The M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling program consists of 60 credit hours of course work and supervised clinical training experiences. Students learn to promote mental wellness, prevention, and resilience in individuals and communities.
Students in the M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling program gain experience and training in general counseling competencies including ethics, research, program evaluation, diagnosis, theories, career development, assessment, and counseling interventions. Students receive specialized training that focuses on community, prevention, and early intervention in community settings.
Students are prepared in the requisite knowledge, skills, multicultural competence, and self-awareness required of professional counselors.
While not currently accredited by The Council of Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), the program is aligned with the CACREP Standards as core learning outcomes. The program also incorporates the eight content areas outlined by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) to prepare those students seeking professional counselor licensure and desiring to begin professional practice at the master’s level.
Acknowledged for its commitment to diversity, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology recognizes that service to a diverse community plays a vital role in mental health services. Through its programs, the Counselor Education Department embraces this commitment through the integration of multicultural education and diversity across its curriculum; successful students demonstrate an appreciation for and competency in this area. Likewise, the faculty reflects experience in graduate level teaching and counseling practice with diverse clinical populations. This program seeks to serve a diverse student body.
The M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is dedicated to preparing students to become professional counselors for clinical mental health practice in a wide range of settings. The program focuses on students developing a professional identity as a practitioner-scholar; an awareness of diversity and advocacy; and strong helping relationship, diagnosis, and assessment skills. The core belief of the counseling program is that clients have the ability to heal from within a therapeutic environment.
Program Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this program students will be able to:
- Demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and practices of culturally appropriate diagnosis, treatment, referral, and prevention of mental and emotional disorders.
- Demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and practices of culturally appropriate and holistic clinical evaluation and assessment of normalcy and psychopathology.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
The M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling program aligns with degree and coursework requirements to be eligible for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Illinois. Candidates for licensure must pass the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE). All candidates are also required to complete the application process, which may include fees and/or a background check. For further information about licensure, please visit the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
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. Applicants will be judged on their overall ability to do graduate work. Factors that are considered in admission include GPA from undergraduate schools. Generally, an undergraduate GPA of a 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale is required for admission. Applicants must submit official transcripts from all schools where a degree was earned. It is recommended that transcripts are submitted from all schools where credit was received to enhance their applications. Additional factors that are considering in admission include the following:
- 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?
- Three Letters of Recommendation
- Admissions Interview
- Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited university
Each applicant is reviewed holistically, taking factors such as personal and professional experience and accomplishments into consideration. Applicants are encouraged to contact the Office of Admissions to discuss their unique qualifications.
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology reviews applications on a rolling basis. Once review begins, complete applications will be considered by the Admission Committee and applicants will be notified regarding the admission decision. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology does not share information or provide any feedback regarding admission decisions.
If a student is offered admission and in order to secure a place in the incoming class, a non-refundable tuition deposit of $250 will be required by the deposit deadline indicated in the offer of admission. The non-refundable deposit will be applied in full toward the student’s tuition upon enrollment.
Degree Completion Requirements
- Successful completion of 60 credit hours of coursework
- Successful completion of supervised practicum experience at an approved site with an approved clinical supervisor for a minimum of 100 hours.
- Successful completion of supervised internship experience at an approved site with an approved clinical supervisor, for a minimum of 600 hours.
The following policies are located under Academic Policies and Procedures : Academic Calendar, Admissions Requirements, Attendance, Satisfactory Academic Progress, Service Learning, and Transfer Credit/Course Waiver. Click the link above for detailed information.
Students are expected to develop a working knowledge of the ethical and legal issues pertaining to, but not limited to, American Counseling Association’s Code of Ethics (2014); relevant federal, state, and local laws, statutes, regulations, and legal precedents (e.g., the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures, 1978) as well as the professional norms, standards, and guidelines relevant to the profession.
Practicum and Internship
Practicum and internship, sometimes referred to as field training or applied professional practice experiences, provides for the application of theory and the development of counseling skills under supervision. These experiences offer opportunities for students to counsel and provide other professional services to diverse clientele in their communities. Each student is responsible for identifying potential practicum/internship sites according to program criteria described in the Practicum/Internship Manual. Students are encouraged first to assess their counseling and professional interests, training needs, and goals (e.g., populations, settings, clinical presentations, and professional activities of interest). Then, students will tap into their existing personal and professional networks to learn of sites that provide clinical mental health counseling services. In addition, they may: conduct internet searches; consult the websites of local, state and national professional organizations; network with other human services organizations in their communities; and/or talk with the CMHC Director of Applied Professional Practice to brainstorm additional routes to site development.
Typically, students complete their practicum and internship at the same site. During the 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 field work 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.