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College of the Sciences

Mental Health Counseling: About

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MHC Student Handbook Faculty

The mission of the Mental Health Counseling program at Central Washington University is to select, educate, and supervise competent mental health counselors.  Our Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP) - accredited counselor-training program balances rigorous academic course work with a 3-4 part personalized clinical experience in our on-site training clinic.  Through individualized supervision, client data collection, evaluation and reflexivity, we provide support and feedback to facilitate students’ development of counseling knowledge, skills, practice, dispositional qualities, and personal growth.  Our goal is to prepare students to have strong professional identities as counselors, researchers, and advocates to best meet the diverse needs of clients. 

The Mental Health Counseling Program is a small and quite selective program. We admit approximately eight students each year, but we strive to admit students who add to the diversity of our program and who may come from a variety of backgrounds and training. Our faculty have a wide range of specializations and research interests that include, but are not limited to, multicultural and diversity issues. Dr. Jeff Penick focuses on gerontology and issues related to aging. Dr. Meaghan Nolte publishes in the areas of substance abuse and counselor training. Finally, Dr. Maribeth Jorgensen focuses on researcher efficacy and researcher identity development.

A primary goal of our program is to prepare students for careers in the mental health field to provide a full range of mental health counselling services that involve psychotherapy, human development, theory, and group dynamics to help individuals, couples, families, adolescents, and children. This program prepares students to serve in a variety of settings, including: independent practice, community agencies, managed behavioral health care organizations, integrated delivery systems, hospitals, employee assistance programs, and similar environments.

The core areas of the academic preparation that our program provides include:
  • Professional orientation
  • Social and cultural foundations
  • Psychotherapy
  • Research and program evaluation
  • Human growth and development
  • Legal and ethical issues
  • Counseling theory
  • Diagnosis and psychopathology
  • Psychological testing and assessment
  • Group counseling
  • Lifestyle and career development
  • Supervised practicum and internship

A strength of our CACREP-accredited program is its balance between intense clinical experience and opportunities for research and advocacy. Students may do an optional thesis, and may apply for grants and funding to present their research at local, regional or national conferences.

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