The Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is a 90 quarter-credit, comprehensive program that is comprised of core content areas typically required by state licensing boards and counseling program accreditation bodies. It culminates in a year-long counseling internship during which students hone knowledge and skills in supervised clinical settings within their communities.
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Click to open the course descriptions for each curriculum section below.
COUN6010 Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling (4 credits)
This course introduces students to systemic models and treatment interventions. Structural, communication, analytical, behavioral, and postmodern approaches are applied to common marital, couple, and family topics including child-rearing, relationships, illness, traumatic events, resilience, career transitions, aging, death, dying, and grief. Play and sand tray therapy theory, techniques, and interventions are reviewed. (4+0)
COUN6101 Ethics and Professional Identity (4 credits)
Students will learn and evaluate current legal and ethical guidelines used in the counseling profession and in sport psychology profession. Students will apply ethical decision-making models and formulate effective, evidence-based collaborative strategies used to resolve ethical dilemmas and legal issues that arise when working with individuals, couples, families, groups, teams and organizations. Students will also learn what it means to integrate a professional counselor identity into their lives. (4+0)
COUN6110 Personality and Counseling Theories (4 credits)
This course will introduce the five forces of counseling theories: Psychoanalytic, Cognitive-Behavioral, Existential-Humanistic, Multicultural, and Social Justice, including history, key values, therapeutic relationship, process of change, therapeutic content, and interventions. Students will evaluate the relationships between specific theories, counseling techniques, interventions, and research on evidence-based practice. (4+0)
COUN6115 Human Growth and Development (4 credits)
This course provides an understanding of human growth and development over the life span including theoretical approaches. It emphasizes physiological, cognitive, social, emotional, personality, attachment-based, spiritual, and moral development from conception to death. Fundamentals of neuroanatomy, brain development, neuropsychology, and neurophysiology provide insight into the development of wellness and pathology, especially in the context of social and familial influences. Analysis of developmental models from a multicultural perspective adds depth to case conceptualization. (4+0)
COUN6120 Research Methods and Program Evaluation (4 credits)
Students will engage with content, discussions, and assignments emphasizing the importance of research in the counseling profession, including analysis of published literature on evidenced-based practices. Students will become critical consumers of research by learning about qualitative and quantitative research assumptions, methods, and program design considerations. Steps of program evaluation are also featured. Students learn language, theory, and assumptions related to descriptive, correlational, and inferential statistics. (4+0)
COUN6130 Group Counseling (4 credits)
Students learn the basic elements of the group process, including special ethical, procedural, and practical issues related to maintaining therapeutic alliance with multiple clients. The course also trains students to facilitate therapeutic relationships between clients. The course includes introduction to a variety of group approaches as well as stages of group work. Students learn best practices promoted by the Association for Specialists in Group Work (ASGW). (4+0)
COUN6135 Career Counseling (4 credits)
Students develop foundational lifestyle and counseling skills and engage in professional career counseling activities. Students examine the major models of career development and the ways clients’ interests, aptitudes, lifestyles, social interests, family responsibilities, and life transitions may impact lifestyle and career development process. Students also discuss legal and ethical issues associated with career counseling practice. (4+0)
COUN6140 Addiction Counseling (4 credits)
This course focuses on the etiology and treatment of addictive behaviors (e.g. substances, gambling, gaming, etc.). Genetic, physiological, contextual, and psychological factors contributing to addiction and addiction risk are evaluated with emphasis on developing effective recovery and relapse prevention. Students learn to distinguish between substance use, substance-induced, substance intoxication, and withdrawal disorders. The course includes training on Motivational Interviewing techniques as well as systemic and culturally sensitive approaches to treatment. (4+0)
COUN6145 Psychopathology and Appraisal (4 credits)
Students will examine psychopathology principles, professional literature, and current issues associated with assessing, diagnosing, planning treatment, and treating mental health symptoms and disorders. Students will critically evaluate diagnostic models, methods, and approaches used in the diagnostic process. Students will learn to use the DSM-5 classifications, criteria required for diagnosis, and diagnostic issues associated with diverse populations to examine cases. (4+0)
COUN6150 Multicultural Counseling and Advocacy (4 credits)
This course introduces theory and research related to culturally competent counseling, including multiculturalism, cross-culturalism, intersectionality, social justice, and advocacy. Students consider the characteristics of diverse populations as they inform counseling and advocacy practices that promote optimal wellness and growth for individuals, couples, families, and groups. Students also assess the influence of their characteristics, attitudes, and beliefs on the counseling process. Students will examine their roles in promoting social justice at multiple levels and evaluate approaches for prevention of clinical mental health issues in a diverse society. (4+0)
COUN6220 Counseling Methods and Practices (4 credits)
This course introduces mental health counseling micro skills and techniques needed in helping relationships, with attention to models of counseling competence. Development of cognitive, affective, and behavioral competencies are emphasized, with focus on helping students to determine, facilitate, evaluate, and sustain therapeutic relationships. (4+0)
COUN6235 Psychopharmacology (4 credits)
This course provides an understanding of the basic classifications, indications, and contraindications of commonly prescribed psychopharmacological medications including the identification of effective dosages and side effects. Topics include neuropharmacology, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. A review of different classes of psychoactive compounds, including drugs used in the treatment of psychiatric disorders, will be examined. Ethical considerations regarding scope of practice are highlighted. (4+0)
COUN6715 Tests and Assessments (4 credits)
This course offers a study of the basic concepts and principles of psychological assessment, including historical factors influencing testing and test construction. Students will also learn the statistical language and theory related to measurement error, scales of measurement, measures of central tendency and variability, reliability and validity. Students will learn about the different types of assessment instruments and their range of applications in the field. Critical evaluation of assessment instruments is included. (4+0)
COUN6830 Master Thesis (2 credits)
During this final course in the program, students write a paper about their theoretical orientations, apply information from that theory to a case presentation with a thorough treatment plan, recording of work with the client noted in the case, and a reflective transcript. Students then present and defend their work to peers, instructors, and faculty members during the final internship course. (2+0)
COUN6540 Pre-Practicum (4 credits)
This course helps students develop counseling micro skills by utilizing a standardized patient protocols to practice clinical work with clients under controlled conditions. Using live video sessions with actors trained to present a variety of client issues, students will complete intake and assessment documents with standardized patients, take extensive verbal histories, diagnose, plan treatment, and complete six sessions of counseling, including termination. Students will also be guided through preparation requirements for a community-based practicum including, membership in the ACA, and the search for a local practicum site. (4+0)
COUN6555 Clinical Counseling Practicum (4 credits)
The clinical practicum is an online-directed, supervised field experience in a mental health counseling setting local to each student during which students engage specific clinical skills, including interviewing, assessment, intervention, documentation, and consultation. Students use fundamental communication and interviewing principles and perform intake, initial assessments, and verbal histories with individuals, couples, and/or families. This course requires 100 hours of clinical field experience, which must consist of no less than 40 hours of direct client contact, and no fewer than 11 hours of face-to-face contact with field supervisors. It is the student’s responsibility to research and comply with the specific clinical experience requirements of their states. Grading in this course is P/NP. (1+9)
COUN6551 Clinical Counseling Internship I (4 credits)
COUN6552 Clinical Counseling Internship II (4 credits)
COUN6553 Clinical CounselingInternship III (4 credits)
COUN6554 Clinical CounselingInternship IV (4 credits)
This is a series of four clinical internship courses during which students fulfill 700 total required contact hours in a mental health setting local to each student. Of the 700 total hours, students must complete 280 hours of direct client contact and a minimum of 44 hours of face-to-face contact with field supervisors. The internship provides students with specific clinical skills in interviewing, assessment, intervention, documentation, and consultation with individuals, couples, families, and groups. Grading for this course is P/NP. Students must be responsible to research and comply with the specific clinical experience requirements of their states. Online, weekly supervision with program faculty and live, weekly onsite supervision are requirements. (1+9)
Learning outcomes for graduates of the master’s in clinical mental health counseling program:
- Students will create a professional identity based on the philosophies, history, and roles of the clinical mental health counseling profession.
- Students will apply ethical and legal standards to clinical mental health counseling practices.
- Students will develop culturally responsive counseling strategies based on their professional evaluation of the cultural context of relationships, issues, and trends of a multicultural society.
- Students will apply effective advocacy strategies to enhance clinical mental health services.
- Student will synthesize theories of human growth and development to create differentiated counseling interventions that promote resilience, optimum development, and wellness across the lifespan.
- Students will create a career development plan to assess and develop client skills appropriate to their work, relationships, and wellbeing.
- Students will integrate theories and best practices related to trauma-informed and community-based strategies to appropriately intervene in meeting the needs of diverse clients.
- Students will develop culturally responsive treatment and/or intervention plans with measurable outcomes for clients.
- Students will apply theoretical foundations, group processes, and developmental dynamics, and therapeutic factors to effectively lead group counseling.
- Students will implement evidence-based assessment techniques appropriate for mental health counseling professionals to diagnose developmental, behavioral, and mental health disorders in diverse clients.
- Students will assess mental health counseling research to inform clinical practice.