Grace College and Theological Seminary has a rich history of offering graduate counseling degrees since 1995. The online 60-credit hour Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) program was developed in 2010 and is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP) through 2020. Our CMHC students complete the majority of their coursework in a fully online format while attending an annual 7-10 day Residency on campus in scenic Winona Lake (IN). The CMHC is also available as a Residential program.
Examples of courses in this major:
This course will examine a biblical theory of counseling based upon a biblical theory of personality. Other topics will include biblical presuppositions, theories of "integration," the image/likeness of God, and prayer. The implications of counseling will be discussed in each of these topics.
This course is intended to offer an introduction to the profession of mental health counseling. Students will be exposed to the historical, philosophical, societal, economic, and political dimensions of mental health counseling. The focus will be on fostering student knowledge and professional identity by increasing awareness of various roles and duties of professional mental health counselors as well as learning how they interact with professionals from other disciplines within the mental health field.
Through the lens of Scripture, this course will examine a broad theoretical and practical foundation for counseling couples and families. Students will explore how the counselor can implement knowledge and skills necessary to aid in the mending of marriages and the restoration of proper family functioning.
This course examines the origins, development, and current status of major personality/counseling theories that provide a framework for clinical application and inform current counseling practice. The emphasis will be on the structure and dynamics of personality and implications for understanding behavior and change. Learners will evaluate the compatibility of these theories in light of their Christian worldview, ultimately selecting a particular theoretical orientation to be used in counseling practice.
This course provides an introduction to the concepts of psychopathology and to the major diagnostic categories of the current DSM and their etiologies. Learners will examine issues of psychopathology and normalcy through the lens of Scripture, providing an opportunity for students to develop diagnostic skills. Emphasis is placed on understanding how cultural, biological, social, psychological, and spiritual factors are all necessary components when developing an ethical model of assessment and treatment planning.
Professional skill development is the emphasis of this course. The student will learn about and practice implementing counseling skills. Strengths and weaknesses related to interpersonal competencies (e.g., openness, flexibility, cooperativeness, aware of impact on others) will be explored as well.
The course will provide students exposure to the scope of counseling with children and adolescents. This course is designed to equip students with both theory and practical applications unique to the issues related to counseling youths. A central focus will include the use of assessment procedures with children and adolescents.
This course will examine the nature and practice of psychotherapy as it pertains to the topic of crises, disasters, and other trauma causing events. The nature of trauma, trauma resolution, and the standard of care in responding to trauma survivors will be explored.
This course will address research design and experimentation as it pertains to the study of counseling. It will also address a basic understanding of the statistics employed to analyze data gathered.
Mental health counselors and other helping professionals are faced with the challenging reality of addiction and its widespread impact on individuals, families, and communities. This course is primarily designed to address the various dynamics, models, etiologies, diagnoses/psychopathologies, and recovery strategies related to addiction. The secondary intention of this course is to provide counselors and helping professionals with salient treatment methods and assessments for substance-related and addictive disorders in order to better apply these across diverse populations and developmental life spans in a rapidly changing field.
Students will receive instruction in the measurement of human behavior with psychological instruments. The course will include an introduction to tests of intelligence, achievement, personality, and interest, with emphasis on test construction, administration, and validation.
This course considers biological, psychological, cultural, societal, and biblical considerations of gender and human sexuality. Emphasis will be placed on the development of an understanding and appreciation of the role of gender and sexuality throughout the various phases of the life cycle. Counseling issues germane to both gender and sexuality will also be explored.
This course is designed to develop a broad biblical knowledge base, critical thinking, and ethical decision-making skills for mental health counseling practice. A focus on the development of student desire and diligence as practicing counselors and the development of a high degree of personal and professional ethics to enhance clinical work will be emphasized.
This course will examine the history, theories, and methods of group counseling as applied in a multicultural society and as viewed from a Christian perspective. Learners will be trained in applications of group psychotherapy through group discussions and a group experience for the purpose of developing and growing their group leadership proficiency.
In this course, developmental principles will be examined and synthesized from the biological, sociological, cognitive, emotional, moral, and spiritual dimensions throughout the lifespan cycle. Learners will learn to link theory and theology to practice and demonstrate how a strong grasp of developmental principles can inform the practice and art of competent therapy.
Cultural issues such as ethnic heritage, socioeconomic status, age, disability, and religion will be considered as germane to the therapeutic relationship and client conceptualization. Emphasis will be placed on understanding worldviews, cultural history, values, systems and structures, and other such factors as they impact effective diagnosis, assessment, and interventions used with culturally diverse clients. Understanding culturally specific theories and advocacy will be introduced as part of a culturally competent clinician's developed skill set. Each of these concepts will be considered in light of a Biblical framework that foundationally understands God’s view of all people groups. This course includes an experiential component intended to increase the learner’s multicultural awareness across diverse counseling settings.
This course will assist the learner in defining a biblical view of work and articulate its relevance and application in both the secular and Christian context. Components of various career development theories and decision-making models will be emphasized. The learner will identify career, vocational, educational, occupational, and labor market information resources and systems that are available to assist in career and educational planning and will be able to demonstrate the usefulness of assessment instruments and techniques relevant to career planning and decision-making. Career counseling processes techniques, and resources applicable to specific populations and multicultural issues in career development will be discussed.
Fieldwork courses are clinical courses required to develop and refine advanced counseling skills that conceptually link counseling theory and practice in a clinical setting. All fieldwork courses are completed in approved clinical sites within the United States or on U.S. military installations.
This course is the first of three fieldwork courses. Students will complete didactic and skill-based training in advanced counseling skills during the second year residency and will gain clinical experience through observation and participation in off campus sites, acquiring at least 40 hours of direct client contact. In addition, students will maintain weekly supervision by a licensed site supervisor and regularly scheduled electronic group supervision with a university professor.
Prerequisite and Concurrent courses: All first year courses must be completed; Ethical and Legal Issues CPY 6200-I, and Group Counseling CPY 6three50-I are taken concurrently with Practicum.
This course is the second of three fieldwork courses. Students will conduct practicum in off-campus sites acquiring at least 120 hours of direct client contact. In addition, students will maintain weekly supervision by a licensed site supervisor and regularly scheduled electronic group supervision with a university professor.
This course is the third of three fieldwork courses. Students will conduct practicum in off-campus sites acquiring at least 120 hours of direct client contact. In addition, students will maintain weekly supervision by a licensed site supervisor and regularly scheduled electronic group supervision with a university professor.
The Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE) is one of two capstone processes that assess students for readiness to graduate from the CMHC program. The CPCE tests the student’s proficiency in the following eight core curriculum areas: Human Growth and Development; Helping Relations; Social and Cultural Foundations; Group Work; Career and Lifestyle Development; Appraisal; Research and Program Evaluation; and Professional Orientation and Ethics. The CPCE is a “Pass/Fail” component of the CMHC degree.
The Portfolio Review is one of two capstone processes that assess students for readiness to graduate from the CMHC program. The Portfolio Review is comprised of both written and oral components that include academic assignments and a presentation of a professional case conceptualization for a client with whom they have worked during the Advanced Internship Course. The Portfolio Review is a “Pass/Fail” component of the CMHC degree.
The individuals who will challenge you to learn:
B.A. in Psychology and Sociology, Indiana University; M.A. in Counseling, Grace College; Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision, Regent University
Dr. Amy Gilbert taught as an adjunct professor and served on the Advisory Council for the School of Behavioral Sciences at Grace before becoming full time faculty in 2014. She is a licensed mental health counselor, who has practiced in a variety of settings including a community mental health center, a faith-based counseling center, a juvenile residential center, a center for the chronically mentally ill, and a school system. Her counseling specialties are women's issues and children with special needs. Her current focus of research is counselor education.
B.A. in Psychology, Grace College; M.A. in Biblical Counseling, Grace College; M.Div., Grace Theological Seminary; Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, Ball State University
Dr. Thomas Edgington joined the Grace College faculty in 1992. He is a licensed psychologist and mental health counselor, who has practiced in community health centers, church counseling centers, and private practice. He is involved in ongoing research and has interests in marriage counseling and counseling depression and anxiety.
BB.C.E. in Christian Education, East Coast Bible College; M.A. in Community Counseling, Regent University; Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision, Regent University.
Jerry Vuncannon, Jr., Ph.D., LPC (NC), NCC has been in practice as a counselor since 2004 and has been an adjunct professor with Regent University since 2007 and Grace College and Seminary since 2011. His professional interests include group counseling, multicultural counseling/issues, counselor training/development, counselor supervision, and counseling issues as it relates to international settings. He has traveled to various countries being involved with several counseling-related endeavors including training, teaching, supervision and consultation-related work. His personal interests include hiking, reading, and cooking; he considers cooking as his own personal therapy.
B.A. in Psychology and Religion, Carson-Newman College; M.A. Community Counseling, Regent University; Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision, Regent University.
Dr. Ladd previously worked at Freedom Fellowship in Virginia Beach as the director of extended pastoral care counseling ministries from 1998-2010 and most recently taught for Caldwell College’s graduate counseling program. Rhonda and her husband Joel love to travel to quiet spots for weekends away.
B.S. in Nursing, Old Dominion University; M.S. in Community Counseling, Regent University; Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision, Regent University.
Dr. Preffer previously held adjunct positions with several universities while working full-time in private practice where she provides counseling, mediation, intern supervision, and professional career coaching services. Jenny was married, widowed, and remarried 10 years ago and has 4 children.
Students in the Grace College online Clinical Mental Health Counseling program can look forward to careers in a wide variety of mental health settings. While some graduates will choose to work in private practice, many Clinical Mental Health Counselors (CMHCs) choose careers in community mental health agencies. These may include non-profit agencies, treatment and recovery centers, hospitals, outpatient clinics, and correctional facilities. CMHCs may also choose careers in a managed behavioral mental health organization providing preventative and responsive services to the organization’s members.
CMHCs in private practice or employed by a managed behavioral health organization may choose to provide services for employee assistance programs (EAP). EAP providers offer short-term counseling for employees of large companies and small businesses. Other career opportunities are available for CMHCs including working within educational institutions for a college counseling or career services office or working within church-based counseling or pastoral care programs.
“The Online CMHC program is designed to make graduates ready for clinical counseling in the real world. We look for students with strong work ethic who are spiritually-sensitive scholars motivated to serve in the helping professions, and who are dedicated to excellence in communication. Students often come nervous about beginning graduate studies. It is exciting to see them develop into clinicians with empirically - based clinical expertise. Our students will leave Grace fully prepared to help clients of diverse needs, cultures, and spiritualities with compassion and competence.”
Dr. Rhonda Ladd, Assistant Professor & Clinical Coordinator.