MS in Community Mental Health & Mental
Health Counseling


The Master of Science Program in Community Mental Health (PCMH) offers a unique, competency-based curriculum designed to prepare you for a wide variety of clinical and administrative roles in integrated community mental health and substance abuse treatment for adults, children, youth and families. PCMH is targeted to a diverse group of students:

  • Mental health and substance abuse staff who wish to advance to a master's level of practice and professional licensure
  • Staff updating their education and understanding of state-of-the-art practices, service management, program development and program evaluation
  • Individuals working in related human service, educational, medical or corrections fields who provide support to children or adults with mental health concerns
  • Mental health and substance abuse service consumers, those in recovery, and family members who are interested in becoming professional service providers
  • Individuals interested in a career change to the behavioral health and/or substance abuse field

The community mental health consists of a minimum of 48 credits, including the 22-credit certificate course sequence and 26 credits of advanced course work. The 60-credit mental health counseling track, within the Master of Science, requires at least four additional courses. All classes meet one weekend a month.

Community Mental Health (MS) Required Courses

PCMH-605: Measurement & Advanced Assessment
This course will provide students with an overview of the principles and practice of measurement and advanced assessment in the helping professions. Students in this course will gain an understanding of the major theories underlying different approaches to psychological measurement, and the ethical and psychosocial issues involved in measurement. This course will focus on selecting instruments for gathering data and information, evaluating the utility of these instruments in terms of their psychometric properties including reliability and validity, and understanding and interpreting the results of clinical measures. Students will gain familiarity with the major measurement techniques for children and adults in the following areas: intelligence and educational testing, personality assessment, vocational and aptitude testing, strength based assessments, substance abuse, and other clinical issues such as mood, eating disorders, adaptive behavior and trauma.
PCMH-663: Internship III
Students in the master's program may complete a third 100 to 400-hour internship (one credit requires a minimum of 100 hours of internship; two credits equals 200 hours, 3 credits equals 300 hours, 4 credits equals 400 hours) that focuses on the development of advanced clinical and counseling skills. A learning contract is developed by the student with the internship supervisor. PCMH faculty provide supervision for the internship process, individual and group instruction for the students, and serve as liaison to the internship sites. Offered on a pass/fail basis only.
PCMH-683: Group Process
This course enables participants to acquire knowledge about theory and a way of thinking about and working with small groups. It is based on the assumption that experiential learning is the most effective way to get acquainted with a new and challenging topic. The course combines presentations of various theoretical issues related to group work with structured learning experiences that enable the application of newly acquired content in familiar contexts.
PCMH-685: Social and Cultural Foundations
This course focuses on the interaction between society and the individual. Students gain an understanding of issues related to race, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, culture and religious preferences and develop the knowledge and skills for culturally competent practice in behavioral health services.
PCMH-686: Career and Lifestyle Development
This course reviews the major theories of career counseling. It explores life factors and roles that influence decision-making and reviews community and informational resources for career development. It also covers major career- counseling techniques and programs for the general population and for people with disabilities.
PCMH-688: Counseling Theory
This course will provide students with an overview of several formal theories of counseling and psychotherapy. Many of the major theories will be explored. Among the theories to be covered are RET, TA, Gestalt, Person-centered, Psychoanalytic, Bowen Systems Theory, Adlerian, Narrative Brief-Treatment approaches. We will consider the key concepts of each theory, and application practices. A wide range of teaching and learning methods will be used to facilitate learning. Most importantly, this will include case study review and skill-based practice.

Advanced PCMH Core

PCMH-662: Internship II
Students in the master's program complete a second 300 to 400-hour internship (a minimum of 100 hours per credit awarded) that focuses on the development of advanced clinical and counseling skills. A learning contract is developed by the student with the internship supervisor. PCMH faculty provide supervision for the internship process, individual and group instruction for the students, and serve as liaison to the internship sites. Offered on a pass/fail basis only.
PCMH-665: Program Evaluation and Systems Research
This course introduces students to the principles and practices of program evaluation and systems research, including quantitative and qualitative research methodologies. Students become informed readers of research literature, develop a research proposal on a topic of interest and learn how to use data to evaluate individual clinical practice and program/agency outcomes. Methods for gathering information from and for key constituencies are emphasized.
PCMH-666: Professional Affairs and Ethics
This course covers significant practice-based challenges for the mental health professional. The course includes a review of ethical standards and guidelines that have been developed by various professions (e.g., mental health counseling, substance abuse counseling, human services, marriage and family counseling, psychology, and social work) and their practical application to day-to-day decision-making. It examines common tensions, polarities, and moral conflicts within which the counselor must exercise discretion and judgment, and explores the legal and ethical frameworks through which these decisions must be considered. Through discussion, role play, real-time case examples and guest speakers, this class provides students with the opportunity to deepen their understanding and commitment to professional standards and ethical guidelines for competent practice as a mental health counselor or program manager. This course will also introduce students to licensure standards, licensing process and legal issues in their respective states.
PCMH-667: Community and Systems: Analysis, Consultation and Change
Students examine the research on community systems and change, strategies for analyzing and understanding communities and service systems, and community organizing and advocacy approaches being used in the field. Students learn the consultation skills critical to promoting collaboration and change in systems and communities and complete a project that integrates the research literature with practical applications and action strategies in this area.
PCMH-682: Human Development
This course reviews significant research findings and theory about human development. Building a multidimensional framework for understanding development process and dynamics and for predicting challenges associated with life transitions is emphasized. The interplay of the biological, cognitive, social and cultural influences of each aspect of development also is stressed.
PCMH-690: Master's Project
Students must write a significant paper that is a literature review in an emerging area of clinical practice; a review and analysis of a policy issue or trend; a program design, development or evaluation; a system change strategy plan or analysis; or a grant proposal. Students are expected to integrate relevant literature, concepts and theories from their courses.

Additional PCMH Course Work

Three of the following courses are required depending on the specialization.

PCMH-672: Management of Behavioral Health Services
This course explores aspects of leadership and management roles with behavioral health organizations. It provides an introduction to such topics as personal management and self- awareness, managed care, and organizational dynamics, change and leadership. Students also learn about basic aspects of managing organizations, including financial management, risk management and strategic affiliations.
PCMH-675: Co-Occurring Issues for Children and Families
This course focuses on three issues. The first is understanding families with a member who abuses substances. This includes an understanding of family systems, issues related to culture and ethnicity, the impact of domestic violence and effects specific to very young children. The second, specific interventions for youth who are abusing substances, includes strategies for providing intensive treatment options in the community, developing pro-social behaviors and legal issues that affect minors. The third, system and community issues, includes ways to address cross-social service system treatment barriers and community education and mobilization.
PCMH-676: Physiology of Addictions and Psycho- Pharmacology
This course covers the physiology of addictions and the effects and prevalence of major addictive and abused substances. Students develop an understanding of withdrawal symptoms and detoxification protocols. Students also gain a working knowledge of major medications used to treat psychiatric, substance use and co-occurring disorders and basic medical problems for which referrals should be made. Educating individuals and their families on medication benefits and side effects is emphasized.
PCMH-689: Early Childhood and Infant Mental Health
This innovative new course provides an overview of the latest assessment and intervention techniques used with infants, very young children and their families, with a strong emphasis on social and emotional development and mental health. Students will gain an understanding of the impact that early trauma, family violence, poverty and development disabilities can have on young children. Students will establish a context for working with young children in various community settings.
PCMH-692: Elders: Mental Health/Substance Abuse
Americans over the age of 65 are a fast growing segment of the population. A significant percentage of elders have mental health or substance abuse concerns. This course is designed to better prepare mental health and substance abuse counselors and other related professionals for the treatment and support of elders. Students will gain knowledge of specific strategies for screening, assessment, and treatment of elders, including attention to: situational concerns such a loss, grief and social isolation; issues of trauma and elder care; differential diagnosis of new vs. existing conditions; symptoms related to dementia and Alzheimer's; mental health issues related to depression, mental illness and changes in executive function; substance use issues, including interactions with medications, and other related medical conditions. Students also will gain an understanding of the larger service systems and community resources available to elders.

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