The Department of Counselor Education offers a 60 credit hour program (20 courses) leading to the Master of Arts  Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC). This degree fulfills the educational requirements for the two levels of licensure as professional counselors in the State of Illinois: Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC).

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Find out more information at Counselor Education’s accreditation, licensure, and credentialing.

Clinical mental health counselors are employed in settings such as community mental health agencies, substance abuse treatment centers, hospitals, employee assistance programs, counseling clinics, crisis and trauma centers, court services, university counseling centers, private practice/group practice, and business and industry.

Many students in our program have their original degrees and experience in all fields of business, education, medicine, social work, law, religion, the arts, computer technology, engineering, math and science, and other diverse fields.

Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program Goals and Objectives

Program Goals

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling program delivers a comprehensive academic curriculum and supervised clinical experiences that integrates the standards of CACREP. CMHC students will demonstrate an understanding of foundational knowledge, contextual dimensions, and competence in clinical mental health practice with individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds who present to counseling with a wide array of clinical issues. 

PROGRAM Objectives

Students in the CMHC program will demonstrate the following knowledge bases and skill sets in preparation for their future work as Clinical Mental Health Counselors:

CMHC 1: Conduct their behavior in accordance with the principles and standards of all professional counseling code of ethics (ACA and AMHCA) and decision making models, while demonstrating professional dispositions defined by the program as characteristic of exemplary Clinical Mental Health Counselors.

CMHC 2: Acquire knowledge of and practice sensitivity towards cultural diversity issues. Students will identify strategies to address institutional and social barriers that impact clients’ mental and emotional well-being across the lifespan. 

CMHC 3: Integrate knowledge of lifespan development, neurobiological, and addiction theories into all stages of clinical practice, including: prevention of mental and emotional disorders, assessment, diagnosis, case conceptualization, treatment planning, and implementation of treatment strategies. 

CMHC 4: Demonstrate knowledge of career development theories and methods and be able to apply career counseling skills to facilitate client exploration and problem solving.

CMHC 5: Address clinical case studies and their clinical work with knowledge and understanding of individual and group counseling theories that are underpinned by multicultural awareness in clinical practice.

CMHC 6: Perform and document various types of formal and informal assessment pertaining to client diagnosis, treatment, and measurement of clinical indicators regarding client progress. Critically review the psychometric properties of formal assessment instruments with awareness of their practical implications and limitations.

CMHC 7: Apply evidence-based treatment strategies and interventions that are informed by research, and present with a professional clinical mental health counselor identity through an integrated philosophy of practice grounded in critical analysis and interpretation of research.

Curriculum in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, M.A.

The courses required to complete the CMHC program are listed below:

Foundation Counseling Courses:

  • COUN 401 Professional Orientation & Legal/Ethical Practices (3 cr)
  • COUN 402 Developmental Counseling (3 cr)
  • COUN 403 Theories of Counseling (3 cr)
  • COUN 404 Assessment & Evaluation in Counseling (3 cr)
  • COUN 405 Individual Counseling Skills (3 cr)
  • COUN 406 Group Counseling (3 cr)
  • COUN 408 Research Seminar (3 cr)
  • COUN 409 Career Development (3 cr)
  • COUN 415 Children & Youth in School & Family Systems (3 cr)
  • COUN 420 Introduction to Family Counseling (3 cr)
  • COUN 425 Addictions Counseling (3 cr)
  • COUN 427 Diagnostic Systems for Counseling (3 cr)
  • COUN 430 Social & Cultural Diversity in Counseling (3 cr)

Clinical Mental Health Counseling Courses:

  • COUN 407 Advanced Clinical Mental Health Counseling (3 cr)
  • COUN 429 Psychopharmacology
  • COUN 438 Crisis & Trauma Counseling (3 cr)
  • COUN 439 Case Conceptualization & Treatment Planning (3 cr)

Advanced Clinicals:

  • COUN 444 Practicum: Group Supervision in Clinical Mental Health Counseling** (3 cr)
  • COUN 464 Internship I: Clinical Mental Health Counseling** (3 cr)
  • COUN 474 Internship II: Clinical Mental Health Counseling** (3 cr)

Clinical Experience (Practicum and Internship)**

Practicum and Internship consists of 700 hours of documented field-related experience, of which 280 hours of face-to-face counseling is required. COUN 444 Practicum: Group Supervision in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is a 100-hour, field-based experience requiring a minimum of 40 hours of direct contact with clients. COUN 464 Internship I:Clinical Mental Health Counseling and COUN 474 Internship II: Clinical Mental Health Counseling together consist of a 600-hour, field-based experience requiring a minimum of 240 hours of clinical contact with clients. Practicum is taken in the fall semester. Internship I is taken in the spring semester, and Internship II is taken in the summer semester.

Departmental Proficiency Examination (DPE)

All Counselor Education students are required to pass a comprehensive departmental proficiency examination (DPE) prior to graduation. This exam is offered annually in February, June and October.

Apply to the M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program