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HAROLD ABEL SCHOOL OF SOCIAL AND BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES

MS Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling General Mental Health Counseling specialization

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Total program credits needed for graduation: 92

One academic quarter is 3 months. You will have a 3-week break between each quarter.

To learn more, call 1.866.283.8039, or email us. When you connect with Capella, we will immediately put you in touch with an enrollment counselor trained to assist you with specific questions and needs for your area of interest.

Program Course Descriptions & Requirements

Core Courses - 52 course quarter credits.

COUN5004
Survey of Research in Human Development for Professional Counselors (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

This course presents theories of human development and behavior throughout the lifecycle. Learners examine approaches for researching human development, including personality and moral development theory. Learners also focus on the developing person using the theoretical lenses of disciplines such as psychology, anthropology, and biology. Must be taken during the learner’s first quarter. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

COUN5006
Survey of Research Methodology (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

This course provides an overview of graduate-level approaches to research methodology. Learners study major research methodologies and quantitative and qualitative approaches to needs assessment, program evaluation, and program design. Learners may only earn credit for COUN5006 or CST5006 or HS5006 or SHB5006.

COUN5106
Assessment, Tests, and Measures (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

Learners in this course examine the assessment process and the use of tests and measures in counseling. Learners also explore the evolution of assessment methods, testing strategies and interpretation, and fundamental measurement constructs.

COUN5107
Principles of Psychopathology: Diagnosis and Treatment (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

Learners in this course examine psychopathology principles, professional literature, and current issues associated with assessing and treating mental disorders. Learners critically evaluate diagnostic models, methods, and approaches used in diagnosing and treating individuals, couples, and families. Learners also explore the current DSM classifications and diagnostic issues associated with multicultural populations. Prerequisite(s): Addiction Counseling learners have completed COUN5940 and COUN-R5940. Mental Health Counseling learners must have completed COUN5930 and COUN-R5930. School Counseling learners must have completed COUN5910 and COUN-R5910.

COUN5214
Theories of Personality (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

In this course, learners examine the main constructs of personality by analyzing person- centered, trait, behavioral, psychodynamic, and social-cognitive personality theories. Learners also study biological, social, and cultural influences on personality and the development of personality throughout the lifecycle. Learners may earn credit for either COUN5214 or CST5214, but not both.

COUN5217
Ethical and Legal Issues in Professional Counseling (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

In this course, learners evaluate current legal and ethical guidelines used in the counseling profession. Learners apply decision-making models and formulate effective collaboration strategies used to resolve legal and ethical issues that arise when working with children, adults, couples, and families. Learners also analyze how personal belief systems influence counselors’ responses to those issues.

COUN5223
Introduction to Clinical Mental Health Counseling (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

This course is an introduction to the historical and philosophical foundations of the clinical mental health counseling profession. Learners examine professional counselors’ roles in providing prevention, intervention, supervision, and consultation services to clients from diverse backgrounds. Learners analyze effective program management and evaluate the effects of public policy on the practice of clinical mental health counseling, as well as explain how advocacy methods and strategies are used by clinical mental health counselors across multiple mental health delivery systems.

COUN5238
Crisis Assessment and Intervention (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

This course presents crisis intervention and emergency management models and strategies used in the counseling field. Learners focus on developing the crisis intervention skills needed to provide counseling services in mental health settings in a timely, effective, and ethical manner. Learners also explore other related topics, including working with situational crises, assessing suicide and other risks, and supporting the implementation of emergency management plans.

COUN5239
Theories of Psychotherapy (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

This course presents various theories of psychotherapy and their respective philosophical principles and assumptions. Learners evaluate the theoretical concepts and evidence-based practices of psychotherapy and examine appropriate application of theories and interventions to a diverse client population.

COUN5241
Group Counseling and Psychotherapy (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

Learners in this course examine the theoretical components and developmental aspects of groups. Topics include types of groups, group dynamics and processes, group leadership and membership roles, ethical awareness in relation to groups, and crisis management within groups. Prerequisite(s): Addiction Counseling learners must have completed COUN5940 and COUN-R5940. Career Counseling learners must have completed COUN5950 and COUN-R5950. Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy learners must have completed COUN5920 and COUN-R5920. Mental Health Counseling learners must have completed COUN5930 and COUN-R5930. School Counseling learners must have completed COUN5910 and COUN-R5910.

COUN5252
Introspective and Personal Growth Seminar (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

This course helps learners identify aspects of their history and personality that are relevant to professional clinical work. Learners examine methods of introspective work that facilitate the self-assessment process, including journaling, personal psychotherapy, self-expressive artwork, dream work, and specialized readings. The course emphasizes identifying personal strengths and limitations and the ways they may influence clinical effectiveness.

COUN5279
Life Planning and Career Development (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

In this course, learners develop foundational career counseling knowledge and skills and engage in professional career counseling activities. Learners examine the major models of career development and the ways clients’ interests, aptitudes, lifestyle preferences, social interests, familial responsibilities, and life transitions may impact the career development process. Learners also discuss legal and ethical issues associated with career counseling practice.

COUN5336
Counseling and Advocacy with Diverse Populations (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

This course introduces theory and research related to culturally competent counseling and social justice advocacy. Learners consider the characteristics and concerns of diverse populations as they inform counseling and advocacy practices that promote optimal wellness and growth for individuals, couples, families, and groups. Learners also assess the influence of their own characteristics, attitudes, and beliefs on the counseling process; examine their roles in promoting social justice at multiple levels; and evaluate approaches for prevention of mental health issues in a multicultural society.

Specific Residential Colloquia or Clinical Experience Courses - 20 course quarter credits.

All academic courses listed below include specific residential colloquia, practice, or clinical experiences. Learners must complete prerequisites to be eligible to complete each course in the sequence.

COUN5930
Mental Health Counseling Pre-Practicum Course 1 (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

This online course reinforces the clinical mental health counseling skills developed in COUN-R5930, including building therapeutic relationships, performing therapeutic assessments, and applying ethical and legal standards of practice. Learners continue to integrate mental health counseling theories and methods with clinical practice. COUN5930 must be taken the quarter immediately following COUN-R5930. Prerequisite(s): COUN-R5930; COUN5003 or COUN5004; COUN5214; COUN5215 or COUN5217; COUN5221 or COUN5223; COUN5238; COUN5239; COUN5252; COUN5334 orCOUN5336. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

COUN-R5930
Mental Health Counseling Residential Colloquium Track 1 (NON-CREDIT)

The first residential colloquium includes a preparatory online courseroom and a residency experience. Learners engage in preparatory online courseroom activities to prepare themselves for the residency experience and focus on developing clinical mental health counseling skills, including building therapeutic relationships, performing therapeutic assessments, and applying ethical and legal standards of practice. Learners then engage in a face-to-face residency experience that guides them as they integrate mental health counseling theories and methods with clinical practice. COUN5930 must be taken the quarter immediately following COUN-R5930. Prerequisite(s): COUN5003 or COUN5004; COUN5214; COUN5215 or COUN5217; COUN5221 or COUN5223; COUN5238; COUN5239; COUN5252; COUN5334 or COUN5336. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

COUN5931
Mental Health Counseling Pre-Practicum Course 2 (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

This online course reinforces the advanced clinical mental health counseling skills developed in COUN-R5931, including building a range of therapeutic relationships, applying theory- based individual and group therapy techniques, and performing crisis assessments. Learners continue to integrate mental health counseling theories and methods with clinical practice. COUN5931 must be taken the quarter immediately following COUN-R5931. prerequisite(s): COUN5930, COUN-R5930, COUN-R5931, COUN5006, COUN5106, COUN5107, COUN5108, COUN5241, COUN5271. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

COUN-R5931
Mental Health Counseling Residential Colloquium Track 2 (NON-CREDIT)

The first residential colloquium includes a preparatory online courseroom and a residency experience. Learners engage in preparatory online courseroom activities to prepare themselves for the residency experience and focus on developing clinical mental health counseling skills, including building therapeutic relationships, performing therapeutic assessments, and applying ethical and legal standards of practice. Learners then engage in a face-to-face residency experience that guides them as they integrate mental health counseling theories and methods with clinical practice. COUN5930 must be taken the quarter immediately following COUN-R5930. Prerequisite(s): COUN5003 or COUN5004; COUN5214; COUN5215; COUN5221 or COUN5223; COUN5238; COUN5239; COUN5252; COUN5334. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

COUN6302
Mental Health Counseling Clinical Practicum (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

The clinical practicum is an online-directed, supervised field experience in a mental health counseling field setting during which learners practice specific clinical skills, including interviewing, assessment, intervention, documentation, and consultation. Learners use fundamental communication and interviewing principles and perform initial assessments with individuals, couples, and/or families. This course requires 100 hours of clinical field experience, which must consist of no less than 40 hours of direct client contact, and no less than 12 hours of face-to-face contact with field supervisors. It is the learner’s responsibility to research and comply with the specific clinical experience requirements of their states. Prerequisite(s): COUN5930, COUN5931 with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

COUN6331
Mental Health Counseling Clinical Internship 1 (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

This is the first course in a sequence of two clinical internship courses during which learners fulfill 600 total required contact hours in a mental health counseling setting. Of the 600 total hours, learners must complete 240 hours of direct client contact and a minimum of 24 hours of face-to-face contact with field supervisors. The internship provides learners with specific clinical skills in interviewing, assessment, intervention, documentation, and consultation with individuals, couples, and/or families. Grading for this course is S/NS. It is the learner’s responsibility to research and comply with the specific clinical experience requirements of their states. Prerequisite(s): COUN6301 or COUN6302, COUN6935 with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

COUN6332
Mental Health Counseling Clinical Internship 2 (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

This is the second course in a sequence of two clinical internship courses during which learners fulfill 600 total required contact hours. Of the 600 total hours, learners must complete 240 hours of direct client contact and a minimum of 24 hours of face-to-face contact with field supervisors. The internship provides learners with specific clinical skills in interviewing, assessment, intervention, documentation, and consultation with individuals, couples, and/ or families. Grading for this course is S/NS. It is the learner’s responsibility to research and comply with the specific clinical experience requirements of their states. Prerequisite(s): COUN6331 with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

Specialization Courses - 20 course quarter credits.

COUN5108
Foundations of Addiction and Addictive Behavior (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

This course provides learners with fundamental knowledge of addiction from its historical roots through contemporary issues. Learners examine theory and research that guides treatment for substance use disorders and related addictive behaviors, including the diagnosis and treatment of co-occurring mental health issues. In addition, learners review empirically supported interventions for individuals, families, groups, and diverse populations, as well as emerging issues in the field based upon current research. Learners may earn credit for either COUN5108 or CST5108, but not both. Prerequisite(s): Addiction Counseling learners must have completed COUN5940 and COUN-R5940. Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy learners must have completed COUN5920 and COUN-R5920. Mental Health Counseling learners must have completed COUN5930 and COUN-R5930. School Counseling learners must have completed COUN5910 and COUN-R5910.

COUN5225
Human Sexuality (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

Learners in this course study sexuality within the broad context of human experience. Learners examine a systemic psychosexual approach to development across the lifespan and evaluate the functionality of sexual behavior in individuals, couples, and families. In addition, learners explore theory, assessment, treatments, and interventions for various issues associated with sexuality, as well as sexuality-related concerns of diverse populations. Throughout the course, learners are challenged to expand personal awareness of limitations and biases that could impact the therapeutic relationship.

COUN5254
Child and Adolescent Counseling (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

This course presents major theories and research of adolescent and child development. Learners examine biological and psychosocial development factors and evaluate the influence of family, community, society, and trauma on development. Prerequisite(s): Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy learners must have completed COUN5920 and COUN-R5920. Mental Health Counseling learners must have completed COUN5930 and COUN-R5930.

COUN5271
Marriage and Family Systems (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

Learners in this course study families as systems from theoretical, clinical, and research perspectives. The course emphasizes family development, transitions, assessment, and intervention. Learners also explore systems-oriented assessment models and strategies for initial interviews, hypothesis formulation, designing a strategy for intervention, and the process of termination.

COUN6935
Mental Health Counseling Integrative Project (4 QUARTER CREDITS)

In this course, learners demonstrate proficiency in mental health counseling by applying learning from required courses to create a research proposal that integrates research competency with clinical theoretical applications, ethics, and multicultural competency. Learners apply quantitative and qualitative research methods to evaluate the application of a clinical intervention to address a multicultural population’s clinical needs. Prerequisite(s): COUN5225, COUN5254, COUN5279. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

*This course has a prerequisite. Contact an enrollment counselor or refer to the course descriptions for more information.

Graduates of this specialization are not eligible for licensure in South Carolina. Learners residing in South Carolina should check with the state licensing agency for specific requirements for professional licensure.

Capella University cannot guarantee licensure, endorsement, certification, authorization, other professional credential or salary advancement. State regulations and professional credential standards vary. It is the learner's responsibility to understand and comply with requirements for their states and professional associations. For more information on licensure, visit our licensure page. (Washington state learners are advised to go to: http://pathway.pesb.wa.gov/outofstate for more information.)

†This course includes required live web conferencing activities and/or learner audio/video recordings. Learners who require assistive technology or alternative communication methods to participate in these activities should contact Disability Services to request accommodations.

Maryland residents are not eligible to enroll in this specialization.

Residency Requirement

To support your academic and professional success, residential colloquia provide learning and community-building experiences in a stimulating scholarly environment. For this specialization, you are required to complete two six-day residential colloquia (COUN-R5930 and COUN-R5931).

Practicum / Internship Requirement

Toward the end of your academic program, you'll complete a clinical experience, often referred to as practicum or internship, in which you will have the opportunity to put into practice what you've learned in your coursework and residency experiences. For this specialization, you are required to complete a minimum of 100 total practicum hours and 600 internship hours.

Mental Health/Addiction Counseling

Develop your counseling skills in real world environments with the support of your Capella Faculty and fieldwork Site Supervisor.

Learn more about the Practicum and Internship Fieldwork ExperiencePDF.

What Can I Expect?

Most students take 1 to 2 courses at a time. One course typically requires 10 to 12 hours of study per week.

Courses are divided into 10 weekly units. Each unit consists of readings, discussions, and other activities you will be expected to complete throughout the week. Assignments are due on Sundays, though not every course requires an assignment each week.

In each course, you will receive a detailed scoring guide that describes expectations for every graded assignment.

Grades are based on your participation in weekly reading discussions and completion of assignments. You will also be assessed on your ability to demonstrate an understanding of expected outcomes for your program or specialization. These outcomes are based on the needs and performance standards of your field or discipline.

Learn more about online learning at Capella.

Transfer Credits

There are many ways to reduce tuition costs, including transferring credits which can help save time and money. You can transfer up to 12 credits into this specialization.

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Take an Individual Course

Whether you're completing continuing education credits, want to see if online learning is right for you, or are simply interested in a specific topic, you can enroll in many of Capella's online courses without committing to a degree program. We recommend speaking first with an enrollment counselor to discuss your goals and ensure the credits you earn now can be applied to a degree program later.

Learn more about individual courses

To learn more, call 1.866.283.8039, or email us. When you connect with Capella, we will immediately put you in touch with an enrollment counselor trained to assist you with specific questions and needs for your area of interest.

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Based on the number of transfer credits you entered above, a corresponding number of elective courses have been removed from this example course sequence plan. Actual transfer credits and required courses may vary and are determined following an official transcript evaluation. Individual time to complete and total program cost vary and are subject to individual progress, number of transfer credits, and number of courses taken per quarter.
Transfer credits entered above have been first applied to meet elective requirements followed by general education requirements. Courses have been removed accordingly in the above example. Actual transfer credit and required courses may vary and are determined following an official transcript evaluation. Individual time to complete and total program cost vary and are subject to individual progress, number of transfer credits, and number of courses taken per quarter.