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M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

  • Chicago, IL
  • Full-Time, Part-Time
  • 2 Years Full-Time, 3 Years Part-Time

The M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) program at The Chicago School’s downtown Chicago Campus prepares students to provide high-quality mental health services to a diverse clientele in a variety of community settings. Our clinical mental health counseling master’s program is a 60 credit hour, on-ground counselor education training program that provides strong preparation in […]

The M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) program at The Chicago School’s downtown Chicago Campus prepares students to provide high-quality mental health services to a diverse clientele in a variety of community settings.

Our clinical mental health counseling master’s program is a 60 credit hour, on-ground counselor education training program that provides strong preparation in  competencies including ethics, research, evaluation, diagnosis, theories, career assessment, and counseling interventions.

This M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program in Chicago combines rigorous coursework with supervised clinical training that provides opportunities to put theory into practice in real-world settings. Graduates will be prepared to provide counseling services to individuals, families, couples, and groups, and will have the skills to help clients work through a wide variety of issues including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Grief
  • Low self-esteem
  • Stress
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Suicidal impulses

While not accredited by The Council of Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), the program is aligned with the CACREP Standards as core learning outcomes. The program also incorporates the thirteen content areas required by the State of Illinois for licensure and the eight content areas outlined by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) to prepare those students seeking professional counselor licensure and desiring to begin professional practice at the master’s level.

The Counseling Department embraces thier commitment through the integration of multicultural education and diversity across its curriculum through this M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program located in Chicago. Successful students in the master’s of mental health program demonstrate an appreciation for and competency in this area. Likewise, the faculty reflects experience in graduate level teaching and counseling practice with diverse clinical populations.

The program seeks to serve a diverse student body from throughout the Midwest, and the country, and from a number of international countries.

M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Chicago Student Experience

The Chicago Campus provides students an opportunity to immerse themselves into a culturally diverse city with nearly unlimited academic resources as well as excellent networking opportunities. Chicago is also home to some of the nation’s finest dining, entertainment, museums, and other activities.

At our flagship campus, The Chicago School has demonstrated a continued commitment to a diverse student population and expanding mental health services to multicultural and underserved communities.

Additional Information About the Chicago Campus’ Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program

Program Outcomes Mission

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is a Transformational, Community-Based Counseling Program committed to educational experiences that provide training in mental health counseling for a variety of clinical settings, such as: couples/family counseling, social service and mental health agencies, college counseling centers, non-profit organizations, and private practice. Focusing on four core pillars: professional counseling identity, ethical decision-making, multiculturalism/social justice competency, and clinical practice, the program prepares students to work in a variety of settings, especially those in underserved communities.

Program Objectives

Upon successful completion of this program students will be able to:

  1. Diversity and Advocacy: demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and practices to deliver culturally appropriate counseling services, advocate for clients, and understand how to influence policy to enhance the practice of clinical mental health counseling.
  2. Foundations: show a commitment to their identity as counselors through membership and activities in professional organizations, and through ethical behavior in their work with clients and other professionals.
  3. Counseling, Prevention, and Intervention: demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and practices of culturally appropriate diagnosis, treatment, referral, and prevention of mental and emotional disorders.
  4. Assessment: demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and practices of culturally appropriate and holistic clinical evaluation and assessment of normalcy and psychopathology.
  5. Diagnosis: demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and practices of culturally appropriate diagnosis of both psychopathology and normal developmental challenges, including appropriate use of diagnosis during trauma-causing events.
  6. Research and Evaluation: competently and critically evaluate clinical mental health counseling research, demonstrate understanding of evidence-based treatments and outcome evaluation, and apply appropriate models of program evaluation.

Eight Core Competencies

The MA CHMC program at TCSPP is designed to equip future counselors with skills, experience, and training from eight different content areas. These serve as the core competencies for certification and professional recognition, which align with national standards. Each competency is aligned with a Program Learning Outcome (PLO).

Eight Core Competencies (National Counseling Standards) Program Learning Outcomes (Objectives)
Professional Counseling Orientation & Ethical Practice Foundations
Social and Cultural Diversity Diversity & Advocacy
Human Growth and Development Counseling, Prevention, and Intervention
Career Development Foundations
Counseling and Helping Relationships Foundations
Group Counseling and Group Work Counseling, Prevention and Intervention Assessment and Testing Diagnosis, Assessment
Research and Program Development Research and Evaluation

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling Experience at TSCPP-Chicago Campus CMHC Philosophy There are four core pillars that are integrated into every aspect of the curricula experience in the MA in CMHC program. These pillars reflect the four core functions of a professional counselor.

  • Professional Counseling Identity
  • Ethical Decision Making
  • Multiculturalism/Social Justice Competency
  • Clinical Practice
Strengths of Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Counselor Education and Supervision Programs
  • Smaller Programs
  • Intimate Student-Faculty Rapport
  • Intimate Learning Experience
  • Individualized Attention/Mentoring
  • Integration of ACA Multicultural and Social Justice Competencies
  • Faculty who are Practitioner Leaders on a state, regional, and national level
Relationship Philosophy

The faculty and staff members of the MA in CMHC are committed to providing support while building healthy relationships to ensure academic success. Support includes but is not limited to instructors, advisors, graduate assistants, clinical training faculty, and student support counselors. Students within the MA in CMHC program are expected to: pursue excellence, demonstrate professionalism, ethical sensitivity, communicate effectively, and foster cultural competence with the CMHC support team and fellow peers.

Accreditation Status

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology has been accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) since 2011. While not currently accredited by The Council of Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), the program integrates the 2016 CACREP Standards as core learning outcomes and to guide the fieldwork experience.

Methods of Instruction

The CMHC program at the Chicago Campus is an on ground graduate program with 60 credit hours with classes typically offered in the morning/afternoon format for 3 hours per week. Some elective courses are offered in a blended or intensive format. Students complete 1 – 3 courses per semester across a 14 week semester. Students will need to invest approximately 21 hours each week per class. Most CMHC course instructors utilize Canvas, an online classroom management program as a learning supplement to engage students through additional course readings, assignments, and online discussions related to on ground curriculum. Courses in the CMHC program on the Chicago Campus use a variety of learning approaches, such as lecture, small/large group class discussions, exams, case studies, and presentations.

Minimum Degree Requirements

The program leading to the M.A. degree consists of a minimum of 60 semester hours that includes a curricula experience that helps students develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to become a professional counselor. The program of study includes core courses essential to all counselors, emphasis area courses in clinical mental health counseling, and fieldwork experiences. M.A. students must successfully complete a three tier capstone experience: successful passing of the CPCE Exam (minimum rubric score of 3 out of 4 points), successful passing of a Professional Readiness Interview with core faculty, and successful passing of a capstone digital portfolio (based on CACREP 8 core areas) during their final semester of internship. Fieldwork experiences include a 100-hour practicum and 600-hour (minimum) internship across two courses, Internship 1 and Internship 2, in which students practice the skills they have developed under the supervision of faculty and doctoral peer supervisors from the Ph.D. CES program.

Matriculation Requirements

The CMHC (Chicago Campus) webpage provides a link to the Academic Policies and Procedures - Good Standing, including Academic and Financial Aid Good Standing and Programmatic Good Standing.

Financial Aid Information

In most cases a combination of scholarships, fellowships, student loans, and paid employment (either inside or outside of the school) is necessary to cover costs associated with tuition and fees. The CMHC (Chicago Campus) program also proud to sponsor several competitive graduate assistantships. The professional and personal benefits of an education from The Chicago School can be significant, and it’s important to be prepared for the commitment that is involved. Contact us and let us help. For more information, visit our Financial Aid office or call the office at 800.684.2890. Click here for Tuition and Fee information.

Current Snapshot of Clinical Mental Health Counseling - Chicago Campus Enrollment:

full and part-time students are currently enrolled in this program.

Graduates by Year:

2017-18: 6 CMHC Graduates (Inaugural cohort)

Pass Rate on National Counselor Exam:

First administration of the NCE will take place April, 2019

Job Placement Rates:

For our inaugural CMHC cohort, 100% of survey respondents (50% of total cohort graduated) reported having part-time or full-time placements since graduation in July, 2018. One student is enrolled in a doctoral program in educational leadership.

Annual Reports and Surveys

2017-18 Annual Report

2018-19 Annual Report

Core Faculty/Staff Roles

The faculty and staff members of the MA in CMHC are committed to providing support while building healthy relationships to ensure academic success. Support includes but is not limited to instructors, advisors, graduate assistants, clinical training faculty, and student support counselors. Students within the MA in CMHC program are expected to: pursue excellence, demonstrate professionalism and ethical sensitivity, communicate effectively, and foster cultural competence with the CMHC support team and fellow peers.

Michael M. Kocet, PhD, LMHC, NCC, ACS
Full Professor, Department Chair
[email protected]
312-467-2158

Melissa Stevenson
Department Manager
[email protected]
312-467-2165

Paul Kimball
Student Support Manager
[email protected]
312-488-6055

Ashley Cosentino, Ed.D., LCPC, NCC
Assistant Professor and Director of Clinical Training
[email protected]
312-379-1638

Linda Robinson, PsyD, LCPC, NCC
Associate Professor
[email protected]
312-467-2514

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Couples and Family Counseling

This survey course presents family systems and its major theories and practice. Couple and family lifecycle dynamics will be addressed as well as issues impacting healthy family functioning and development in a diverse society. Other relevant theories will also be covered.

Diversity & Multiculturalism

Recognizing that becoming a multiculturally competent practitioner is a lifelong endeavor, this course serves as a foundation upon which continued personal and professional development in the area of diversity should be built. Students will be supported in learning about themselves as sociocultural beings and will identify the impact of their own worldviews, cultural privilege, and biases on cross-cultural interactions. This course will also address the psychological, socio- political, historical, and economic influences on various aspects of social identity, including but not limited to, gender, ethnicity, religion, class, race, immigrant status, disability, and sexual orientation. This involves gaining a better understanding of the mechanisms that impact less privileged groups. The course will be presented in both didactic and experiential formats with a focus on self-awareness and students will be expected to actively engage in interdependent and reflective learning.

Addictions and Substance Abuse

This course introduces the multiple components and etiology of addictions and substance abuse. A strength-based and holistic model for assessment and evidence based research and treatment care models are examined.

Clinical Mental Health Counseling

This course will provide an overview of mental health in the community setting with a historical context and the role that advocacy plays. Prevention and intervention approaches will be discussed. This course also examines consultation with emphasis on theories and strategies used to provide services to individuals, groups, and organizations. The practice of mental health in the changing community will also be a focus.

The M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling program aligns with degree and coursework requirements to be eligible for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Illinois. Candidates for licensure must pass the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE). All candidates are also required to complete the application process, which may include fees and/or a background check. For further information about licensure, please visit the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

Licensure and Certification FAQ

The training experience requires a minimum of 700 hours over one year of on-site supervised training, including at least one hour of individual supervision by a licensed clinician per week. The first 100 hours of a student’s training experience is considered his/her “practicum” requirement.

Students of the master’s mental health program complete 600 hours of internship, which starts following the successful completion of the practicum. Interns must complete a minimum of 280 direct client hours including experience as a group leader. In addition to direct client hours, students participate in other professional work activities at the internship site.

Send materials to:

Admissions Operations
c/o The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
203 N. LaSalle Street, Suite 1900
Chicago, IL 60601

Application to The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is open to any person who has earned a bachelor degree from a regionally accredited institution and who meets other entrance requirements. Students applying to the M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program must submit the following:

  • Application
  • Application Fee: $50
  • Essay – The mission of the program is to equip students with the knowledge, skills, practices, and values of the counseling profession: empowerment, resilience, optimal development, multicultural competence, and holism, in order to promote the well-being of individuals, families, and the diverse systems that support them. In a two-page essay address the following:
    • How you would contribute to the fulfillment of the program’s mission given your personal and professional characteristics and accomplishments, your academic background, and your experience, and
    • Upon successful completion of the program, how do you see yourself contributing to the profession as a clinical mental health counselor?
  • Official College/University Transcripts
    • Students must submit official transcripts from all schools where degrees have been earned. The Chicago School requires that all schools be regionally accredited higher education institutions. Official transcripts may be sent directly from the institution or with your application for admission as long as they are official, sealed, and signed across the envelope flap when they arrive.
  • Three Letters of Recommendation
    • Appropriate recommendations are from professors and/or supervisors from significant work or volunteer experiences, who can appraise your academic or professional performance. If you are mailing in your letters, they should arrive in a sealed envelope, signed across the seal. You can submit the letters online via the applicant portal.
  • Official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Scores
    • The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required; however, students who have taken the exam may submit their scores to enhance their application. Scores should be sent directly to the school (GRE School Code: 1119) for consideration.

International Application Requirements

The Chicago School is dedicated to keeping our professional degree programs accessible to anyone regardless of financial status. In addition to the scholarships that may be available, our Financial Aid Department will help provide you with information to determine what financial arrangements are right for you.

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