COUN 603 Foundations of Mental Health Counseling – 3 credits

This course is designed to familiarize the students with the roles and functions of mental health counselors in the contemporary mental health system. The students will learn about the history and organization of mental health services, models of service delivery, multicultural factors, systemic issues, advocacy for the mentally ill, legal and ethical guidelines, and issues related to diagnosis and treatment, as well as learning basic interviewing skills.

COUN 615 Psychopathology and Differential Diagnosis – 3 credits

This course is designed to familiarize the students with the DSM-IV-TR multi-axial system, and with etiology and general treatment issues for various psychological disorders. The students will learn differential criteria for diagnosis, multicultural factors, systemic issues, legal and ethical concerns, intake and information gathering skills, and basic psychopharmacological information pertinent to mental health diagnosis and treatment. The course will be focused on disorders that present with frequency to mental health counselors, including: mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance use disorders, and impulse control disorders.

COUN 619 Program Development and Grantsmanship – 3 credits

This course will introduce students to fundamentals of program development and grantsmanship in the counseling field. Emphasis will be on techniques of successful proposal writing, funding opportunities at the local/state/federal level, grant administration, and building programs through collaborative teams of faculty, students, and school and agency personnel.

COUN 628 Assessment in Mental Health Counseling – 3 credits

This course will focus on administration, interpretation and reporting of assessment instruments commonly used in mental health settings. Instruments covered will omnibus rating scales, standardized personality scales, depression scales, anxiety scales, and ADHD scales. Use of scales to provide data for psychiatric diagnosis will be emphasized.

OR

COUN 641 Counseling Special Populations – 3 credits

This course will address formulation and application of research-based effective interventions with particular presenting concerns that often present challenges to the mental health counselor. Some of these presenting concerns include: bereavement, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia spectrum disorders, eating disorders, sex offenders, personality disorders, and substance abuse. Students will have the opportunity to discuss difficult cases they are currently seeing and develop individualized treatment plans with appropriate outcome benchmarks based on best practices guidelines.

COUN 663 Internship in Mental Health Counseling I – 3 credits

The student experiences the actual counseling practice by performing a wide range of counselor functions and activities in a field-training site. The site may be a social service agency, mental health clinic, veterans counseling service, or any other approved counseling setting. Site supervision is provided by a licensed field supervisor. The student is expected to spend the equivalent of a minimum of 300 clock hours at the site (16 hours per week), 120 of which must involve direct client contact. In addition, students attend a regular seminar. Students are required to continue on to COUN 664, Internship in Mental Health Counseling II. Prerequisitse: COUN 603, COUN 615.

COUN 664 Internship in Mental Health Counseling II – 3 credits

This is a continuation of COUN 663, Internship I. Site supervision is provided by a licensed field supervisor. The student is expected to spend the equivalent of a minimum of 300 clock hours at the site (16 hours per week), 120 of which must involve direct client contact. In addition, students attend a regular seminar. Prerequisite: COUN 663.

Note that there is one “choice” among the classroom-based courses: COUN 619-Counseling Special Populations or COUN 628-Assessment in Mental Health Counseling. AU counseling graduates who have already taken COUN 619 will be permitted to apply that course to the program. After the first group of students enters the program in spring, 2011, the program faculty will determine which of these two courses students must take. Mental health counseling requires that individuals have a solid background in the most widely used diagnostic instruments, the MMPI-2 and the Millon, among others. Most counselors who have school counseling preparation have not received training in the use of these instruments. Therefore, it is likely that a majority of people in future cohorts entering after the spring of 2011 will be required to take Assessment in Mental Health Counseling.

Students are required to complete COUN 603-Foundations of Mental Health Counseling, and COUN 615-Psychopathology, before they start their internships. The other two classroom-based courses may be completed during internship. Other than that requirement, there is no absolute sequence in the CAS program. There may be a number of different schedules on which to complete the program, depending on each student’s needs. BUT it is strongly recommended that students stay on a schedule that allows them to complete the program in no more than 2 calendar years.