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Online M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Curriculum

Curriculum Details

60 total credits required

The University of New Haven’s online Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program includes 60 credit hours (20 total courses) of online mental health counseling courses, combining a core of advanced knowledge and skill development with interdisciplinary electives and in-person intensive residential components.

The curriculum represents the highest standards of professional ethics, theoretical integration, clinical skills, and multicultural counseling competencies. Courses are 15 weeks in duration and most students finish their program in three years.

Our mental health counseling courses are designed to align with Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) standards and enable graduates to meet Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) requirements in the state of Connecticut.*

As a student, you will complete 700 hours of supervised clinical training in your community. Practicum and internship opportunities include individual and group supervision and direct practice with clients relevant to your chosen specialty. You will also participate in two weeklong summer residencies as part of your program.

You can choose to specialize your degree in forensic mental health, designed to provide a deep understanding of relevant and in-demand practice areas for career success.

Core Courses


Introduction to analytic concepts pertinent to sampling techniques, research design, variable control, and criterion definition. Basic problems of measurement, research paradigms, sources of error in research implementation, problems of variable identification and control, and consideration of the logic of inference.

The purpose of this course is to provide an overview of professional ethics in mental health counseling. Students will review principles and constructs in professional development and ethics including: confidentiality and informed consent, competence and supervision, malpractice, self-care, boundaries, and self-awareness. Students will review the American Counseling Association and American Mental Health Counselors Association Codes of Ethics and explore ethical dilemmas commonly encountered in the field of clinical mental health counseling.

This course provides an in-depth exploration of normal and abnormal development through the life cycle. There is an emphasis on childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and later years. The developmental impact of family, neighborhood, schooling, work, culture. Issues of class, ethnicity, gender, age, etc. are addressed, as are applications of theory and research to community treatment and prevention. 3 credits.

This course will provide an overview of the different theories and techniques of counseling. Students will review the empirical research that supports or does not support these different approaches to counseling. The course will also include an examination of the assumptions, roles, and processes of the therapeutic relationship. 3 credits.

This course examines traditional theories of personality and counseling, as well as how to translate theory into effective practice. Students will develop basic counseling skills that include an awareness of self and a capacity to use one’s self in the counseling process. Active listening, reflection of feeling, confrontation, interpretation, diagnostic interviewing, and crisis intervention skills are discussed, demonstrated, and practiced. Ethnic, culture, race, gender, and sexual orientation variables are addressed in the context of the intentionality of the interviewing process. The course is designed to teach students to select wisely from various theories and psychotherapeutic techniques, learn basic counseling skills, and begin to develop a personal style of counseling. 3 credits.

The course addresses major concepts, theoretical perspective, professional issues, and skills related to effective group counseling. In this class students will explore the functions of group counseling in meeting clients’ needs. Emphases will be placed on principles of group counseling and on the development of group membership and leadership skills by your participation in class role plays and in an experiential group. Additionally, students will learn about group work with multicultural of diverse clients. Issues pertaining to group leadership, ethics, and work with special populations will also be addressed. 3 credits.

This course addresses major concepts, theoretical perspectives, professional issues, and skills related to family therapy. Students will explore the functions of family therapy in meeting clients’ needs and the advantages and disadvantages of family therapy compared to individual therapy. The key issue of communication patterns within families is examined through selected readings and in-class role-playing.

This course covers etiological factors and diagnosis of mental health disorders. This includes classification of neuroses, psychophysiologic conditions, psychoses, personality disorders, organic illness, developmental disorders, and childhood diseases. Treatment approaches based on diagnoses will also be explored. 3 credits.

A critical survey of the theories and issues of assessment in counseling. Topics will include intelligence, achievement, psychological and personality assessment. Ethical and clinical issues will be discussed. Laboratory fee; 3 credits.

An overview of theories, processes, and determinants of occupational choice and career development. The history and current trends of career development theories and vocational counseling are discussed. Consideration is given to both developmental and contextual factors which influence career decisions. Special emphasis is devoted to techniques of appraisal for career counseling, including the use of interviews, tests, and work simulations. In addition to class lectures, students will have the opportunity to take several self-report instruments and work on case study materials. 3 credits.

The purpose of this course is to develop multicultural competence through the advancement of student awareness, knowledge, and skills. Students will reflect on their own attitudes, beliefs, and cultural experiences through readings and class activities. Students will be exposed to multicultural counseling issues and current trends, including: cultural considerations in evidence-based practice, micro-aggressions in counseling, social justice approaches to counseling, indigenous approaches, and cultural identity development. Students will review the multicultural guidelines proposed by professional organizations (e.g., American Psychological Association) as they apply to work with counseling clients that may differ with regards to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, language, immigrant status, nationality, religion, socioeconomic status, and other aspects of diversity. 3 credits.

This course will introduce students to the variety of theoretical approaches to the development and persistence of substance use disorders and addiction. It will address the co-occurrence of other mental illnesses that may occur in conjunction with substance use disorders. The impact of addiction on individuals, families, and communities will be explored, and students will become familiar with the various approaches to intervention at multiple levels. Students will develop conceptual knowledge, practical skills, and self-awareness of the etiology of addiction, assessment strategies, and diagnosis and treatment planning. 3 credits.

This course addresses current theory, research, and models relevant to trauma and crisis intervention. An overview of the affective, behavioral, cognitive, and neurological sequelae in response to trauma and crisis will be discussed, with emphasis on skills essential for crisis intervention, including assessment of safety and security concerns, triage, lethality, mass disaster, suicide, and natural disaster. Various models of crisis intervention will be examined. In addition, models essential for the care of the caregiver will be identified. 3 credits.

Prerequisite: consent of the instructor. The practicum involves placement in a practicum setting as well as an in-class seminar. The practicum provides an opportunity for the student to develop basic individual and group counseling skills under supervision. The student receives a grounding in the broader role of professional counselor with the site selected. The seminar portion of the class provides an opportunity for practicum students to meet together weekly to integrate field experiences and discuss topics of professional interest. The practicum requires a minimum of 100 hours, 40 of which must be direct service with clients. A minimum of one hour per week of individual supervision is also required. Students have the opportunity to collaborate in real-time with their classmates and program faculty through group supervision work.

Prerequisites: COUN 6690, consent of the instructor. Students in this course are in clinical mental health counseling placements consistent with their career goals, where they receive individual supervision. University faculty conduct weekly group supervision on campus that includes an emphasis on clinical work, prevention, and consultation, as well as professional issues related to practice. Internship requirements include 600 clock hours, including 240 direct service hours. These hours will be completed over the course of two semesters (Counseling Internship I and Counseling Internship II). Candidates arrange their internships with the assistance of the internship coordinator. Students have the opportunity to collaborate in real-time with their classmates and program faculty through group supervision work.

Prerequisites: COUN 6691, consent of the instructor. This course is a continuation of Counseling Internship I. Faculty conduct weekly group supervision on campus that includes an emphasis on clinical work, prevention, and consultation as well as professional issues related to practice. This continuation course ensures that interns complete the required 600 clock hours including 240 direct service hours over the two semesters of internship. Students have the opportunity to collaborate in real-time with their classmates and program faculty through group supervision work.

Concentration Courses


This is a graduate survey course intended to provide an overview of specific applications of psychology to the criminal justice and legal system. Topics may include dynamics of violence, victimology, eyewitness testimony, trial processes, competence to stand trial, the insanity defense, as well as other areas where psychology and criminal justice interface.

Prerequisite: COUN 6656. This course will review the spectrum of assessment methods used in evaluation and treatment in inmate and forensic settings. Various techniques of forensic interviewing will be examined. Emphasis is on ability to assess violence and risk. Students will come to understand the strengths and limitations of a wide variety of forensic assessment methods. (See also CJST 6647). Cross-listed with CJST 6647. 3 credits.

Prerequisite: COUN 6657. This course will examine various mental health treatment modalities, with particular emphasis on treatment for patients/inmates in the forensic system. Psychopharmacology, group therapy, cognitive techniques, community-based management, faith-based approaches, and social skills training will be covered. Treatment of insanity acquittees, incompetent-to-stand-trial patients, inmates, juvenile offenders, psychopaths, and sex offenders will be examined. (See also CJST 6648) Cross-listed with CJST 6648. 3 credits.

This course is a review of civil and criminal law as it relates to mental health issues. Topics include competence to stand trial, insanity, competence to be executed, civil commitment, sexual predator commitment statutes, confidentiality, duty to warn, and issues of expert testimony. Ethical issues and issues of professional responsibility will also be covered.

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*Click here to learn more about licensure information for the online MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.