Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program
Clinical Mental Health Counselors provide services to clients who seek help with everyday life concerns as well as those who struggle with significant emotional, cognitive, and behavioral challenges. To help these clients achieve optimal well-being, Clinical Mental Health Counselors utilize individual, couple, family, and group counseling. These services are provided across many settings, including private practice, mental health agencies, college counseling centers, churches, hospitals, cancer treatment centers, and substance abuse and eating disorder treatment centers.
|Benjamin Willis, Ph.D., Ed.S., NCC
McGurrin Room 441
Office phone: 570-941-6172
Department phone: 570-941-4236
Katie Purswell Ph.D., LPC, NCC, RPT
The Clinical Mental Health Program prepares professional counselors to provide evidence-based, culturally, and developmentally competent counseling services that enhance the emotional, cognitive, behavioral, relational, and spiritual well-being of individuals, couples, families, and groups across the lifespan. Graduates of this program are prepared to counsel a wide variety of clients varying from those who seek help with everyday life concerns to those who struggle with significant emotional, cognitive, and behavioral challenges. The importance of advocacy, leadership, social justice, client empowerment, and wellness are emphasized throughout the program.
Top of page
The primary objective of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program is to prepare professionals for direct entry into and/or advancement in counseling and counseling-related positions in private and public human service organizations and systems. The program offers a learning environment in which the student acquires the academic competencies of the profession, refines them through practical experience, and increases self-understanding, self-confidence, and personal effectiveness. For more specific information, review the CMHC Program Objectives.
The Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program is a 60-credit curriculum leading to the Master of Science degree and fulfills all the educational requirements for licensure as a professional counselor in the state of Pennsylvania. Nine credits of electives are offered to provide students with opportunities for additional study in individual areas of interest and for development of skills in working with specific client populations.
The 60 credits include:
• 24 credits of Foundations of Professional Counseling
• 21 credits of Clinical Mental Health Counseling Courses
• 6 credits of Clinical Experience
• 3 credits of Practicum (100 hours of supervised counseling
• 3 credits of Internship (600 hours of supervised counseling
• 9 credits of Electives for Specialization
*Note: Students requiring two semesters to complete internship requirements must register for internship each semester. In these cases, internship becomes two 3-credit experiences. Students who require two semesters to complete internship may use one of their 3-credit internship experiences as an elective.
For specific course information, please review the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Course Sequencing Plan or Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program Manual.
Top of page
The Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program was recently transitioned from our previously existing Community Counseling Program. The Community Counseling Program has been accredited since 1992 by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program has recently received re-accreditation from CACREP.
The Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program had an enrollment of 54 MS degree students in the fall of 2017 and 45 MS degree students in the fall of 2016. A total of 14 students graduated from the program during the 2016-2017 academic year, and 25 students graduated from the program during the 2015-2016 academic year. All students passed the clinical requirements in practicum and internship. 100% of graduates who responded to the 2016 Post-Graduation Activities Survey were fully employed in from our survey, and only 8% (2/24) of graduates from the 2017 post-graduate survey were still seeking employment.
Currently, the program has three full-time faculty members. All adjunct faculty members who teach Clinical Mental Health Counseling courses have licensure/certification in the counseling field. Students enrolled in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program range in age, life experience, and academic and professional backgrounds.
Forty-three (87.8%) Clinical Mental Health Counseling students responded to our annual program evaluation in the spring of 2015. Overall, the quantitative results indicate that students are satisfied with the program (key: 3 = Exceeds Expectations, 2 = Meets Expectations, 1 = Needs Improvement). The mean score for all items exceeded 2.0, indicating that respondents’ expectations were met in all categories. Areas in which 100% of respondents stated that the program met or exceeded their expectations are: Department Culture is Respectful of Diversity (m = 2.56) and Opportunity to Develop Interpersonal Skills (m = 2.51).
In addition, over 95% of respondents stated that their expectations were met or exceeded by Availability of Program Information (m = 2.49), Expertise of Full Time Faculty (m = 2.58), Quality of Full Time Faculty (m = 2.47), Relevance of Courses for your Goals (m = 2.33), Opportunity to Develop Professional Counselor Role (m = 2.58), Opportunity to Develop Critical Thinking Skills (m = 2.51), Instructional Facilities (m = 2.44), and Overall Rating of Program (m = 2.45).
For current information about our Clinical Mental Health Counseling program outcomes, please click here.
The counseling profession is growing rapidly. According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook for 2014-2024, employment opportunities for counselors are projected to grow "much faster than the average" through the year 2024. There are projected to be 54,400 more jobs specifice to Clinical Mental Health Counseling in 2024 than there were in 2014.
The University of Scranton offers career counseling services to its students through the Gerard R. Roche Center for Career Development. Click here to see all that the Center for Career Development has to offer.
The Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program was recently transitioned from our previously existing Community Counseling Program. The Community Counseling Program has been accredited since 1992 by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).The Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program was recently reviewed for re-accreditation and successfully met all requirements. Hence, graduates meet all requirements for certification as a National Certified Counselor (NCC) and are eligible to sit for the National Counselor Exam (NCE) sponsored by the National Board of Certified Counselors. Further, graduates meet all of the educational requirements for licensure as Professional Counselors in Pennsylvania and many other states. The program prepares students for this work by providing a learning environment in which they acquire the academic competencies of the profession, refine these competencies through application, and experience personal and professional development to meet the standards of Fitness for the Profession.
As a 60-credit curriculum, the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program fulfills all of the educational requirements for licensure as a Professional Counselor in Pennsylvania and many other states. For counselors who have completed a master's degree in counseling or a closely related field, the Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS) is available to complete further educational and/or training requirements towards licensure and/or certification as a professional counselor. Many students in the CAGS program have completed a 48 hour master's and need additional academic credits to be eligible for licensure as a professional counselor. Therefore, the CAGS program is typically a 12 credit hour program, and the specific requirements for each student is discussed with a faculty mentor to meet individual needs and goals. For further information, please review state licensure laws and/or certification standards. CMHC faculty members can also be contacted for further information on the CAGS program. For more information, visit the CAGS webpage.
The curriculum for the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program meets the educational requirements for licensure in Pennsylvania and many other states. Graduates who wish to obtain state licensure (Licensed Professional Counselor designation in Pennsylvania) will complete supervised clinical work post-graduation (3,000 hours in Pennsylvania). Many of our students are able to use their graduate internship experience to find a site to complete their supervised hours after they graduate. In Pennsylvania, counselors must be licensed in order to accept insurance, but unlicensed counselors are often paid by clients or by an agency for counseling services prior to obtaining licensure.
Undergraduate Human Services majors with outstanding academic records may be eligible for early admission to the Clinical Mental Health Counseling graduate program through the Accelerated Baccalaureate/Master's Degree Program.
Interested students must commit to this program no later than the end of their junior year of academic study, adhere to the time frame for application as outlined in The College of Graduate and Continuing Education Catalog, and meet specific admissions criteria. We only accpet applicaitons for the Fall Semester. Please visit the Accelerated B.S./M.S. website for additional information.
Top of page
The University's Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence (CTLE) is located on the 5th floor of the Harper-McGinness Wing in St. Thomas hall. The mission of the CTLE is to provide academic support services for students and opportunities for faculty to enhance teaching and learning. The CTLE offers services to assist graduate students to achieve academic success. The CTLE can assist graduate students in improving their reading comprehension and retention, writing and enhance overall learning skills. Peer-tutoring is available to graduate students free of charge. Students may also work with CTLE staff in learning how to use instructional technology that is available on campus. Workshops are offered in the area of time management, organizational skills, effective study techniques and learning styles.
Graduate students with disabilities, who are registered with the CTLE, may receive academic accommodations such as extended test-taking time, note taking and computer use for examinations. Individual consultations with the CTLE Reading Enrichment Specialist, Learning Enrichment Specialist and Writing Consultants are encouraged to assist students with physical and/or learning challenges achieve academic success.
Individuals interested in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program may find additional information regarding admission requirements, application deadlines, and graduate assistantships in the Graduate School Catalog. Although the official deadline for applications is March 1, applications received by November 15 will receive priority review and an early decision. Please feel free to contact Dr. Katie Purswell if you would like to speak with someone about the program directly.
Top of page