s in Counseling or Human Services Program, please do not hesitate to reach out to any of the enrollment advisors at the Online Graduate Admissions Office. Thank you.