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Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

College of Education

Department of Counselor Education: (773) 442-5550/5557 / counsedu@neiu.edu

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Program Description

The Department of Counselor Education offers a 60 credit hour program leading to the Master of Arts in Counseling: Clinical Mental Health Counseling. The degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling 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 nationally accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).


Admission Requirements

Applicants to all three sequences must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate College, and will also be required to meet the following additional requirements:

  1. Submit recent scores for the general test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Scores will be considered along with other aspects of the application;
  2. Satisfy supplementary admission requirements as specified by each sequence; and
  3. Participate in an evaluative Preadmission Workshop after application materials have been submitted.

The Counselor Education Department admits students twice a year, in the spring and fall terms. Admission to the program is competitive. It is possible for an otherwise acceptable applicant to be denied admission due to the competitive strength of the applicant pool. Those not selected for admission may reapply only once.


Degree Requirements

Once students are officially admitted to the program, they may register for classes in the department during regular registration periods. Those who have not yet been reviewed for selection may take one course as a student-at-large. For students in the Community and School sequences, that course is COUN-401. For students in the Rehabilitation sequence, that course is COUN-433. Upon formal acceptance into the program, the credits for these courses will be applied towards fulfillment of degree requirements.

To qualify for the master’s degree, students must complete forty-eight credit hours of prescribed coursework, which includes three credits of practicum, and six credits of internship, and successfully complete the written departmental proficiency examination. Students may not enroll for more than four three-credit hour courses (twelve credit hours) in a term.

Once admitted, students must demonstrate satisfactory progress. To continue in the program, a 3.0 GPA average is required. In the clinical courses, COUN 405 and COUN 406, students must earn a grade of B or better to continue in the program. Therefore, an ongoing evaluation, for the purpose of making retention decisions, is made of all admitted students in the areas of academic achievement, professional growth, and personal growth. Although evaluation will take place during every class, formal evaluation procedures are applied prior to practicum, and on the annual date of one’s admission to the program. (See Admission and Retention Guidelines in The Student Handbook for specifics.) Students may also be reviewed for retention at the request of individual faculty members.

Should a student be recommended for non-retention in the program by the faculty Admissions and Retention Committee, the student’s faculty advisor will communicate the reasons to the student in writing. Further, depending upon the circumstances, the advisor may:

  • direct the student to seek a more appropriate field of study;
  • advise specific remedial steps that must be taken before continuation in the program is permitted; and
  • inform the student of the procedure used to appeal the committee’s decision.

A copy of all communication recommending non-retention will be forwarded by the Counselor Education Program to the Graduate College for final action.

Prerequisites: Six credit hours of psychology as specified by each sequence

Community: Two psychology courses, including Abnormal Psychology or equivalent

Rehabilitation: Two psychology courses, including Abnormal Psychology or equivalent

School:

  • Educational Psychology
  • Psychology of the Exceptional Child
  • Current initial or standard Illinois teaching certification

OR

Applicants to school counseling who do not hold a current, valid initial or standard teaching certificate must include in their application packet evidence of:

  1. taking and passing the Basic Skills Test; and
  2. taking and passing a finger print based background check

In addition, the non-certified applicant must complete the following courses prior to starting practicum/internship:

  • EDFN 405 Development of Educational Thought
  • EDFN 406 Human Development and Learning
  • EDFN 407 Learning Theories and Educational Practice
  • SPED 404 Overview of the Field of Special Education 

 

THE CURRICULUM

Core Courses, Electives, and Clinical Experiences
Required Core Courses for Each Sequence

The program requires a minimum of forty-eight credit hours, or sixteen courses. A core or common curriculum of thirty credit hours is required of all sequences. The core courses include:

COUN-401 The Counseling Profession in a Pluralistic
Society (for School, Community
sequences)...............................................3 cr.
or COUN-433 Foundations of Rehabilitation Counseling
(for Rehabilitation sequence)...........3 cr.
COUN-402 Developmental Counseling..........................3 cr.
COUN-403 Frameworks for Counseling.........................3 cr.
COUN-404 Evaluation Techniques.................................3 cr.
COUN-405 Individual Counseling Skills.........................3 cr.
COUN-406 Group Counseling........................................3 cr.
COUN-407 Community Counseling
(for the Community sequence).................3 cr.
or COUN-410 Seminar in School Counseling
(for the School sequence)................3 cr.
or COUN-434 Medical and Psychological Aspects
of Disability (for the Rehabilitation
sequence).........................................3 cr.
COUN-408 Research Seminar........................................3 cr.
COUN-409 Career Development....................................3 cr.
COUN-430 Multicultural Counseling: Worldview
and Systems Orientation..........................3 cr.

In addition, the Community sequence requires
COUN-420 Introduction to Family Counseling...............3 cr.
COUN-427 Diagnostic Systems for Counseling.............3 cr.
One Elective Course..........................................................3cr.
In addition, the Rehabilitation sequence requires
COUN 427 Diagnostic Systems for Counseling.............3 cr.
COUN 435 Work and Disability......................................3 cr.
COUN 436 Case Management for Rehabilitation
Counselors...............................................3 cr.
In addition, the School sequence requires
Three elective courses......................................................9cr.

Elective Courses
The number of elective courses will vary for each sequence. The elective courses will be selected in consultation with an advisor. Courses most appropriate for that sequence and the student’s career objectives may be selected from the following:

COUN-414 Advanced Career Counseling......................3 cr.
COUN-415 Children, Youth and Their Systems..............3 cr.
COUN-420 Introduction to Family Counseling...............3 cr.
COUN-421 Advanced Marriage
and Family Counseling.............................3 cr.
COUN-422 Grief Counseling..........................................3 cr.
COUN-423 Counseling for Business and Industry.............3 cr.
COUN-424 Stress Management.....................................3 cr.
COUN-425 Addictions Counseling.................................3 cr.
COUN-426 Advanced Counseling for
Chemical Dependency ..........................3 cr.
COUN-427 Diagnostic Systems for Counseling.............3 cr.
COUN-431 Couple and Family Systems Studies...........3 cr.
COUN-432 Counseling Couples.....................................3 cr.
COUN 433 Foundations of Rehabilitation Counseling....3 cr.
COUN 434 Medical and Psychosocial
Aspects of Disability.................................3 cr.
COUN 435 Work and Disability...........................................3 cr.
COUN 436 Case Management in Rehabilitation
Counseling...............................................3 cr.
COUN-468 Seminar in Counseling (title varies)..............3 cr.
A-Advanced Group Leadership
B-Advanced Counseling
C-Advanced Evaluation Techniques
G-Advanced Research Seminar
H-Student Personnel Work in Higher Education
K-Counseling the Gifted
M-Current Topics in Community Counseling
N Intro to Integrated Experiential Therapy: Yoga and Art
COUN-490 Thesis Research...........................................3 cr.
COUN-499 Clinical Supervision......................................3 cr.

Also available are a limited number of Independent Studies in which a student creates a course with a special topic of interest under the direction of a faculty member. Credits vary. Graduate level courses in other departments, such as Psychology (Gerontology) may be used as electives with the permission of the student’s advisor.

Student assistants used for clinical courses will receive three credits which may be used for elective credit or for additional credit beyond the forty-eight hours.

Electives may be taken from appropriate courses in other departments, with the approval of the sequence advisor. No more than four courses other than practicum and internship taken with any one professor may be counted toward a degree.

WHEN CHOOSING ELECTIVES, STUDENTS MUST BE AWARE THAT THE VARIOUS PRACTICUM AND INTERNSHIP SITES REQUIRE SPECIFIC COURSES AND COMPETENCIES BEFORE THEY WILL ACCEPT STUDENTS. In some situations, students may need to take courses beyond the forty-eight minimum credits. It is imperative that each student take responsibility for consulting with both the advisor and the faculty coordinator of clinical sites long before applying for the clinical courses. Failure to do so could delay completion of the program.

Additional Requirements

  1. Clinical Experience - Practicum and Internship Practicum
    Practicum is a 100-hour, field-based experience which requires a minimum of forty hours of clinical contact with clients (contact hours), and is a prerequisite for Internship. Students earn three credits for Practicum - Group Supervision (in the appropriate sequence). NOTE: Practicum is offered in the Fall semester.

    Internship
    Internship is a 600 hour, field-based experience which requires a minimum of 240 hours of clinical contact with clients. Students are strongly encouraged to complete all coursework prior to beginning Internship. Students earn six credit hours for
    Internship I (in the appropriate sequence)
    Internship II (in the appropriate sequence)
  2. Departmental Proficiency Examination
    All candidates are required to pass a comprehensive examination. Candidates may take the examination after completion of twenty-seven credit hours of coursework (for Community and Rehabilitation sequences) and after thirty credit hours of coursework (for the School sequence), including COUN 401 (433 for Rehabilitation), 402, 403, 404, 405, 406, 408, 409,410 (for School), and 430.
  3. Notification of Student Recess
    Once having begun the Counselor Education program, if a student does not attend classes for more than two consecutive semesters (Fall, Spring, Summer), the student must notify the Graduate College and the advisor of his/her intent to continue in the program. Faculty members reserve the right to review the student’s coursework upon reentry by the student and to require that certain courses be repeated if necessary. Each student is required to complete an average minimum of six to nine credit hours per academic year to finish the program within the prescribed time frame of six years.