Give Apply Info

Request Information

You need a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution to enroll in Adler University programs.

Okay

Chicago & Online Modality

Master’s (M.A.) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Department of Counseling & Integrated Programs

Program Overview

Program Overview

Adler University’s Master of Arts in Counseling: Specialization in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) program prepares socially responsible clinicians to provide culturally sensitive therapeutic services in a wide range of clinical settings.

Our distinctive practitioner-focused program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP), which recognizes programs that meet or exceed the highest standards for counselor preparation.

Students have the option of selecting either an on-campus or online modality.

The on-campus modality is designed for students who prefer learning in a traditional classroom format. Classes are offered in the morning, afternoons, and evenings, and some courses are also offered in a hybrid (online or partially online) or weekend format. Full-time students in the on-campus modality can complete the program in 2 years; part-time students can complete the program in 3-4 years.

More information on our online modality can be found here

Our innovative program is designed to prepare clinical mental health counselors to serve diverse populations in both the public and private sectors. Students will train with faculty who are experienced counseling professionals and social justice activists, and graduates of the CMHC program are empowered and equipped to be agents of change for individuals, families, groups, communities, and society.

Additionally, the on-campus CMHC program allows students to add on a Certificate in Substance Abuse Counseling for an additional 12 credits of coursework.

Online Modality

Online Modality

The CMHC program is also offered in an interactive online modality, which can be completed in 3-4 years and is designed for students who want to complete the program in a distance learning format. Courses are delivered through the university’s learning management system.

Most course content is taught asynchronously, allowing flexibility in scheduling. However, courses also include some synchronous meetings (e.g, zoom meets), providing opportunities for practice and building relationships with peers and professors.

In addition to online engagement and learning, four courses will have face-to-face teaching and evaluation components that are required prior to entering practicum, which will be conducted over two 5-day residency weeks during the first and second years. Residency weeks take place at the Chicago campus, and cover the following four courses:

  • Counseling Skills (First-year Residency)
  • Counseling Multicultural Communities (First-year Residency)
  • Group Counseling (Second-year Residency)
  • Treatment Planning & Intervention (Second-year Residency)
Curriculum

Curriculum

The Master of Arts in Counseling: Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

This program trains skilled and socially responsible counselors who are culturally competent and socially aware to meet the needs of diverse communities. It prepares students with knowledge in theories and methods of clinical mental health counseling.

As a diverse community of learners, faculty, and students, we are dedicated to social justice advocacy through exemplary instruction, clinical work, community engagement, leadership, and scholarship. It is our goal to work collaboratively with the community to eradicate social inequities and enhance the well-being of individuals, groups, couples, and families across the life span.

Graduates of the program are prepared to work in a wide variety of mental health positions within diverse clinical settings, including but not limited to, community mental health agencies, private practice, employee assistance programs, hospitals, and government organizations.

The Master of Arts in Counseling: Specialization in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is a 62-credit hour program that requires the successful completion of field training and courses from those listed below.

Core Courses

In alignment with CACREP standards, the CMHC program offers core coursework in the following 8 areas: Professional Orientation and Ethics, Social and Cultural Diversity, Human Growth and Development, Career Development, Group work, Counseling Relationships, Research, and Assessment. Students are required to take:

  • Adlerian Theory and Counseling
  • Professional, Legal, and Ethical Issues in Counseling
  • Counseling Theories
  • Counseling Skills
  • Diagnosis of Maladaptive Behavior
  • Counseling Multicultural Communities
  • Group Counseling
  • Treatment Planning and Intervention
  • Couple and Family Counseling
  • Human Growth and Development
  • Research and Program Evaluation
  • Appraisal and Assessment
  • Career Development Theories and Interventions
  • Addictions Counseling
  • Professional Functions of Clinical Mental Health Counselors
  • Crisis Intervention and Trauma Counseling
Field Training and Seminars

All students enrolled in the CMHC program must complete a 200-hour community-based social justice practicum experience. Students also complete a 100-hour clinical practicum experience and a 600-hour clinical internship located at an external site.

  • Social Justice Practicum I
  • Social Justice Practicum II
  • CMHC Practicum and Seminar
  • CMHC Internship and Seminar I
  • CMHC Internship and Seminar II
Electives

The Department of Counseling and Integrated Programs offers a variety of elective courses to their program students. CMHC students are required to take two electives that are three-hour courses each*.

Students can take electives offered by the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program or they can choose a course from the department elective menu, upon their faculty advisor’s approval. Depending on the offering cycle, please note that not all the electives are offered at the same time, and may not be available for both on-ground an online students.

We recommend that Canadian students take the thesis series as the elective should they plan to pursue doctoral studies in Canada.

Examples of the electives offered by the Department include:

  • Child & Adolescent Counseling
  • Psychedelic-Assisted Counseling
  • Counseling Older Adults and Families
  • Counseling and Human Sexuality
  • Animal Assisted Therapy
  • Mind, Body, and Meditative Practices in Counseling
  • Medical and Psychosocial Aspects of Disability
  • Advanced Couple and Family Counseling
  • Advanced Couples Counseling
  • Existential and Gestalt Therapy
  • Asian Meditation Therapies
  • Counseling Difficult, Defiant Adolescents
  • Bio-Psycho-Social-Spiritual Aspects of Addictions
  • Advanced Addictions Treatment
  • Advanced Adlerian Theory and Practice
  • Psychopharmacology in Counseling
  • Introduction to Play Therapy
  • Advanced Play Therapy
  • Introduction to Sport & Human Performance
  • Contemporary Issues in Cultural Sport Psychology

OR choose the thesis series below as one of the electives:

  • Preparation for Applied Thesis
  • M.A. Thesis I
  • M.A. Thesis II

*Online students or students who intend to be licensed from other states will want to refer to their state’s Professional Counselor licensure curricular requirements. To prevent licensure delays, you may want to consider taking these other courses as your electives while completing your degree. 

Find course descriptions and more information in the Adler University course catalog here.

Social Justice Practicum

Social Justice Practicum

Doing is learning. A unique and proven program designed to give students real world experience throughout their time at Adler University, the Social Justice Practicum is a required 200-hour internship that spans four courses (or terms for online programs). Every student is given a number of civic-minded categories to choose from. They submit their desired areas of interest. After which, they are assigned a specific and aligned community outreach site where they will work 8 to 10 hours per week.

Student Outcomes

Student Outcomes

Program Objectives

The CMHC program is designed to meet the following learning objectives.

Program Objective 1: Professional Orientation and Ethical Practice
Describe and apply all aspects of professional practice, including history, roles, professional organizations, ethic and legal standards, counselor credentials and advocacy processes.

Program Objective 2: Social and Cultural Diversity
Develop self-awareness and multicultural counseling competencies. Apply theory and research on cultural factors impacting counseling relationships in a multicultural and diverse society, and the role of social justice and advocacy to the practice of counseling.

Program Objective 3: Human Growth and Development
Apply models of individual, couples, and family development in the practice of counseling with emphasis on cultural diversity across the lifespan.

Program Objective 4: Career Development
Demonstrate knowledge and apply career development and decision-making models and strategies with multicultural and diverse populations.

Program Objective 5: Helping Relationships
Demonstrate knowledge of theories and skills to provide ethical counseling, consultation, crisis intervention services.

Program Objective 6: Group Work
Participate in, facilitate, and lead experiential group and apply group work principles and theories, methods and skills to the practice of counseling.

Program Objective 7: Assessment
Demonstrate knowledge of principles of testing and measurement, including statistical concepts and apply them to individual and group assessment and evaluation.

Program Objective 8: Research and Program Evaluation
Describe and recognize the importance of research and statistical based methods, statistical, needs assessment, program evaluation to inform evidence-based practice of counseling.

Program Objective 9: Adlerian Foundations and Principles
Apply principles of Adlerian Theory such as purposiveness of behavior, the indivisible self, goal directed behavior, and the role of social interest in counseling and treatment planning with the goals to improve well-being of individuals, couples, groups, families, and a diverse society.

Program Objective 10: Social Justice/ Social responsibility
Reflect on personal values and assumptions (privileges, disadvantages, etc.) about the nature and causes of social problems (social injustices such as poverty, racism, abuse) and gain experience and skills to advocate for systemic change through engagement and leadership in multidisciplinary, diverse community-based organizations.

Program Objective 11: Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Demonstrate knowledge, skills, and practices to address a variety of issues within the clinical mental health counseling context including prevention, diagnosis, assessment, intervention, research, diversity and advocacy roles.

Student Data

The M.A. in Counseling: Specialization in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program surveys students, graduates, site supervisors, and employers to obtain useful information about the program on a regular basis. The following are the most recent program outcomes collected from summer 2019, and fall and spring 2020:

  • Currently (Fall 2020), there are 284 students in the CMHC program, including:
    • 236 students in full-time ground modality, 3-year online modality, or part-time format.
    • 35 students pursuing a dual degree with the MS in Sport and Human Performance program, and
    • 13 students pursuing a dual degree with the MA in Forensic Mental Health Leadership program.
  • The graduation rate of Summer 2019 was 92%. However, based on a 5-year maximum program completion period, the graduation rate of this program is 88%.
  • In Spring 2020, we achieved an 84% passing rate for the National Counselor Examination (licensure examination in Illinois)
  • Our latest alumni survey conducted in spring 2020 reported nearly 75% of 8 respondents being employed within a year of graduation.

2017-2018 Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program Annual Report

2018-2019 Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program Annual Report

2019-2020 Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program Annual Report

Careers

Our innovative program is designed to prepare clinical mental health counselors to serve diverse populations in both the public and private sectors. They work in a range of settings, including:

  • Social service agencies
  • Behavioral health care organizations
  • Hospitals
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Substance abuse treatment centers
  • Military and TRICARE system
  • Government agencies
  • Private practice
Professional Development & Training

Gain the knowledge and skills to create real change with small, collaborative classes taught by leading practitioners and scholars in the field. Our diverse faculty brings together classroom learning with individualized mentorship and hands-on professional experience.

Students also complete extensive clinical training, which provides opportunities to apply theory, hone counseling skills, and formulate treatment strategies with clients in a variety of hospitals, clinics, mental health centers, community organizations, and government agencies. Throughout their fieldwork, students receive close mentorship and clinical supervision by faculty. This training consists of a 100-hour practicum and a 600-hour internship, typically at the same site.

Admissions Requirements

Admissions Requirements

  • A baccalaureate degree earned from a regionally accredited college or university or an equivalent degree from an international college or university.
  • A recommended GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale for undergraduate and graduate coursework. Exceptions may be made for applicants who demonstrate outstanding academic performance or academic ability in other ways.
  • Approved applicants will be invited for a personal interview as the final step in the application process.

Application Requirements

Applicants are required to submit the following items to be considered for admission:

  • Application and application fee
  • Statement of Intent answering the following questions:
    • Why are you interested in your chosen field and program?
    • Why is Adler University’s program a good fit for you?
    • What are your career goals and interests?
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  • Transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate schools attended (U.S and Canada)
    • Official transcripts should be sent directly to the Office of Admissions
    • Unofficial transcripts may be accepted for any schools in which a degree was not received
    • International transcripts must be evaluated by a transcript evaluation service
  • Two letters of Recommendation
    • These should be from someone who can specifically speak to your academic and professional abilities.

Please submit all materials to the Office of Admissions prior to the application deadline.

Official transcripts should be sent to:

Adler University – Office of Admissions
17 N. Dearborn Street
Chicago, IL 60602

Official electronic transcripts should be sent to [email protected].

 

For more information for International Applicants, click here.

Accreditation

Accreditation

Our distinctive practitioner-focused program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP), which recognizes programs that meet or exceed the highest standards for counselor preparation.

Adler University is a nationally recognized pioneer in graduate education, training clinicians who work to build and maintain bridges across social, economic, cultural, racial, and political systems through their practice. Our learning environment is collaborative and community-oriented, bringing together rigorous coursework with real-world experience.

Licensure

Licensure

Graduates of the program are also eligible to take part in the National Certified Counselor (NCC) credential, after successful passage of the National Counselor Examination (NCE) and completion of required experiences.

In particular, Graduates of the program are eligible to apply for the following credentials:

  • The Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) credential in the state of Illinois.
  • The Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) credential in Illinois, upon completing all necessary post-graduate training and supervised experiences.
Dual Degree

Dual Degree

M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling / M.S. Sport & Human Performance
Adler University’s unique M.S. Sport & Human Performance / M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling dual degree program prepares graduates to work with a range of clients who struggle with everything from chronic mental illness to achieving peak performance and utilizing the sport platform to promote social justice. This unique Dual Degree program provides students a comprehensive foundation in clinical mental health counseling as well as mental skills training that leads to psychological well-being and optimal performance allowing for a range of dynamic career paths.

M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling / M.A. Forensic Mental Health Leadership
Stand out in the job market with a unique dual degree that offers training in mental health counseling and forensic mental health leadership—all with a focus on social justice. Our M.A. in Forensic Mental Health Leadership / M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling dual degree program prepares graduates to work with a range of clients in traditional mental health programs as well as mental health counselors with individuals, families and systems that interface with the legal and criminal justice arena. Our aim is to prepare clinicians who will be able to assess, treat, consult and apply a full array of counseling services in forensic and correctional settings, allowing for a range of dynamic career paths.

Substance Abuse Counseling Certificate

Adler University offers a Substance Abuse Counseling Certificate that can be earned by students of the program for an additional 12 credit hours.

This program is accredited as an Advanced Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Counselor Training Program by the Illinois Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Professional Certification Association, Inc. (IAODAPCA). The certification process is based on the Illinois Model for Certification of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Counselors.

Specifically, coursework provides education in the theories, techniques, and core functions of substance abuse counseling, focusing on evidence-based research and best practice standards from a social justice standpoint. Specialized practicum experience complements coursework.

Curriculum

Curriculum

The Certificate in Substance Abuse Counseling requires the following 12 credits of coursework:

One of the following:

  • Introduction to Addictive Disorders
  • Addictions Counseling
  • Diagnosis and Treatment of Addictive Disorders

And one of the following:

  • Professional Development, Issues, and Ethics in Art Therapy
  • Professional Development: Issues and Ethics Professional Identity, Law, and Ethics in Couple and Family Therapy
  • Professional, Legal, and Ethics Issues in Counseling
  • Ethics and Professional Development in Clinical Psychology

And one of the following:

  • Bio-Psycho-Social-Spiritual Aspects of Addictions

And one of the following:

  • Advanced Addictions Treatment
  • Advanced Treatment of Addictive Disorders
Specialized Practicum

Specialized Practicum

In addition to the specialized coursework, students pursuing the Certificate in Substance Abuse Counseling will acquire and develop practical skills in the Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA) core functions through specialized field placements. The Certificate in Substance Abuse Counseling requires the following four semester credit hours of practicum (500 field hours) and seminars:

  • Substance Abuse Counseling Practicum and Seminar I
  • Substance Abuse Counseling Practicum and Seminar II
Professional Development & Training

Professional Development & Training

In addition to the specialized coursework, students pursuing the Certificate in Substance Abuse Counseling will acquire and develop practical skills in the Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA) core functions through specialized field placements. The Certificate in Substance Abuse Counseling requires the following four semester credit hours of practicum (500 field hours) and seminars:

  • Substance Abuse Counseling Practicum and Seminar I
  • Substance Abuse Counseling Practicum and Seminar II
Accreditation

Accreditation

This program is accredited as an Advanced Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Counselor Training Program by the Illinois Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Professional Certification Association, Inc. (IAODAPCA). The certification process is based on the Illinois Model for Certification of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Counselors.

Chicago Campus

Located in the heart of the city, the Adler Chicago campus was designed to provide and inspire the learning and living experience. To that end, we have created an environment that caters to your mental, emotional and intellectual growth. Our classrooms are bright and spacious with windows to the outside world. Our technology is the very latest and best. In our Library, you will find every resource you need to research, form and shape your journey. At Adler, we have made it our mission to create a space with more than enough room to share your thoughts and flex your intellect.

Tour the Campus

Take the next step

Explore More

Holistic Healing: Addressing Physical, Mental and Community Health

Chicago Campus student Maria Guevara has spent the last eight years working at Lawndale Christian Health Center. Her work in health care has helped her realize the importance of mental health care and the need to treat the whole patient.

Learn More

Dr. Stoner-Harris to be Honored at YWCA Quad Cities Race Against Racism

Chicago Campus Assistant Professor Tiffany Stoner-Harris, Ph.D., will be honored in the YWCA Quad-Cities Race Against Racism for her dedication to her students and her social justice advocacy.

Learn More

Showcasing Diversity, Inclusion, and Intersectionality in Community Art Installation

Faces of the Fox, an interactive community art exhibit, was created to showcase the diversity of the Fox River Valley in Illinois—an effort to bring to light the different people that make up communities.

Learn More