60 TOTAL CREDITS REQUIRED*
Guided by educators with real-world counseling experience, Sacred Heart University’s online master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling uses courses developed with CACREP standards as a foundation to equip students for career advancement. To ensure the professional success of students across the country, the program uses a curriculum designed to prepare students to meet the educational requirements for licensure in many states.
*Please note that many states have specific requirements for their own state licensing process. Other requirements may include passing a national licensing exam to be taken after completion of academic program and practicum and internship hours are met. Please also note that the course abstracts on this page are meant to provide a high-level course overview and are subject to change.
Counseling Core Courses
This course serves as an orientation to the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program; personal growth experiences in the program; the counseling profession; ethical and legal issues, counseling process, skills and theories; professional counselor roles, functions and work settings; and historical foundations of counseling. The course covers history, philosophy, and trends in clinical mental health counseling; roles, responsibilities of counselors; knowledge of clinical mental health settings; legal, ethical issues, policies, laws, and legislation pertinent to counseling. Students will learn basic information about national standards, certification, and licensure requirements.
This course provides an overview, to counseling students, of the theories, concepts, and research regarding the developmental characteristics of human development. The course will enhance students’ understanding of significant developmental changes that occur over the lifespan. Emphasis will be placed on human development throughout the life span, including emotional, physical, cognitive, and social development with an emphasis on the influences of cultural phenomena on behavior. The course will involve critiques of different theories of human development culture, lifespan processes, and the relationships among these. Professional, clinical, legal, and ethical issues will also be addressed.
This course facilitates the development of individual counseling skills in counseling students. It serves to introduce students to the basic microskills/helping skills and assist them learn how to utilize and apply these counseling skills. The goal of this course is to present the basic skills and techniques that form the foundation of the counseling process. A focus of the course is the development of counselors that will become effective agents of change through therapeutic relationships. This course facilitates self-development related to one’s ability to relate to and connect with others and we will emphasize personal growth and self-care throughout the course. The course will involve live, online skills practice, submission of recorded sessions of skills’ practice for peer and instructor feedback, and a 1-week, on-ground live component.
This course introduces counseling students to the seminal counseling theories and helping relationships from individual and systemic perspectives. The course incorporates theory, skills, and techniques in the development of a counselor identity, theoretical orientation. The course allows students to explore a variety of established theoretical orientations and examine them for personal congruence and applicability for client populations. The course explores helper and helpee characteristics, sociocultural factors, and legal and ethical considerations.
This course is designed to promote development of a theoretical and practical framework, in counseling students, for effective delivery of clinical mental health services within the context of diversity and multiculturalism. In addition to exploring the effects cultural diversity has on the helping relationship, this course will examine the relationship that ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, minority status, aging, and disability plays in the delivery of clinical mental health services. Students will identify practice-based strategies that address cultural challenges to service delivery including the impact of individual prejudices and discrimination.
This course is designed as a practical introduction, for counseling students, to testing and assessment as this course covers the basics in assessment. The course explores the theory and techniques of administering, scoring, and interpreting educational and psychological tests and includes test selection, administration, and the dynamics of test interpretation to enable the counselor to synthesize, integrate, and evaluate appraisal data for use in guidance and counseling. Topics include intelligence, achievement, neuropsychological assessment, objective and projective personality testing, and testing of ability, aptitude, and attitudes. The course is designed to enable students to become competent and critical readers of testing data and research, to improve their knowledge of referral options, and to integrate testing data in treatment planning and therapy.
This course is based on the DSM 5-TR and ICD-10 and is designed to provide an in-depth look at the etiology and diagnosis of psychological distress and psychopathology to counseling students. Students will become familiar with cultural diversity factors impacting diagnosis and assessment. Students will gain an understanding of the biological, neurological, psychosocial and physiological factors that affect human functioning, and behavior. The course allows for students to learn about and assess for mental disorders across the lifespan and include the biological, psychological, social and environmental factors implicated in vulnerability and resilience. A focus is made on the “continuous assessment process” and advancing one’s assessment skills.
This course introduces counseling students to the theories and stages of career development will serve as the foundation for an exploration of life planning and career development. Career planning will be considered as a process of continuous self-assessment, careful selection, skill development, goal setting, and decision making. The course will examine career development from the dual perspective of personal development.
This course is designed to allow counseling students to explore the methodological foundations of research and program evaluation including issues in general scientific practice; measurement; both quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection; research design; relationship among problem, theory, and method; and practical and ethical problems in the conduct of research. The course offers developing the ability to critically analyze research in the area of research and program evaluation and becoming consumers of good research.
This course is designed to provide counseling students with an overview of substances use disorders and process addictions. This course examines the various etiological factors that contribute to substances use disorders and process addictions, including neurobiological, genetic, psychological, socio-cultural, environmental, spiritual, and contextual factors. Emphasis will be placed on a bio-psychosocial model, highlighting the inter-relationship between such factors. Special emphasis will be placed on co-morbid disorders, differential diagnostic issues, and the various methods used to evaluate substance use problems. Barriers to effective treatment will also be discussed.
This course provides counseling students with a solid foundation in the theory and treatment of psychiatric crises and emergencies. Fundamentals of trauma and trauma-causing events and their impact upon crisis intervention work will be examined. The course will examine the differences and similarities of emergencies as opposed to crises. All aspects of psychiatric emergencies will be examined: Emergency assessments and interventions, techniques of lethality assessment, risk factors such as substance abuse, violence history, demographic profile, cultural factors and the presence of mental illness. Differential assessment regarding the various aspects and levels of professional mental health response will be reviewed, including the use of Psychological First Aid, suicide prevention, stabilization, and immediate psychiatric crisis response.
This course is to provide a basis counseling students. In the theoretical, experiential, and practical understanding of the dynamics, techniques, and other factors involved in group psychotherapy. Content will combine theoretical knowledge of group process, dynamics, facilitation methods and experiential learning and exercises designed to foster understanding of the power and scope of group forces. Aspects of learning will encompass a wide range of topics relative to salient concepts of group work. This will include stages of group development, cultural diversity factors, roles of group members, agents of change in group dynamics, group leadership skills, group composition, various types of groups, methods of evaluation of effectiveness, and legal and ethical considerations. This course will also introduce students to leading therapy groups in a wide range of settings, e.g., outpatient, inpatient, day treatment and community settings. Applicability of various theoretical perspectives, specialty groups, and other identified areas of student interest. The course will involve skills practice, submission of recorded skills’ practice for instructor feedback, and a 1-week, on-ground live component.
Clinical Mental Health Counseling Core Courses
This course will help counseling students explore the relationship between the law, the framework of ethics, and clinical mental health counseling. Legal duties and the rights of clients and providers will be discussed. The course will also provide a forum for the exploration and analysis of ethical questions and dilemmas encountered by managers and clinicians in clinical mental health counseling. An advanced look is taken of individual state legal requirements as well as well case law impacting counseling ethics.
This course guides clinical mental health counseling students in learn treatment planning strategies, which are based in best practice, evidence-based, integrative care (e.g., ROSC Model), treatment models, that are client-centered, individualized and culturally sound treatment plans for a wide variety of clinical mental health disorders. The course will include discussion of and research into the role of ethical and culturally competent counseling with special populations in integrative models of care and various counseling settings; while, becoming familiar with the various counseling approaches useful in effecting changes in these individuals.
This synchronous, online course is a clinical-experiential course designed to strengthen clinical mental health counseling students’ skills and understanding of the practice of clinical mental health counseling through supervised practice. The course provides for continued development and practice of skills learned Residency I and II. In this initial clinical course, students will complete 100 hours of supervised practice, 40 of the hours must be direct service with clients. Additionally, students will receive feedback, based on recorded sessions and case conceptualizations, from the instructor and peers as well as group supervision from instructors and individual supervision from approved, site supervisors.
This synchronous, online course is a clinical-experiential course designed to strengthen clinical mental health counseling students’ skills and understanding of the practice of clinical mental health counseling through supervised practice. The course provides for continued development and practice of skills learned Residency I, II, and Practicum. In this initial Internship course, students will complete 300 hours of supervised practice, 120 of the hours must be direct service with clients. Additionally, students will receive feedback, based on recorded sessions and case conceptualizations, from the instructor and peers as well as group supervision from instructors and individual supervision from approved, site supervisors.
This synchronous, online course is a clinical-experiential course designed to strengthen clinical mental health counseling students’ skills and understanding of the practice of clinical mental health counseling through supervised practice. The course provides for continued development and practice of skills learned Residency I, II Practicum, and Internship. In this Advanced Internship course, students will complete 300 hours of supervised practice, 120 of the hours must be direct service with clients. Additionally, students will receive feedback, based on recorded sessions and advanced case conceptualizations, from the instructor and peers as well as group supervision from instructors and individual supervision from approved, site supervisors.
This synchronous, online course is a clinical-experiential course designed to strengthen clinical mental health counseling students’ skills and understanding of the practice of clinical mental health counseling through supervised practice. The course provides for continued development and practice of skills learned Residency I, II, Practicum, Internship, and Advanced Internship I. This course is intended for students in states that require a greater number of supervised clinical experience hours. In this Advanced Internship II course, students will complete 300 hours of supervised practice, 120 of the hours must be direct service with clients. Additionally, students will receive feedback, based on recorded sessions and advanced case conceptualizations, from the instructor and peers as well as group supervision from instructors and individual supervision from approved, site supervisors.
This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to conducting couple and family counseling. The primary objective of the class is to assist counseling students translate theories into action through the use of family systems theories. As such, the course will include processes of couples and family counseling and special aspects of contemporary couples and family counseling. Students explore the interviewing and counseling techniques that are specific to working with couples and families. Structural, communication, analytic, behavioral, and postmodern theories of couples and family counseling will be explores as well as ethics, legal issues, and current research in family systems theories.
This course provides foundational understanding of sexuality from multiple perspectives, ranging from the biological through psychological, as well as cultural, medical, ethical and legal issues. The course also serves to explore issues related to counseling matters of sexuality, including the culture of sexuality, stigma, and special topics. Through examination sexuality and issues related to sexuality, students will be better informed to assume a role in helping clients address issues of human sexuality.
This course allows students to explore working with selected/special populations with which they may come into contact as counselors. The course will include discussion of and research into the role of ethical and culturally competent counseling with special populations in integrative models of care and various counseling settings; while, becoming familiar with advanced techniques, theories, and models of counseling. The course views special populations through the lens of multiculturalism and diversity.
This course will help students gain a better understanding of grief and loss across the lifespan. Students will gain a better understanding of how age and developmental stage affect perceptions and coping style. It will also examine the mental, physical, and situational effects that occur as a result of grief and loss, throughout life. It will explore the variations in individuals’ process through grief and loss.
This course focuses on the knowledge that counselors should acquire regarding medications utilized to treat mental health issues. It will include the major classes of medications currently in use, drug interactions, and the counselor’s role in advocating and educating clients to understand their medications and the ethical dilemma involved in this advocacy. The course also takes an advanced look at psychopathology, research in mental health diagnostics, and how culture influences definitions psychopathology. The course will introduce advanced clinical issues and contemporary neuroscience research related to altered development and maladaptive behaviors.
This course examines organizational and administrative models in clinical mental health settings. Models of consultation and supervision will also be examined. In this course, candidates will examine methods and models of program evaluation and procedures utilized in effective service delivery. Students will be introduced to preparation roles and responsibilities within mental health organizations. Finally, candidates will develop of an understanding of the cultural context of relationships both individually and collectively in both personal and professional settings. Includes supervised training in consulting skills that may be incorporated into counseling practices.
This course examines the best practices and ethics of the use of technology in counseling and supervision. Students will learn about state and federal laws guiding the use of technology in counseling and supervision. HIPAA and HITECH rules and regulations will be reviewed. Students will learn about the benefits and limitations of using technology in counseling and supervision. Theories and models of supervision will be explored in an attempt to help students understand the supervision process.
This course provides a therapeutic perspective incorporating multiple theoretical and therapeutic orientations for couple counseling. The course examines common areas and patterns of marital dysfunction. Students will begin to develop their own informed approach to couple counseling based on reflective consideration of major systemic therapies and their own personal theoretical perspective.