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Master of Science (MS) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

School of Counseling and Human Services

Learners in the MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree program who are seeking a professional counselor license in North Carolina must complete at least one 5-quarter-credit practicum course in order to satisfy that state’s requirements. Capella University has designed COUN6301 to fulfill the program requirements for these learners or learners from other states who may need a 5-quarter-credit practicum course.

Learners in the MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree program who need to enhance their knowledge in the area of psychopharmacology for licensure purposes may register for COUN5268. This course is in addition to the program requirements.

The CACREP-accredited Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree program is designed to prepare learners to serve as clinical mental health counselors for a diverse population of clients in various therapeutic settings. The program seeks to deliver its curriculum through a dynamic, interactive, and collaborative learning environment and provides learners with a strong theoretical foundation in the field of mental health counseling and knowledge and skills in associated areas of wellness theory and research, relationship building, assessment and treatment, cultural competence, and ethical practice.

Personal Suitability and Fitness for the Profession

Capella embraces the principles and guidelines set forth by the American Counseling Association (ACA) related to professional counseling programs in that the faculty, training staff, supervisors, and administrators within the Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree program have a professional, ethical, and potentially legal obligation to ensure, insofar as possible, that all learners have the competence to manage professional relationships in an effective and appropriate manner and that they possess the emotional maturity, interpersonal stability, and intellectual judgment required to work with vulnerable populations. Personal suitability and fitness for the profession includes but is not limited to demonstration of sufficient interpersonal and professional competence; self-awareness, self-reflection, and self-evaluation; openness to processes of supervision; and resolution of issues or problems that interfere with professional development or functioning in a satisfactory manner. Throughout the graduate training of each learner, faculty and staff are responsible for educating and assessing learners with regard to their personal suitability and fitness for the profession.

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Residency Requirement(s):

Two six-day residencies. See university policy 3.04.05 Attendance at Residencies, the Residencies page on Campus, and the Residency section, below, for more information. Also see each graduate school’s residency courses.


Practicum/Internship Requirement(s):

Minimum of 100 practicum hours and 600 internship hours. See the Practicum/Internship Experience section, below, for more information.

 

 

Twenty-Two Required Courses

 

 

90 quarter credits

Core courses:

COUN5004
Survey of Research in Human Development for Professional Counselors

Learners in this course examine theories of lifespan development and behavior from a counseling perspective. Learners describe effective approaches in counseling, evaluate its historical and philosophical relevance to current practice, and apply theories and practices to advocate for diverse clientele. ​​For MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, MS in Marriage and Family Therapy, MS in School Counseling degree program and Contemporary Theory in Addictive Behavior, Contemporary Theory in Mental Health Services, Contemporary Theory in School-Based Services, and Systemic Couple and Family Therapy graduate certificate learners only. Must be taken during the first quarter by learners who have been admitted to the MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and MS in School Counseling degree programs and the Contemporary Theory in Addictive Behavior, Contemporary Theory in Mental Health Services, and Contemporary Theory in School-Based Services graduate certificate programs. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer

4 quarter credits
COUN5007
Research Methods for the Counseling Professions

This course provides an overview of quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-method approaches to counseling research and program evaluation. Learners apply graduate-level approaches to research methodology for the counseling profession.  ​For MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, MS in Marriage and Family Therapy, MS in School Counseling degree program and Contemporary Theory in Addictive Behavior, Contemporary Theory in Mental Health Services, Contemporary Theory in School-Based Services, and Systemic Couple and Family Therapy graduate certificate learners only.

4 quarter credits
COUN5106
Assessment, Tests, and Measures

Learners in this course examine the assessment process and how tests and measures are used in counseling. Learners also explore the evolution of assessment methods, testing strategies and interpretation, and fundamental measurement constructs.  ​For MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, MS in Marriage and Family Therapy, MS in School Counseling degree program and Contemporary Theory in Addictive Behavior, Contemporary Theory in Mental Health Services, Contemporary Theory in School-Based Services, and Systemic Couple and Family Therapy graduate certificate learners only.

4 quarter credits
COUN5107 *
Principles of Psychopathology and Diagnosis

Learners in this course examine psychopathology principles, professional literature, and current issues associated with assessing mental disorders. Learners critically evaluate diagnostic models, methods, and approaches used in diagnosing and treating individuals, couples, and families. Learners also explore the current DSM classifications and diagnostic issues associated with multicultural populations. ​For MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, MS in Marriage and Family Therapy, MS in School Counseling degree program and Contemporary Theory in Addictive Behavior, Contemporary Theory in Mental Health Services, Contemporary Theory in School-Based Services, and Systemic Couple and Family Therapy graduate certificate learners only.  Prerequisite(s): MS Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy learners must have completed COUN5220, COUN5270, COUN5820, COUN-R5821. MS Clinical Mental Health Counseling learners must have completed COUN-R5831. MSW and MSW—​Advanced Standing learners must have completed SWK5013.

4 quarter credits
COUN5108 *
Foundations of Addiction and Addictive Behavior

This course provides learners with fundamental knowledge of addiction from its historical roots through contemporary issues. Learners examine theory and research that guides treatment for substance use disorders and related addictive behaviors, including the diagnosis and treatment of co-occurring mental health issues. In addition, learners review empirically supported interventions for individuals, families, groups, and diverse populations, as well as emerging issues in the field based upon current research. ​For MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, MS in Marriage and Family Therapy, MS in School Counseling degree program and Contemporary Theory in Addictive Behavior, Contemporary Theory in Mental Health Services, Contemporary Theory in School-Based Services, and Systemic Couple and Family Therapy graduate certificate learners only.  Prerequisite(s): MS Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy learners must have completed COUN-R5821. MS Clinical Mental Health Counseling learners must have completed COUN-R5831. 

4 quarter credits
COUN5217
Ethical and Legal Issues in Professional Counseling

In this course, learners evaluate current legal and ethical guidelines used in the counseling profession. Learners apply decision-making models and formulate effective collaboration strategies used to resolve legal and ethical issues that arise when working with children, adults, couples, and families. Learners also analyze how personal belief systems influence counselors’ responses to those issues.  ​For MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, MS in Marriage and Family Therapy, MS in School Counseling degree program and Contemporary Theory in Addictive Behavior, Contemporary Theory in Mental Health Services, Contemporary Theory in School-Based Services, and Systemic Couple and Family Therapy graduate certificate learners only.

4 quarter credits
COUN5223
Introduction to Clinical Mental Health Counseling

This course is an introduction to current practices and trends in the clinical mental health counseling profession. Learners analyze the effects of current issues and public policy on the practice of clinical mental health counseling. Learners examine professional counselors’ roles in a variety of health service delivery modalities within the continuum of care. In addition, learners review models and strategies of professional consultation and supervision.

4 quarter credits
COUN5225
Human Sexuality

Learners in this course study sexuality within the broad context of human experience. Learners examine a systemic psychosexual approach to development across the lifespan and evaluate the functionality of sexual behavior in individuals, couples, and families. In addition, learners explore theory, assessment, treatments, and interventions for various issues associated with sexuality, as well as sexuality-related concerns of diverse populations. Throughout the course, learners are challenged to expand personal awareness of limitations and biases that could impact the therapeutic relationship.  ​For MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, MS in Marriage and Family Therapy, MS in School Counseling degree program and Contemporary Theory in Addictive Behavior, Contemporary Theory in Mental Health Services, Contemporary Theory in School-Based Services, and Systemic Couple and Family Therapy graduate certificate learners only.

4 quarter credits
COUN5238
Crisis Assessment and Intervention

This course presents crisis intervention and emergency management models and strategies used in the counseling field. Learners focus on developing the crisis intervention skills needed to provide counseling services in mental health settings in a timely, effective, and ethical manner. Learners also explore other related topics, including working with situational crises, assessing suicide and other risks, and supporting the implementation of emergency management plans.  ​For MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, MS in Marriage and Family Therapy, MS in School Counseling degree program and Contemporary Theory in Addictive Behavior, Contemporary Theory in Mental Health Services, Contemporary Theory in School-Based Services, and Systemic Couple and Family Therapy graduate certificate learners only. 

4 quarter credits
COUN5239
Theories of Psychotherapy

This course presents various theories of psychotherapy and their respective philosophical principles and assumptions. Learners evaluate the theoretical concepts and evidence-based practices of psychotherapy and examine appropriate application of theories and interventions to a diverse client population.  ​For MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, MS in Marriage and Family Therapy, MS in School Counseling degree program and Contemporary Theory in Addictive Behavior, Contemporary Theory in Mental Health Services, Contemporary Theory in School-Based Services, and Systemic Couple and Family Therapy graduate certificate learners only.

4 quarter credits
COUN5254
Child and Adolescent Counseling

This course presents major theories and research of adolescent and child development. Learners examine biological and psychosocial development factors and evaluate the influence of family, community, society, and trauma on development.  ​For MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, MS in Marriage and Family Therapy, MS in School Counseling degree program and Contemporary Theory in Addictive Behavior, Contemporary Theory in Mental Health Services, Contemporary Theory in School-Based Services, and Systemic Couple and Family Therapy graduate certificate learners only.

4 quarter credits
COUN5271
Marriage and Family Systems

Learners in this course study families as systems from theoretical, clinical, and research perspectives. The course emphasizes family development, transitions, assessment, and intervention, including consideration for diversity and sociocultural factors. Learners also apply systems-oriented assessment models and strategies for initial interviews, hypothesis formulation, and designing a strategy for intervention.  ​For MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, MS in Marriage and Family Therapy, MS in School Counseling degree program and Contemporary Theory in Addictive Behavior, Contemporary Theory in Mental Health Services, Contemporary Theory in School-Based Services, and Systemic Couple and Family Therapy graduate certificate learners only.

4 quarter credits
COUN5279
Life Planning and Career Development

In this course, learners develop foundational knowledge and skills applicable to career counseling and development. Learners analyze theoretical models of career development as they relate to client interests, aptitudes, personalities, traits, values, and work preferences. In addition, learners explore the ways in which social interests, family relationships, cultural facets, and developmental factors and circumstances resulting from life transitions relate to career development across the lifespan. Learners also discuss legal and ethical issues associated with career counseling practice.  For MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, MS in Marriage and Family Therapy, MS in School Counseling degree program and Contemporary Theory in Addictive Behavior, Contemporary Theory in Mental Health Services, Contemporary Theory in School-Based Services, and Systemic Couple and Family Therapy graduate certificate learners only.

4 quarter credits
COUN5336
Counseling and Advocacy with Diverse Populations

This course introduces theory, research, and models that inform ethical and culturally competent counseling, as well as social justice advocacy, in a variety of settings. Learners assess how biopsychosocial characteristics and concerns of diverse populations impact access to and utilization of community-based resources, optimal development across the lifespan, and equity. Learners also present strategies to address the influence that their own heritage, attitudes, beliefs, and acculturative experiences has on the counseling process. In addition, learners identify effective counseling and advocacy strategies with diverse individuals, couples, families, and groups, and explore the role of the counselor and advocate in promoting social justice at multiple levels.  For MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, MS in Marriage and Family Therapy, MS in School Counseling degree program and Contemporary Theory in Addictive Behavior, Contemporary Theory in Mental Health Services, Contemporary Theory in School-Based Services, and Systemic Couple and Family Therapy graduate certificate learners only.

4 quarter credits
COUN5830 *
Mental Health Counseling Approaches and Interventions

This course cultivates foundational concepts and relationship-building skills, while integrating introductory application of assessment, therapeutic interventions, and ethical and legal standards. Learners apply theories, methods, and practices of clinical mental health counseling. For MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, MS in Marriage and Family Therapy, MS in School Counseling degree program and Contemporary Theory in Addictive Behavior, Contemporary Theory in Mental Health Services, Contemporary Theory in School-Based Services, and Systemic Couple and Family Therapy graduate certificate learners only.  COUN-R5831 must be taken the quarter immediately following COUN5830. Prerequisite(s): COUN5004, COUN5217, COUN5223, COUN5239, COUN5336.

4 quarter credits
COUN5832 *
Group Counseling and Applications in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

This course presents group theoretical models and developing interventions. Topics include types of groups, developmental aspects of group counseling, group dynamics and processes, group leadership and membership roles, and ethical awareness in relation to groups. Learners continue to integrate mental health counseling theories and methods within clinical practice. For MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, MS in Marriage and Family Therapy, MS in School Counseling degree program and Contemporary Theory in Addictive Behavior, Contemporary Theory in Mental Health Services, Contemporary Theory in School-Based Services, and Systemic Couple and Family Therapy graduate certificate learners only.  COUN-R5833 must be taken the quarter immediately following COUN5832. Prerequisite(s): COUN-R5831, COUN5106, COUN5107, COUN5108, COUN5238. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits
COUN6965 *
Applied Research and Program Evaluation in Mental Health Counseling

In this course, learners demonstrate proficiency in mental health counseling by applying learning from required courses to create a program evaluation proposal in which they examine a theory-based mental health application. Learners select appropriate research methods to assess client needs and evaluate outcomes in counseling interventions and programs. Learners also demonstrate their understanding of using ethical and culturally relevant strategies for conducting, interpreting, and reporting results. For MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, MS in Marriage and Family Therapy, MS in School Counseling degree program and Contemporary Theory in Addictive Behavior, Contemporary Theory in Mental Health Services, Contemporary Theory in School-Based Services, and Systemic Couple and Family Therapy graduate certificate learners only. Prerequisite(s): COUN5007, COUN5106, COUN5223, COUN5832, COUN-R5831. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits

All academic courses listed below include specific residency or clinical experiences. Learners must complete prerequisites and residency and clinical experience requirements to be eligible to complete each course in the sequence.

COUN-R5831 *
Advanced Mental Health Counseling Approaches and Interventions: Residency Track 1

The first residency includes an online courseroom and a residency experience. Learners engage in preparatory online courseroom activities to prepare themselves for the residency experience. During the face-to-face residency experience, learners focus on developing clinical mental health counseling skills, including building therapeutic relationships, performing initial assessments, identifying cultural diversity considerations, and applying ethical and legal standards of practice. The residency experience guides learners as they integrate mental health counseling skills and develop an understanding of the treatment planning process. Learners then engage in post-residency online courseroom activities to assess knowledge gained. This course requires travel. For MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, MS in Marriage and Family Therapy, MS in School Counseling degree program and Contemporary Theory in Addictive Behavior, Contemporary Theory in Mental Health Services, Contemporary Theory in School-Based Services, and Systemic Couple and Family Therapy graduate certificate learners only. COUN-R5831 must be taken the quarter immediately following COUN5830. Prerequisite(s): COUN5004, COUN5217, COUN5223, COUN5239, COUN5336, COUN5830. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits
COUN-R5833 *
Advanced Group Counseling and Clinical Applications in Mental Health Counseling: Residency Track 2

The second residency includes an online courseroom and a residency experience. Learners engage in preparatory online courseroom activities to prepare themselves for the residency experience. During the face-to-face residency experience, learners integrate mental health counseling theories and methods for clinical practice. Learners further develop clinical mental health counseling skills, maintain therapeutic relationships, and apply theory to individual and group therapy modalities. In addition, learners conduct risk assessments and develop interventions. The residency provides 10 hours of group therapy experience. Learners also engage in post-residency online courseroom activities to assess knowledge gained.  This course requires travel. For MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, MS in Marriage and Family Therapy, MS in School Counseling degree program and Contemporary Theory in Addictive Behavior, Contemporary Theory in Mental Health Services, Contemporary Theory in School-Based Services, and Systemic Couple and Family Therapy graduate certificate learners only. COUN-R5833 must be taken the quarter immediately following COUN5832. Prerequisite(s): COUN5106; COUN5107; COUN5108; COUN5238; COUN5830 and COUN-R5831, or COUN5930 and COUN-R5930; COUN5832. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer. 

4 quarter credits
COUN6302 *
Mental Health Counseling Clinical Practicum

The clinical practicum is an online-directed, supervised site-based learning experience in a mental health counseling setting during which learners practice specific clinical skills, including interviewing, assessment, intervention, documentation, and consultation. Learners use fundamental communication and interviewing principles and perform initial assessments with individuals, couples, and/or families. This course requires 100 hours of clinical experience, which must consist of no less than 40 hours of direct client contact, and no fewer than 40 hours of direct client contact and no fewer than 10 hours of face-to-face contact with an approved site supervisor. Learners also meet weekly via web conferencing for synchronous group supervision meetings with their course instructor. For MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, MS in Marriage and Family Therapy, MS in School Counseling degree program and Contemporary Theory in Addictive Behavior, Contemporary Theory in Mental Health Services, Contemporary Theory in School-Based Services, and Systemic Couple and Family Therapy graduate certificate learners only. Grading for this course is S/NS. It is the learner’s responsibility to research and comply with the specific clinical experience requirements of their states. Prerequisite(s): COUN5007, COUN5106, COUN5225, COUN5254, COUN5271, COUN5279, COUN-R5831, COUN-R5833, completion of or concurrent registration in COUN6965  with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits
COUN6321 *
Mental Health Counseling Clinical Internship 1

This is the first course in a sequence of two clinical internship courses during which learners fulfill 600 total required contact hours in a mental health counseling setting. Of the 600 total hours, learners must complete 240 hours of direct client contact and a minimum of 24 hours of face-to-face contact with site supervisors. Learners also meet weekly via web conferencing for synchronous group supervision meetings with their course instructor. The internship consists of a courseroom experience accompanied by supervised experience in a mental health counseling setting and provides learners with specific clinical skills in interviewing, assessment, intervention, documentation, and consultation with individuals, couples, and/or families. The focus of the internship is on learner professional development and the application of counseling skills under the supervision of site and faculty supervisors. For MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, MS in Marriage and Family Therapy, MS in School Counseling degree program and Contemporary Theory in Addictive Behavior, Contemporary Theory in Mental Health Services, Contemporary Theory in School-Based Services, and Systemic Couple and Family Therapy graduate certificate learners only. Grading for this course is S/NS. It is the learner’s responsibility to research and comply with the specific clinical experience requirements of their states. Prerequisite(s): COUN6301 or COUN6302; COUN6965 with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

5 quarter credits
COUN6322 *
Mental Health Counseling Clinical Internship 2

This is the second course in a sequence of two clinical internship courses during which learners fulfill 600 total required contact hours. Of the 600 total hours, learners must complete 240 hours of direct client contact and a minimum of 24 hours of face-to-face contact with site supervisors. Learners also meet weekly via web conferencing for synchronous group supervision meetings with their course instructor. COUN6322 consists of an online courseroom experience accompanied by supervised experience in a mental health counseling setting and serves as the capstone course for the MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. It provides learners with specific clinical skills in interviewing, assessment, intervention, documentation, and consultation with individuals, couples, and/or families. The focus of the internship is on learner professional development, including career preparation, and the application of counseling skills under the supervision of site and faculty supervisors. Upon successful completion of the internship, learners are prepared to transition into roles as professional counselors who make active contributions to the field. For MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, MS in Marriage and Family Therapy, MS in School Counseling degree program and Contemporary Theory in Addictive Behavior, Contemporary Theory in Mental Health Services, Contemporary Theory in School-Based Services, and Systemic Couple and Family Therapy graduate certificate learners only. Grading for this course is S/NS. It is the learner’s responsibility to research and comply with the specific clinical experience requirements of their states. Prerequisite(s): COUN6321 with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

5 quarter credits

 

 

Total

 

 

90 quarter credits

* Denotes courses that have prerequisite(s). Refer to the descriptions for further details.

Capella University cannot guarantee licensure, endorsement, other professional credential, or salary advancement. State licensing regulations and professional standards vary; learners are responsible for understanding and complying with the requirements of the state in which they intend to work. For more information, see the Licensure section for this program on Capella’s website (www.capella.edu).

 
Residency

The residency requirement for the Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree program is satisfied by the completion of two online courses, each consisting of a six-day residency (COUN-R5831 and COUN-R5833). Learners must have completed the residency requirement prior to starting their practicum (COUN6302) or final integrative project (COUN6965). Each residency experience for the Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree program requires learners to receive a minimum of 40 total hours of training and practice in the areas of counseling theory and intervention, assessment, multicultural issues, legal and ethical issues, group counseling, and advanced counseling/therapy. Through the counseling residencies, learners gain a stronger sense of academic community by networking and discussing concepts and issues in the field of professional counseling. This experience provides a learning environment that fosters the application of critical thinking and integrated knowledge to professional issues.

Practicum/Internship Experience

Learners enrolled in the Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree program complete supervised onsite counseling experiences as a requirement of their program. The practicum and internship experiences consist of the following online courses and supervised site-based learning:

The practicum (COUN6302) is an online course that requires completion of 100 hours of supervised counseling experience performed at an approved site. Learners apply the skills developed throughout the course of their program while working in a school, clinic, agency, or other setting that provides counseling services.

The internships (COUN6321 and COUN6322) are two online courses that require 600 total hours of experience completed under supervision at an approved site. Learners may register for a third or fourth internship course (COUN6333 and COUN6334) should they need additional time or need to meet additional requirements for state licensure. The internships include a more intensive experience at the approved site where learners continue to demonstrate the counseling competencies and proficiencies required in their program.

Learners should consult the Counselor Education MS Clinical Mental Health Counseling Learner Handbook for a full description of the site-based learning experience and all practicum and internship requirements.