Academics

Overview

The M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program prepares graduates to be multiculturally competent professional counselors with the cultural self-awareness, sensitivity, knowledge, and skills essential to becoming effective and ethical practitioners, leaders, and advocates to promote social justice, equity, and academic excellence for all deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing students in a variety of clinical settings.

The concentration in Clinical Mental Health Counseling consists of a minimum of 61 credit hours and requires three academic years, including two summer residencies. All students start with a summer residency, followed by online courses in the fall and spring in year one. Year two follows the same pattern of a summer residency and online courses in the fall and spring. Students are expected to do Practicum during the summer at the end of year two. All courses are online in year three and students are expected to do a 600-hour internship at a mental health agency which serves deaf people over the final two semesters. All clinical students must take at least 6 credits of electives over the three years in the program. We offer a variety of electives from faculty and other experts in the field. 

The program is aligned with the Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP) standards and will seek accreditation as soon as we are eligible. Applicants should be aware that Gallaudet has regional accreditation as a university. While program accreditation is optional, we value program accreditation and intend to pursue it as soon as possible.

The program is designed to accommodate working adults, as the residency is only two weeks in the summer and classes in the fall and spring meet online at 7:00 EST one night per week. Candidates who are a good fit for this program are mature, able to study independently, and have at least conversational fluency in ASL. All classes are taught in ASL and students must pass the ASL-PI at level 2 or above prior to field placement. It is important that students are familiar with degree requirements in the desired state of employment, as requirements vary slightly by state. The faculty work individually with students to determine licensure/certification requirements for the state of residence. The program has relationships with many clinical agencies serving deaf people, allowing us to assist students with placements. We have financial support and assistantships to help lower the cost for highly qualified first-year students. 

Courses & Requirements

Summary of Requirements

Semester I – Summer (6 Credits)

The course provides an orientation to basic mental health counseling principles, processes, counselor roles and functions, professional ethics, issues, organizations, and publications. Specific emphasis will be placed on mental health counseling with deaf individuals and deaf people with multiple disabilities, networking with other agencies, advocacy, and professional responsibilities.

Credits: 3
Distribution: Graduate, Masters, Online
This course provides graduate clinical mental health counselor trainees with an introduction to the ethical, legal, and professional practices in the field of counseling. Students will learn about relevant codes of ethics, legislation and regulatory processes relevant to the counseling profession, and models for ethical decision-making. The use of technology in counseling will also be covered. The course will include information about ethical business practices and statutory requirements for establishing and operating a counseling practice.
Credits: 3
Requisites:

Admission to the counseling program or approval of the program director.

Distribution: Graduate, Masters, Online

Semester II – Fall (6 Credits)

This course is designed for students' personal and professional development in the area of social and cultural diversity awareness development and multicultural counseling. Effective and meaningful multicultural work with culturally diverse clients, groups, and communities requires helping professionals to develop a continuing awareness of self; increased knowledge and practical understanding of others' worldviews; and an ever changing and evolving skill set for effective  engagement with diverse individuals/populations. Throughout the course, students will engage in activities and experiences in and outside of the classroom setting designed to draw out personal reflections, self-evaluation, and interpersonal dialogue on related issues of cultural relevance and social justice work as a helping professional. This course will facilitate deeper awareness, broader knowledge and understanding, and provide a framework to developing multicultural competence as a counselor all the while addressing the impact of culture and power on an individual, his/her family, community, organizational structures and systems of power that reflect culture.

Credits: 3
Distribution: Graduate, Masters Online

This course provides graduate counselor trainees with a foundation in the counseling treatment approaches commonly used in school, community, mental health counseling settings. This course is fundamental in developing skills in assessment of client needs and application of effective preventive and therapeutic counseling interventions. This course emphasizes the appropriate application of counseling and psychotherapy theories to culturally diverse populations of children and adults.

Credits: 3
Requisites:

Department of Counseling degree students and special graduate students with permission.

Distribution: Graduate, Masters, Online

Semester III - Spring (6 credits)

This course is designed to review theories and principles of human development across the lifespan, and to familiarize students with current knowledge and research in the field. This course also covers areas of childhood disabilities, as well as current issues regarding deafness and human development. Developmental issues across the life span related to culture, gender, heredity and environment will also be included.

Credits: 3
Requisites:

Undergraduate course in child/adolescent development and an undergraduate course in abnormal psychology.

Distribution: Graduate, Masters, Online

The purpose of this course is to assist students in understanding the language, principles, reasoning, and methodologies of research and to help them critically evaluate counseling research literature. Students will recognize ethical issues relevant to conducting culturally appropriate research, and how research can improve counseling effectiveness. Instruction is approached from a multicultural perspective, including through the selection of instructional materials and student assessments.

Credits: 3
Distribution: Graduate, Masters, Online

Semester IV - Summer (9 credits)

Using a multicultural emphasis, this course provides an introduction to the purposes, concepts, and techniques of assessment, including how assessment information is used in counseling and how it is communicated to others. Includes a review of foundational statistical concepts, an overview of assessment procedures, ethics, and legal implications. Includes tools and procedures for assessment of intelligence and ability, aptitude, development, personality, educational, and clinical issues. Note this course does not cover vocational and career assessment.

Credits: 3
Requisites:

Counseling Major Only

Distribution: Graduate, Masters
This is an introduction to the theory and practice of group counseling and psychotherapy, with application to group work with deaf individuals. There are didactic and experiential components in this course which provide students with the opportunity to develop an understanding of group development, dynamics, and counseling theories; group leadership styles; group counseling methods and skills; and other group approaches.
Credits: 3
Requisites:

COU 710 and COU 732

Distribution: Graduate, Masters, Online

This course addresses the impact of crises, disasters, sexual assault and other trauma-causing events on individuals, schools, and communities. Students will be provided with opportunities for examining trauma and crisis counseling in school and community settings, including trauma and crisis theories; cognitive, affective, behavioral, and neurological effects associated with trauma; assessment strategies for clients/communities in crisis; and brief, intermediate and long-term culturally appropriate approaches to crisis and trauma intervention.

Credits: 3
Requisites:

COU 721 and 732

Distribution: Graduate, Masters, Online

Semester V - Fall (6 credits)

This course is designed to provide a foundation in the conceptualization, identification and treatment of emotional and behavioral disorders across the lifespan. Attention will be given to the specific symptoms associated with common psychological disorders such as those addressed in the current DSM and medical diagnoses that may have emotional, behavioral or learning implications for children, adolescents and adults. In addition, the course will address the impact of cultural aspects, age considerations, associated complications, and predisposing factors on diagnosis and treatment planning. This important foundation is reinforced through case studies with emphasis on case formulation, conceptualization and potential interventions. Intervention and treatment planning using a strength- and wellness-based model will be considered.

Credits: 3
Requisites:

Completion of COU 710 or 712; COU 721 and COU 732

Distribution: Graduate, Masters, Online

This introductory course provides students with an understanding of essential interviewing and counseling skills necessary to develop a therapeutic relationship with clients from diverse backgrounds, establish appropriate counseling goals, design intervention strategies, evaluate client outcome, and successfully terminate the counselor-client relationship. Counselor characteristics and behaviors that influence helping processes including age, gender, and ethnic differences, verbal and nonverbal behaviors and personal characteristics, orientations, and skills are covered. This course facilitates student self-awareness and sensitivity toward Deaf culture and other multicultural issues that facilitate relationships among people. Ethical issues in working with clients are reviewed. The instructional format including lectures, discussions, small group activities, and student engagement in role playing and simulated counseling sessions.

Credits: 3
Distribution: Graduate, Masters, Online

Semester VI - Spring (6 credits)

This course is designed to examine the major contemporary theories and approaches in couples, marital and family therapy. From this framework, candidates will also consider the applicability of these theories in working with deaf children, adolescents, adults and families with deaf members. Examined will be major concepts of family dynamics and the family life cycle, with additional emphasis on families with deaf members. Candidates will be introduced to key concepts involving 1) the understanding of functional and dysfunctional relationships which often occur within couples and families and which also may occur between the client/family and therapist or other professionals involved with deaf persons, 2) the formulation and implementation of clinical intervention techniques to modify dysfunctional individuals, couples or families and larger than family dynamics. Activities will include lecture, class discussion, case presentations, and role playing simulation sessions with post-session discussions. A major emphasis is placed on the development and becoming of the couples, marital and family therapist.

Credits: 3
Requisites:

COU 732

Distribution: Graduate, Masters, Online
This is an advanced course in techniques and skills in psychotherapy, designed expressly for second year or advanced students in mental health counseling and related disciplines. Emphasis will be on the application of selected theoretical constructs in working with clients in general and with deaf and hard of hearing clients in particular. An important aspect of the course is on therapist attitude, techniques, and skills essential in effective treatment of clients with specific psychological problems and disorders. It is a student therapist-centered course, attentive to his or her development and growth as a therapist. The method of instruction is primarily hands-on experiential activities and will include supervised simulated therapy sessions, role play, student-therapist videotape replay and feedback, videotapes of actual therapy sessions featuring real clients and master therapists, psychotherapy case presentations, demonstrations, and live observations.
Credits: 3
Distribution: Graduate, Masters, Online

Semester VII - Summer (6 credits)

The goal of this course is to help professionals working with deaf and hard of hearing people understand the impact of drug and alcohol abuse throughout the individual's life span as well as within family and social systems. The course will examine current trends in alcohol and drug abuse; legal implications; street names and drug symptom identifiers for counselors; the medical implications for prescription and non-prescription drug abuse; substance abuse terminology; the historical context of substance abuse in American society; community responses to substance abuse; essentials of substance abuse prevention; deafness, family dynamics, and substance abuse; and substance abuse treatment strategies and service accessibility.

Credits: 3
Requisites:

Graduate level standing.

Distribution: Graduate, Masters

This course is the first in a sequence of practica and is one of major experiential components of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program. By the end of this course, students will have developed entry-level counseling skills, which include the ability to provide counseling, prepare reports and treatment plans, and to work directly with and be supervised by experienced professionals in mental health settings. Counseling skills will be reviewed by faculty and site supervisors using student self-report, recorded sessions, and/or live observation. A focus will be on students developing reflectively through the use of supervision.

Credits: 3
Requisites:

Successful completion of COU 710, COU 721 and COU 732

Distribution: Graduate, Masters, Online

Semester VIII - Fall (6 credits)

This course is designed to provide students with knowledge of theories, materials, programs, and practices in the career development area. It specifically seeks to identify practices used with or potentially useful with deaf people. A central theme is the recognition of the role of career and work with the integration of personality. The course will discuss multicultural issues. Emphasis will be placed on discussing the career needs of deaf and hard of hearing people.

Credits: 3
Requisites:

COU 710

Distribution: Graduate, Masters, Online

This course is the second in a sequence of practica and is one of the major experiential components of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program. Students build on the knowledge and skills gained in COU 742 and increase the scope and complexity of their counseling skills repertoire. They advance their counseling skills to include clinical intake interviews, individual therapy, group therapy, couples/family therapy, assessment, case management services to clients, record keeping, and information and referral. Counseling skills will be reviewed by supervisors using student self-report, recorded sessions, and/or live observation. A focus will be on students continuing to develop reflectively through the use of supervision.

Credits: 3
Requisites:

COU 742

Distribution: Graduate, Masters, Online

Semester IX - Spring (4 credits)

This is an introduction to current psychoactive medications used most often in schools and counseling/psychiatric settings today. The course will explore the conditions which respond best to psychoactive drugs, the specific drugs used to treat specific conditions, and the typical dosages used. In addition, it will explore when it is appropriate to suggest medication and also alternative medication, side effects to be aware of, and the benefits gained from the use of psychoactive drugs.

Credits: 1
Requisites:

Graduate-level standing.

Distribution: Graduate, Masters

This course is the final in a sequence of practica and is a major experiential component of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program. Students build on the knowledge and skills gained in COU 792 and continue to increase the scope and complexity of their counseling skills repertoire. They continue to advance their counseling skills with clinical intake interviews, individual therapy, group therapy, couples/family therapy, assessment, case management services to clients, record keeping, and providing information and referrals. Students will become proficient in using a variety of professional resources to enhance the provision of mental health services, such as screening instruments, technologies, print and non-print media, professional literature, and research information. Counseling skills will be reviewed by supervisors using student self-report, recorded sessions, and/or live observation. A focus will be on students continuing to develop reflectively through the use of supervision.

Credits: 3
Requisites:

COU 792

Distribution: Graduate, Masters, Online
Complete Comprehensive Exam

Program Electives (6 credits)

Elective #1
Elective #2
Program Outcomes

Students will be able to articulate the elements related to professional identity including the history and philosophy of the counseling profession, the value of professional organizations, the need for legal and ethical practice, and advocating for the profession and clients that are served. (CACREP 2.F.1)

Students will demonstrate multicultural awareness, knowledge, and skills necessary for competency in working with a diverse population. (CACREP 2.F.2)

Students can demonstrate an understanding of development across the lifespan and the impact on normal and abnormal functioning. (CACREP 2.F.3)

Students can utilize career development theory in the development of individualized and developmentally appropriate career development activities and interventions. (CACREP 2.F.4)

Students can demonstrate the skills necessary to engage in an effective and therapeutic helping relationship. (CACREP 2.F.5)

Students demonstrate competency in preparing for and facilitating group counseling. (CACREP 2.F.6)

Students demonstrate the ability to identify effective assessment strategies to facilitate treatment planning. (CACREP 2.F.7)

Students will demonstrate an understanding of research methods to inform evidence-based practice. (CACREP 2.F.8)

Clinical Mental Health students will develop effective treatment plans utilizing the diagnostic process, assessment data, and evidence-based practices (CACREP 4.F.7. F.8, 5.2.d, 3.a)

School Counseling students will develop a comprehensive school counseling program based on data and utilizing a program model for their state of residence (CACREP 5.G.1.b, 3.a.,b.,n)

Students will show sensitivity, genuineness, and positive regard for others, practice high levels of self-awareness and demonstrate a commitment to personal growth and on-going professional development. (CACREP 4.G)

Accreditation

The former CACREP-accredited counseling programs suspended admissions in 2019. We are now reopened as a low residency program and we plan to stay aligned with CACREP standards until we are able to reapply for CACREP accreditation in the fall of 2024.

Information

Job Outlook

Faculty

Gabriel Lomas

Professor

Jessica Kuehne

Assistant Professor

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