2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
    Apr 16, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Clinical Mental Health Counseling (MS)

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Program Directors:
Annamarie Cioffari, Ph.D.
Michelle Rauch, M.S.

Program Description

The Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling offers a state-of-the-art graduate program in clinical mental health counseling (PCMH), in a Weekend Format (One-Weekend-A-Month, offered either In Person or Via Zoom, as scheduled by the program), on location at regional sites: Williston, VT; Milwaukee and Wausau, WI; Manchester, NH; Brunswick, ME and Anchorage, AK.  

Mission. The program’s mission is to prepare clinical mental health/professional counselors to work in community and private practice settings, in order to promote individual and community wellness, resilience and recovery. The program’s weekend format and cohort model are designed to be highly accessible to working adults and to encourage a diverse group of students, including people currently working in the field, people in recovery and family members, as well as the general public. Through the cohort model, students develop a strong learning community, during the graduate program and beyond, as lifelong learners and leaders in clinical practice, policy and administration. 

Curriculum. The program’s focus is on clinical mental health counseling, with a unique integrated approach to mental health and substance use counseling. Graduates demonstrate a strong grounding in the knowledge and skills of the counseling profession, as well as in: person-centered and strength-based approaches; culturally competent practice in a multicultural and diverse society; evidence-based and promising practices, and a commitment to leadership, systems change and advocacy within the profession, the community, and the larger society. 

Faculty are scholar/practitioners who bring national and local expertise in clinical mental health and substance use counseling, integrated service delivery, research and administration to the program.  

Degree Requirements, Specializations and Licensure. The M.S. in Clinical Mental Health counseling requires 63 to 66 credits, including 700 or 1,000 hours of practicum and internship, dependent on state licensure requirements. Within the M.S., which addresses counseling across the lifespan, students also complete a specialization in integrated mental health and substance use counseling for children, youth, and families or for adults. Students also complete a Master’s Project as a culminating learning experience on a topic of their choice, toward the end of the course sequence.  

The curriculum has been designed, in the states in which it is offered, to meet the educational requirements for licensure as a clinical mental health/professional counselor. The program also works with state substance use counseling certification/licensure boards to cover much of the required educational content. Licensure is not guaranteed, as requirements may change and licensure also requires graduates to pass national and state exams and complete post-master’s supervised practice. 

Delivery Format. Courses are offered one weekend a month, on location in regional sites, across the calendar year. Most courses run for 2 months, with two intensive class weekends (8:30-5:30, Saturday & Sunday) and independent work in the Canvas/LMS before, after and in between class weekends. Students typically take one course at a time, and two courses per Term (with occasional overlap in the summer term and overlap with field placements & Masters Project). The year-round program has 3 Terms: Fall, Winter/Spring and Summer Term. Students are provided a Schedule for the program at the time they begin. Students are notified re: which class weekends are required In Person, and which will run synchronously online.

Program Outcomes

  1. Knowledge: Use academic study to develop content area knowledge in the common core areas in counselor education, as well as for specializations in clinical mental health and substance use disorder counseling.  

This includes: counseling and helping relationships; history of and orientation to the counseling profession; ethical practice; social and cultural diversity; human growth and development; group counseling; diagnosis, assessment and testing, and research and program evaluation. 

  1. Counselor Disposition: Demonstrate, in the classroom and in field placements, growth towards a counselor disposition grounded in a strengths-based, person-centered, wellness and recovery-oriented and ethical approach. 

This includes: empathy, respect, genuineness, acceptance, openness, and professional behavior. 

  1. Counseling Skills & Practice: Demonstrate, in the classroom and in field placements professional counseling practice, grounded in culturally relevant, evidence-based and promising approaches. 

This includes: foundational counseling skills, teaming and collaboration, and state-of-the-art interventions in integrated mental health, health and SUD counseling. (Evidence-based and promising approaches includes an understanding of the value of peer-run services and community-involvement and inclusion.) 

  1. Ethics: Develop a personal code of ethics, grounded in the ACA, AMHCA and NAADAC codes, which reflects an understanding of diverse world views, cultural competence, health equity and ethical practice. 

This includes: self-awareness, personal growth, self-care, supervision and ethics related to clinical practice, research and academic honesty. 

  1. Leadership & Systems Change: Demonstrate ability to critically analyze information for purposes of program evaluation, advocacy, consultation, systems change and personal and organizational leadership. 

Information includes: the research literature, data collected to evaluate personal practice  and programs, first person-accounts and client satisfaction

Credits required for program: 63-66

Approval Body

LCMHC/LPC State licensing boards: MOU w/Vermont Allied Mental Health Board and preapproved by WI DSPS

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