Clinical Mental Health Counseling Curriculum

Our 60-credit hour Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling* sets itself apart from others with our focus on an intersectional approach to mental health through the lens of race, gender and sexuality throughout the program. 

Students will complete this program within cohorts through a hybrid delivery model, with a blend of online and in-person instruction.

*Pending approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Core Courses (54 Credit Hours)

MHC-610: Counseling Theories I (3.00)

This course will provide an overview of the basic concepts, history, process of psychotherapy, mechanisms of change, and applications of the major schools of counseling and psychotherapy. Learners will focus on the integration of theory as it relates to individual psychotherapy, multicultural, developmental, and systemic foundations. A multicultural lens will be used to examine each theoretical framework and evaluate utility based on its culture-bound factors and applicability to diverse populations. The course will thoroughly examine current trends and pressing questions in the practice of counseling.

MHC-612: Professional Orientation to Clinical Mental Health Counseling (3.00)

This graduate course is designed to introduce learners to the profession of mental health counseling and to support their professional development. Learners will gain foundational knowledge of all facets of the professional duties and responsibilities of mental health counselors including: roles, organizational structures, ethics, standards, and credentialing. Learners will engage in a variety of activities designed to apply course content and achieve the learning outcomes. Examples of learning activities include in-class quick writes, ethical dilemmas, case studies, role-plays, and oral presentations.

MHC-614: Counseling Diverse Populations: Social, Linguistic & Cultural Foundations (3.00)

This course will provide learners with an introduction to the influence of culture on human behavior and mental processes. More specifically, the course will introduce the dynamic and fluid nature of cultural influences on human behavior and emphasize the importance of self-reflection for helping professionals. Learners will be encouraged to explore their own cultural background, self-identity, worldview, self-esteem, and to understand how their implicit biases and perspectives influence the counseling process. Topics begin with an examination of theoretical definitions of culture, and cover a broad range of theories and research findings regarding cultural influences on human behavior and cognitive processes such as: lifespan development, abnormal behavior and mental health, self-concept, emotion, motivation, learning, intelligence, perception, memory, communication, social cognition, and social behavior. Learners will examine the diversity of human expression in contexts ranging from everyday modes of functioning, family, work, and other social relationships. With an understanding of how culture influences human behavior, learners will be better equipped to interact with clients and stakeholders from a global perspective. Course content will highlight cross-cultural research and methodology.

MHC-616: Individual Appraisal and Assessment (3.00)

This course is designed to provide an understanding of individual and group approaches to assessment and evaluation in a multicultural society. Comprehension and application of basic concepts of standardized and nonstandardized testing and other assessment techniques, including norm-referenced and criterion-referenced assessment, environmental assessment, performance assessment, inventory methods, psychological testing, and behavioral observations are examined. Learners will discuss the social and cultural factors related to the assessment and evaluation of individuals, groups, and specific populations. Identifications of applicable ethical strategies for selecting, administering, and interpreting assessment and evaluation instruments and techniques in counseling will be evaluated.

MHC-620: Principles and Techniques of Counseling (3.00)

This course is the first part of a yearlong sequence designed to introduce mental health counseling students to the clinical skills relevant to beginning practice in the field. Both the course material and lab experience will contribute to meeting practicum requirements for licensure as licensed professional counselor in Georgia.

MHC-622: Counseling Practicum (3.00)

The ability to interact and work successfully with others in society begins with an understanding of where we, ourselves, stand with regard to complex social issues such as racism, classism, sexism, disability, and other human rights issues. The broader goal of the practicum experience is fostering personal growth, deepening critical consciousness, engaging in lifelong learning and social change. This course will provide learners with the opportunity to increase understanding of themselves and their impact on others. Course activities will be designed to facilitate growth in specific counseling skills, case conceptualization skills, self-awareness, and professional development. Learners will engage in activities including: role plays, case presentations, professional self-assessment, and peer consultation.

MHC-624: Advanced Psychopathology: Assessment, Diagnosis & Treatment (3.00)

This course provides students with a basic understanding of abnormal human behavior by examining an overview of psychiatric disorders. Students will examine the history, theories, models and classification of mental disorders and approaches to their treatment. The course familiarizes learners with vocabulary and diagnostic categories currently in use, using the DSM-V. Topics will cover the mental health profession and relevant legal, social and theoretical issues. Advanced Psychopathology will assist learners in the classification of abnormal behavior.

MHC-626: Legal, Ethical and Professional Issues in Counseling (3.00)

This is an advanced seminar focusing on ethical and legal issues in mental health counseling. The overarching goal of the course is to socialize students into the profession of mental health counseling; the focus will be on providing students with an opportunity to learn about the identity of mental health counselor and the expected roles and responsibilities. A major objective of this course is for students to learn how to critically think about the ethical principles and guidelines within mental health counseling. In addition, students will learn about certification and licensing, accreditation, professional identity, the history of mental health counseling, and future developments.

MHC-630: Counseling Theories II (3.00)

This course will link the theoretical foundations and perspectives of counseling theory (obtained in Counseling Theories I) to their application in the practice of counseling. Learners will use their knowledge of the principles and history of modern counseling theories to understand the use of such theories with the counseling profession. The course will allow students to engage in the practical application of clinical techniques and review and practice skills related to identified theories. An emphasis will be placed upon cultural humility to promote a cultural context that is inclusive of gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, ability, and age.

MHC-632: Group Theory and Process (3.00)

This course will provide foundational knowledge and skills related to group development, process, and dynamics; group counseling theories; and group leadership and counseling methods. Emphasis will be placed on factors to consider when developing, conducting, and evaluating groups. Learners will explore different theoretical approaches to counseling groups, as well as evaluating various types of counseling groups. The course content will highlight ethical, legal, and professional issues.

MHC-634: Crisis, Trauma & Grief Counseling: Impact, Intervention and Management (3.00)

The course is designed to provide students with knowledge of and competencies in trauma and crisis counseling in urban and multicultural contexts in school based settings. We specifically investigate ecological, developmental, and social variables that impact ethnic minority and low-income communities and their experience of trauma. Trauma associated with racism, poverty, violence, immigration, refugee status, homelessness, abuse, death, injury, health, and crime (as well as other conditions and issues) will be explored. Culturally relevant intervention models and strategies will be discussed for various forms of crisis and trauma. These include the use of cultural-ecological crisis assessment and intervention models for school and community based settings.

MHC-636: Addictions and Substance Use (3.00)

This course provides an overview of counseling theory, techniques and professional/ethical standards that are most effective in counseling clients who have been diagnosed with an addictive disorder. Learners will acquire knowledge about prevention strategies, relapse prevention strategies, treatment planning, and the importance of family therapy and self-help groups and how they relate to psychosocial rehabilitation treatment outcomes. Research related to most effective and practical theoretical counseling models that foster personal growth, healing and change will be presented. Learners will develop an ability to critique current research using recovery, multicultural and social-justice oriented frameworks. The importance of comprehensive integrated treatment of individuals with co-occurring psychiatric and substance use disorders will be emphasized.

MHC-640: Internship in Mental Health Counseling I (3.00)

Internship in Mental Health Counseling I is designed to introduce students to specific issues of clinical importance frequently encountered in counseling practice. Specific topics will be discussed in class/lecture format followed by practice/discussion sessions. Experienced guest lecturers with expertise in various areas of clinical practice will provide information on clinical interventions for certain special populations, which will help you prepare for practice in the field. Both course material and lab experience will contribute to meeting internship requirements for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor in Georgia.

MHC-642: Human Growth & Development Across the Lifespan (3.00)

This course is an introduction to lifespan developmental theory and its practical application for counselors. An overview of the psychological, biological, ethnic, cultural, socioeconomic, and environmental factors that influence the growth and development through the lifespan will be provided. Counseling strategies and interventions based on lifespan developmental theory to meet the personal, social, and academic needs of students will be included.

MHC-644: Research Program & Evaluation (3.00)

This course is an introduction to research and program evaluation. The course will offer an overview of quantitative and qualitative research methods used in the field of counseling, including basic research designs, methods of participants recruitment and data collection, consent, and ethical issues. Course content will include basic statistics, which will allow students to become skilled and informed consumers of published research to inform practice in various settings. The course will also focus on the process of conducting research in the field of counseling in accordance with ethical guidelines and standards of practice.

MHC-646: Lifestyle and Career Development Assessment (3.00)

In this course, learners will examine career development from various theoretical standpoints, the relationship between theory and practice, and how these come together in the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities of the career counselor. Emphasis is placed on the unique contributions that diverse factors such as age, gender, race, ethnic group, sexual orientation, disability, etc. make to career and lifestyle development across the lifespan. The course will also critically examine traditional career development theories, as well as major career assessment and occupation information systems. An overview of components and evaluation of career counseling interventions and programs in schools, work, and community settings will also be provided.

MHC-650: Internship in Mental Health Counseling II (3.00)

This seminar is designed to complement the second year master's student internship placement by providing each student with the opportunity to explore his/her experiences as a beginning mental health counselor. The course seeks to foster students' professional and personal development as a beginning counselor through the discussion of clinical and professional issues that gain prominence through the course of the internship experience and simultaneously learn the value of peer supervision. This will be achieved through class discussions, assigned readings and case presentations and by providing students the opportunity to discuss their experiences with peers in an atmosphere of mutual respect and support. Students are encouraged to consider various theoretical models in their work toward integrating theory, research, and practice, to explore various issues related to sociocultural diversity and social justice as it relates to practice.

MHC-652: Psychopharmacology & Biological Bases of Behavior (3.00)

This course will use a biopsychosocial model to examine the history and use of psychopharmacology in the treatment of mental disorders. Content will provide an overview of neurobiology in an effort to highlight the mechanisms of action of psychotropic medications. Commonly prescribed psychotropic medications in the field of mental health and clinical practice and the role of working with medical professionals in the interdisciplinary treatment of mental health issues will be covered. The course will also offer information related to medication side effects, guidelines for client referral for medication evaluation, and recommendations for communicating with physicians, psychiatrists, and other medical professionals.

Electives Courses (6 Credit Hours)

MHC-654: Counseling Children & Adolescents (3.00)

This course will provide an overview of the major theories in the field of clinical mental health counseling and their application to counseling with children and adolescents. Cognitive-behavioral, multicultural, feminist, psychodynamic, behavioral, and humanistic theoretical orientations will be introduced. The course will also provide an overview of the practical application of counseling theories when working with clients across the lifespan. Emphasis will be placed on approaches and skills that are integral to contemporary, multicultural, urban, and low-income settings. Ecological, developmental, and systemic foundations of counseling will serve as a foundation for learning about school and community-based interventions with youth.

MHC-655: Couple & Family Counseling (3.00)

This course will present general systems theory and theories and models of couple and family systems. Emphasis is placed on relational and participatory (capacity-building) couple and family-centered practices that promote, support, and enhance couples' and family members' competence and confidence in various aspects of their lives. Learners will explore how characteristics of systems can influence couple and family interactions and functioning across the lifespan. Learners will gain knowledge in culturally-responsive assessment techniques and intervention strategies used in couple and family counseling. The course will provide the opportunity to build a strong theoretical foundation, allowing for the application to couple and family counseling. To this end, learners will engage in activities related to family and couple assessment, intervention planning, and the development of their own approach to couple and family therapy.

MHC-656: Mental Health Counsequences of Experiences of Discrimination (3.00)

The course will provide an overview of the theoretical perspectives, research methods, empirical findings, and practical applications of the clinical, cognitive, psychological, and social consequences of experiences of prejudice and discrimination in society. The course will feature research and scholarship that highlights theories of prejudice and discrimination as they relate to racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, etc. Learners will gain knowledge about how experiences related to race, gender, culture, sexuality, and privilege in society can lead to differential treatment, especially for persons that hold underrepresented and marginalized groups. The course will feature strategies for the assessment and treatment of experiences of discrimination and their mental health impact.

MHC-658: Women & Mental Health (3.00)

This course will provide an overview of how gender, as a social construct, influences cognitions and behavior. Learners will also examine how gender-biases may affect the therapeutic relationship between client and counselor/therapist. Research and scholarship highlighting the prevalence of gender biases in clinical practices such as diagnosis, assessment, and definitions of typical or "normative" behavior, will be offered. An overview of feminist therapeutic models will be provided to inform considerations for engaging the mental health treatment of women. Principles, interventions, and therapeutic goals embodying feminist counseling practice will be introduced.

Academic Catalog

Academic Calendar

Contact Us

Rachael  Nicholos Zaka

Rachael Nicholos Zakas

Phone: 404.471.6894
Email: rzakas@agnesscott.edu

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