New minor prepares students for growing field


The Department of Psychology, along with the Department of Counseling and Human Development, have come together to create a new minor focused on mental health counseling in service fields.

The South Dakota Board of Regents approved the minor this summer.

Jay Trenhaile, CHD department head, and Bradley Woldt, psychology department head, said they created the minor to provide students with a unique experience. 

“Dr. Woldt approached me about the idea and, while we have a minor in rehabilitation services,” Trenhaile said, “the minor in mental health services offers students an ability to take courses in different departments to create a unique minor to the university.” 

The minor requires 18 credits and contains classes such as family therapy, psychology of abnormal behavior and child psychopathology.

The minor is designed to prepare students for the different work settings their professions of choice could present them, according to the description on the SDSU website. Among those listed were mental behavioral health centers, correctional facilities and addiction rehabilitation centers. 

“Mental health services is a growing area,” Trenhaile said. “And this minor provides SDSU students an opportunity to increase their knowledge, skills and overall preparation for the field.”

Students have already begun taking classes within the new minor. Taylor Herrick, a sophomore psychology major, combined her passions and future career goals in pediatric psychology to help her find the right major and minor. 

“This minor interested me because it could help me with the placement of my career, which I hope to be in a children’s hospital,” Herrick said. “The tie between mental processes and the behavior individuals have is something extraordinary that I cannot wait to have a greater grasp on.”

Herrick is currently in two classes that go toward earning her mental health services minor: individual & group counseling and working with diverse populations.

“I find myself to be immersed in these classes without even knowing,” Herrick said.

Herrick said she is looking forward to the classes the minor has to offer and how they will apply to her future career, especially child psychopathology because she said she believes it will relate well to her desired work area.

Trenhaile anticipates other opportunities to combine departments for more specialized opportunities at SDSU soon.