Southern New Hampshire University's Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, offered through the University College, has over 20 years of experience offering graduate education for students interested in pursuing licensure as clinical mental health and addictions counselors.
Earn your degree in counseling to promote individual and community wellness, resilience and recovery:
Not available for international students.
This innovative program is offered face to face, one weekend a month, to diverse student-learning communities on location in Manchester, NH; Burlington, VT; Brunswick, ME; Milwaukee and Wausau, WI; and Anchorage, AK. The program’s mission is to prepare professional counselors to work as clinical mental health counselors, in community and private practice settings, in order to promote individual and community wellness, resilience and recovery. In addition, graduates are prepared to meet the needs of individuals with mental health challenges and addiction disorders.
CACREP Professional Identity Standard
Southern New Hampshire University
MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (Weekend Format)
Professional Identity and Orientation
To prepare clinical mental health counselors who are knowledgeable concerning the current and emerging trends in the counseling profession and can address the needs of all people with mental health and co-occurring disorders, such as addictions, using a strength-based and wellness orientation.
Social and Cultural Diversity
To prepare clinical mental health counselors to respond to the needs of all people in a socially and culturally competent, person-centered respectful manner.
Human Growth and Development
To prepare clinical mental health counselors to understand human development across the life-span, from early childhood to elders, and to apply strength-based developmentally appropriate clinical interventions.
To prepare clinical mental health counselors to understand the importance of meaningful work and assist clients in achieving their personal and career goals.
To prepare clinical mental health counselors who are skilled in the counseling process, including engagement, assessment, treatment and outcome-based practice.
To prepare clinical mental health counselors who are able to apply a variety of evidence-based practice modalities in an individualized and culturally competent manner to address mental health, co-occurring and addictions disorders.
To prepare clinical mental health counselors who are knowledgeable and skilled in the areas of group counseling methods, group dynamics and group facilitation styles that serve a wide array of participants and purposes.
To prepare clinical mental health counselors to take a holistic comprehensive approach to assessment, that informs strength-based and individualized treatment planning.
Research and Evaluation
To prepare clinical mental health counselors who are knowledgeable about research, program evaluation and the use of data to evaluate individual and systemic outcomes.
To prepare clinical mental health counselors who are lifelong learners and who read, critique and contribute to the literature of the profession.
Program Area Standards
To prepare clinical mental health counselors to meet the curricular objectives in their clinical mental health counseling specialization area, including wellness promotion, prevention, treatment, referral, organizational leadership, advocacy and systems change.
Professional Practice Standards
Engage in field based supervised practicum and internship experience to integrate academic learning with professional practice.
Personal Growth and Understanding
Develop self-awareness of their strengths and limitations and utilize self-care and supervision in service of their professional development.
Our unique, nationally recognized curriculum prepares students to meet the educational requirements for licensure as clinical mental health or professional counselors in each of the locations in which it is offered, as well as surrounding areas. The curriculum also covers much of the content required for certification or licensure as an addictions counselor, and many alumni pursue dual licensure as addictions counselors. Licensure is not guaranteed, as students must meet post-master's practice requirements and pass the required exams.
The curriculum is competency based and aligned with the standards of the Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Alumni are change agents, clinicians and leaders in child/family and adult mental health, dedicated to recovery, integrated approaches to mental health and addictions, and evidence-based practices, across the life span.
The Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling requires 63 or 66 graduate credits, including a 100-hour practicum and two or three 300-hour internships (700 or 1,000 hours total of practicum and internship experience), dependent on the licensure requirements for clinical mental health and professional counselors in the states in which the program is offered.
Students in the Master of Science degree complete all of the required course work for an M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, across the lifespan, and also complete a specialization in integrated mental health and addictions treatment for children, youth, and families or for adults, including issues of health and aging.
The program has been recognized as an Innovative Practice by the Annapolis Coalition in 5 categories: consumer and family/adult mental health, child/adolescent and school-based mental health, leadership, rural mental health, and substance use disorders treatment and persons in recovery.
The program is designed to be highly accessible to working adults, in order to encourage a diverse group of students, including people currently working in counseling and related fields, people in recovery and family members, as well as the general public. Graduates demonstrate a strong grounding in the knowledge and skills of the counseling profession, as well as in: person-centered and strength-based approaches; culturally competent practice in a multicultural and diverse society; integrated, evidence-based clinical practice in mental health and addictions, and a commitment to leadership, systems change and advocacy within the profession, the community, and the larger society.
The program combines face-to-face instruction and distance-learning activities geared to adult learners. Intensive weekend instruction (classes meet one weekend per month) is provided for cohorts "on location" in several states across the country, including New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Alaska. The program is administered out of the SNHU Vermont Office, for all locations, and the program offered is identical across sites, in terms of curriculum, faculty, and delivery model.
Faculty are scholar/practitioners who bring national and local expertise in clinical mental health and addictions counseling, integrated service delivery, research and administration.
In this course, students gain an understanding of the foundations of clinical mental health counseling, the people served, and the history and current state of public and private systems of care. One focus is an understanding of co-occurring mental health and addictive disorders, across the lifespan, and their impact on the lives of people diagnosed with these disabling conditions. This course also provides an overview of emerging issues in mental health counseling, policy and practice in behavioral health and integrated health care; current approaches to prevention, comprehensive treatment and support; the impact of managed care; community-building, education, 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.
Students gain an understanding of the clinical mental health counseling process, from engagement to assessment, intervention, and evaluation. The focus is on the development of culturally relevant 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. Areas covered include: ethical considerations, values clarification; evidence-based helping strategies; working with natural supports.
Students complete a 100-hour practicum, divided into two sections. The seminar involves skills based practice, primarily in the areas of introductory counseling skills, self reflection and diagnosis and assessment. The field experience consists of at least 40 hours of direct service to actual clients.
This course focuses on person-centered, recovery-oriented treatment planning, for clinical mental health and addictions counselors. It includes an understanding of the diagnosis and assessment process and how an understanding of mental health and addictive disorders influences the treatment planning process. It also addresses an individualized, strength-based approach, understanding and outreach to natural supports and community resources, and the importance of communication, documentation, and personal and community involvement in designing effective approaches to prevention, treatment and support.
Students complete a 300-hour clinical internship, reflecting the comprehensive work experience of a clinical mental health or professional counselor, in a relevant program or agency, under the supervision of a qualified field instructor. The field experience includes a minimum of 130 hours of direct service to actual clients, but more is recommended. 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.
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.
Total Credits: 63
The Graduate Program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (MS) has been offered at Southern New Hampshire University since 2001. The program was founded at Trinity College of Vermont in 1995 as a collaborative effort among the Center for Community Change through Housing and Support, Trinity College of Vermont, and the Vermont Department of Developmental and Mental Health Services. The program received significant financial support from the Van Ameringen Foundation.
$590 per credit hour
Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges as well as several other accrediting bodies. More...