Master of Science in Counseling
Three Cognates in the Master's Degree Program
Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Students who are preparing to specialize as clinical mental health counselors will demonstrate the knowledge and skills necessary to address a wide variety of circumstances within the context of clinical mental health counseling. The CMHC program prepares counselors to work in a variety of collegiate, community, governmental and private agency settings. Graduates in this concentration may pursue licensing/certification for the practice of counseling in Arkansas. This specialization formerly was called community counseling.
Standards for the concentration Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Standards are set by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.
The goals of this program include providing students:
- Functional knowledge of developmental process appropriate to adolescence, young adults and older adults and the community
- Consultation skills appropriate to the client population served
- Ability to communicate effectively with individuals having varied backgrounds, qualities and experiences
- Ability to assist the client in the appropriate change or developmental process
- Ability to provide effective individual and group counseling
- An understanding of appropriate skills for planning and implementing a treatment process or plan for clients
- Ability to conceptualize client issues including crisis, trauma, family concerns, academic concerns, placement options and moderate to several mutual health issues
Students who are preparing to specialize as rehabilitation counselors will demonstrate the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to address varied issues within the rehabilitation counseling context. Rehabilitation counselors work collaboratively with individuals with disabilities, their support systems and their environments to achieve their personal, social, psychological and vocational goals.
CACREP standards for the concentration Rehabilitation Counseling
In addition to taking all of the same core counseling coursework as their peers in other counselor education tracks, rehabilitation counseling students take specialized coursework in the medical aspects of disability, which helps to refine their expertise within the critical relationship between disability and mental health. This knowledge base is particularly nascent given the number of people seeking counseling who have disabilities. Moreover, in light of the key role that employment plays in life as a source of income, identity and social inclusion, rehabilitation counseling students take coursework that provides critical information about laws and resources available to help persons with disabilities find and/or maintain employment. This acumen enables graduates to advocate for the civil and human rights of persons with disabilities and work to reduce the poverty, stigma and societal marginalization of persons with disabilities.
Students who are preparing to specialize as school counselors will demonstrate the professional knowledge and skills necessary to promote the academic, career and personal/social development of all P–12 students through data-informed school counseling programs.
CACREP standards for the concentration School Counseling
In addition to fulfilling the requirements for the M.S. degree, this course of study may lead to certification as an elementary or secondary school counselor.
The goals of this specialization include providing students:
- Functional knowledge of developmental processes appropriate to elementary school youth or adolescence
- Ability to consult with teachers and parents as an integral part of the intervention process
- Ability to consult with teachers in selecting and providing appropriate career development knowledge and experiences
- Ability to provide effective individual and group counseling
- Ability to assist teachers and parents in the identification, understanding and referral of students with special learning problems
- An understanding of appropriate skills for planning, implementing and evaluating school counseling programs
- Ability to translate identified needs into appropriate programs, services and learning strategies
- Ability to conduct orientation programs for teachers, parents and children in order to develop guidance and counseling concepts appropriate to subsequent stages of planning and decision-making
Statement of Beliefs
In order to graduate high quality and effective counselors, we believe it is important to:
- Develop a strong counselor identity in all students, knowledgeable of appropriate ethical codes and committed to ethical practice in order to protect clients and the profession
- Ensure that all graduates are committed to equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism by cultivating and advocating for safe environments for clients, students and supervisees
- Ensure graduates understand the interconnectedness of human development, mental health and the counseling process
- Acknowledge the importance of work and career for creating a more socially-just society and ensure graduates are able to provide competent career counseling services to any and all clients and students
- Equip graduates with the knowledge and skills to establish therapeutic relationships and provide effective counseling services
- Recognize the importance of social interaction for mental health and the role group counseling/group work plays in promoting wellness
- Ensure graduates understand the role of assessment for diagnosis, treatment planning and intervention and program evaluation
- Prepare graduates to work as scholar-practitioners engaging in evidence based practice in a variety of settings
- Ensure graduates have the knowledge and skills necessary to address diverse needs within their specialty area, i.e. Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling and School Counseling
- Identify the roles and functions of counselors and the application of apposite ethical standards (Aligned with master’s Belief 1 & 2.F.1. Professional Counseling Orientation and Ethical Practice KPI)
- Provide culturally responsive counseling to clients from diverse background and engage in action to increase equity, diversity and inclusion for all clients. (Aligned with master’s Belief 2 & 2.F.2. Social and Cultural Diversity KPI)
- Connect lifespan development theory to the counseling process and implement developmentally appropriate interventions. (Aligned with master’s Belief 3 & 2.F.3. Human Growth and Development KPI)
- Comprehend the interrelatedness between career development, mental health, interpersonal relationship and various life roles and apply developmentally appropriate, culturally responsive and ethical career counseling services. (Aligned with master’s Belief 4 & 2.F.4. Career Development KPI)
- Establish and maintain therapeutic relationships using appropriate counseling skills. (Aligned with master’s Belief 5 & 2.F.5. Counseling and Helping Relationships KPI)
- Demonstrate the necessary knowledge and skills to lead counseling groups. (Aligned with master’s Belief 6 & 2.F.6. Group Counseling and Group Work KPI)
- Select culturally and ethically appropriate assessments for diagnosis, treatment planning and intervention and program evaluation. (Aligned with master’s Belief 7 & 2.F.7. Assessment and Testing KPI)
- Recognize the relevance of research to the counseling process and apply various methods for evaluating interventions and programs. (Aligned with master’s Belief 8 & 2.F.8. Research and Program Evaluation KPI)
- Establish a foundation of knowledge and skills, understand contextual dimensions and demonstrate counseling competency specific to their specialty (i.e. Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling and School Counseling). (Aligned with master’s Belief 9 & Sections 5.C, G, H. Specialty Areas [CMCH, SC, RHAB] – Foundations, Contextual Dimensions and Practice KPIs)