Girard School of Business


Degree Requirements

The program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling features a combination of coursework and fieldwork, and provides a comprehensive framework in counseling theory and clinical methods.

Students in the program will complete:

  • 60 credit hours of classroom-based learning
  • A 700-hour fieldwork placement, including 100 practicum hours and 600 internship hours

As you explore advanced counseling techniques, you’ll have the opportunity to apply your skills by working with clients both individually and in groups. During the 700-hour field placement, on-site supervisors will help you refine your clinical approach as you develop treatment plans to meet the needs of populations dealing with substance abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault, substance abuse, grief and other challenges. You’ll learn to advocate for clients and maintain ethical principles as they develop their own self-care practice.

Practicum and Internship

The practicum and internship field experience provide the opportunity to integrate theory and practice. Students are placed in a variety of mental health agencies and hospital programs.  The field experience takes place during the second year of the program. The student must complete a minimum of 700 hours on site with supervision by a licensed professional in the field.  The first 100 hours is the practicum and the remaining 600 hours is considered the internship. Students work in a wide variety of clinical settings and engage in on-site clinical supervision. Students meet weekly on campus with a faculty clinical supervisor to discuss their experiences in a seminar format with other graduate students/interns.

The director and advisor of the program have the authority to determine a student’s readiness for practicum and internship.  The students overall progress and performance in courses are key in determining eligibility for the field experience. All first year courses are prerequisites for practicum and internship and students must have a 3.0 grade point average.

Capstone Project

The capstone project is completed in CMH 6020. The capstone project consists of a comprehensive formal written client case study in which the following components are addressed:

  1. Assessment and diagnosis
  2. Conceptualization of the client
  3. Treatment plan
  4. Theoretical framework used to work with the client
  5. A tape recorded session is required in which the student is demonstrating a specific intervention.

A formal presentation of the client case is required.

Course Descriptions

CMH 5000G Counseling Theory - 4 credits

This course introduces students to major counseling theories that inform case conceptualization and practice in clinical settings. Students will learn to distinguish between different counseling interventions based upon client need and evidence-based research practices. Students will also examine how a counselor’s self-awareness, self-reflection and self-care impact both treatment and establishing a strong therapeutic alliance.

CMH 5010G Psychopathology - 4 credits

This course introduces students to the etiology, presentation and treatment of mental health conditions that are stated in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Students will learn strategies for differential diagnosis as well as how to work with diverse client populations to create effective, strength-based treatment plans.

CMH 5020G Research and Evaluation - 4 credits

This course trains counselors to be practitioner-scientists who are able to evaluate the efficacy of research studies and to understand study results as a way that informs evidence-based practice. Topics will include statistical analysis, needs assessment, program evaluation, and differing research methodologies. Students will examine studies from recent journals as a way to further analyze recent developments in the fields that impact counseling practice. This course also will examine the ethical and legal obligations of researchers.

CMH 5030G Group Counseling - 2 credits

This course provides students with an opportunity to learn about the processes of group counseling by participating in experiential activities that demonstrate the basic principles of group counseling. Students will examine the various types of groups and the different techniques appropriate to each. The course also teaches students to understand the specific roles of group leaders and members. Emphasis will be placed on the ethical guidelines related to group work.

CMH 5040G Advanced Group Counseling - 2 credits

This course builds upon the guiding principles of group counseling that were introduced in MHC 503G: Group Counseling. Topics will include a more in-depth examination of group dynamics, facilitation techniques, group process, methods for selecting group members, counseling theories for group application, and meeting the needs of population-specific groups (e.g., AA, domestic violence survivors, etc.) as well as types of groups (e.g., psychoeducational).

CMH 5060G Ethics and Legal Issues in Counseling - 4 credits

This course teaches students of their ethical and legal duties as a counselor. Students will engage in a case study method to understand how to apply the American Counseling Association and the American Mental Health Counselors Association Codes of Ethics to ethical dilemmas. Topics will include informed consent, mandated reporting, confidentiality, record keeping, distance counseling, duty to warn, family rights and special education. Standards for working with diverse and multicultural clients will be discussed.

CMH 5070G Psychological Assessment - 4 credits

This course provides students with an understanding of the process of psychological assessment, in both group and individual modalities. Students will learn about the assessment of interest, career, personality, intelligence, achievement, and aptitude. In addition to this overview of the assessment, process, students will learn about the conceptual underpinnings of assessment as well as the statistical analysis of such assessment, including basic concepts like measures of central tendency, validity, reliability, norm and criterion referenced tests. Ethical guidelines, issues of diversity, and procedural considerations will be discussed. Administration, scoring, and interpreting test results for report writing will be considered along with the writing of assessment reports.

CMH 5080G Advanced Counseling Techniques - 4 credits

Students will engage in experiential exercises, including role plays, to develop the skills needed to create client-centered helping relationships that adhere to ethical standards. Individuals will learn to foster a therapeutic alliance, conduct an intake interview, and construct evidence-based treatment plans. Prevention strategies and strength-based approaches also will be examined. The various techniques will be discussed in reference to the diagnosis and treatment of the DSM classifications.

CMH 5110G Evaluation and Treatment of Addictions - 4 credits

This course examines the etiology, prevalence, treatment and consequences of substance addictions, including process addictions (i.e., behavioral addictions). Students will learn about assessing and treating co-occurring disorders. The course considers a strength-based, holistic model for assessment, conceptualization, and treatment planning. Pharmacological, physiological, and medical aspects of addictions along with current evidence-based research and treatment care models are reviewed. In addition, the course examines the role of trauma in addictions and mental health issues.

SC 5020G Diversity & Culture in Counseling - 4 credits

This skill-based course will further develop the students’ working knowledge and basic competency in multicultural counseling theory and application. To this end, the course will focus on the counselor on both a professional and personal level. Additionally, the course will examine salient client population-specific issues related to the life experiences and world view of the culturally different client and how such experiences impact on the counseling relationship and therapeutic process. Underlying values and assumptions associated with widely used traditional counseling interventions and their appropriateness with disenfranchised populations will be explored. Traditional and nontraditional culturally competent counseling approaches will also be discussed.

SC 5050G Human Growth and Development - 4 credits

This course provides an overview of biological, psychological, and sociocultural aspects of individual and family development from conception through elder adulthood in a multicultural context. The course is taught from perspectives of cognitive science and behavioral systems as well as sociological, cultural, life span developmental, and comparative approaches. The focus of the course is on normative development; developmental disorders are used to elucidate normative developmental and adaptive processes in language, cognition, and behavioral self-regulation that will serve to introduce students to behaviors and concepts relevant to clinical practice with both children and adults.

SC 6010G Career and College Counseling and Development - 4 credits

This course will review concepts, issues, trends and tools as they relate to career development. It is designed to consider the role of the professional counselor in the career decision-making process embedded within lifestyle and life-stage factors. Topics will include, but not be limited to, career development theory, career assessment tools, interest, skills and personality inventories, career resource materials, technology and the implementation of career counseling strategies.

CMH 5100G Trauma: Crisis and Interventions - 4 credits

This course equips students with an understanding of the different forms of trauma clients might experience and how these different experiences impact decisions regarding trauma-informed care. Topics will include the following: the neurobiology of trauma, attachment theory, understanding trauma through a developmental lens, stabilization, complex and acute trauma, trauma theories, dissociation, trauma processing techniques, vicarious trauma and self-care.

CMH 6000G Practicum - 2 credits

This course is distinctly defined as the practicum experience during the fall semester of the second year of the program. Students provide 100 hours of clinical work. The practicum provides the opportunity to integrate learning and develop skills in providing individual and group counseling, case conceptualization, treatment planning, as well as facilitative skills such as warmth, genuineness, and empathy. Students will engage in the supervision process both on site and on campus. Students will co-register for Internship I.

CMH 6010G Internship I - 4 credits

This course is distinctly defined as the clinical experience during the second year of the program. Students provide 250 -300 hours of clinical experience after completing 100 hours of practicum. Students work in a wide variety of clinical settings and engage in on-site clinical supervision. Students meet weekly on campus with a faculty clinical supervisor to discuss experiences in a seminar format with other graduate students/interns. This course enables students to further hone their skills and to evaluate their performance through self-critique and formal clinical case presentations.

CMH 6020G Internship II - 4 credits

This course is a continuation of CMH 6010 and takes place during the second year of the program. Students provide 300-350 hours of clinical experience, and by the end of the internship sequence, they will have completed 240 direct clinical care hours. Students continue at their Internship I placement during this course. Students continue to meet weekly on campus with a faculty clinical supervisor to discuss their experiences in a seminar format with other graduate students/interns. This course enables students to further hone their counseling skills and to evaluate their own performance through self-critique and formal clinical case presentations.

Send Me Info

Here’s how to get more information about Merrimack College’s Master of Science Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.