M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Mission and Objectives

Mission Statement:

The clinical mental health counseling program at Valparaiso University serves as an ethical and professional point of entry for individuals from diverse populations interested in acquiring the requisite skills associated with becoming a licensed professional counselor. The CMHC program emphasizes the development of professional identity, awareness of cultural diversity and spirituality, and basic counselor competencies. It is the mission of the clinical mental health counseling program faculty to prepare counselors who will ethically promote the well-being of individuals, families, mental health organizations, and communities located in metropolitan, rural, and global settings.

Objective 1: Professional Identity

Students will develop personal identification with and commitment to a professional counseling identity grounded in ethics and guided by best practice. Students will demonstrate their professional identity, emphasizing leadership and service, by becoming active in appropriate professional counseling organizations. Additionally, graduates are prepared to meet all academic licensure requirements within the state of Indiana. Growth of professional identity is developed through successful completion of program curricula as well as through student projects such as professional goals/self-reflection papers and presentations on agencies.

Objective 2: Awareness of Cultural Diversity and Spirituality

Students will acquire awareness of themselves and others through learning and incorporating cognitive, emotional, and spiritual aspects of the self and will utilize clinical skills that are consistent with the respectful and cultural dictates of clients. Further, students will have the skills to demonstrate their self-awareness through assessment of personal strengths and challenges related to working with diverse client populations. These skills will be introduced and practiced within a variety of learning opportunities both in the classroom and the community.

Objective 3: Counselor Competencies

Students will demonstrate skills aligned with the counseling profession in a counseling context as they relate to clinical skills, converting counseling knowledge/theories into best professional practice, advocacy, and social justice. Students will develop counselor competencies as evidenced through scholarship and knowledge as shown through multiple projects at determined milestones throughout the program. Students will demonstrate the successful acquisition of these competencies through completion of the student practica and internships that include case presentations and faculty review of taped sessions.


The CACREP Accredited program in clinical mental health counseling is particularly appropriate for persons who plan to seek licensure in the state of Indiana (or states with similar statutes) as a clinical mental health counselor. In fact, professional licensure in Indiana and many other states exists only at this 60-credit level. Students expecting to use the master of arts to meet requirements for certification or licensure will need to carefully plan their program of study to meet applicable requirements. The clinical mental health counseling program is designed to provide advanced education and professional training in:

  • Human development
  • Appraisal
  • Biological and learned bases of behavior
  • Research and program evaluation
  • Social and cultural foundations of counseling
  • Professional roles and ethics
  • Counseling theory and practice
  • Mental health counseling foundations
  • Group processes
  • Contextual dimensions of counseling
  • Lifestyle and career development
  • Practical/clinical skills for counseling
Core Courses: 15 credits
COUN 635 Introduction to Psychopathology 3 credits
COUN 640 Advanced Psychopathology 3 credits
COUN 660 Helping Relationships: Counseling Theories 3 credits
COUN 662 Helping Relationships: Counseling Processes 3 credits
COUN 693 Foundations of Professional & Ethical Issues in Counseling 0 credits
COUN 694 Counseling Proseminar (4 semesters) 0 credits
Advanced Courses 21 credits
COUN 602 Research Methods 3 credits
COUN 545 Community & Health Counseling 3 credits
COUN 570 Assessment in Counseling Testing & Appraisal 3 credits
COUN 620 Human Development: Biological & Learned Bases of Behavior 3 credits
COUN 625 Social & Cultural Bases of Behavior 3 credits
COUN 664 Career Counseling: Appraisal & Intervention 3 credits
COUN 668 Group Counseling 3 credits
Experiential Training 12 credits
COUN 685 Counseling Practicum 3 credits
COUN 686 Counseling Internship I 3 credits
COUN 687  Counseling Internship II 3 credits
COUN 688  Advanced Counseling Internship 3 credits
Specialty Electives 3 credits
12 credits of specialty electives are required. It is recommended that students choose a minimum of six credits of their specialty electives from the list of applied courses. Family Counseling and Dynamics (COUN 665) and Substance Abuse Counseling (COUN 667) are especially recommended for those seeking licensure as a clinical mental health counselor. Students interested in pursuing the Licensed Clinical Addictions Counselor (LCAC) certificate can choose courses from the LCAC certificate program to fulfill the elective requirements. Students completing the business management certificate should select their remaining six credits from the appropriate category below. Students interested in pursuing doctoral work are advised to select some of the research courses listed below.

A master’s thesis or research project is not required for the CMHC but may be elected as part of the program.

Applied Courses (6 credits minimum recommended)
COUN 530 Child and Adolescent Development 3 credits
COUN 532 Adulthood and Aging 3 credits
COUN 575 Human Neuropsychology in Counseling and School Settings 3 credits
COUN 591 Special Topics in Counseling (with departmental approval) 3 credits
COUN 665 Family Counseling & Dynamics 3 credits
COUN 667  Substance Abuse Counseling 3 credits
COUN 691  Advanced Topics in Counseling 3 credits
COUN 695  Independent Study 1-3 credits
PSY 565 Psychology & Law 3 credits
PSY 590 Special Topics in Psychology (with departmental approval) 1-3 credits
PSY 690 Special Topics in Psychology (with departmental approval) 3 credits
SPSY 630 Cognitive Ability: Assessment for Intervention (with departmental approval) 3 credits
SPSY 650 Socialization and Development of Life Skills (with departmental approval) 3 credits
Licensed Clinical Addictions Counselor Courses
LCAC 630 Psychopharmacology 3 credits
LCAC 665 Family & Group Addiction Counseling 3 credits
LCAC 667 Clinical Additions Theories and Treatment 3 credits
LCAC 686 Internship in Addictions Counseling 3 credits
Business Management Courses
COUN 550 Psychological Foundations of Management 2 credits
COUN 651 Leadership & Team Development 2 credits
COUN 652 Developing People 2 credits
Research Courses
COUN 692 Research Project 3-6 credits
COUN 698 Masters Research Proposal 3 credits
COUN 699 Masters Research and Thesis 3 credits
Supporting Courses
COUN 535 Psychology of Personality 3 credits
PSY 550 Human Cognition 3 credits
PSY 560 History and Systems of Psychology 3 credits

More information, including detailed graduate course descriptions, can be found in the Graduate Catalog in the Counseling and Psychology section of “Course Offerings.” The current Graduate Catalog can be accessed online (PDF) through the Registrar’s office.

Annual Program Outcome Data

Click here for the most recent annual program outcome data.

Program Evaluation Summary 

Click here for the most recently published program evaluation summary.

Click on the “Prospective Students” link to learn more about applying for a degree program.