Mental Health Counseling

The Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling trains students to function in a variety of community mental health settings (e.g., clinics, hospitals, prisons, college counseling centers, day treatment programs, rehabilitation facilities, outreach programs, after care centers, etc.). Through systematic completion of the curriculum, students develop a competency base from which to perform effectively in their area of specialization.

MS in Mental Health Counseling (MSMHC)

Learn more about this degree

MSMHC Degree Requirements

Degree requirements: 18 courses, 60 credits.

A minimum program involves sixty (60) credits of coursework depending on undergraduate preparation

Core Requirements (5 courses, 15 credits)

 

Prerequisites:

Restricted to Mental Health Counseling students

Credits:

3.00

Description:

This course examines the process of human development across the lifespan. While it will focus primarily on psychological processes, the intersection with biological and social processes will be explored as well. The major psychological theories of cognitive, social and emotional development will be covered as will the foundations for individual differences. Special emphasis will be placed on topics of interest to people entering the counseling professions. Normally offered yearly.

Credits:

3.00

Description:

Principles, concepts and methods of research design and statistics associated with psychological and educational research. Practical applications of research studies to a diverse range of interests in education, psychology and counseling. Offered yearly.

Credits:

3.00

Description:

An overview of the legal issues confronting counselors, human services providers and administrators. Study of regulatory and licensing matters, standards of care, confidentiality laws, mental health and disability laws and family law, constitutional issues, malpractice and legal/ethical dilemmas in human services.

Credits:

3.00

Description:

A survey of problems and issues confronting cultural diversity. The study of ethnicity and sexual orientation as they influence the development of identity. Implications for counseling strategies. Normally offered yearly.

Credits:

3.00

Description:

A study of the practical and theoretical aspects of counseling small groups. There will be provision for a laboratory experience in which students participate in a group and study the dynamics of behavior as this group develops. Group stages of development and leadership skills will also be examined. Normally offered yearly.

Counseling Requirements (8 courses, 30 credits)

Prerequisites:

Restricted to Mental Health Counseling students

Credits:

3.00

Description:

Analysis of selected counseling theories representative of the field of counseling psychology. Theories will be selected from the following areas: Psychoanalytic, Psychosocial, Rational, Cognitive Behavioral/Learning Theory, Person-Centered, and Existential Theory. Treatment goals and techniques will be explored.

Prerequisites:

TAKE COUNS-717

Credits:

3.00

Description:

The study of the nature of mental disorders; central concepts and processes. Psychogenesis, psychodynamics, role of anxiety, and clinical assessment using the DSM-IV.

Prerequisites:

COUNS-713(may be taken concurrently)

Credits:

3.00

Description:

Evaluating, administering, scoring, interpreting, and reporting results of standardized tests of personality, academic performance, cognitive functioning, aptitude, and achievement. Self-study development and assessment of testing programs. Critical issues in testing. Normally offered yearly.

Credits:

3.00

Description:

An introduction to the fundamental techniques and methods of interpersonal relationships, self-examination, and field visits in relation to the role of the professional counselor. The course will involve skill building through role playing, video and/or audio taping. Normally offered spring semester.

Credits:

3.00

Description:

Application of skills in an assigned field placement (school, agency or industry). Students will spend fifteen hours per week in field work and participate in weekly group sessions at the University for the evaluation of progress. Open only to degree candidates in Mental Health Counseling. Offered fall semester.

Prerequisites:

Take COUNS-738

Credits:

3.00

Description:

Continuation of COUNS 738 with an opportunity to assume increased responsibility for clients under supervision. Failure to successfully complete the practicum field experience for any reason following two attempts will result in termination from the program. Offered spring semester.

Prerequisites:

Take COUNS-738 COUNS-739;

Credits:

6.00

Description:

Application of skills in an approved field placement (school, clinic, hospital, agency, industry) totaling 300 clock hours. The opportunity to develop advanced skills and to integrate professional knowledge appropriate to the field experience. Failure to successfully complete the practicum field experience for any reason following two attempts will result in termination from the program. Offered fall semester.

Prerequisites:

Take COUNS-740;

Credits:

6.00

Description:

Continuation of Counseling Internship I with advanced responsibilities totaling 300 clock hours. Exploration of an area of individual specialization. Failure to successfully complete the practicum field experience for any reason following two attempts will result in termination from the program. Offered spring semester.

Special Treatment Issue Requirement (1 course, 3 credits)

Choose one (1) of the following:

Credits:

3.00

Description:

A study of the origin, contributing factors, and implications of drug and alcohol misuse. Various stages and manifestations of abuse/ dependence will be considered and current treatment modalities will be explored.

Credits:

3.00

Description:

The anatomy, physiology and psychology of human sexual functioning are reviewed. Etiology, interpersonal dynamics, and treatment of sexual dysfunctions are reviewed.

Note: other option may be taken as an elective.

Electives (4 courses, 12 credits)

Choose four (4) of the following:

Prerequisites:

COUNS-717;

Credits:

3.00

Description:

The interface of psychology and the law will be examined in the context of forensic evaluations performed for courts, attorneys and related agencies or facilities. Topics ranging from Competency to Stand Trial and Criminal Responsibility to termination of parental rights and custody and visitation evaluations will be explored. Practical applications of the skills and knowledge domains needed to perform forensic evaluations will be emphasized, as will the study of relevant laws and regulations as applied to forensic assessment. Discussion will include specialized forensic topics such as the evaluation of juvenile sexual offenders and the forensic use of psychological testing.

Credits:

3.00

Description:

Selected models of family therapy will be explored. Special emphasis will be placed on assessment and the acquisition of treatment strategies proven to be effective for counselors in helping families cope with developmental stresses. Normally offered alternate years.

Credits:

3.00

Description:

This course explores the major psychological disorders of childhood and adolescence from biological, psychological, and sociocultural perspectives. Attention-deficit and Disruptive Behavior Disorders, Feeding and Eating Disorders, anxiety and depression are among the disorders explored. Student interest determines other topics. Assessment, treatment, and outcome studies are also discussed. Completion of EHS 701 or EHS 712 is recommended before taking this course. Normally offered alternate years.

Credits:

3.00

Description:

An opportunity to learn the history of domestic violence including battering, child abuse and child neglect, and the legal response to it. Focus will be on Massachusetts Law and its response, especially the Abuse Prevention Act, its application and enforcement, and on laws protecting children from abuse and neglect. Filings, law office issues and special issues in dealing with battered women and abused and neglected children will be included with the psychological issues, cultural issues, and advocacy possibilities. Normally offered yearly.

Credits:

1.00- 3.00

Description:

Members of the Department will meet with students to direct their research in areas of special interest to them. Projects will be authorized upon the recommendations of the Department Chairperson and with the approval of the Dean.

Coursework in related disciplines may be elected subject to approval of the program director. Elective availability is subject to program enrollment and instructor availability.

Practicum & Internship

It is during the Counseling Skills Laboratory and the Counseling Practicum that a student demonstrates the ability to translate training into professional judgments and techniques. Students are required to apply formally for the Counseling Internship and to consult with their faculty advisors regarding their field placements. The Counseling Skills Laboratory and the Practicum must be completed with a grade of “B” (3.0) or higher. After two (2) failed attempts to satisfactorily complete the clinical practicum and/or internship, students will be subject to dismissal from the program at the discretion of faculty. Student engagement in unethical behavior as defined by the American Counseling Association (ACA) will be subject to discipline, including potential dismissal from the program, at the time the indiscretion occurs.

MSMHC Learning Goals & Objectives

Learning goals and objectives reflect the educational outcomes achieved by students through the completion of this program. These transferable skills prepare Suffolk students for success in the workplace, in graduate school, and in their local and global communities.

Learning Goals
Learning Objectives
Students should...
Students should be able to...
Be provided with foundational training in the field of mental health counseling.
  • Gain theoretical and applied knowledge pertinent to counseling in the areas of assessment, diagnosis, treatment, consultation, and multicultural considerations
  • Gain knowledge about the professional role including self-care, case management, consultation skills, and maintaining clinical practice
  • Learn ethical decision-making models to resolve ethical dilemmas
Be trained to become competent practitioners.
  • Develop core counseling skills
  • Develop theoretical orientation and can speak in an informed manner about empirically validated treatments
  • Adopt evidence based practice approach to psychodiagnostic assessment
Be trained to promote social justice in their professional capacities as counselors.
  • Learn theoretical foundations of social justice oriented counseling
  • Promote social justice in their clinical practice

Dual Degree with MPA

The MSMHC is available as a Dual Degree with the Master of Public Administration:
View the MPA/MSMHC Dual Degree Curriculum.

Dual Degree with MSCJS

The MSMHC is available as a Dual Degree with the Master of Science in Criminal Justice Studies:
View the MSCJS/MSMHC Dual Degree Curriculum.

Accelerated Bachelor's/Master's in Mental Health Counseling

Accelerated Bachelor's/Master's in Mental Health Counseling Degree Requirements

  1. Students admitted to this dual degree program must meet all the requirements of the undergraduate Psychology degree program.
  2. Students must also meet all requirements for the Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling.
  3. The two graduate courses taken during the senior year will count toward BOTH the undergraduate and graduate degree requirements. Credit hours will be awarded based on the graduate course description.
  4. Before enrolling in a particular graduate course during the senior year, a student must obtain permission from the MHC graduate program director.
  5. Students are subject to the usual standards for academic standing, i.e., undergraduate standards for undergraduate courses and graduate standards for graduate courses.

Upon successful completion of all of the degree requirements, a student will receive a dual Bachelor’s and Master’s degree. The exact degree (BA/BS and Master’s) will be awarded based on the specific undergraduate program the student completes. A student may permanently exit the dual degree program and opt to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree if all the requirements for a Bachelor’s degree have been met. In this case, the graduate courses taken in the senior year will be counted as 4-credit courses applied toward the undergraduate degree requirements.

Counseling Courses

Prerequisites:

Restricted to Mental Health Counseling students

Credits:

3.00

Description:

This course examines the process of human development across the lifespan. While it will focus primarily on psychological processes, the intersection with biological and social processes will be explored as well. The major psychological theories of cognitive, social and emotional development will be covered as will the foundations for individual differences. Special emphasis will be placed on topics of interest to people entering the counseling professions. Normally offered yearly.

Prerequisites:

Restricted to Mental Health Counseling students

Credits:

3.00

Description:

Analysis of selected counseling theories representative of the field of counseling psychology. Theories will be selected from the following areas: Psychoanalytic, Psychosocial, Rational, Cognitive Behavioral/Learning Theory, Person-Centered, and Existential Theory. Treatment goals and techniques will be explored.

Credits:

3.00

Description:

A survey of various theories of vocational choice and development, and strategies for the implementation of vocational counseling in the school, agency, or business/industrial setting. Concepts of work, vocational concerns of women and minorities and other major issues also investigated.

Credits:

3.00

Description:

Principles, concepts and methods of research design and statistics associated with psychological and educational research. Practical applications of research studies to a diverse range of interests in education, psychology and counseling. Offered yearly.

Prerequisites:

TAKE COUNS-717

Credits:

3.00

Description:

The study of the nature of mental disorders; central concepts and processes. Psychogenesis, psychodynamics, role of anxiety, and clinical assessment using the DSM-IV.

Prerequisites:

COUNS-713(may be taken concurrently)

Credits:

3.00

Description:

Evaluating, administering, scoring, interpreting, and reporting results of standardized tests of personality, academic performance, cognitive functioning, aptitude, and achievement. Self-study development and assessment of testing programs. Critical issues in testing. Normally offered yearly.

Prerequisites:

Take COUNS-710 COUNS-737 COUNS-746;

Credits:

3.00- 6.00

Description:

Application of skills in a school environment. Students will spend a minimum of fifteen hours per week in a school and participate in weekly group sessions at the University for the evaluation of progress and clinical supervision. Open only to degree candidates in the School Counseling Program who have formally applied for the Practicum and have completed at least 18 hours of coursework. Offered fall semester.

Prerequisites:

Take COUNS-720;

Credits:

3.00- 6.00

Description:

Continuation of COUNS 720 with an opportunity to assume increased responsibility for clients under supervision. Offered spring semester.

Credits:

3.00

Description:

An overview of the various group counseling formats utilized in schools, and related theories. Issues related to the development and implementation of small counseling groups (e.g., group dynamics and processes for group member selection) and larger educational and prevention-based groups (e.g., fostering positive mental health, career-related programming, anti-bullying) will be explored and discussed.

Prerequisites:

COUNS-717;

Credits:

3.00

Description:

The interface of psychology and the law will be examined in the context of forensic evaluations performed for courts, attorneys and related agencies or facilities. Topics ranging from Competency to Stand Trial and Criminal Responsibility to termination of parental rights and custody and visitation evaluations will be explored. Practical applications of the skills and knowledge domains needed to perform forensic evaluations will be emphasized, as will the study of relevant laws and regulations as applied to forensic assessment. Discussion will include specialized forensic topics such as the evaluation of juvenile sexual offenders and the forensic use of psychological testing.

Credits:

3.00

Description:

Selected models of family therapy will be explored. Special emphasis will be placed on assessment and the acquisition of treatment strategies proven to be effective for counselors in helping families cope with developmental stresses. Normally offered alternate years.

Credits:

3.00

Description:

A study of the origin, contributing factors, and implications of drug and alcohol misuse. Various stages and manifestations of abuse/ dependence will be considered and current treatment modalities will be explored.

Credits:

3.00

Description:

An overview of the legal issues confronting counselors, human services providers and administrators. Study of regulatory and licensing matters, standards of care, confidentiality laws, mental health and disability laws and family law, constitutional issues, malpractice and legal/ethical dilemmas in human services.

Credits:

3.00

Description:

The anatomy, physiology and psychology of human sexual functioning are reviewed. Etiology, interpersonal dynamics, and treatment of sexual dysfunctions are reviewed.

Credits:

3.00

Description:

This course explores the major psychological disorders of childhood and adolescence from biological, psychological, and sociocultural perspectives. Attention-deficit and Disruptive Behavior Disorders, Feeding and Eating Disorders, anxiety and depression are among the disorders explored. Student interest determines other topics. Assessment, treatment, and outcome studies are also discussed. Completion of EHS 701 or EHS 712 is recommended before taking this course. Normally offered alternate years.

Credits:

3.00

Description:

A survey of problems and issues confronting cultural diversity. The study of ethnicity and sexual orientation as they influence the development of identity. Implications for counseling strategies. Normally offered yearly.

Credits:

3.00

Description:

A study of the practical and theoretical aspects of counseling small groups. There will be provision for a laboratory experience in which students participate in a group and study the dynamics of behavior as this group develops. Group stages of development and leadership skills will also be examined. Normally offered yearly.

Credits:

3.00

Description:

An introduction to the fundamental techniques and methods of interpersonal relationships, self-examination, and field visits in relation to the role of the professional counselor. The course will involve skill building through role playing, video and/or audio taping. Normally offered spring semester.

Credits:

3.00

Description:

Application of skills in an assigned field placement (school, agency or industry). Students will spend fifteen hours per week in field work and participate in weekly group sessions at the University for the evaluation of progress. Open only to degree candidates in Mental Health Counseling. Offered fall semester.

Prerequisites:

Take COUNS-738

Credits:

3.00

Description:

Continuation of COUNS 738 with an opportunity to assume increased responsibility for clients under supervision. Failure to successfully complete the practicum field experience for any reason following two attempts will result in termination from the program. Offered spring semester.

Prerequisites:

Take COUNS-738 COUNS-739;

Credits:

6.00

Description:

Application of skills in an approved field placement (school, clinic, hospital, agency, industry) totaling 300 clock hours. The opportunity to develop advanced skills and to integrate professional knowledge appropriate to the field experience. Failure to successfully complete the practicum field experience for any reason following two attempts will result in termination from the program. Offered fall semester.

Prerequisites:

Take COUNS-740;

Credits:

6.00

Description:

Continuation of Counseling Internship I with advanced responsibilities totaling 300 clock hours. Exploration of an area of individual specialization. Failure to successfully complete the practicum field experience for any reason following two attempts will result in termination from the program. Offered spring semester.

Credits:

3.00

Description:

Historical and current problems regarding access and equity to higher education opportunities for traditionally underrepresented groups in the college classroom will be explored, with a focus on research describing the problems, and their solutions Course to be offered yearly by the Administration of Higher Education Program

Credits:

3.00

Description:

An opportunity to learn the history of domestic violence including battering, child abuse and child neglect, and the legal response to it. Focus will be on Massachusetts Law and its response, especially the Abuse Prevention Act, its application and enforcement, and on laws protecting children from abuse and neglect. Filings, law office issues and special issues in dealing with battered women and abused and neglected children will be included with the psychological issues, cultural issues, and advocacy possibilities. Normally offered yearly.

Credits:

1.00- 3.00

Description:

Members of the Department will meet with students to direct their research in areas of special interest to them. Projects will be authorized upon the recommendations of the Department Chairperson and with the approval of the Dean.