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Chicago | Master of Arts

Master’s (M.A.) in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling

Department of Counseling & Integrated Programs

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Program Overview

Adler University’s Master of Arts (M.A.) in Counseling: Specialization in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling program prepares socially responsible clinicians to improve quality of life for individuals who face physical, developmental, and emotional challenges. 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.

Our innovative program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs (CACREP) within the Rehabilitation Counseling specialty (we are seeking recognition as a Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling specialty with our next accreditation). With a comprehensive curriculum and supervised clinical field experiences, we prepare students for the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) examination and careers in counseling, case management, and advocacy.

Our immersive learning environment prepares students to work not only with individuals with disabilities, but also communities in addressing challenges stemming from disability, including employers, family members, education professionals, and others.

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

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

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      Student Outcomes

      Our immersive learning environment prepares students to work not only with individuals with disabilities, but also communities in addressing challenges stemming from disability, including employers, family members, education professionals, and others. Our Rehabilitation Counseling training revolves around three core elements: ethical behavior, diversity or individual differences, and critical thinking. Rigorous coursework and real-world experience focus students on creating positive social change—all led by experts in the field.

      Adler University is a nationally recognized pioneer in graduate education, preparing socially responsible practitioners who embrace diversity and help individuals achieve greater autonomy.

      Program Objectives

      The Master of Arts in Counseling: Specialization in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling program is designed to meet the following learning objectives. Upon completion of the program, students will:

      • 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 Rehabilitation Counseling
        Demonstrate knowledge, skills, and practices to address a variety of issues within the rehabilitation counseling context, including health promotion, diagnosis, assessment, intervention, research, diversity, and advocacy roles.
      • Program Objective 12: Critical Thinking and Disability
        Maintain a critical, questioning, and exploratory attitude toward issues of disability; demonstrate awareness of the complexity involved in issues of disability, including medical/psychosocial aspects of disability, the person and environment interaction, attitudinal issues, and social systemic impact on services provided to persons with disabilities.
      • Program Objective 13: Individual Differences
        Demonstrate an awareness of the ethical issues related to enhancing personal development, decision-making abilities, and quality of life for individuals with disabilities; articulate the value of client/consumer empowerment, choice, and personal responsibility in the rehabilitation process.
      • Program Objective 14: Advocacy and Disability
        Demonstrate awareness and understanding of community resources available to address issues related to disability challenges of clients; advocate for services and resources for individuals with disabilities to promote full inclusion in the community and in the workforce.

      Student Data (2020-2021)

      The following are the most recent program outcomes for the M.A. Counseling: Specialization in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling program for the 2020-2021 academic year. On a regular basis, Adler University surveys students, graduates, site supervisors, and employers to obtain useful information about the program.

      • The passing rate of students taking the National Counselor Examination in 2021 was 100%.
      • The passing rate of students taking the Certified Rehabilitation Counseling Examination was 80%
      • Ten students graduated in 2020-21.
      • Job placement rates for graduates is 90% within the first year of graduation.

      Click here for more information about our program outcomes.

      2019-2020 M.A. Rehabilitation Counseling Program Annual Report

      Careers in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling

      Our program is designed to prepare rehabilitation counselors to provide evaluation, personal and vocational counseling, and support for independent living in a range of settings, including:

      • State and federal rehabilitation facilities
      • Mental health rehabilitation facilities
      • Psychiatric rehabilitation facilities
      • Private rehabilitation organizations
      • Private practice
      • Veterans administration
      • Hospitals
      • Career and community counseling centers
      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 of rehabilitation counseling. Our diverse faculty brings together classroom learning with individualized mentorship and hands-on professional experience.

      Students also complete extensive field training, which provides opportunities to develop professional counseling skills working with individuals with disabilities in a variety of medical facilities, clinics, rehabilitation centers, private practices, community organizations, and government agencies. This training consists of a 100-hour practicum and a 600-hour internship, typically at the same site.

      Graduate Spotlight

      Tiffany R. Gunn, graduate
      M.A. in Counseling: Specialization in Rehabilitation Counseling

      Doctors Without Borders, who are independently funded, are exhausting all of their resources and volunteers to try and help put an end to this global devastation. Having the opportunity to work with refugees, immigrants and those seeking asylum with the United African Organization, I was happy to visit and tour “Forced from Home” with my class from Adler University. The interactive tour brings to life the experiences of a displaced person due to extreme poverty, violence, and war in order to live and survive.

      Learn More

      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. Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling / M.S. Sport & Human Performance
      Stand out in the job market with a unique dual degree that offers training in rehabilitation counseling and sport psychology—all with a focus on social justice. Our Master of Arts in Counseling: Specialization in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling program prepares clinicians to improve quality of life for individuals who face physical, developmental, and emotional challenges. 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.

      Our innovative program is also accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs (CACREP) within the Rehabilitation Counseling specialty, which recognizes programs that meet or exceed the highest standards for counselor preparation. With a comprehensive theoretical curriculum and supervised clinical field experiences, we excel at preparing clinicians for the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) examination and careers in counseling, case management, and advocacy. We are seeking recognition as a Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling specialty with our next accreditation.

      M.A. Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling / M.A. Forensic Mental Health Leadership
      Adler University’s unique M.A. in Forensic Mental Health Leadership / M.A. in Clinical 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. Our innovative program is also accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs (CACREP) within the Rehabilitation Counseling specialty, which recognizes programs that meet or exceed the highest standards for counselor preparation.

      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. We are seeking recognition as a Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling specialty with our next accreditation.

      Accreditation & Licensure

      CACREP Accreditation

      Adler University’s Rehabilitation Counseling program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs (CACREP) within the Rehabilitation Counseling specialty. CACREP recognizes programs that meet or exceed the highest standards for counselor preparation. We are seeking recognition as a Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling specialty with our next accreditation.

      National & State Licensures

      Graduates of the program are eligible to apply for the following licensures and certifications:

      • Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC), a nationally recognized credential.
      • Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) credential in the state of Illinois.
      • Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) credential in Illinois, upon completing all necessary post-graduate training. Students interested in applying for licensure elsewhere should work with their advisors to plan their curriculum accordingly.
      • National Certified Counselor (NCC) credential.

      Curriculum

      The Master of Arts in Counseling: Specialization in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling is a 62-credit hour program that requires the successful completion of field training and courses from those listed below. Classes are offered in the morning, afternoons, and evenings. Some courses are also offered in an online or hybrid (partially online) format.

      The mission of the program is to educate students in the profession of rehabilitation counseling, with a special emphasis on the provision of services that enhance the independence and quality of life for persons with disabilities. Special emphasis is placed on training students to become socially responsible practitioners who embrace diverse perspectives in the broadest possible sense, and who empower individuals with disabilities to build bridges across social, economic, cultural, racial, and political systems. The program will foster the development of social equality, justice, and respect for individuals with disabilities in the global community.

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

      Core Rehabilitation Counseling Courses

      CMHC 615 - Crisis Intervention and Trauma Counseling (3 cr.)

      This course will introduce students to crisis intervention models and associated responses to clients’ mental health needs during crises, disasters, and other trauma-causing events. Strategies and procedures for assessing risk, including suicide, aggression, and self-harm will also be covered.

      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.

      COUN 532 - Professional, Legal, and Ethical Issues (3 cr.)

      This course provides a foundation for the ethical practice of professional counseling. It introduces students to the history of the counseling profession as well as professional roles (practitioner, supervisor, educator, etc.) and professional organizations.

      COUN 533 - Counseling Theories (3 cr.)

      This course provides a survey of models and theories consistent with current research (evidenced-based) and practice in the counseling profession. Approaches include psychoanalytic, individual psychology, person-centered, existential, cognitive-behavioral, Gestalt, family systems, and postmodern theories.

      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.

      COUN 535 - Diagnosis Maladaptive Behavior (3 cr.)

      This course provides an overview of the major disorders in the current edition of the DSM. A range of mental disorders from adjustment disorders to serious psychopathologies will be discussed.

      COUN 536 - Counseling Multicultural Communities (3 cr.)

      This course is designed to provide a basic foundation of knowledge, awareness, and skills needed for providing more effective counseling services in a multicultural society.

      COUN 540 - Group Counseling (3 cr.)

      This course introduces students to theory and principles of group dynamics as well as developmental stages of groups. In addition, group members’ roles and behaviors and therapeutic factors of group work will be discussed.

      COUN 618 - Couples and Family Counseling (3 cr.)

      This course presents an overview of major models of couples and family therapy. The impact of multigenerational and environment factors on family dynamics and couples’ relations will be examined through various systemic perspectives.

      COUN 622 - Human Growth & Development (3 cr.)

      This course presents an overview of various models and theories in the discussion of the characteristics, developmental needs, and tasks at different stages of a person’s life cycle.

      COUN 625 - Research & 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.

      COUN 626 - Appraisal and Assessment (3 cr.)

      This course will provide foundational knowledge of individual and group approaches to assessment and evaluation commonly used in counseling practice. Students will be introduced to a variety of formal and informal assessment tools and instruments.

      COUN 630 - Addiction Counseling (3 cr.)

      This course provides an introduction to substance use and the treatment of addictive disorders. Assessment of substance use disorders and current treatment models for substance use, misuse, abuse, dependence, and concurrent disorders are discussed.

      MACR 500 - Foundations of Rehabilitation Counseling (3 cr.)

      This foundation course is designed to introduce and orient students to the profession of rehabilitation counseling. Students will learn about the history and development of rehabilitation counseling and the current issues relevant to the profession of rehabilitation counseling.

      MACR 502 - Med and Psychoso Aspects of Disability Disability (3 cr.)

      This is a survey course on the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual aspects of disability. The focus of the course is emphasizing the importance of a holistic understanding of individuals with disabilities and the often complex interplay of various factors as they impact the well-being of those with disabilities.

      MACR 642 - Career Development, Job Development and Vocational Rehabilitation (3 cr.)

      This course focuses on the critical interface of work and disability. The major theories of career development are reviewed; application of these theories to persons with disabilities is explored. The psychosocial and economic aspects of work and the impact of disability on employment are considered.

      MACR 644 - Treatment Planning, Intervention, and Advocacy (3 cr.)

      This is the foundational course in the role of the rehabilitation counselor as a socially responsible practitioner. The course begins with a review of various interventions and services typically performed by rehabilitation counselors, such as interfacing with the medical system, community and governmental agencies; disability documentation and eligibility determination is also considered.

      MACR 995 - MACR Comprehensive Examination (0 cr.)

      The MACR Comprehensive Examination evaluates general knowledge as a professional rehabilitation counselor. Included in this exam is an assessment of the student’s understanding of theoretical knowledge across a range of core subject areas found in the student’s curriculum.

      Field Training and Seminars

      SJP 513 - Social Justice Practicum I (On-ground Modality) (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 (On-ground Modality) (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.

      MACR 557 - MACR Practicum & Seminar (2 cr.)

      Practicum and seminar provides students engaged in clinical training with an opportunity to discuss professional development; students receive individual and group supervision.

      MACR 657 - MACR Internship and Seminar I (2 cr.)

      Following student’s completion of practicum, internship is a supervised clinical experience in which the student refines basic rehabilitation counseling and integrates and authenticates professional knowledge and skills appropriate to rehabilitation and clinical mental health counseling settings.

      MACR 658 - MACR Internship & Seminar II (2 cr.)

      This is a continuation of students’ internship experience with the goal to complete the 600-hour requirement. At the conclusion of internship, students should be able to demonstrate competencies that enable them to be a clinically and culturally competent, ethical, and socially responsible entry-level rehabilitation counseling practitioners.

      Electives (Three Credit Hours)

      The Department of Counseling and Integrated Programs offers a variety of elective courses to their program students. M.A. in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling students are required to take an elective of a three-credit-hour class. Depending on the offering cycle, please note that not all the electives are offered at the same time or may not be available for both on-ground or 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 electives offered by the Department include:

      COUN 550 - Preparation for Applied Thesis (1 cr.)

      The purpose of this course is to review policies and procedures pertinent to completion of a thesis as a degree program requirement. The course instructor will assist students in selecting and/or refining an appropriate topic for empirical study, identifying a faculty member to serve as their thesis advisor, identifying a second reader, and developing a research proposal that will form the foundation for their final thesis.

      *Part of Thesis Series

      COUN 551 - M. A. Thesis I (1 cr.)

      The M.A. Thesis is a student-directed study conducted in consultation with an approved faculty member in a theoretical, methodological, or applied psychological area relevant to the curriculum.

      *Part of Thesis Series

      COUN 552 - M. A. Thesis II (1 cr.)

      The M.A. Thesis is a student-directed study conducted in consultation with an approved faculty member in a theoretical, methodological, or applied psychological area relevant to the curriculum.

      *Part of Thesis Series

      Child & Adolescent Counseling (3 cr.)
      Psychedelic-Assisted Counseling (3 cr.)
      Counseling Older Adults and Families (3 cr.)
      Counseling and Human Sexuality (3 cr.)
      Animal Assisted Therapy (3 cr.)
      Mind, Body, and Meditative Practices in Counseling (3 cr.)
      Medical and Psychosocial Aspects of Disability (3 cr.)
      Advanced Couple and Family Counseling (3 cr.)
      Advanced Couples Counseling (3 cr.)
      Existential and Gestalt Therapy (3 cr.)
      Asian Meditation Therapies (3 cr.)
      Counseling Difficult, Defiant Adolescents (3 cr.)
      Bio-Psycho-Social-Spiritual Aspects of Addictions (3 cr.)
      Advanced Addictions Treatment (3 cr.)
      Advanced Adlerian Theory and Practice (3 cr.)
      Psychopharmacology in Counseling (3 cr.)
      Introduction to Play Therapy (3 cr.)
      Advanced Play Therapy (3 cr.)
      Introduction to Sport & Human Performance (3 cr.)

      This foundational course is designed to help students understand the origins and functions of the related fields of sport and human performance. It will include a historical analysis of the creation of sport psychology, tracing its roots to exercise science and cognitive-behavioral theory. Professional organizations focused on both areas will be discussed (e.g., Association for Applied Sport Psychology [AASP], U. S. Olympic Committee Sport Psychology & Mental Training Registry, American Psychological Association Division 47-Sport, Exercise & Performance Psychology).

      Contemporary Issues in Cultural Sport Psychology (3 cr.)

      This course examines the historical, social, and cultural factors influencing sport and physical activity. Pertinent cultural issues, theories, and research applications will be considered in the scholarly pursuit of knowledge and understanding of the sociological influences on sport, exercise, and physical activity.

      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

      Erica Wade-Ball, Ph.D., LCPC, ACS
      Director of Training, Department of Counseling and Integrated Programs

      I view teaching as a creative dance, sometimes difficult to follow or understand, however, with an environment of metacognition (thinking about what you are thinking), students/counselors-in-training (CIT) can reach their full potential, gain knowledge and skills to be culturally competent professional counselors. Also, through engagement, challenges, and inspiration, I invite students/CIT to reflect and explore their styles of learning to strengthen their critical awareness as it pertains to counselor education.

      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 a personal interview as the final step in the application process.

      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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