Clinical Mental Health Counseling MA
The Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree in the Graduate School of Counseling & Psychology prepares students to be compassionate, skilled, and knowledgeable professional counselors by drawing on the insights of the world wisdom traditions, experiential self-reflection, and contemporary empirical findings in order to work inclusively with diverse populations.
In recognition of not only the diverse nature of individuals, but also the diverse approaches and routes to health and healing, there are six areas of concentration within Clinical Mental Health Counseling, providing students the opportunity to deepen their practice as a helping professional. The Clinical Mental Health Counseling concentrations available are:
- Contemplative Psychotherapy & Buddhist Psychology
- Somatic: Body Psychotherapy
- Somatic: Dance/Movement Therapy
- Mindfulness-Based Transpersonal Counseling
- Transpersonal Art Therapy
- Transpersonal Wilderness Therapy
Each concentration has its own admissions process and requires completion of concentration-specific course work. However, all six areas share a commitment to contemplative education and excellence in clinical mental health counseling training.
All second-year students are required to complete a Counseling Practicum, which provides for the continued development of counseling skills through fieldwork at a community agency with on-site consultation and supervision. Counseling Practicum course work provides a supportive and instructional forum for students’ initial experiences working with clients in community settings. Students also become familiar with ethical guidelines relating to the counseling profession. Within a supportive classroom environment, students discuss professional and personal issues as they relate to their development as beginning counselors. Topics include discussion of client populations served, client transference and therapist countertransference, case presentation, agency structure and organization, and community resources.
Over the course of their third-year, all students complete a 700-hour clinical field placement. Students have the opportunity to experience work in an area of specialization, such as child and family therapy, crisis intervention, out-patient or in-patient care, or alcohol and drug abuse counseling. On-site supervision and classroom seminars provide support and opportunities for self-examination. Please be aware that students with a criminal background may find that some agencies require additional information prior to acceptance for clinical placement, and may have fewer site choices for placement.
Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Exam
All GSCP students, regardless of concentration, are required to take the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Exam (CPCE) in the fall of their third year. This exam is designed as a "practice" experience for state board licensing exams, and will help the student to identify areas of strength and challenge in their theoretical knowledge before taking any LPC or NBCC state licensing exam. The current expense is $50 and is paid by the student directly to the Center for Credentialing & Education. Proof of taking the exam is needed to pass fall internship course work.
Program Support & Student Success
Students are evaluated on an ongoing basis to assess their readiness for practicum, internship, and progression in the overall program. Criteria for such evaluation include grades as well as how a student interacts with peers, faculty, and administration, and how a student handles ongoing situations and feedback during the program. Over the course of a student's journey, the student and/or the program faculty may find that the student is not able to meet or sustain the level of clinical skill, personal development, or professionalism that the program or the field of clinical mental health counseling requires. Based on these assessments, the school may deny a student permission to continue in the program.
Professional Counselor Licensure
Learners are strongly encouraged to carefully research the educational requirements for the intended licensure or certification in the state(s) or country where they intend to seek licensure or certification. Clinical Mental Health Counseling students can obtain support with these processes from the GSCP Credentialing Coordinator, who is also available to assist alumni post-graduation. Further information and resources can be found on the GSCP Licensure, Accreditation & Professional Development pages.
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