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Master of Arts inClinical Mental Health Counseling

Program Overview

Historic. Accredited. Online.

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 and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) through 2020. Our CMHC students complete the majority of their coursework in a fully online format while attending an annual seven-to 10-day residency on campus in scenic Winona Lake, Indiana. The CMHC is also available as a residential program.

The online CMHC program is committed to Scripture as the foundation for truth in each course with a complementary understanding of the truths in psychology and the social sciences. The online CMHC program is further committed to the professional and interpersonal development of the student and is essential for effective counseling practice.

CACREP Accreditation Information

Additional information about the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling can be found below:

Program Resources




A fully online counseling program with limited residency requirements. Instruction in a fast growing career (29 percent by 2022).

What Others Are Saying...

“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. 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

Clinical Mental Health Counseling Courses

Core CoursesProgram Courses
CPY 5000 Residency
CPY 5050 Theological Foundations in Counseling
CPY 5100 Foundations of Clinical Mental Health Counseling
CPY 5150 Marriage and Family Counseling
CPY 5200 Personality and Counseling Theories
CPY 5250 Psychopathology
CPY 5350 Counseling Skills
CPY 5380 Psychotherapy with Children and Adolescents
CPY 5480 Spirituality in Counseling
CPY 5500 Psychotherapy and Trauma
CPY 5590 Research and Statistics
CPY 5650 Addictions Counseling
CPY 5690 Psychological Testing and Measurement
CPY 5750 Gender and Sexuality
CPY 6200 Ethical and Legal Issues
CPY 6250 Contemporary Issues and Trends in Counseling
CPY 6350 Group Counseling
CPY 6400 Human Growth and Development
CPY 6520 Social and Cultural Issues
CPY 6600 Lifestyle and Career Counseling
CPY 5700 Practicum
CPY 6700 Internship in Mental Health Counseling
CPY 6710 Advanced Internship
CPY 5610 Candidacy
CPY 6800 Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination
CPY 6900 Portfolio Review

Residency consists of counselor preparation activities and training and evaluation in skill development, facilitated by online and residential faculty members. The first residency will focus on orientation to CMHC and build student-to-student and faculty-to-student connections. It will consist of one day of orientation and five days devoted to skill development. The second residency will consist of five days focused on assessing interpersonal competencies, skill review/development and evaluation, and advanced topics. The third residency will consist of four days centered on professional identity topics, preparing for licensure and employment, potential research endeavors, and taking the CPCE exam. Each day of residency, students will participate in a spiritual formation activity that encourages a closer walk with the Lord and fosters understanding of a Christian counselor identity. Students are required to attend Residency each year they are enrolled within the CMHC program.

This course will examine the theological foundation of counseling specifically as it pertains to Scriptural truth and principles. A biblical theory of personality will be presented which will lead to biblical concepts of counseling. Three hours.

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. Three hours.

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. Three hours.

Prerequisite: CPY 5200.

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. Students 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. Three hours.

This course focuses on concepts of psychopathology as well as the major diagnostic categories of the current DSM, etiological factors, and differential diagnoses. Students are introduced to psychopharmacology as well as current therapeutic approaches, with an emphasis on ethical assessment and treatment planning. Students will examine issues of psychopathology and normalcy through the lens of Scripture while considering cultural, biological, social, psychological, and spiritual factors. Three hours.

Professional skill development is the focus of this course. Students will learn to identify client issues that impact wellness, and gain proficiency in basic counseling skills through instruction, modeling, and practice. Students will develop awareness of strengths and weaknesses in relating to others, and explore how interpersonal factors influence therapy. Three hours.

Prerequisite or Concurrent: CPY 5100.

The course will explore diagnoses specific to children and adolescents with an emphasis on theories, processes, evidence-based practices, techniques, and incorporating families in working with this population. A central theme in the course includes developing an understanding and readiness to address the needs of children, adolescents, and their families using biblical and counseling perspectives. Three hours.

Prerequisites: CPY 5200, CPY 5250.

This course is designed to expand students’ knowledge of ways in which spirituality influences the practice of clinical mental health counseling. Students will learn strategies for exploring clients’ spiritual concerns, addressing pain from a theological perspective, assisting clients in spiritual growth, and using the Bible to directly promote client change. Students will also engage in activities designed to promote personal spiritual formation. One hour.

This course will examine the nature and practice of counseling as it pertains to trauma including interpersonal violence, sexual abuse, service-related PTSD, vicarious trauma, and other trauma causing events. An emphasis will be given to theories, models, and techniques for trauma resolution, spirituality and other resiliency factors, and the standard of care in responding to trauma survivors will be explored. Students will participate in a variety of activities including web-based, trauma-related trainings. Three hours.

Prerequisites: CPY 5200, CPY 5250.

As it pertains to the study of counseling, this course is designed to familiarize students with common research designs, basic statistical concepts and analyses, and critical evaluation of published research. Students will learn how to utilize this knowledge as it relates to program evaluation. Three hours.

This course examines the models, etiologies, psychopathologies, assessments, and recovery strategies related to addiction counseling. Students engage in applied learning activities to enhance understanding of addictive behavior and its treatment. Evidence-based interventions and the stages of change model are emphasized. Students explore the dynamics and treatment of addiction from an ethical, multicultural, sociological, and biblical framework. Three hours.

Prerequisites: CPY 5200, CPY 5250, CPY 6350.

In this course, the measurement of human behavior with assessment instruments will be examined and students will build a working knowledge of ethical evaluation, administration, and interpretation of tests used in treatment planning for counseling. Content will include an introduction to the basic statistical concepts in testing and the historical, ethical, multicultural, social, and clinical use of standardized and non-standardized tests for individuals and groups. Students will learn methods for determining the appropriate assessment for a particular population, and practice administering formal and informal psychological assessments. Three hours.

Prerequisites: CPY 5200, CPY 5250, CPY 5350.

This course considers biological, physiological, psychological, cultural, societal, and biblical considerations of gender and human sexuality including populations under-reported in research. 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, and on preparing to work with clients who bring concerns related to gender or sexuality. Three hours.

Students will acquire a broad knowledge base of the legal and ethical issues relevant to clinical mental health counseling practice. Instruction in critical thinking and ethical decision-making is a major component of this course. Students will draw from scripture, codes of ethics, and state and federal law to develop a high degree of personal and professional ethics to enhance clinical work. Three hours.

This course explores contemporary topics relevant to the practice of clinical mental health counseling. Students study changing paradigms within the helping professions and discuss issues that impact client treatment. Students are introduced to current research and innovative counseling strategies that enhance treatment and promote client wellness. The course is designed to increase the student’s knowledge base of counseling-related subjects and provide advanced skill training. One hour.

This course will examine the dynamics, theories, ethics, leadership styles, types and purposes, methods and skills, development, and therapeutic factors of group counseling as applied in a multicultural society and as viewed from a Christian perspective. Students will be trained in applications of group counseling through group discussions and applied learning activities for the purpose of developing proficiency in group leadership skills. This course includes an experiential component intended to increase the student’s understanding of the dynamics of group membership. Three hours.

Prerequisites: CPY 5250, CPY 5350; Concurrent: CPY 5200.

In this course, developmental models and theories will be examined and synthesized to understand the needs of individuals, families, and communities using neurobiological, physiological, sociological, multicultural, cognitive, emotional, moral, and spiritual dimensions throughout the lifespan cycle. Students will examine the effects of resilience, and spirituality on human behavior and development related to disability, psychopathology, and during crises, disasters, or other situational factors. Students 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. Three hours.

Prerequisite: CPY 5200.

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 which foundationally understands God’s view of all people groups. This course includes an experiential component intended to increase the student’s multicultural awareness across diverse counseling settings. Three hours.

This course will assist the student in defining a biblical view of work and its relevance in both secular and Christian contexts through the examination of scripture, theories, decision-making models, techniques, and resources related to career development and maintenance, and the resolution of career-related problems. Students will explore avocational, educational, occupational and labor market and career information resources with an emphasis on developing basic competencies in career and educational planning. The usefulness of assessment instruments and techniques relevant to career planning and decision-making will be demonstrated through experiential learning providing an understanding of specific populations, multicultural issues, and the intersection of mental health and career. Three hours.

Prerequisites: CPY 5200, CPY 5350.

This course is the first of three fieldwork courses and emphasizes application of foundational counseling skills, diagnosis, and theory-based case conceptualization and treatment planning during a minimum of 100 hours of supervised, counseling interactions with clients. Students are introduced to advanced counseling techniques and continue to develop competency in foundational counseling skills at off-campus, clinical sites through a combination of observation, co-counseling, and leading counseling sessions or groups under direct supervision. Students use audio/video recordings during weekly, live supervision with clinical and faculty supervisors throughout the course. Three hours.

Prerequisites: CPY 5100, CPY 5200, CPY 5250, CPY 5350; Prerequisite or Concurrent: CPY 6350.


This course is the second of three fieldwork courses where students continue to develop and refine clinical skills while meeting state hourly requirements for working directly with clients in a mental health counseling setting. Students attend weekly individual or triadic supervision with a licensed supervisor on site. Faculty provides weekly group supervision, offering feedback from both a clinical and biblical perspective. Three hours.

Prerequisites: CPY 5610, CPY 5700, CPY 6200.

This course is the third of three fieldwork courses and a continuation of the internship experience. Students complete state requirements for counseling hours and attend weekly individual or triadic supervision with a licensed supervisor on site. Faculty provides weekly group supervision, offering feedback from both a clinical and biblical perspective. Three hours.

Prerequisite: CPY 6700.

Candidacy is the gatekeeping process by which the DOGC faculty determines student readiness for advancement from didactic coursework into clinical work. Students must apply for Candidacy following successful completion of the CPY 5700 Practicum course. Candidacy is a “Pass/Fail” component of the CMHC degree. Zero hours.

The Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE) is one of two gatekeeping 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: Professional  Counseling Orientation and Ethical Practice, Social and Cultural Diversity, Human Growth and Development; Career Development, Counseling and Helping Relationships; Social and Cultural Foundations; Group Counseling and Group Work; Assessment and Testing, and Research and Program Evaluation. The CPCE is a “Pass/Fail” component of the CMHC degree. Registration requires prior approval from student’s advisor. Zero hours.

The Portfolio Review is one of two gatekeeping 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. Zero hours.

Prerequisite: CPY 6700; Concurrent: CPY 6710.

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