Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program
Clinical Mental Health Counselors (CMHCs) 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, CMHCs 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.
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.
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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.
By the completion of their program of study, CMHC students will demonstrate:
1. Knowledge of each of the CACREP common
core curricular areas including:
a. Professional Orientation and Ethical
b. Human Growth and Development
c. Career Development
d. Helping Relationships
e. Group Work
g. Research and Program Evaluation
2. Knowledge of the history, philosophy, trends,
organizations, credentials, professional
issues, policies, and ethical and legal
standards relevant to CMHC
3. Knowledge of the settings (outpatient, partial,
inpatient, aftercare, emergency, etc.) and
modalities (individual, couple, family, group,
etc.) of CMHC
4. Knowledge of the roles and functions of
CMHC counselors, and how these intersect
with those of other professionals
5. Ability to function as part of an
interdisciplinary treatment team
6. Knowledge of the principles of mental health,
wellness, and human development including
prevention, education, consultation,
intervention, and advocacy
7. Ability to use prevention, education,
consultation, intervention, and advocacy to
promote optimal mental health, wellness, and
8. Ability to conduct individual, couple, family,
and group counseling from intake to
9. Knowledge of evidence based interventions,
including the ability to critically evaluate
research relevant to CMHC
10. Ability to use relevant research and data to
inform the practice of CMHC
11. Knowledge of processes that support clinical
work including case conceptualization,
assessment, diagnosis, treatment planning,
developing and measuring outcomes, and
12. Ability to use case conceptualization,
assessment, diagnosis, treatment planning,
the development and measuring of outcomes,
and record keeping to support one's work with
13. Knowledge of crisis intervention principles,
including the appropriate use of diagnosis
during crisis intervention
14. Ability to apply crisis intervention principles to
work with clients who've experienced crises,
disasters, and other trauma-causing events
15. Knowledge of assessment and intervention
strategies for clients at risk of harming
themselves or others
16. Ability to use appropriate assessment and
intervention strategies when working with those
at risk of harming themselves or others
17. Knowledge of substance use problems, including
their etiology, assessment, and relationship to
other client problems
18. Ability to use appropriate assessment and
intervention strategies when working with clients
experiencing substance use problems
19. Ability to alter all counseling processes so that
they are multiculturally appropriate, including
case conceptualization, assessment, diagnosis,
treatment planning, intervention, ethical decision
making, and outcome evaluation
20. Ability to recognize one's own limitations as a
counselor and to utilize supervision and referral
21. Knowledge of management processes relevant to
CMHC including program development, service
delivery, and program evaluation
22. Ability to apply knowledge of management
processes and mental health policies to improve
23. Ability to advocate on behalf of clients and the
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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.
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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 program is seeking re-accreditation as a Clinical Mental Health Counseling program during the 2013-2014 academic year. Following reaccreditation, expected to take place in February of 2014, CMHC student outcomes will be reported.
The Community Counseling Program had an enrollment of 43 MS degree students, 3 CAGS students, and 2 self-improvement students in the fall of 2011 and 45 MS degree students and 2 CAGS students in the spring, 2012, semester. Currently, the program has three full-time faculty members. All adjunct faculty members who teach Community Counseling courses have licensure/certification in the counseling field. The current grade point average of the students in the program is 3.77. Students enrolled in the Community Counseling Program range in age, life experience, and academic and professional backgrounds.
A summary of key areas from the 2011-2012 academic year student evaluation process indicated the following: 100% of CC students’ expectations are met or exceeded in the areas of: overall rating of the program, department culture, expertise of full time faculty, quality of full time teaching, and relevance of courses for your goals. In general, quantitative results indicate that the students are satisfied with the program, rating it as a comprehensive, quality program with an incredible program leader and advisor.
During the 2010-2011 academic year, a total of fourteen students graduated from the program. All students passed the clinical requirements in practicum and internship. Ten of the fourteen students responded to the Post-Graduation Activities Survey. All 10 of the respondents were employed full time in the field. The outcomes of 4 graduates are unknown.
The counseling profession is growing rapidly. According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook for 2012-2013, employment opportunities for counselors are projected to grow "much faster than the average for all occupations" through the year 2020. Jobs specific to Clinical Mental Health Counseling are projected to grow "much faster than average for all occupations" through the year 2020, as well.
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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 program is currently seeking re-accreditation as a Clinical Mental Health Counseling program during the 2013-2014 academic year. 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. 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.
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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. Please visit the Accelerated B.S./M.S. website for additional information.
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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. Please feel free to contact the Department of Counseling and Human Services if you would like to speak with someone about the program directly.
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