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Chicago | Master of Arts

Master’s (M.A.) in Forensic Mental Health Leadership

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Program Overview

Adler University’s Master of Arts (M.A.) in Forensic Mental Health Leadership program prepares individuals to become socially responsible leaders, consultants and agents for change in forensic mental health and related public safety fields. Students in this program will gain new skills and strategies to use research-driven data to address the social issues, shifting cultural landscapes, increased public scrutiny, and the growing demand for increased accountability and transparency from the communities and stakeholders they serve.

Graduates are prepared to serve in a variety of capacities in forensic mental health systems and related public safety settings including, but not limited to law enforcement, correctional settings, advocacy, and research.

This program also allows students to add on a Certificate in Substance Abuse Counseling for an additional 12 credits of coursework.

Request Information

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

      Okay

      Student Outcomes

      In this program, students learn to apply contemporary leadership models and practices, individual, organizational and community-based assessment and intervention skills, research and program development, consulting skills, ethical practices, and a foundation in empirically supported policies and principles that will inform your choices as leaders within forensic mental health and related public safety organizations, or as consultants to such organizations.

      Careers in Forensic Mental Health Leadership

      Graduates are prepared to serve in a variety of capacities in forensic mental health systems and related public safety settings including, but not limited to:

      • Law enforcement
      • probation
      • correctional institutions
      • victim assistance
      • child welfare
      • family court services
      • mitigation and sentencing advocacy
      • policy, advocacy, and research capacities
      • emergencies and crisis management services
      • parole and other community based correctional settings
      Professional Development & Training

      Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

      • Perform the duties and responsibilities of a forensic mental health system specialist in a manner that assures the impartial and socially just delivery of services and recovery opportunities to the community.
      • Establish a leadership philosophy and style that capitalizes on the value of respectful interpersonal relationships and transparent group/team interactions to bring about tangible changes, innovations, and improvements in forensic and public safety organizations.
      • Integrate knowledge of theory and professional literature to guide systemic case conceptualization, provide consultation and interventions, and develop policies and strategies to promote the wellness and effectiveness of forensic mental health and public safety organizations.
      • Apply knowledge and training regarding the intersection between forensic mental health systems and different populations and practice with reference to legal, ethical, and cultural considerations and the needs and characteristics of different underrepresented communities.
      • Apply research principles and methods to conduct action-based research for needs assessment, program development and evaluation, and evidence-based practice in response to diverse system needs in the forensic mental health field.
      • Determine 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 multi-disciplinary, diverse forensic mental health and related public safety organizations.
      • Apply principles of Adlerian Theory in forensic mental health policies, program and practices, with the goals of improving the well-being of individuals, couples, groups, families, organizations, governmental agencies, and communities.

      Dual Degree

      The Chicago campus of Adler University has developed dual degree programs to allow students the opportunity to pursue degrees in two different fields of study simultaneously. Dual degrees provide students the opportunity to combine two skill sets and increase networks and career opportunities. Students in dual degree programs may have a limited number of credit hours dually recognized toward the requirements of both degrees.

      M.A. in Forensic Mental Health Leadership / M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
      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.

      Curriculum

      The Master of Arts in Forensic Mental Health Leadership is a 36-credit hour program that includes the following:

      Find course descriptions and more information in the Adler University Course Catalog.

      Core Forensic Mental Health Leadership Courses

      FMHL 600 – Roles, Responsibilities, and Leadership In Forensic Mental Health and Public Safety (3 cr.)

      This course will explore the historic roots of the forensic mental health and public safety professions, as well as provide clarification as to the roles, developments, professional responsibilities, legal and ethical standards, leadership styles and models, and future directions of the field.

      FMHL 602 – Organizational Consulting & Change Management (3 cr.)

      This course provides an analysis of structures, culture, and leadership of organizations. Much of the course addresses the theories, activities, challenges, and ethics of change management initiatives affecting individuals, work units, task groups, agencies and communities, and the role of the consultant in these processes.

      FMHL 635 – Forensic Mental Health Leadership Capstone Seminar (1 cr.)

      This is the capstone course for the Forensic Mental Health Leadership (FMHL) program, and should be taken in the student’s last semester.

      COUN 518 – Adlerian Theory and Counseling (3 cr.)

      This course introduces the principles of Alfred Adler’s theory as a basis for understanding the development of an individual’s unique style of living or personality. These principles include the purposiveness of behavior, the indivisible self, goal-directed behavior, and the role of social interest in mental health and social progress. Students will learn how to apply these principles in counseling and treatment planning, with the goals to improve well-being of individuals, couples, groups, families, and society.

      COUN 534 – Counseling Skills (3 cr.)

      This course teaches basic relationship and counseling skills using role-plays and other experiential activities. The course covers basic counseling skills (e.g., attending, active listening, building rapport), intake interviewing, and self-reflection/self-assessment procedures. It also addresses additional skills such as confrontation, immediacy, here-and-now processing, self-disclosure, and stages of change.

      COUN 535 – Diagnosis of Maladaptive Behavior (3 cr.)

      This course will provide students with a grounding in mental health issues and community and systems based responses for those with mental health disorders. Specifically, this course will provide an overview of the major disorders in the current edition of the DSM.

      COUN 536 – Multicultural and Social Justice Counseling (3 cr.)

      This course is designed to provide an operational knowledge base and skills needed for providing more effective forensic mental health and public safety services in a multicultural society.

      COUN 625 – Research and Program Evaluation (3 cr.)

      This course is a master’s-level introduction to research methods and program evaluation as it pertains to the field of professional counseling. Major research designs including both quantitative and qualitative methods will be explored. Research procedures, such data collection, sampling, and data analysis, and issues related to validity, reliability, and limitations of different approaches will be discussed. In addition, the course will survey the history and development of program evaluation and provide an introduction to needs assessment in regard to program development, data collection methodology, and data analysis. Ethical and culturally relevant strategies for interpreting and reporting the results of research and program evaluation studies will be also covered.

      COUN 630 – Addictions Counseling (3 cr.)

      This course introduces students to a conceptual framework for understanding substance use disorders and addictions. It examines the history of alcohol and drug problems in the United States, various etiological theories and models of addiction, the role of culture in substance use and abuse, high-risk groups, the physiology and pharmacology of different types of substances, and the effects of substance abuse on individuals, families, and communities.

      Field Experience

      SJP 513 - Social Justice Practicum I (1 cr.)

      The Social Justice Practicum (SJP) is a first-year, nonclinical and non-discipline-specific experiential practicum that begins in the fall term. Students gain the knowledge, skills, and perspectives to utilize collective power and social justice strategies to build a more equitable society. The SJP is designed to help students learn how to work alongside different communities as agents of social change and serves as the catalyst for students to realize and understand their own strengths and responsibility to contribute to social equity.

      SJP 514 - Social Justice Practicum II (1 cr.)

      The Social Justice Practicum (SJP) is a first-year, nonclinical and non-discipline-specific experiential practicum that continues through the spring term. Students gain the knowledge, skills, and perspectives to utilize collective power and social justice strategies to build a more equitable society. The SJP is designed to help students learn how to work alongside different communities as agents of social change and serves as the catalyst for students to realize and understand their own strengths and responsibility to contribute to social equity.

      Electives (3 of the Following)

      FMHL 605 – Violence and Risk Assessment (3 cr.)

      This course explores the evaluation and examination of violence and aggression, their origins and determinants, and their impact on the individual and society. This course addresses general risk assessment and management principles and focuses on the most common forms of violence including general violence, mass violence, sexual violence, intimate partner violence, and stalking. The course provides mental health professionals with practical skills related to using specific risk assessment tools and knowledge about implementing violence risk assessment and management procedures. Practical exercises drawn from actual cases are used to illustrate key concepts.

      FMHL 609 – Counseling in Forensic Populations (3 cr.)

      This course exposes students to the wide gamut of approaches utilized in the treatment and rehabilitation of offenders, with attention given to the evaluation of their effectiveness. The course also explores the complexities of assessing and treating various mental health diagnoses and conditions within forensic settings.

      FMHL 610 – Forensic Mental Health Evaluation (3 cr.)

      This course prepares students to be forensic mental health evaluators. It focuses on the role of forensic mental health counselors and evaluators in legal processes relating to family violence, child custody, sex offenders, juvenile justice, and other judiciary issues in both criminal and specialized courts.

      FMHL 611 – Assessment and Intervention with the Juvenile Offender (3 cr.)

      This course addresses the factors leading to the causes, assessment, classification, and treatment of juvenile delinquency. This course examines cognitive, behavioral, psychodynamic, and developmental approaches contributing to delinquency. This course analyzes legal and institutional responses to juvenile crime from various theoretical perspectives. The role of the mental health professional in the juvenile justice system is explored. This course reviews the major empirically-based prevention and treatment approaches with relevant case studies presented to illustrative key concepts.

      FMHL 612 – Police and Public Safety Psychology (3 cr.)

      Police and public safety psychology is concerned with assisting law enforcement and other public safety personnel and agencies in carrying out their missions and societal functions with effectiveness, safety, health, and conformity to laws and ethics. It consists of the application of the science and profession of psychology in the domains of assessment, clinical intervention, operational support, and organizational consultation.

      FMHL 613 – Assessment and Intervention with the Sexual Offender (3 cr.)

      This course addresses assessment and treatment of sex offenders and incorporates psychological, criminological, social, and legal theoretical models used in understanding the various types of sex offenders. This course provides risk assessment and prevention models for treatment as well as current evidence-based treatments for this population.

      FMHL 614 – Correctional Counseling and Rehabilitation (3 cr.)

      This course emphasizes the unique culture of working in a correctional environment. This course provides an overview of the history and evolution of corrections; the development of prisons; and the ideological and theoretical underpinnings of corrections. The history, structure, theories, techniques, and interventions of correctional counseling and rehabilitation is explored.

      FMHL 615 – Clinicians in Court (3 cr.)

      This course provides an overview of the role of the clinician within the legal system. Techniques and skills explored within the course include documentation, report writing, consultation, pre-court preparation, courtroom testimony, and expert witness testimony. Students will acquire a basic knowledge of the legal and ethical obligations related to clinical work within court-related services.

      Social Justice Practicum

      200-hour internship to give students real world experience

      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.

      Learn about Adler’s Social Justice Practicum

      Faculty Spotlight

      Ryan Tobiasz, Psy.D., LPC
      Program Director, Forensic Mental Health Leadership (M.A.)

      Dr. Ryan Tobiasz is the Program Director for the Forensic Mental Health Leadership Program at Adler University. He has over 10 years of higher education experience. Prior to entering academia full-time, Dr. Tobiasz served as a Psychological Associate within the Wisconsin Department of Corrections at several maximum-security institutions. He implemented and facilitated the first evidence-based practice treatment groups within the Wisconsin Department of Corrections including Illness Management and Recovery (IMR) and Social Skills Training for Schizophrenia.

      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 an interview with faculty.

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

      • Application and application fee
      • Statement of Intent (2-3 pages, double-spaced) 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?
        • Adler University mission is based on social justice. Share your perspective of social justice.
        • What are your career goals and interests?
      • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
      • Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate schools attended (U.S and Canada)
        • Please have official transcripts 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

      Approved applicants will be invited to complete an interview with faculty.


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

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

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

      Information for International Applicants

      Tuition & Fees

      Tuition for Adler University’s programs is charged each term according to the number of registered academic credits. The number of credits a student will register for varies by academic program and by term. To estimate the amount of tuition and fees that would be charged in a given term, please use our Tuition Estimator tool below, or read about tuition and fees for all Chicago programs.

      Tuition Estimator

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