MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

The Master of Science (MS) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is designed to prepare students to function as licensed clinical mental health counselors. It provides the educational requirements outlined by the New Hampshire Board of Mental Health Practice as requisite to attaining mental health counseling licensures. PSU’s mental health counseling program is nationally accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Students should note that there are significant post-degree requirements to undertake prior to being licensed. See the 2013 CACREP Mental Health Counseling Program Outcomes report.

For more information, visit the Counselor Education and School Psychology Department website.

  • Counselor Education Component – 30 credits
  • 3
    This course examines the foundations of the counseling profession including ethics, advocacy, professional identity, and cultural competence. It emphasizes the importance of self-awareness and its relationship to effective counseling. Prerequisite: Matriculated in Counselor Education program or permission of the instructor.
  • 3
    The course is designed to help students develop basic counseling skills. Through role play, practice interviews, and tape transcriptions, students will have the opportunity to learn and practice basic counseling skills. The relationships among theory, case conceptualizations, and counseling interventions will be examined. Ethical and culturally responsive practices will be emphasized. Prerequisites: CO 5010 or SY 6010.
  • 3
    Recognizing that social behavior occurs within an intercultural context, Counselor Education, Couples and Family Therapy, and School Psychology students will develop the basic knowledge foundations necessary to understand and influence social behavior in a diverse society. Texts, readings and learning modules have been chosen and/or designed to facilitate the student's ability to understand the nature of social behavior cross culturally.
  • 3
    Focuses on a life-span approach to human development and looks at the constancy and change in behavior throughout life, from conception to death. Students will study human development in the context of a multidisciplinary approach and the larger ecological context of developmental events in human behavior. This course will have four major concerns: to identify and describe the changes that occur across the life span; to explain these changes in the context of maturation, early learning, and societal factors impacting development; to review research and theoretical frameworks that have affected our way of thinking and, to study the interdependence and interrelatedness of all aspects of development. There is a 16-hour service learning/pre-practicum field experience as part of this course.
  • 3
    This course is designed to familiarize students with a variety of research principles, ethical and legal considerations, research design, methodologies of research, data analyses, and principles of program evaluation. In addition, students will be able to critically evaluate research literature, understand basics of writing a literature review, and principles outlined in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. As a result, students will be prepared to understand available research, act on that knowledge in being discriminate evaluators of research and in being able to design research projects.
  • 3
    CO 5100 Practicum
    This course is a 100-hour field-based experience that focuses on developing competency in basic helping skills. Students will complete field experiences in approved community sites appropriate for their concentration and participate in group seminar as well as in required on-site and university supervision. Successful completion of at least 100 hours of field work, including 40 hours of direct service to clients and successful completion of the practicum course is required to be eligible for internship. Prerequisites: Completion of all courses in program contract and submission of Intent to Enroll form by departmental deadline.
  • 3
    An introduction to career development theories and their application to the counseling process. Students will understand and utilize career information and assessments as they pertain to counseling and career development. Students will apply theory and practice to current or potential work settings. There is a 20-hour pre-practicum field experience as part of this course.
  • 3
    This course is designed to be a comparative and critical in-depth analysis of personality and counseling theories, including interrelationships, philosophical foundations, and practical application. Individual, familial, and systemic models are presented along with dynamics and issues that reflect cross theoretical perspectives. Students will be required to compare and contrast counseling theories and strategies, consider appropriate application of these strategies in diverse populations, and develop a personal model for providing help and facilitating behavioral change.
  • 3
    This course will help the student understand and interpret the principles of assessing students with and without disabilities. It includes valid evaluations and their use in eligibility determination, development of individualized education plans and monitoring student progress. Standardized and non-standardized assessment techniques will be discussed in detail, including some state and national assessments. The range of assessments include: intellectual functioning, interest inventories, achievement tests, aptitude tests, objective and projective personality assessments and non-test techniques such as observations and self-reporting. There will be a special emphasis placed upon the role of the counselor as a consultant to staff and colleagues in schools and other agency settings. Discussion of federal and state rules and regulations as they apply to the rights and ethical responsibilities of the professional and the population served by the professional. Special consideration will be given to the treatment of minority populations and children with disabilities in the assessment and consultation process and in the inclusive educational environment. Prerequisite: CO 5010.
  • 3
    This course provides a comprehensive understanding of theory, practice, and ethics in group counseling across the lifespan within clinical, school and other professional settings. This course provides students an opportunity to develop group counseling skills through classroom facilitation and supervision. In addition to the didactic portion of this class students will also participate as group members in an in-class 10-hour facilitated experiential group process. Prerequisite or corequiste: CO 5010 or SY 6010, and CO 5260.
  • Mental Health Counseling Specialization Component – 27-30 credits
  • 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.
  • 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 is designed to help students understand the foundational models and associated techniques of relational therapy and counseling youth. Basic principles, concepts, and assumptions inherent in each of the foundational models will be explored as well as the implications for practice. Issues that affect contemporary families and youth and the associated empirically validated treatment will be explored. Required course for MS students in the clinical mental health counseling and couples and family therapy tracks. Prerequisites CO 5010 or SY 6010 and CO 5260, or permission of the instructor.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Elective – 3-6 credits

With your advisor, you’ll choose an elective appropriate for your program of study.

  • Successful completion of comprehensive assessments as noted above.
  • Total for MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling – 63 credits

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