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.
The M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is based upon the standards developed by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). 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 psychology. Through its programs, the Counseling 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.
Program Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this program students will be able to:
- Diversity and Advocacy: 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.
- Foundations: 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.
- Counseling, Prevention, and Intervention: demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and practices of culturally appropriate diagnosis, treatment, referral, and prevention of mental and emotional disorders.
- Assessment: demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and practices of culturally appropriate and holistic clinical evaluation and assessment of normalcy and psychopathology.
- Diagnosis: 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.
- Research and Evaluation: 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.
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
- Undergraduate coursework with a grade earned of “C” or better
- Statistics or Research Methods
- 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.
TOEFL or IELTS, International Credentials, and International Students
TOEFL or IELTS: If English is not your primary language, you must submit official TOEFL or IELTS scores with your application (TOEFL School Code: 7161). International students who received a bachelor’s degree from an accredited United States institution are exempt from this requirement. The minimum scores are: TOEFL - 550 paper based, 79 internet based; IELTS - 6.5.
ELS Educational Services, Inc.: The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is a cooperative member of ELS Educational Services, Inc. which provides intensive English language programs. Students who have successfully completed ELS course 112 may be considered for admission in lieu of the TOEFL or IELTS.
International credentials: Applicants with international credentials must obtain and submit an official “course-by-course” evaluation through an evaluation agency such as World Education Services (www.wes.org) or Educational Credential Evaluators Inc(www.ece.org). In addition to the agency evaluation, all official graduate and undergraduate transcripts must be submitted.
International students: International students must submit a completed application by the general consideration deadline. In addition, once accepted, international students must submit the International Student Information form, a copy of their passport, and financial documentation showing sufficient funding for at least one year of study and all living expenses. This documentation must be submitted at least two months prior to the start of the semester in order to allow sufficient time for the school to issue an I-20 for the student to obtain an F-1 visa, if needed. An I-20 visa will not be issued without this documentation.
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, 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.
The following policies are located under Academic Policies and Procedures : Transfer of Credit, Waiver of Courses, Satisfactory Academic Progress, Grading Scale, Grade Change Requests, Degree Completion, Degree Conferral, Minimum and Maximum Timeframe requirements, and Credit Hours per semester for Financial Aid. Information on the Academic Success Program is located under Student Life .
Academic Development Plans
An Academic Development Plan (ADP) is initiated and created by the program in which the student is enrolled. When a student demonstrates deficiencies in competencies that interfere with academic performance, training competence, and/or professional behavior, the ADP is initiated. The completion of an ADP does not constitute disciplinary action, but failure to complete the plan may lead to disciplinary action.
Student Learning Assessment
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (TCSPP) is committed to offering the highest quality undergraduate completion program and graduate programs in applied professional disciplines. To meet TCSPP’s standard for academic quality, program learning outcomes are aligned with course learning outcomes and guide assessment. Data collected from the results of student assessment and the aggregation of these data will inform how students are progressing towards achieving program outcomes.
All academic programs report annual assessments of student learning and other indicators of program effectiveness as part of the Academic Program Review process.
The M.A. Clinical Mental Health 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 in a therapeutic environment.
Ethics and Professional Behavior
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.
Each state’s counseling licensure board determines the specific requirements for candidates seeking professional counseling licensure and those requirements are subject to change.
As of July 1, 2014, the MA Clinical Mental Health Counseling online degree program currently meets or exceeds the academic requirements to seek licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the following states: Alabama (AL), Alaska (AK), Arkansas (AR), Arizona (AZ), Colorado (CO), Connecticut (CT), Delaware (DE), Florida (FL), Georgia (GA), Hawaii (HI), Idaho (ID), Indiana (IN), Kentucky (KY), Louisiana (LA), Maine (ME), Maryland (MD), Massachusetts (MA), Michigan (MI), Minnesota (MN), Mississippi (MS), Montana (MT), Nebraska (NE), Nevada (NV), New Jersey (NJ), New Mexico (NM), New York (NY), North Carolina (NC), Ohio (OH), Oklahoma (OK), Oregon (OR), Pennsylvania (PA), Rhode Island (RI), South Carolina (SC), South Dakota (SD), Tennessee (TN), Texas (TX), Utah (UT), Vermont (VT), Virginia (VA), Washington (WA), West Virginia (WV), Wisconsin (WI), and Wyoming (WY). Note that applicants for licensure as an LPC in the aforementioned locations may also be required to complete a minimum number of hours of post-master’s professional counseling experience within a specified time period, as well as other state-specific requirements.
As a fully online degree program, the MA Clinical Mental Health Counseling program does not meet current state requirements for professional counseling licensure in the following states: Illinois (IL), Iowa (IA), Kansas (KS), Missouri (MO), North Dakota (ND) and New Hampshire (NH). In addition, the M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling online degree program is under review in the following states and cannot be offered at this time to students in Alabama (AL), the District of Columbia, Maryland (MD), Minnesota (MN), and Wisconsin (WI).
he M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is not currently on the California Bureau of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) list of approved online programs. California residents, who obtain online degrees, while residing in California, must meet the same requirements that California residents must meet. This means that they cannot add California-specific content or other areas of instruction post-degree. As this degree is not on the BBS list of approved programs, it is not likely that the degree will be acceptable for licensure in California for California residents at this time.
The M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling program was not designed to meet professional counseling licensure standards outside of the United States of America.
The M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, designed to be a pre-licensure preparation program of study, may meet some or all of the requirements for the remaining states not listed above, but additional state-specific approvals or coursework and/or practicum hours may be required beyond the program’s graduation requirements. Licensing requirements include the following for most states: Completion of a master’s degree, post-graduate field work, examination and application for license. It is the student’s responsibility to determine the licensure requirements for any state not listed above. A directory of state licensure boards is located here.
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. It is each student’s responsibility to identify potential practicum/internship sites according to program criteria described in this 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 Clinical Coordinator to brainstorm additional routes to site development.
Typically, students complete their practicum and internship at the same site. The first 100 hours of this experience is called practicum. During this time, students gain skills and knowledge of the counseling experience. 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 accruing the 100 practicum hours, students begin their internship training. During the post-practicum 600+ hour internship, students integrate the skills and knowledge they have learned and developed throughout their academic preparation and practicum. 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 + 600 internship 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.
Students in the online M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling program attend two, four-day residencies at the Chicago campus. The first on ground residency occurs during the Helping Relationships and Skills course during year one in the program. The second residency occurs during the Group Theories and Processes of Counseling course, during the second year in the program.