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M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

  • Washington, D.C.
  • Full-Time, Part-Time
  • 2.5 Years Full-Time, 5 Years Part-Time

Designed to prepare students to become licensed practitioners in the D.C. metro area, The Chicago School’s M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs (CACREP) and focuses on a strength-based approach to counseling as a mental health generalist for a wide range of clients, […]

Designed to prepare students to become licensed practitioners in the D.C. metro area, The Chicago School’s M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs (CACREP) and focuses on a strength-based approach to counseling as a mental health generalist for a wide range of clients, including children and adolescents, adults, and families and couples.

Advising is individual and each student is assigned a faculty member with whom to work during the program. Guided by well-known practitioner faculty leaders, Clinical Mental Health Counseling students will cover a wide range of topics with this general counseling program, including, but not limited to:

  • Counselor identity and ethical/professional issues
  • Addictions and substance abuse
  • Lifespan development
  • Psychopathology
  • Methods of research & program evaluation
  • Diversity & multiculturalism
  • Diagnosis
  • Families and couples counseling

Graduates from this program will qualify to sit for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor in the states of Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. As professional counselors, graduates have the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned in the following areas:

  • Mental health counseling in public and private community agencies
  • Nonprofit settings
  • Private practive
  • Education
  • Government
  • Integrative healthcare

 

M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Washington, D.C. Student Experience

Surrounded by much of the nation’s historical and cultural riches, students will have the opportunity to benefit from a location essential to much of the United States’ political, governmental, and multi-national affairs.

Expanding on the success of the Chicago, Los Angeles, and Orange County, Calif. campuses, the Washington, D.C. campus reflects The Chicago School’s commitment to diversity and effort to expand mental health services to multicultural and underserved communities.

 

Additional Information About the Washington, D.C. Campus’ Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program

Mission

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program at the Washington D.C. Campus of the Chicago School of Professional Psychology prepares professional counselors who work to empower economically, socially, and culturally diverse clients in agencies, community programs, and private practice.  Through rigorous and quality coursework and clinical experiences, graduates develop competencies that reflect the highest ethical and professional mental health counseling standards for enhancing the emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and relational well-being of individuals, couples, families, and groups across the lifespan. Program Objectives Graduates of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) program will:
    1. Establish an identity as professional counselors with a specialization in clinical mental health by attaining credentials and joining professional organizations relevant to the practice of clinical mental health counseling;
    2. Demonstrate general knowledge of and experience with assessment, diagnosis, and treatment modalities appropriate for a broad range of mental health service recipients and mental health service settings;
    3. Demonstrate cultural competence in counseling with individuals, groups, and families from diverse cultural backgrounds as well as the ability to advocate for equity and social justice in the promotion of mental health;
    4. Demonstrate the ability to apply ethical and legal considerations specifically related to the practice of clinical mental health counseling;
    5. Demonstrate the ability to use relevant research and data to inform the practice of clinical mental health counseling;
    6. Demonstrate the ability to advocate on behalf of clients, the community and the profession of counseling;
    7. Demonstrate understanding of the organizational structure and components of a comprehensive mental health agency and issues impacting clinical mental health settings, services and systems;
    8. Demonstrate the ability to collaborate and consult with the full spectrum of mental health professionals;
    9. Demonstrate knowledge of the principles of mental health, wellness, and human development including prevention, education, consultation, intervention, and advocacy;
    10. Demonstrate the professional dispositions and behaviors that are consistent with a commitment to quality mental health service delivery.
Students applying to the M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program must submit the following:
  • Interview with Program Director/Department Chair and/or designee
  • 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. Letters should arrive in a sealed envelope, signed across the seal.
  • Previous Coursework
Earned grade of C or better in Psychology Earned grade of C or better in Statistics or Research Methods
  • Optional:  Official GRE scores may be used to enhance your application
You must arrange for your official GRE scores to be sent to the school. Our school code is 1119. Students who have yet to take the GRE examination should contact them at GRE.org to register for an exam date. Students who have taken the test within the last five years should contact them at GRE.org, to have their scores forwarded directly to the school. Applicants for a master’s degree must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university (or the international equivalent) and give promise of meeting the standards set by the Chicago School and the program. Accreditation Status This program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Methods of Instruction The program is delivered in an on-grounds format at the Washington DC campus of The Chicago School. Classes are offered in technology-equipped classroom. In some instances classes may be offered in a hybrid format, with some face-to-face classroom meetings supplemented by on-line instruction. Students may complete the degree program on a full or part-time basis. Minimum Degree Requirements The program leading to the M.A. degree consists of a minimum of 60 semester hours. The program of study include a core of courses essential to all counselors, emphasis area courses in clinical mental health counseling, and field experiences. M.A. students must pass a final comprehensive examination. Field experiences include a 100-hour practicum and 600-hour (minimum) internship in which students practice the skills they have developed under the supervision of faculty. Matriculation Requirements Matriculation requirements may be found at: http://catalog.thechicagoschool.edu/content.php?catoid=67&navoid=4351#good-standing Financial Aid Information TUITION/FINANCIAL AID - Academic Year 2018/2019 Tuition: $1,164.00 per credit hour. 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 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, contact our Financial Aid office at 800.684.2890.

Q: What is the MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program?

A: The MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at The Chicago School’s Washington, DC campus is a 60 credit master’s degree program geared towards preparing students to become licensed professional counselor practitioners in the DC-metro area (DC, Virginia, and Maryland).

Q: Why is the DC campus offering the MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling?

A:  The MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at the DC Campus is adapted to regional academic and licensure trends for professional counselors, particularly in Maryland, DC, and Virginia, which are increasingly looking towards the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP) Core Standards as a model for the educational requirements for licensure as a professional counselor. For this reason, the MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is aligned with the CACREP Core Standards.

Q: What is CACREP?

A: CACREP stands for the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs. CACREP accredits masters’ and doctoral degree programs in counseling and its specialties. It is the nationally recognized accrediting body of the counseling profession.

Q: Is the MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program accredited by CACREP?

A: Yes, the MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program on the Washington, D.C. Campus is accredited by CACREP as of July 2018.

Q: Must all professional counseling programs seek CACREP accreditation?

A: No. CACREP program accreditation is a voluntary process, meaning an institution offering a masters’ degree in Counseling chooses whether or not to apply, and when to apply for CACREP accreditation.

Q: What is the difference between CACREP program accreditation and regional accreditation?

A: CACREP is a specialized/professional accreditor, meaning that CACREP accreditation only extends to specific masters’ graduate programs in clinical mental health counseling. The accredited status of one specific program does not extend to other programs in the same department or institution. Regional accreditation covers entire institutions. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (TCSPP) is accredited by the Western Association of Schools & Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), one of six regional accrediting bodies in the United States. Each is authorized to accredit institutions in specific states, divided by geographic region. CACREP-accredited masters’-level graduate programs must be housed in an institution that has regional accreditation; however, an institution may hold regional accreditation and not have any CACREP-accredited programs.

Q: What programs are eligible for CACREP program accreditation?

A: According to CACREP, master’s degree programs in clinical mental health counseling that have, at minimum, graduated at least one cohort of students are eligible to apply for CACREP accreditation.

Q: How does a professional counseling masters’ program prepare for CACREP accreditation?

A:  Each program applies separately by location. The process begins with the collection of data for a “self-study." A self-study is a process that is prepared by the program faculty and includes comprehensive information about the program stipulated by CACREP. This process can take many years and covers information such as:

  • Training goals, objectives and practices
  • Student, faculty and financial resources
  • Program policies and procedures
  • Competencies students are expected to obtain
Actual outcome data that demonstrates the achievement of these competencies.

Other data required are: incoming student GPAs, current student performance across the entire program, faculty credentials, student retention, coursework outcomes, practicum and internship placements and performance, and proper institutional resources to achieve training goals. The self-study process may also include input and review by consultants knowledgeable about the CACREP self-study and accreditation process.

Q: How long does the CACREP program accreditation process take upon submission of the self-study?

A:  According to CACREP's accreditation manual and guidance, a final determination as to whether to grant accreditation to an academic program can take up to 24 months from the time the self-study is submitted. The length of time depends on factors such as whether an addendum is required, how quickly a site visit can be arranged and the timing of the Board meetings.

The earliest that a program can submit its self-study to CACREP is after graduating its first cohort of students. Once the self-study is submitted, it undergoes an initial review from CACREP to ensure internal consistency and that all sections of the self-study are completed appropriately. The document is then forwarded to a committee for a full review and determination as to whether a site visit to the campus where the program is held will be granted. The committee may also ask questions for the program to answer prior to scheduling the program site visit.

If a site visit is granted, at the end of the visit there is an Exit Presentation where the team will summarize their findings. Within three weeks of the visit, the program will receive a copy of the Team Report. Upon receipt of the Team Report, the CACREP staff will send a transmittal letter and copy of the report to the institution’s president/CEO, along with copies of these documents to the Dean, Department Chair, and Program Liaison. The institution is allowed 30 days in which to respond to the relative accuracy of the team’s report. In rendering a final accreditation decision, the CACREP Board of Directors uses the following data: the application, Self-Study document, any addenda to the original Self-Study document, pertinent correspondence between the institution and the CACREP office, the Team Report, and the Institutional Response to the Team Report.

Q: Can CACREP program accreditation be denied?

A:  Yes, the CACREP Board of Directors denies accreditation when there is consensus among Board members that the program is not in substantial compliance with the standards.

Q: Is CACREP program accreditation guaranteed?

A: No. Accreditation of a graduate professional counseling program can never be guaranteed and there are no shortcuts. As outlined above, there is a rigorous accreditation process that must be followed.

Q: Is CACREP accreditation retroactive?

A: CACREP policy states that students in a program seeking accreditation shall be considered graduates of a CACREP-accredited program if they receive their degree within one (1) academic year prior to when accreditation is conferred, and if the program can verify that the student completed the CACREP program requirements.

Q: If the MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at one of TCSPP’s other campuses obtains CACREP accreditation, will that accreditation extend to the program at the DC Campus?

A: No, Accreditation by CACREP is not awarded to a school or campus, but rather a program. Each program presents its own self-study and is reviewed separately.

Licensure and Certification

Q: Does my MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Washington, DC meet the degree and coursework requirements for me to be eligible to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Washington, DC and Virginia and Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) in Maryland?

A. Yes. The MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Washington, DC meets the degree and coursework requirements to be eligible for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Washington, DC and Virginia. It also meets the degree and coursework requirements to be eligible for licensure as a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) in Maryland.

Q. Is there anything else I need to do after I graduate in order to obtain my license as an LPC in Washington, DC or Virginia or an LCPC in Maryland?

A. Yes. Each state requires the passage of the following exams:

  • Washington, DC: National Counselor’s Exam (NCE)
  • Virginia: National Clinical Mental Health Counselor’s Exam (NCMHCE)
  • Maryland: NCE + Maryland Law Test

Additional post-master’s supervised experience is required in order to be eligible for licensure in each of the above states. All candidates are also required to complete the application process, which may include fees and/or a background check.

Q. I have more questions about the LPC licenses in Washington DC and Virginia and the LCPC license in Maryland. Where can I get more information?

A. Additional information about licensure as an LPC (Washington, DC and Virginia) or LCPC (Maryland) can be found at the following web addresses:

Maryland Bd. of Professional Counselors: http://dhmh.maryland.gov/bopc/SitePages/Home.aspx

Q. What if I want to obtain a license as a counselor in a state outside of Washington, DC, Virginia, or Maryland?

A: Licensure laws and regulations vary across states. As discussed above, the MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Washington, DC is aligned with the degree and coursework requirements for licensure as an LPC in Washington, DC and Virginia, and as an LCPC in Maryland. Students who wish to obtain licensure in other jurisdictions should consult their local licensing board’s requirements.

For information about licensure requirements in other states and licensing board contact information, visit the American Counseling Association’s State Professional Counselor Licensure Boards webpage: http://www.counseling.org/knowledge-center/licensure-requirements/state-professional-counselor- licensure-boards

The information provided here is for information purposes only. It is highly recommended that you contact your state licensing board directly to ensure you have the most up to date information.

For further information regarding the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program, please contact Dr. Robtrice Brawner, Department Chair, at [email protected]

Current Enrollment: 50 full-time and part-time students are currently enrolled in this program. In December 2017, 14 students took the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE). All 14 students scored within one standard deviation or above the mean of the national CPCE scores.
Enrollment Spring 2018
Program Name Total Students Average Credit Hours Total Credit Hours
M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling 50 6.9 345
Demographics
Gender Spring 2018
Male 8
Female 42
Race/Ethnicity
International 0
Latino(a)/ Hispanic 4
American Indian or Alaska Native 0
Asian 2
Black or African American 30
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 0
White 13
Two or More Races 1
Graduates for Current Year: In the last year, the CMHC-Washington DC Campus graduated 26 students
For further information regarding the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program, please contact Dr. Susan Branco, Department Chair, at [email protected]

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, and graduate assistants.
Susan Branco, PhD, LPC (VA), LCPC-S (MD), NCC, ACS
Assistant Professor, Department Chair
[email protected]

Robtrice Brawner, PhD, LCPC
Assistant Professor
[email protected] 

Janelle Bettis, EdD, LCPC-S, NCC, ACS
Assistant Professor
[email protected]

Lauren Friedman
Program Manager
[email protected]

Courtland Lee, PhD, LPC
Professor
[email protected]

Vanessa Patton-Scott, EdD, LCPC
Assistant Professor, Director of Clinical Training
[email protected]

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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, sociopolitical, 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. 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, coursework, and supervised experience requirements for eligibility to be a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Washington D.C. and Virginia, and to be a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) in Maryland. Candidates for licensure must pass the required national examination (National Counselor’s Exam or National Clinical Mental Health Counselor’s Exam) and any required state-specific counseling examination. Additional post-master’s supervised experience is required in order to qualify for licensure in each of the above jurisdictions. All candidates are also required to complete the application process, which may include fees and/or a background check.

For further information about licensure in Washington D.C., please visit the Department of Health.

For further information about licensure in Virginia, please visit the Virginia Board of Counseling.

For further information about license in Maryland, please visit the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Licensure and Certification FAQ

Typically, students complete their practicum and internship at the same site. During the fourteen-week practicum course, students complete a supervised practicum experience at an approved site with an approved clinical supervisor for a minimum of 100 hours. The practicum course is comprised of the on-site clinical counseling supervised experience, and students must participate in group supervision, which meets weekly throughout the entirety of the semester, as well as coursework. Students will practice foundational counseling skills and, over time, integrate more advanced skills through practice in classes, supervised recorded sessions, and direct service at their sites. Moreover, the practicum experience often focuses on the personal qualities needed to develop genuine and effective counseling relationships with a wide range of clientele. As such, students learn self-assessment skills as well as how to understand clients’ worldviews.

After successfully completing the practicum course, students will enroll in Internship I. During the fourteen-week Internship I course, students complete the next level of supervised internship experience at an approved site with an approved clinical supervisor, for a minimum of 300 hours, to further develop their individual and group counseling skills. The Internship I course is comprised of the on-site clinical counseling supervised experience, and students must participate in site and group supervision, which meets weekly throughout the semester, as well as coursework.

Following successful completion of Internship I, students will enroll in Internship II. During the fourteen-week Internship II course, students complete a more advanced level of supervised Internship experience at an approved site with an approved clinical supervisor, for a minimum of 300 hours, to further develop their individual and group counseling skills. The Internship II course is comprised of the on-site clinical counseling supervised experience, and students must participate in site and group supervision, which meets weekly throughout the semester, as well as coursework. The internship is intended to reflect the comprehensive work experience of a clinical mental health counselor, and students will participate in the full range of roles and responsibilities available at their sites.

Note the practicum and internship experiences are conducted under the direction of a qualified on-site supervisor, and the minimum total number of hours accrued is 700 (i.e. 100 practicum hours + 300 Internship I hours + 300 Internship II hours = 700 total hours). An advanced internship course is available to students needing a full year of fieldwork or 900 hours of internship to complete the necessary course work for counseling licensure in certain states.

Transfer of credit for the practicum/internship is not granted and practicum/internship requirements are never waived.  Further details regarding practicum and internship are found in the Practicum/Internship Manual available from the CMHC Director of Applied Professional Practice.

Send materials to:

Admissions Operations
c/o The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
350 N Orleans ST STE 1050
Chicago, IL 60654-1822

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.
  • Optional:  Official GRE scores may be used to enhance your application
    • You must arrange for your official GRE scores to be sent to the school. Our school code is 1119.
    • Students who have yet to take the GRE examination should contact them at GRE.org to register for an exam date.
    • Students who have taken the test within the last five years should contact them at GRE.org, to have their scores forwarded directly to the school.

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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