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Interview with David M. Kleist, Department Chair

Mission Statement

The principal mission of the Department of Counseling is to prepare quality counselors for various settings in Idaho and the nation. More specifically, we seek to prepare quality School Counselors for public schools in K-12 settings; Marriage, Couple and Family Counselors; Clinical Mental Health Counselors; and Clinical Rehabilitation Counselors for community agencies and other mental health settings, and Student Affairs Counselors for working in college settings such as advising, residence halls, and career centers.

As members of the counseling profession, and members of the American Counseling Association, we actively support our profession's efforts to promote the professional development of counselors, advocate for the profession, and ensure ethical, culturally-inclusive practices that protect those using counseling services.

In addition, we prepare doctoral level counselor educators and supervisors to work primarily in institutions of higher learning as faculty members. 

We believe it is also our mission to:

  •       instill a strong sense of professional identity in students,
  •       help students gain an appreciation of the rich knowledge base in the profession of counseling,
  •       develop student expertise in the skills of counseling,
  •       aid students to become licensed and/or certified,
  •       aid students/graduates in their initial job placement,
  •       teach and perform research applicable to the practice of counseling, counselor education and supervision,
  •       aid students in understanding the diversity of views and cultures within our profession and the environment in which counselors practice.

The Department of Counseling also has a mission within the Kasiska Division of Health Sciences, College of Health, which is to represent the mental health perspective within Division and to consult with Division faculty and departments encouraging a holistic perspective for health care services.


The general philosophy of the Department of Counseling at Idaho State University is based upon the following beliefs:

  • Individuals have a self-actualizing tendency, characterized by positive growth, change, and self-responsibility.
  • The counseling relationship is one that is best conducted through such interpersonal qualities as warmth, genuineness, respect, involvement, commitment, and congruency and in a setting of equality, cooperation, and mutual respect.
  • The client has the capacity to accept and to take responsibility for his/her behavior and his/her environment.
  • All individuals should be treated with respect, dignity, and worth.
  • As a result of the counseling process, clients can better understand their perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors so that they can help themselves in the future by selecting appropriate alternatives.
  • The professionally trained counselor should develop an integrated counseling style, characterized by the recognition of the need to work with a client in a variety of areas including cognitive processes, feelings, and intra- and interpersonal behavioral processes.
  • Counselors and clients should understand the process for the development of the social/cultural environment in which they live.
  • The counseling process is an effective means for helping clients to learn how to interact constructively with themselves, others, and their environments.


The Department of Counseling was created in 1958, awarded its first degrees in 1960, and became the first counseling program in the United States to be nationally accredited in 1981. Currently, all the Department's programs are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). The newest specialty, Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling major, commenced in the fall of 2000 and received CACREP accreditation in the spring of 2002. A Masters of Counseling Evening School Program was offered from 1991-2011 in three-year cohorts on the ISU-Pocatello campus. In addition to its masters' degree programs, the Department offers a nationally recognized Ph.D. program in Counselor Education and Counseling.

Shoshone-Bannock Land Acknowledgement

The land on which Idaho State University’s Pocatello campus sits is within the original Fort Hall Reservation boundaries and is the traditional and ancestral home of the Shoshone and Bannock peoples. We acknowledge the Fort Hall Shoshone and Bannock peoples, their elders past and present, their future generations, and all Indigenous peoples, including those upon whose land the University is located. We offer gratitude for the land itself and the original caretakers of it.

As a public research university, it is our ongoing commitment and responsibility to teach accurate histories of the regional Indigenous people and of our institutional relationship with them. It is our commitment to the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and to ISU’s citizens that we will collaborate on future educational discourse and activities in our communities.


Diversity Policy

The Idaho State University Department of Counseling values cultural awareness and equity when interacting with others and oneself. Culture includes multiple dimensions that may not be initially visible to others (i.e., physical attributes). Our department emphasizes respect and affirmation for everyone, moving beyond merely tolerance, to actively promoting the dignity, well-being, worth, and potential of all people, including those from historically marginalized populations. As a result, our department opposes racial, discriminatory, and prejudiced acts and emphasizes standards of excellence in equity, inclusion, and diversity within the framework of the Multicultural and Social Justice Counseling Competencies (Ratts, Singh, Nassar-McMillan, Butler, & McCullough, 2016).

Non-Discrimination Statement

The Idaho State University Counseling Department opposes discrimination against any individual based on age, culture, ability status, ethnicity, race, religion/spirituality, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual and affectional identity, marital/partnership status, language preference, socioeconomic status, social class, size, or unique physical characteristics.

Kasiska Division of Health Sciences - Learn more about the Kasiska family legacy and impact