Behavioral Health

Academic Program

In the Behavioral Health – Counseling Emphasis major, students learn to understand what constitutes psychological, emotional and spiritual well-being for both individuals and families. Coursework will develop skills to intervene and facilitate behavioral health in a variety of ways through coursework such as Abnormal Psychology, Cross Cultural Counseling, and Addictions. Because of the importance of applying knowledge in an experiential setting, the program includes a credit-earning internship that reflects a minimum of 135 hours at an off-campus site. We also offer a minor in Behavioral Health.

Behavioral Health Program Objectives

  1. Knowledge Base in Psychology: Students will describe key concepts, principles, and overarching themes in psychology, develop knowledge of content domains, and describe applications of psychology.
  2. Scientific Inquiry and Critical Thinking: Students will use scientific reasoning to interpret psychological phenomena, demonstrate psychology information literacy, interpret design, and conduct basic psychological research.
  3. Ethical and Social Responsibility in a Diverse World: Students will apply ethical standards to evaluate psychological science and practice; apply psychology-based principles to ethical living, and community welfare, privileging scientific inquiry over popular and political agendas.
  4. Communication: Students will demonstrate effective writing and presentation skills for different purposes and demonstrate an understanding of influences of cultural differences on communication.
  5. Professional Development: Students will apply psychological content and skills to career goals, exhibit self-efficacy and self-regulation, and refine project-management skills.
  6. Biblical Integration: Students will evaluate psychological theories and processes in light of a biblical worldview.

APA Board of Educational Affairs Task Force on Psychology Major Competencies. (2012). APA Guidelines for the Undergraduate Psychology Major (Version 2.0). American Psychological Association: Washington, DC.

What can I do with a degree from the Behavioral Health program?

Students who select the Behavioral Health Major will be able to choose from a variety of job opportunities in the mental health community and will be well prepared to pursue graduate work leading to licensure in counseling. Behavioral Health majors can also obtain this certification when they choose the Family Studies minor.

Department Chair

Dr. Carolyn Pela

[email protected]

Dr. Carolyn Pela, a native Phoenician, is the chair of the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences at Arizona Christian University. Her master’s degree is in marriage and family therapy, and she holds a doctorate in psychology. She is licensed in the State of Arizona as a Marriage and Family Therapist with 30 years of experience in the mental health field. She mentors doctoral dissertations, serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Human Sexuality, and is currently conducting two longitudinal clinical outcome studies. She also serves as the president of the Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity. Dr. Pela is a clinical member of the AAMFT, CAPS and the Society for the Teaching of Psychology. She is also nationally certified as a Family Life Educator by the National Council on Family Relations.


Degree Planners


For students who entered the program during the 2017-2018 academic year:

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Previous Years

 For students who entered the program during the 2016-2017 academic year:

B.A Behavioral Health / Counseling Emphasis

Behavioral and Social Sciences Department Minors

For students who entered the program during the 2015-2016 academic year:

B.A Behavioral Health / Counseling Emphasis

Behavioral and Social Sciences Department Minors

For students who entered the program during the 2014-2015 academic year:

B.S. Behavioral Health / Counseling Emphasis
B.A. Behavioral Health / Counseling Emphasis

For students who entered the program during the 2013-2014 academic year:

Behavioral Health With Counseling Emphasis
Behavioral Health With Counseling Emphasis / Family Studies Minor
Behavioral Health With Psychology Emphasis

For students who entered the program during the 2012-2013 academic year:

Behavioral Health Major
Behavioral Health / Family Studies Minor