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Psychology Department
Phone: 509-963-2381

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 individuals to become 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. 

After our accreditation lapses in 2023, our program will maintain the rigorous standards for training, including personalized clinical training, rigorous academic expectations and a supportive environment in which to learn and develop strong professional identities as counselors, researchers, and advocates.

The Mental Health Counseling Program is a small and selective program. We admit approximately eight to 10 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 researches, in the areas of substance abuse and counselor training.

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 
  • Counseling theory
  • Social and cultural foundations 
  • Diagnosis and psychopathology
  • Psychotherapy
  • Psychological testing and assessment
  • Research and program evaluation
  • Group counseling
  • Human growth and development
  • Lifestyle and career development
  • Legal and ethical issues
  • Supervised practicum and internship

A strength of our 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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