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M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

  • Online
  • Part-Time
  • 3 Years Part-Time

The Chicago School’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) master’s online program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs (CACREP) and prepares students for a career offering mental health services in a variety of settings, helping diverse clients through issues such as depression, anxiety, grief, low self-esteem, stress, relationship difficulties, and […]

The Chicago School’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) master’s online program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs (CACREP) and prepares students for a career offering mental health services in a variety of settings, helping diverse clients through issues such as depression, anxiety, grief, low self-esteem, stress, relationship difficulties, and suicidal impulses.

Students enrolled in The Chicago School’s online programs will enjoy a transformative educational experience with the flexibility of a program that can be integrated with other commitments.

Guided by practitioner faculty, students will experience in-depth training in various counseling areas, including:

  • Ethics
  • Research
  • Program evaluation
  • Diagnosis
  • Prevention
  • Counselor identity
  • Assessment
  • Advocacy
  • Multiculturalism

Graduates of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling master’s online program have an in-depth understanding of a wide range of mental health issues that will be seen as a strong asset in a variety of professional arenas, such as:

  • Business
  • Education
  • Government
  • Nonprofit
  • Integrative healthcare

The Chicago School’s practitioner faculty help prepare students to apply to become licensed or certified professional counselors. Professional development plans are specific to the state or country in which the student plans to seek licensure or certification to become a professional counselor.

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

Mission
The mission of the Chicago School of Professional Psychology (TSCPP) Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) program is to provide a comprehensive and supportive learning environment that will facilitate professional and personal growth while producing competent, ethically sound, culturally sensitive, and skilled counselors who are committed to serving the community and society at large.
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. Each competency aligns itself with a Program Learning Outcome (SLO).
Eight Core CompetenciesProgram Learning Outcomes
Professional Counseling Orientation & Ethical PracticeFoundations
Social and Cultural DiversityDiversity & Advocacy
Human Growth and DevelopmentCounseling, Prevention, and Intervention
Career DevelopmentFoundations
Counseling and Helping RelationshipsFoundations
Group Counseling and Group WorkCounseling, Prevention and Intervention
Assessment and TestingDiagnosis, Assessment
Research and Program DevelopmentResearch and Evaluation
The Clinical Mental Health Counseling Experience at TSCPP-Online

CMHC Philosophy The Essential Threads appear in every aspect of the curricula experience in the MA in CMHC program. The Essential Threads reflect the four core functions of a professional counselor.

  • Professional Identity
  • Ethical Decision Making
  • Multicultural Competence
  • Practical Application

CMHC Core Belief Clients have the ability to heal from within in a safe (judgement free zone) therapeutic environment.

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, student ambassadors, and student service team members. Therefore, students within the MA in CMHC program are expected to: pursue excellence, communicate effectively, and build wholesome relationships with the CMHC support team and fellow peers.

Accreditation Status
The program is accredited by The Council of Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
Methods of Instruction
The CMHC program at the Online Campus is an accelerated graduate program with 60 credit hours. Students complete 1 – 3 courses per semester across two 8 week terms.   Students will need to invest approximately 21 hours each week per class. All but two of the courses are offered in a fully online format through Canvas. Two courses (CM 528 – Helping Relationships and Skill Development and CM 543 – Group Counseling) are hybrid courses, each containing a four-and-a-half-day residency.   The online and hybrid courses have seven modules and each week students complete a series of learning activities (such as readings, media, or small group activities) and assessments (such as discussions, exams, case studies, or presentations). Every course has a minimum of two synchronous live discussions. After successful completion of the CM 543 – Group Counseling, students may begin the fieldwork portion of their program, which includes Practicum, Internship 1, and Internship 2 and constitutes course work and a minimum of 700 hours of fieldwork experience (100 hours during practicum and 600 hours during internship). Students who wish to be licensed in states requiring 1,000 hours of fieldwork may complete Advanced Internship for the remaining 300 hours of fieldwork experience. Click here to review Required Core Courses for the CMHC Online program
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 pass a final comprehensive examination and capstone project 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.
Matriculation Requirements
Click here for Matriculation Requirements.
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 (Online 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 - Online Campus
Enrollment: 174 part-time students are currently enrolled in this program.
Graduates by Year:
2016-17: 10 Graduates
2017-18: 14 Graduates
2018-19: 9 Graduates (Fall only)
Completion Rate: The completion rate for this program is 75 percent.
Pass Rate on National Counselor Exam: The first time pass rate on the National Counselor Exam for 2017 was 90 percent.
Job Placement Rates:
For our first cohort who graduated in July 2017, eight of the nine students had part-time or full-time placements within two weeks after graduation. The remaining student is relocating and delaying employment until relocation is complete.
Annual Reports and Surveys
Residency is an exciting aspect of the CMHC-Online campus’ curriculum.  Below are several common questions we hear about residency.

How many residencies do I need to attend?
You will attend two mandatory 4.5 day residencies during your program.  The first residency occurs during CM 528 – Helping Relationships and Skills Development in Counseling typically between your fourth to sixth course.  The second residency occurs during CM 543 – Group Theories and Processes of Counseling typically between your tenth to twelfth course.

What is the difference between residency 1 and 2?
In your first residency, the focus will be on developing basic clinical counseling skills.  A significant portion of your time will be spent practicing basic individual counseling skills and implementing peer and instructor feedback.  The second residency continues to develop your basic counseling skills and begins developing your group counseling skills. During your second residency, you will have the opportunity to serve as a peer facilitator for Residency 1 students.

What can I expect at residency?
Each residency opens in the evening of the first day with a welcoming session and team building.  This is a critical component to helping students feel safe and open to taking the necessary risks to grow during the brief 4.5-day residency.  Each residency day begins with breakfast and a skills demonstration, followed by a series of skills development activities.  Some activities occur in lab groups of 12 – 15 students and others involve larger groups. One day of residency is dedicated to service learning and direct application of the basic attending skills practiced at residency.

What are students saying about the residency experience?
View this video to hear directly from two TCS CMHC-Online students about their first residency experience.

What expenses do I need to be prepared to pay related to residency?
Students are responsible for travel and lodging while at residency. Students will be responsible for meals while traveling, at least two dinners and one lunch during the residency. The CMHC-Online program will provide a schedule indicating what meals will be included at least two months prior to the event.  Students will be responsible for any personal incidentals and parking at the site.

Will I receive financial aid for residency?
Residency is a mandatory, residential lab embedded in CM 528 – Helping Relationships and Skills Development in Counseling and CM 543 – Group Theories and Processes of Counseling. Students need to budget their financial aid funds accordingly to ensure sufficient funds to pay for student expenses related to residency.

Where does residency occur?
The first two residencies were held at the Chicago campus of The Chicago School.  We are considering alternate locations for future residencies and locations and dates will be announced at least four (4) months before each event.

What if I cannot attend residency with my cohort?
If you are unable to attend your scheduled residency, you will also not be able to take the class in which the residential lab is embedded. You will need to work with your Department Chair and faculty advisor to determine an alternate program of study.  Missing a residency will impact your entire course sequence, slow your program progress, and may delay your graduation significantly.

Do I need to attend the whole residency?
Students must attend the residency in full.  Students who miss up to three hours of residency will need to complete make-up work that equals twice as much work as the time missed in session.  The make-up work will cover the material missed. The make-up work must be submitted and approved by the Director of Applied Professional Practice before the student’s grade may be posted for the course that is incomplete. The student will also need to submit an Impact Paper and meet with the Department Chair.  Students missing more than three (3) hours of residency will fail residency, will need to repeat the course, and will be liable for financial costs incurred (e.g., hotel, travel, etc.).

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, student ambassadors, and student service team members. Therefore, students within the MA in CMHC program are expected to: pursue excellence, communicate effectively, and build wholesome relationships with the CMHC support team and fellow peers.

Colleen Malone
Department Manager
[email protected]
312.488.6100

Andy Brown, Ed.D., LPC
Assistant Faculty
[email protected]
919.412.7990

Ami Crowley, EdD, LMHC, MCAP, LPC
Assistant Faculty
[email protected]
717.372.2633

Kristy Eldredge, EdD, LPC, ACS, NCC
Associate Professor, Curriculum Lead and Academic Plan Manager
[email protected]
720.284.2031

Susan Foster, PhD, LPC-S, NCC
Associate Professor
[email protected]
985.662.4270

Rodney Harris, PhD, LPC-S, DCC, BCC, ACS
Assistant Professor
[email protected]
919.961.7458

Denita Hudson, PhD, PC, NCC
Associate Professor, Student Organization Advisor
[email protected]
937.750.4463

Tiffany C. Rush-Wilson, PhD, LPCC-S, LP, CCC, BC-TMH, CEDS
Associate Professor, Associate Department Chair
[email protected]
312.488.6231 (Voicemail) 216.316.8265 (Cell)

Lori L. Soli, PhD, LPCC, ACS, DCC, NCC
Associate Professor, Director of Applied Professional Practice
[email protected]
858.952.9571

Catherine Stower, PhD, NCC, LMHC, LPC, ACS
Associate Professor, Accreditation Lead
[email protected]
703.899.3077

LoriAnn S. Stretch, PhD, LPC-S, NCC, ACS
Full Professor, Department Chair
[email protected]
312.619.1359

Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Online Student Experience

Through the convenience of The Chicago School’s online programs, your life remains intact. Our online Global Student Dashboard is where you will find all of the components to successfully complete your program. There, you’ll find your coursework and assignments, interact with fellow students, and are ask questions from your instructor.

Preview an online class

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Diagnosis of Mental Health Issues

This course addresses the general principles of etiology, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental and emotional disorders. Major definitions and descriptions of psychological phenomena as categorized and classified by the DSM diagnostic system are covered. This course includes models of mental status assessment as well as the application of how cultural factors influence mental health.

Group Theories and Processes of Counseling

This course provides the foundation for understanding theory, dynamics, principles and techniques of group therapy and counseling. Throughout the course students are exposed to various models for conducting therapeutic groups with diverse populations. Students are also involved in an experiential practice of group process throughout the course.

Assessment of Individuals

This course introduces the student to psychological evaluation and its role in the counseling relationship. It provides the student with a strong foundation in understanding and communicating clinical assessment data. The course will review basic concepts of standardized and non-standardized testing and other assessment techniques including norm-referenced and criterion-referenced assessment, environmental assessment, intellectual assessment, individual and group test and inventory methods, behavioral observations, and computer-managed and computer-assisted methods. Attention will be given to understanding strategies for selecting, administering, and interpreting assessment and evaluation instruments and techniques in counseling.

There are state professional licensure requirements to practice as a professional counselor.  A state’s licensure board determines the specific requirements for candidates seeking professional counseling licensure and those requirements are subject to change. The following is professional licensure information as of the date of publication:

  • The M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling program aligns with the degree and coursework requirements for professional counseling licensure in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
  • Applicants for licensure in the aforementioned locations may also be required to complete a minimum number of hours of post-master’s professional counseling experience within a specified time period, as well as other state-specific requirements.
  • The MA Clinical Mental Health Counseling program does not meet current state requirements for professional counseling licensure in California and Kansas.

The M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling program was not designed to meet professional counseling licensure standards outside of the United States of America.

It is the student’s responsibility to determine the licensure requirements for any state not listed above.  The M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling program may meet some or all of the requirements of states not listed, but additional state-specific approvals or coursework and/or practicum hours may be required beyond the program’s graduation requirements.  Some state licensing requirements include the following: completion of a master’s degree, post-graduate field work, examination, and application for license. Students should contact the specific state licensing board directly to verify information regarding professional licensure. A list of state board contact information is available via The American Counseling Association.

Students will work closely with the CMHC Director of Applied Professional Practice and their faculty adviser to identify a site for the direct service component of their program. During practicum, students will complete coursework and 100 hours of practicum experience practicing foundational counseling skills and gradually integrating more advanced skills. Once the practicum course is complete, students will begin internship, which entails course work, the National Counselor Exam, a capstone project, and at least 600 hours of clinical practice at an approved site.

Students in the online M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling program attend two mandatory, four-day residencies at the Chicago campus. The first on-ground residency occurs during the Helping Relationships and Skills course during the first year of the program. The second residency occurs during the Group Theories and Processes of Counseling course, during the second year in the program.

 

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 also submit the letters online via the applicant portal.

International Application Requirements

The Chicago School is dedicated to keep 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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