Clinical Mental Health Counseling MS
The program of study leading to the Master of Science (MS) degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is designed to prepare persons to function as Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHC) in healthcare, residential, private practice, community agency, governmental, forensic settings, and social service agencies.
- Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (MS)
- Clinical Mental Health Counseling Licensure track (non-degree option)
The Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is aligned with standards set forth by the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC) and by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
The mission of the University of Saint Francis graduate programs in Psychology and Counseling is to prepare culturally competent professionals who utilize evidence-based practices through a lifespan approach to work with diverse client populations. Our programs emphasize strength-based helping strategies and community outreach with a specialized focus on social justice in the Franciscan tradition.
Student Learning Outcomes
To successfully complete the Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, students will:
- Establish an identity as a counselor who is able to apply ethical principles, Franciscan values, and professional standards into professional practice.
- Demonstrate practical skills for intervention and prevention when working with individual, group, and career counseling through evidence-based theories and practices.
- Demonstrate knowledge, self-awareness, and skills when working with individuals and groups with diverse cultural backgrounds.
- Understand and apply concepts of normal and abnormal behavior to case formulation, diagnosis, and treatment planning across the lifespan.
- Incorporate knowledge of assessment measures including the selection, administration, interpretation, and application to appropriate setting with regard to strengths, limitations, and individual characteristics.
- Demonstrate application of scientific methods to evaluate professional sources, clinical practices, interventions, and programs.
- Apply knowledge of biological, developmental, social, organizational, environmental bases of behavior.
- Understand the use of and respond appropriately to supervision by engaging in reflective practices and self-care strategies.
- Demonstrate specialized skills for intervention and prevention when working with children, adolescents, families, and clients with substance abuse through evidence-based theories and practices.
The Clinical Mental Health Counseling program meets the educational requirements for the Indiana Behavioral Health and Human Services Licensing Board to apply for licensure as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor Associate and a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. It should be noted that the board requires additional supervised employment hours and passing competency tests for licensure as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. For additional information regarding the scope of practice for mental health counseling, see the Indiana Administrative Code under the Behavioral Health and Human Services licensing board.
Students interested in obtaining a license in another state as a mental health counselor are required to contact the licensing board in that state to determine state regulations as licensure requirements vary by state.
The Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program requires 60 credit hours:
- 48 hours in major courses
- 12 hours in field work
Program of Studies
- Major Courses (39 credit hours): PSYC 501, PSYC 502, PSYC 518, PSYC 522, PSYC 525, PSYC 528, PSYC 530, PSYC 542, PSYC 544, PSYC 545, PSYC 548, PSYC 570,PSYC 600, PSYC 573, PSYC 576, PSYC 578
- Fieldwork Courses (12 credit hours): PSYC 580, PSYC 582, PSYC 591
Mental Health Counseling Clinical Instruction
Clinical instruction includes supervised Practicum (100 hours), Internship (600 hours), and Advanced Internship (300 hours) completed within a student’s program of study. Well-planned clinical instruction is vital to subsequent effective professional practice and is taken at the end of a student’s course of study. Given the extensive time requirements for clinical work, students should consider from the outset of their program how, when, and where they will meet these clinical requirements.
The following information will assist students in planning their clinical experiences:
- Students must meet with the Director, Clinical Mental Health Counseling program six (6) months prior to registering for clinical coursework to plan the type of experience, agency, and location most appropriate for each individual student’s clinical training needs. No “last-minute” arrangements will be accommodated.
- All counseling agencies serving as training sites must be pre-approved by the Director, Clinical Mental Health Counseling program.
- Students must have on file proof of student-counselor liability insurance ($1 million each incident/ $3 million annual aggregate limits) and a signed contract before registration for Practicum, Internship, and/or Advanced Internship will be allowed.
- It is strongly suggested that students maintain adequate medical insurance during their clinical instruction.
- A student’s personal employment is not customarily considered appropriate to serve as a student-structured, focused learning clinical experience.
PSYC 580 – Practicum is a fifteen (15) week, one (1) semester course. Practicum students complete a minimum of 100 hours of clinical work during the semester, including a minimum of 40 hours of face-to-face client contact (1/4 of these face-to-face hours are to be spent conducting group therapy). Practicum usually requires working approximately 8-10 hours per week at the agency. One and a half (1.5) hours of on-campus group supervision and one (1) hour of individual face-to-face supervision are also required each week. A grade of “Pass” must be achieved before proceeding to internship.
PSYC 582 – Internship includes 600 hours of clinical work where 240 hours involve providing face-to-face client service. There are two options for completing the requirements for PSYC 582 – Internship:
- One Semester Option: 15 weeks, 600 agency hours minimum including 240 hours of face-to-face client service. Requires forty (40) hours full-time work for 15 weeks, and 2 hours of individual face-to-face supervision per week in addition to 1.5 hours of on-campus group supervision.
- Two Semester Option: 30 weeks, 300 agency hours minimum including 120 hours of face-to-face client service during each of the two semesters. Requires approximately 20 hours per week for 30 weeks, and 1 hour of individual face-to-face supervision per week in addition to 1.5 hours of on-campus group supervision over the course of the two semesters.
PSYC 591 – Advanced Internship is a fifteen (15) week, one (1) semester course. Advanced Internship students complete a minimum of 300 hours of clinical work during the semester, including a minimum of 120 hours of face-to-face client service. Advanced Internship requires working approximately 20 hours per week at the agency. One and a half (1.5) hours of on-campus group supervision and one (1) hour of individual face-to-face supervision are also required each week.
Note: Since the purpose of Practicum, Internship, and Advanced Internship is to give students as broad an exposure to clinical treatment areas as possible, fulfilling the scope of practice for Licensed Mental Health Counselors as defined in Indiana code, selection of appropriate sites will be made in careful consultation with the Director, Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. Site selection will be based on educational need rather than convenience, and students can anticipate over the course of their clinical instruction potentially working at more than one site.
Clinical Mental Health Counselor Licensure Track
Students with a master’s degree in psychology or counseling may apply for the Clinical Mental Health Counseling License track (non-degree option). A transcript evaluation will be conducted to identify courses that may be required as determined by the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program Director and as outlined by the Behavioral Health and Human Services Licensing Board in Indiana.
Application to the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program and applicant selection will be based on the following criteria (list is not prioritized):
- Submit three letters of recommendation and where appropriate one from a former college professor and one from an employer or supervisor who has observed the applicant in a professional setting.
- Submit a concise, typed, two-page statement of professional goals, including why he/she wishes to seek a degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, consistent with the purpose and focus of the program. One could also include specific training objective and long-term career goals following graduation.
- Demonstration of proficiency regarding academic performance. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA in undergraduate coursework, as recorded on official transcripts.
- Undergraduate coursework should include a minimum of 9 hours of coursework in Psychology. Preferred courses would include introduction to psychology, lifespan development, and abnormal psychology (may be augmented by coursework in closely related fields or may reflect life experience).
- Indication of sufficient emotional maturity and stability to complete the rigors of graduate study as well as maintain ethical practice regarding counselee welfare. This includes, but is not limited to, openness and introspective ability regarding how applicant’s own issues impact his/her work as a counseling professional.
- Presentation of willingness to develop a non-judgmental attitude and awareness of need to refer counselees who are outside the applicant’s range of competence.
- Candidates will have an interview with the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program Director and/or Psychology and Counseling Admissions Committee.
The Office of Admissions will inform the applicant in writing of the decision of the Psychology and Counseling Admissions Committee. This decision may take one of these four forms:
- Accept: Registration for courses will be permitted and applicant will contact the Director of Clinical Mental Health Counseling for an advising appointment.
- Deny: Applicant has been denied at this time.
- Provisional: Out of commitment to see the applicant succeed and because certain areas of perceived deficiency exist, the applicant is provisionally accepted. These provisions may include additional coursework, assignments or restrictions being successfully met before full admission is granted. The applicant will meet with the Director, Clinical Mental Health Counseling for advisement and to contract any provisions. All provisos are made in consultation with the Department Chair.
- Conditional: Candidate’s full acceptance is contingent on submission of all admission requirements.
Applicants have one year (12 months) from the date of notification of acceptance or provisional acceptance to register for classes; failure to do so invalidates admission and the applicant must re-apply without guarantee of acceptance.