Peer Counseling Program

Peer Counseling Program

The Peer Counseling Program is an intensive, six-credit training program consisting of the Peer Counseling Training Course (CSL 210) and the Peer Counseling Practicum Course (CSL 211). The program provides valuable counseling support for the Counseling Department by preparing students to serve as peer counselors, academic advisors, and teaching assistants.

The course objective and requirement are stringent. During the program, students learn and practice the skills necessary to become a peer counselor including active listening, reflecting, and problem-solving. They gain greater insight into personal issues, explore different counseling strategies, and come to understand the ethical and legal issues involved in a counseling relationship. Students also become familiar with the undergraduate bulletin and understand the requirements necessary for various major fields of study and degree programs.

In addition to understanding basic counseling skills, students are required to complete extensive reading and writing assignment during the program. They are required to keep a weekly journal of feelings and observations regarding class lectures and activities. During the first semester, students are also required to complete weekly, two-page reaction papers in response to articles about sensitive topics such as rape, suicidal ideation, domestic violence, and sexual harassment. These papers serve as a forum from which students can begin to explore their internal feelings, reactions, and biases to sensitive topics/issues. As peer counselors, students must be prepared to encounter serious concerns and be able to make referrals to the appropriate services and resources.

Lastly, students will be required to participate in three counseling role-plays during each semester. These role-plays will be conducted with fellow classmates and will be videotaped. The students’ final assignments for each semester will be detailed, written analyses of their role-plays.

Students are invited to return to the program for the second-semester practicum only if their course work, participation, and development during the first semester are strong. During the Practicum Course, students are required to provide five hours of counseling per week in the Peer Counseling Lab. However, there is flexibility for the office space with hours on Monday and Thursday 9:00AM-5:00PM, Tuesday and Wednesday 9:00AM-7:00PM, and some availability on Friday.

Upon successful completion and outstanding performance within the Peer Counseling Program, students may elect to complete an advanced internship through the Internship and Cooperative Services Program for an additional three credits. During the advance internship, students may have the opportunity to serve as a teaching assistant for a counseling faculty member in the CSL 112-Freshmen Orientation course or the CSL 210- Peer Counseling Training course. They may also be invited to participate in a paid internship for one of the specialized programs in the Counseling Department. These programs include Sophomore Peer Counseling, Transfer Student Peer Counseling and the Women’s Center. Students would also have a wonderful opportunity to complete a Counseling Minor within the Counseling Department. All of these opportunities are especially valuable for those students interested in pursing advance level degrees in fields of psychology, counseling, human services, social work, and social services.

The Application Process

Over 1100 invitations were sent to John Jay College students to inform them of the opportunity to participate in the Peer Counseling Program. Each applicant to the Peer Counseling Program will be judged by his/her grade point average, credits completed, questionnaire, and reference letter. Applicants will be informed of their acceptance by mid April. While the program is selective and rigorous, it provides students with exciting learning opportunities in which they build counseling skills, conduct extensive self-exploration and development, as well as develop long-lasting friendships with fellow students and professors.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Dr. Cary Sanchez at