Center for Psychological Studies

Mental Health Counseling

M.S. in Mental Health Counseling

Curiculum Requirements

The Master of Science in mental health counseling degree program requires 60 semester hours of graduate credit including 9 semester hours of counseling practicum/internship and completion of a comprehensive examination. The required courses and course descriptions are listed below. Each course within the program is 3 credits each.

PYCL 502 Counseling Theories and Practice

This course surveys the fields of psychotherapy and counseling. It reviews the various theories and techniques of counseling that are consistent with current professional research and practice in the fields of mental health and school counseling.
Prerequisite: None

PYCL 507 Research and Evaluation for Counselors

This course seeks to prepare mental health and school counselors to be informed consumers of research and evaluation. It covers basic statistics, research designs, and program evaluation within the counseling and educational fields. It provides experience in developing accountability measures and in reading research and evaluating reports applicable to multicultural populations.
Prerequisite: None

PYCL 511 Introduction to Mental Health Counseling Techniques

This course is an overview of the field of mental health counseling. Students will address professional roles, functions, credentialing, and general ethics of mental health counselors. The major focus will be on the development of fundamental counseling skills, including listening, empathy training, and basic interviewing. Issues regarding the development of the therapeutic relationship, cultural diversity, crisis intervention and response as well as mental status assessment will be covered.
Prerequisite: PSYL 0502

PYCL 512 Human Growth and Development

This course covers how developmental maturation and social learning impacts individuals across the lifespan. Theory and research in social development and learning are covered in topics for mental health and school counselors.
Prerequisite: None

PYCL 570 Ethical, Legal, and Professional Issues for Counselors

This course covers standards for professional conduct in counseling. It considers ethical and legal decisions that mental health and school counselors must make. Case examples, current federal and state laws/statutes, ethical codes, and standards on assessment, diagnosis, and placement data will be discussed in relation to counseling a variety of culturally diverse populations in multiple settings.
Prerequisite: None

PCYL 582 Human Sexuality

This course is an overview of the basics of sexual anatomy, physiology, and development. The student will acquire an understanding of human sexual response, concepts of sex therapies, and human sexual dysfunction. Also included are methods of contraception, sex and family planning, variations of sexual behavior, and the importance of the counselor in the role of the educator.
Prerequisites: None

PYCL 584 Diagnosis and Treatment of Adult Psychopathology

This course provides an introduction to the definition and study of abnormal or maladaptive behavior, including a broad range of psychopathology relevant to the adult and aged populations. Emphasis will be placed on a descriptive review of the major DSM-IV disorders, supplemented with theoretical considerations of etiology and treatment approaches including the use of psychopharmacological interventions.
Prerequisite: None

PYCL 586 Diagnosis and Treatment of Child and Adolescent Psychopathology

This course provides an introduction to the specific disorders and problematic psychological states manifested during childhood and adolescence. It will also provide an overview of currently used behavioral and psychopharmacological interventions with psychologically troubled youth.
Prerequisite: None

PYCL 608 Psychological Testing for Individual Evaluation

This course surveys frequently used tests of aptitude, interest, and personality. Test content, purpose, psychometric properties, administration, and scoring procedures are compared and evaluated. Issues of test use with culturally diverse populations are addressed.
Prerequisite: PYCL 507.

PYCL 612 Substance Abuse

This course investigates the etiology of alcoholism and drug dependency. Attention is given to assessment and treatment in both individual and family therapy approaches.
Prerequisite: PYCL 502; PYCL 511.

PYCL 631 Career and Lifestyle Assessment

This course surveys the major theories of career choice, planning, and development as well as standardized methods of assessing vocational interests and aptitudes. Social, psychological, and economic factors influencing career choice are examined. Emphasis will be placed on individual and group career counseling skills across diverse populations.
Prerequisite: None

PYCL 632 Social and Cultural Foundations of Counseling

This course addresses cultural diversity and its implications for counseling. It considers the psychological impact of factors such as gender, race, ethnicity and culture, religious preference, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, and physical disability in a variety of counseling and educational settings. Finally, it reviews counseling issues and strategies for diverse clients.
Prerequisite: None

PYCL 635 Group Theory and Practice

This course addresses group theory and practice in multiple settings with a variety of diverse populations and age groups. Major themes include group dynamics, group process, and group states for mental health and school counselors.
Prerequisite: PYCL 502 & PYCL 511.

PYCL 645 Couples and Family Counseling Strategies

This skills course surveys current approaches to couples and family counseling with an emphasis on a systemic conceptual model of family functioning and culturally sensitive therapeutic interventions. It is designed to develop specific intervention competencies.
Prerequisite: PYCL 502; PYCL 511; PYCL 584 or consent of adviser.

PYCL 660 Community Mental Health

The brief history of community psychology is reviewed with a focus on those events that led to the development of a “community point of view.” The course also acquaints students with the various approaches (preventative model, consultative role, etc.) and techniques (needs assessment, program evaluation) used by community counselors across diverse populations. Distinctions between traditional clinical interventions and community intervention are highlighted.
Prerequisites: None

PYCL 666 Case Conceptualization and Treatment Strategies

This course focuses on the processes of conceptualizing clinical cases from a variety of theoretical orientations and translating them into effective treatment strategies. Video and audiotape clinical interviews, case studies, and role-plays will be utilized to assist students in formulating hypotheses about client difficulties and developing appropriate clinical interventions, which address those difficulties in a culturally sensitive manner.
Prerequisites: PYCL 502; PYCL 511; PYCL 584 or consent of adviser.

PYCL 669 Advanced Treatment Interventions

This course will present advanced training in one or two major approaches to individual psychotherapy and crisis intervention. Students will have the opportunity to explore in depth theoretical and technical applications of the approaches, issues related to the therapeutic alliance, cultural diversity, goal-setting, and outcome evaluation. Videotaped presentations, role-playing, and case studies will be utilized.
Prerequisites: PYCL 502; PYCL 511; PYCL 584; PYCL 666.

PYCL 680 Counseling Practicum

The student is required to spend a specified number of hours per week at a selected agency working under supervision with clients. During that time, the student is expected to increase his or her competence in the areas of basic interviewing, assessment, and counseling skills. Furthermore, the student will be made more aware of the ethical, legal, and professional issues inherent in the counseling process.
Prerequisites: PYCL 502; PYCL 507; PYCL 511; PYCL 570; PYCL 584; PYCL 586; PYCL 635; PYCL 666 with a grade of B or better. The student must file an application for practicum and receive approval prior to registering for a practicum.

PYCL 681 Counseling Internship

This course is a continuation of Counseling Practicum. The student will be expected to develop more advanced skills in interviewing, assessment, and intervention. Simultaneously, continued emphasis will be placed upon ethical, legal, and professional issues.
Prerequisites: PYCL 680 with a grade of B or better.

PYCL 682 Continuing Counseling Internship

This course is a continuation of Internship I.
Prerequisites: PYCL 681 with a grade of B or better.

PYCL 683 Counseling Internship Elective

This course is a continuation of Internship II.
Prerequisites: PYCL 682 with a grade of B or better.

Candidacy (Matriculation)

Students are admitted into graduate study at the master's level and are reviewed for degree candidacy (matriculation) after completion of the designated four courses (12 credits), which must be completed within the first six courses (18 credits) or two semesters for which the student is enrolled.

These four designated courses require demonstration of written, quantitative, and interpersonal skills, as well as overall professional functioning. The designated four courses for matriculation include:

  1. PYCL 502 - Counseling Theories and Practice
  2. PYCL 511 - Introduction to Mental Health Counseling Techniques
  3. PYCL 507 - Research and Evaluation for Counselors
  4. PYCL 584 - Diagnosis and Treatment of Adult Psychopathology

During the formal review for matriculation, students' academic performance and professional functioning in the four designated courses listed above will be examined. Students need a grade point average of 3.0 or above in the four designated courses in order to be matriculated. Students who receive two grades below a B or a grade of F in any of the four designated courses will not be matriculated and will be withdrawn from graduate study.

Prior to the formal matriculation review, should a student receive a second grade below B or a grade of F, the student will automatically be withdrawn from graduate study. Students who achieve a grade point average of 2.5 or below in the four designated courses will be discontinued from graduate study in the program.

Students with a grade point average greater than 2.5 but less than 3.0 for the four designated courses will be maintained in a non-matriculated status. No more than four additional courses may be taken without achieving an overall grade point average of 3.0.

Time Limits

Students must complete their program within five years from the date of first enrollment. This means that students are expected to complete all master's degree requirements including the Comprehensive Final Examination when required and graduate within this time period. In the event that a matriculated student who has been in continuous enrollment does not complete all requirements within the five-year time limit, he or she must enroll in the master's program and:

  1. Maintain full-time status (minimum six credits per semester, excluding summer sessions.)
  2. Complete remaining degree requirements, which will include any course work that is more than five years old.
Evaluation of Master's Students

Each student is evaluated on an ongoing basis while enrolled in the program. In addition, there are course evaluations, review for matriculation, evaluation of readiness for practicum, and a comprehensive examination. Evaluation provides students with relevant feedback concerning their performance and ensures high standards for the profession of counseling. Student advisement on relevant information, including practicum evaluations, is available through the program office.