CAGS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

The Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (CAGS) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is intended for two distinct groups of counselors who aspire to be leaders in the field of mental health counseling:

  • Those who hold a counseling master’s degree that does not meet the educational requirements for licensure as a clinical mental health counselor in New Hampshire:
    The individuals may be able to meet their educational licensure requirements through the CAGS concentration in Mental Health Counseling. This program allows counselors with specializations in other areas such as school, or rehabilitation to gain the specialized academic and field experiences required for clinical mental health counseling.
  • Already licensed clinical mental health counselors: The CAGS contains coursework targeted at leadership issues applicable to mental health counseling settings. The CAGS concentration in Clinical Mental Health Counseling offers the opportunity for counselors who are already licensed or license-eligible to further their education and take specialized coursework in areas that will expand their areas of expertise.
  • Counselor Education Component – 9 credits
  • 3
    The study of professional, legal and ethical issues facing clinical mental health counselors. Focus will be on developing professional identity, learning about ethical principles and standards underlying the profession, and being able to apply the law as it relates to the practice of counseling.
  • 3
    This course addresses theoretical, ethical, legal, relational and practical issues in counseling supervision. In addition to reviewing the fundamentals of counseling supervision, the course will provide an experientially based opportunity to develop and practice relevant supervision strategies.
  • 3
    This course addresses qualitative research methodologies with a particular emphasis on constructing grounded theory. Candidates will engage in the process, design, and critique of qualitative inquiry and research. Organizational and community issues will be explored and discovered through the analysis of patterns of beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors within interpersonal and intercultural contexts. The course includes theory and practice related to initiating an inquiry; gathering, recording and analyzing data; and evaluating a study. (Prerequisites: Eligibility for CAGS level coursework, and a graduate level course in research design).
  • Clinical Mental Health Component – 24-27 credits
  • 3
    Foundational elements of the clinical mental health counseling field. Exploring issues of developing a professional identity, understanding the larger clinical mental health service delivery system, being sensitive to issues of diversity, and integrating theory and ethics into ideas about professional clinical mental health counseling. There is a 20 hour field experience as part of this course. Prerequisite CO 5010.
  • 3
    This course will examine models of crisis intervention and trauma treatment. Students will learn how to evaluate risk factors, how to determine and utilize resources, and how to apply treatment interventions. Prerequisite: CO 5010.
  • 3
    This course will examine models of addictions treatment. Students will learn how to evaluate risk factors, diagnose clients, determine and utilize resources, and apply treatment interventions.
  • 3
    Course provides a clear, balanced presentation of the psychology of abnormal behavior including current theoretical models, research, clinical experiences, therapies and controversies. Enables student to understand psychological/psychiatric disorders as discrete clinical conditions and to be able to apply differential diagnoses. Fall. Prerequisite: CO5010 or SY6010 or permission of instructor.
  • 3
    This course is designed to develop competencies in clinical interviewing, diagnostic assessment, case conceptualization, and treatment planning. Diversity considerations and current models of evidence-based practice will be emphasized. Prerequisites: CO 5010, CO 5020, CO 5260, CO 5770, or permission of the instructor.
  • 3
    Psychopharmacology and the Biological Basis of Mental Health course will explore the biological influences on mental illness. This will include an examination of the physiological basis of behavior, perception, emotion and self-regulation; the current theory and research on the relationship between biological events in the central nervous system and behavior; and psychopharmacological interventions.
  • 6-9
    A 600-hour clinical counseling experience under supervision and conducted in a mental health counseling setting. Students must attend an on-campus seminar with fellow student interns that provides an opportunity for case presentation and professional development. Designed to be the culminating experience in the Mental Health Counseling concentration. Students must provide evidence of liability insurance. Prerequisites: completion of all required courses in the Mental Health Counseling concentration and consent of the Plymouth internship supervisor. Variable and repeatable.
  • Total for CAGS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling – minimum 33 credits

Note: Those seeking alternative routes to licensure as a Clinical Mental Health Counselor should consult an advisor to develop an individual program of study to progress toward that goal. This consultation is needed to assure that students address needed content areas between the previous degree and the CAGS. In some cases additional courses may be required, while in other cases some of the competencies may already have been met and more electives may be possible within the 33-credit minimum. While program faculty offer advising, it is ultimately the student’s responsibility to thoroughly review New Hampshire law and the administrative rules outlined by the New Hampshire Board of Mental Health Practice to determine steps necessary for licensure in the state.

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