Professional Mental Health Counseling Mission, Program Objectives, & Outcomes
The Professional Mental Health Counseling program prepares highly skilled, ethical, and compassionate mental health professionals grounded in a commitment to social justice.
We emphasize the client-counselor relationship, creative and experiential modalities, and a thorough understanding of mental health issues across the lifespan. The curriculum reflects multiple theoretical perspectives with guidance to support students in developing their own framework for community and clinical practice.
Our program creates a transformative environment where students emerge with an understanding of their own social locations and the role of power, privilege and difference within institutional, social, intimate, and therapeutic relationships. We have a commitment to social justice which is embodied in four focus options across the curriculum: counseling with LGBTQQI clients, feminist counseling, mind/body/spirit and community/professional advocacy.
- Theory and Research to Practice ”“ Students develop an understanding of a range of counseling theories consistent with a developmental perspective. Students develop treatment plans and interventions consistent with their own theoretical orientation, a critical evaluation of the literature, client mental health needs and goals in counseling, diagnosis, and best practices in the profession.
- Clinical Skill (Helping Relationships) ”“ Students develop therapeutic communications skills, emphasize the client-counselor relationship, and facilitate and manage the counseling process with individuals and groups.
- Self as Counselor (Reflective Practitioners) ”“ Students develop a strong awareness of their own values and worldviews, recognize their own competencies and limitations, maintain openness to supervision, and recognize/acknowledge/remediate personal issues that may impact client care.
- Multicultural Competence ”“ Students develop awareness of power, privilege, and difference and their own cultural attitudes, beliefs, and affects of social location, and learn strategies for working with gender and gender spectrum issues, diverse populations, ethnic and other non-dominant groups.
- Professional Counseling Identity ”“ Students develop understanding of the history of professional counseling, knowledge of the philosophical foundations of the profession, knowledge of the roles and functions of counselors, professional pride/professional engagement, and knowledge and understanding of professional ethics.
- Ethical Practice ”“ Students commit to and follow professional ethics consistent with the American Counseling Association ethical guidelines. They seek supervision/consultation to resolve ethical dilemmas and take personal responsibility in the event an ethical error is committed.
- Social Justice Advocacy and Community Involvement ”“ Students develop an ability to recognize the injustices that affect physical, academic, career, economic, and mental well-being of individuals and learn skill sets to act to alleviate such injustices in the society. Students develop the ability to be empowering agents and advocates in service as change agents on the systemic level to better serve underrepresented, marginalized, and oppressed individuals and groups.
In 2013, the Professional Mental Health Counseling and Professional Mental Health Counseling—Addictions programs graduated 42 students. Graduates have great success in finding employment, many even before they have graduated. Among students responding to our employment survey, 86% were employed in counseling-related professions. Among those respondents, 47% were employed prior to graduation or within one month of seeking employment. The remaining 53% were employed within 3 months of seeking employment.
Full-time and part-time program plans are available for students.
- In the past three years, 97% of students who took the National Counseling Exam during their program passed.
- Total number of students in 2011 cohorts: 47
- 85% of 2011 matriculating students have graduated or are on track to graduate (68%, or 39 students, have graduated and 17%, or 8 students, are part-time students or needed additional time to demonstrate competency). Four percent (2 students) are on a leave of absence and plan to return (n=2) and 11% (5 students) are no longer enrolled.
- Of students who matriculated in 2012, 93% are currently enrolled and 4% are on a leave of absence.
- Of students who matriculated in 2013, 95% are currently enrolled and 2% are on a leave of absence.