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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 course, 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.
      • 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.
      • 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 organizations.
      • Integrate knowledge of theory, and professional literature to guide systemic case conceptualization, provide consultation and interventions, and the development of policies and strategies to promote the wellness and effectiveness of forensic mental health organizations.
      • Advocate for evidence-based community level policies and practices to foster community wellbeing.
      • Apply knowledge of the intersection between forensic mental health systems and related public safety agencies, and practice with reference to legal, ethical and cultural considerations.
      • 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

      Adler University has developed a dual-degree policy enabling students to pursue graduate work in two fields and fulfill the requirements of two degrees simultaneously, typically over a period of time shorter than would otherwise be required to complete both programs sequentially. Dual degrees provide students the opportunity to combine two skill sets and increase networks and career opportunities.

      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.

      M.A. in Forensic Mental Health Leadership / M.A. in Rehabilitation Counseling
      Adler University’s unique M.A. in Forensic Mental Health Leadership / M.A. in Rehabilitation Counseling dual degree prepares graduates to improve quality of life for individuals who face physical, behavioral, developmental, and emotional challenges — all with a focus on social justice. Trained to confront systemic barriers and increase opportunities for inclusion, our graduates are well-equipped to empower populations such as the elderly, veterans, and people with disabilities in a wide range of settings. The forensic distinctions offered in the dual degree program will also prepare graduates to work 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.

      The dual degree option also uniquely qualifies graduates to conduct specialized evaluations and provide expert witness and consultant services to the courts in a variety of civil litigation venues, including: personal injury; product liability; Worker’s Compensation; Social Security disability; employment law; discrimination; catastrophic injury with a Life Care Plan; professional malpractice; divorce; wrongful death of an adult or child; and other related areas.

      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 534 - Helping Skills in Coaching and Consultation (3 cr.)

      This course teaches basic relationship and helping skills using role-plays and other experiential activities. This course breaks down the basic concepts and skills involved in communication and helping others, including interpersonal communication principles and methods, and establishing of rapport.

      FMHL 535 - Forensic Mental Health Responses to 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.

      FMHL 536 - Forensic Mental Health Systems and Multi (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.

      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 601 - Research in Program Development and Evaluation (3 cr.)

      In this course, students will explore the theory, methods and practices for effective and responsive program planning that involves multi-stakeholder collaboration and ongoing evaluation. This course introduces students to research methods and program evaluation as it pertains to the field of forensic mental health and public safety professions.

      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 603 - Adlerian Principles in Community and Organizational Leadership (3 cr.)

      This course will apply Adlerian principles in community and organizational contexts. Students will explore the impact of Adlerian principles on quality of life for individuals, communities and systems within diverse communities.

      FMHL 604 - Crisis, Critical Incidents, and Trauma Informed Programming and Intervention (3 cr.)

      In this course, students will explore the dynamics of crisis and crisis intervention, including the human stress response (the flight, fight or freeze mechanism), the nature of “shock” and the signs of distress and crisis. Students will be able to recognize how the impact a crisis can have on their own wellbeing is essential to mitigating its impact on themselves, as well as those entrusted to their care.

      FMHL 630 - Addictions & Recovery Oriented Principles and Practices (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.

      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.

      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 (2 of the Following)

      FMHL 605 - Conflict, Violence, Aggression and Restorative Practices (3 cr.)

      This course explores the psychosocial, political, and economic systems that influence behavior and the role they each play in the development of conflict, aggression, violence, and social deviance.

      FMHL 606 - Community Based Programming, Partnerships & Advocacy (3 cr.)

      This course will explore community based programing and social innovation using a wide range of tools, techniques and methods intended to unleash creative solutions to deeply rooted community based challenges. Students will be introduced to the Innovator’s Journey as a framework for social innovation tools and to transform the way they view community based problems.

      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.

      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

      Matthew Finn, Psy.D., LCP
      Interim Program Director, Forensic Mental Health Leadership (M.A.)

      Helping the next generation of students develop into professional, competent, and compassionate mental health professionals is a great responsibility. My teaching philosophy is to challenge students to grow intellectually, emotionally, and behaviorally into complete clinicians. Becoming a mental health professional requires a unique set of personal qualities that students strive to develop at Adler University.

      Learn More

      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?
        • 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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