MS in Community Mental Health & Mental
Health Counseling

CMH_MC_MS_Campus


The Master of Science Program in Community Mental Health & Mental Health Counseling (PCMH) offers a unique, competency-based curriculum designed to prepare you for a wide variety of clinical and administrative roles in clinical mental health counseling, with a focus on 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 service staff who wish to advance to a master's level of practice and professional licensure.
  • Staff and individuals working in related human service, educational, medical or corrections fields who provide support to children and families or adults with mental health and/or addiction 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 clinical mental health and/or substance abuse counseling field.
  • Professionals looking to update their education and understanding of state-of-the art practices, services to special populations, behavioral health service management, program development, or program evaluation.

For those who want to focus on mental health counseling, you can choose the M.S. in Community Mental Health & Mental Health Counseling degree option, which requires a minimum of 60 credits and a total of 1,000 hours of practicum and internship.

Classes meet one weekend a month at local learning sites in Alaska, Maine, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, and Vermont.

 

PCMH Foundation Courses

In addition to the courses listed below, all students must attend PCMH Orientation and Immersion Weekend.

PCMH-600: Overview of Behavioral Health Services
In this course, students gain an understanding of co-occurring psychiatric disabilities and psychoactive substance abuse disorders, severe emotional disturbances affecting children and adolescents and their impact on the lives of people diagnosed with these disabling conditions. This course also provides an overview of emerging policy and practice in behavioral health care, including the historical context in which service systems organize, finance and deliver care; the current approaches to comprehensive treatment and support; the impact of managed care; and community-building, advocacy and systems change. Topics are addressed from multiple perspectives, with a strong emphasis on the perspective of service recipients and their families, as well as service providers, policy makers and the community at large.
PCMH-610: Helping Relationships
Students gain an understanding of the clinical process, from engagement to assessment, intervention, and evaluation. The focus is on the development of communication and consultation skills, in the context of major counseling theories. Skills are practiced in relation to working with individuals with significant mental health and substance abuse problems, their families, and other professionals. Skills covered include values clarification, establishing effective relationships, listening skills, team building, working with natural supports, mediation, negotiation and conflict resolution.
PCMH-615A: Practicum
Students complete a 50-hour practicum involving skills-based practice and experience, primarily in the areas of introductory counseling and diagnosis and assessment.
PCMH-615B: Practicum
Students complete a 50-hour practicum involving skills-based practice and experience, primarily in the areas of introductory counseling and diagnosis and assessment.
PCMH-621: Community Resources and Rehabilitation
This course explores the concept of the whole community as a resource. It begins by exploring state-of-the-art approaches to community support services and treatment planning. Within the treatment planning process, it looks at how a wraparound approach to service delivery individualizes and strengthens outcomes in community-based services, by addressing both client skill and support needs. "Traditional" community resources such as entitlement programs, housing, education, vocational rehabilitation, legal, medical and social services are covered. However, the course emphasizes the need for practitioners to go beyond 'traditional' resources and to help individuals identify and access non-agency oriented community supports and services in order to promote community integration and membership.
PCMH-680: Diagnosis, Assessment & Psychopathology
This course provides an overview of standard assessment and diagnostic methods in mental health counseling, which includes the classification, description and differential diagnosis of mental health and substance use disorders. Students will develop the capacity to use a systematic inquiry process for obtaining and evaluating important and accurate information during assessment. Students will gain a practical, working knowledge of the DSM-5, as well as skills to assess strengths, mental status, and trauma. The role of hypothesis formulation and hypothesis testing will be considered, along with the etiology and treatment indications for various disorders. Ethical, cultural and other issues and biases related to assessment and psychopathology are discussed.
PCMH-650A: Internship I
Students complete a 150-hour clinical internship, in a relevant program or agency, under the supervision of a qualified field instructor. 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-650B: Internship I
Students complete a 150-hour clinical internship, in a relevant program or agency, under the supervision of a qualified field instructor. 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.

Take two courses from one of the specializations below:

Children, Youth and Families Specialization

PCMH-635: Clinical Skills I: Integrated Community Mental Health Treatment for Children, Youth and Families
This is the first of two courses designed to develop student knowledge and skills in community-based service approaches for children and adolescents experiencing severe emotional disturbances and their families. The course focuses on the applications of the values of integration, family integrity, child and family centeredness, choice and unconditional care. Students explore the principles of and develop the essential skills to provide wrap-around services, including individualized and flexible supports, outreach, collaborative teaming and the use of natural supports. Approaches to in-home support; case management; educational and school-based services; foster care; crisis, housing and respite services; peer support and self-help; and medication management are covered. Students develop skills in individual needs and preference assessment, futures planning, skill teaching and resource development.
PCMH-636: Clinical Skills II: Integrated Community Mental Health Treatment for Children, Youth and Families
Students refine skills learned in PCMH 635. This course emphasizes involving family members, working with schools and other social service agencies, designing culturally relevant services, designing services relevant to children in different developmental periods and designing services for children and adolescents with multiple and complex needs. Students develop skills in crisis prevention and intervention. Ethical and relationship boundary issues in outreach support services are discussed.

Or

Adult Specialization

PCMH-645: Clinical Skills I: Integrated Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services for Adults with Psychiatric Disabilities
This course provides a clinical and practical foundation for intervening with individuals with co-occurring mental illness and psychoactive substance use disorders. Essential epidemiological, etiological, assessment and intervention areas are covered. Students explore a variety of motivational and contextual dimensions, including empowerment, hope, recovery education and symptom self-management, self-help and therapeutic interventions. Family support, involuntary interventions, intervention networks and integrated clinical services will be addressed using a general systems theory approach.
PCMH-646: Clinical Skills II: Integrated Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse for Adults with Psychiatric Disabilities
This course integrates empirical and functional aspects of the therapeutic process when intervening with individuals with co-occurring mental illness and psychoactive substance use disorders. Students learn to employ core clinical interventions and treatments modalities. Students must demonstrate a high level of competence in clinical and psychosocial interventions used with co-occurring disorders will be examined closely. Ways an individual's experience of trauma complicates clinical work will be stressed. Unique ethical and boundary issues will be addressed.

Advanced PCMH Core Required Courses

PCMH-662A: Internship II
Students in the master's program complete a second 150 to 200-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-662B: Internship II
Students in the master's program complete a second 150 to 200-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-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-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-690A: 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.
PCMH-690B: 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.

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

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.

MS Course Work for Clinical Mental Health Counseling (Minimum 60 credit option)

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-663A: Internship III
Students in the master's program may complete a third 50 to 200-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-663B: Internship III
Students in the master's program may complete a third 50 to 200-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.

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