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

Counseling (MA)

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Program Directors:
Nori Efremovski, M.A. (Mental Health Counseling)
Maureen Stewart, Ed.D. (School Counseling)

Program Description

The graduate counseling degree program at VTSU-Johnson, Counseling (MA), offers progressive study in the field of counseling with concentrations in either Clinical Mental Counseling and/or School Counseling. The degree program’s mission is to prepare professional counselors to work in mental health, community, and educational settings, to promote individual and community wellness, resilience, recovery, and education. The program is designed to be highly accessible to working adults, encouraging a diverse group of students, including individuals working in the field. Graduates demonstrate a strong grounding in the knowledge and skills of the counseling profession. Throughout the academic program, the focus areas include person-centered and strength-based methods; culturally competent practices in a diverse society; integrated, evidence-based approaches in educational and clinical mental health settings. The program reinforces a commitment to leadership, systemic change, and advocacy within the profession, the community, and the larger society.

The program combines face-to-face instruction and distance-learning activities geared to adult learners. Course delivery modalities for this degree program are determined by the instructor and range from hybrid courses to in-person, evening during the fall, spring, and summer semesters based out of the Johnson campus and intensive, in-person seminars on or off campus. The program emphasizes clinical and leadership skills in school counseling, community based behavioral health, and other social service settings. Faculty are scholar-practitioners who bring national and local expertise in school counseling, mental health counseling, integrated service delivery, research, and administration to the program. The program prepares students to pursue licensure as clinical mental health counselors or school counselors. The clinical mental health counseling concentration also includes much of the content required for licensure as a substance use counselor. 

The MA Counseling: Clinical Mental Health concentration prepares clinical mental health counselors to work in private and community practice settings, and integrates substantive content on substance use counseling. It includes 700 hours of practicum and internship experience. A supervised practicum, internship, or field experience requires a student to complete not less than a full academic year of at least 700 clocked hours in a mental health counseling setting that meets the definition of a “clinical mental health counseling” setting as set forth in 26 V.S.A. § 3261(2). The internship provides an opportunity for the student to perform all the activities that a regularly employed clinical mental health or substance use disorders counselor would be expected to perform. The Clinical Mental Health concentration is aligned with the American Counseling Association (ACA), as well as the Vermont Mental Health Counselor Association (VTMHCA).

The MA Counseling: School Counseling concentration prepares professional school counselors to work in K-12 schools and other educational settings, in order to promote individual and family wellness, aligned with the American School Counseling Association (ASCA) and the Vermont School Counselor Association (VTSCA). This program is designed to be highly accessible to working adults, in order to encourage a diverse group of students, including people currently working in the field. Graduates demonstrate a strong grounding in the knowledge and skills of the school counseling profession.

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 K12 school 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, ASCA 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

Mental Health Counseling Concentration (MA.CSL.CMH)

School Counseling Concentration (MA.CSL.SCL)

Credits required for program: 60

Approval Body

NECHE: Higher Education Approval; LCMHC licensing board, MOU with Vermont Allied Mental Health Board, also meets most LADC/ Substance Use Counseling Standards in VT.

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