Mental Health Counseling
The mission of the Viterbo University graduate
program in mental health counseling is to prepare professional counselors to
provide treatment for individuals experiencing a continuum of mental health
issues. The program works to train counselors who will integrate the values of
contemplation, integrity, hospitality, stewardship, and service into their
personal and professional lives.
high quality counselor training for students in the Master of Science in Mental
Health Counseling degree program.
- Provide graduates with a counseling
curriculum integrating professional ethical standards, professional
standards of practice, and contemporary theories and principles of
counseling, while ensuring that program requirements remain consistent
with the following requirements for the State of Wisconsin Licensed Mental
Health Counselor and National Certified Counselor credentials:
- To prepare counselors who are knowledgeable about
the philosophy, ethics, history, and future trends of the profession.
- To prepare counselors who can recognize,
understand, and respond to social and cultural differences and change in our
society related to, but not limited to, factors of socioeconomic status,
unemployment, aging, gender, race and ethnicity, developmental transitions, and
- To train counselors who have a foundation for
understanding human behavior and development.
- To train counselors who are knowledgeable and
skilled in helping clients make life and career decisions.
Graduate Learning Outcomes
The master’s program will prepare mental
health professionals who demonstrate proficiency in knowledge and skills in the
- philosophy, ethics, history, and
future trends of the profession
and cultural differences and change in our society
behavior and development
clients make life and career decisions
counseling process in a variety of modalities (individual, group, family) and
to use crisis intervention, brief counseling, and long term mental health
and treatment planning for short and long term client goals
process and evidence based program evaluation
process, and how to serve as client advocates and agents of social change
The process for earning
the professional counselor license or the substance abuse counselor credential
typically involves completion of the prescribed educational requirements, as
well as completion of application materials, background checks, testing, and a
designated number of hours of supervised practice. Students are encouraged to
review the requirements of the organizations issuing licenses or credentials
early in their degree programs.
Completion of the graduate
program in mental health counseling was designed to meet the current educational
requirement for licensure as a professional counselor in the State of
Completing the addiction
counseling specialty meets the educational requirements for the substance abuse
counselor or alcohol and other drug abuse (AODA) specialty credential in the
State of Wisconsin, in addition to providing experiences applicable to the
required hours of the supervised practice requirements. Currently, the Wisconsin
Department of Regulations and Licensing equates a master’s degree in a
behavioral science field with an addiction emphasis or concentration in
clinical counseling from an accredited school as equal to 2,000 hours of the supervised practice hours required for the substance
abuse counselor credential.
In the state of Wisconsin, the Department of Regulations and Licensing is the governing body that oversees both the licensure and credential process. Information about the requirements and process in the state of Wisconsin is available at http://drl.wi.gov/.
Minnesota information may be found at http://license.mn.gov/licenses/licensedetail.jsp?URI-tcm:29-2986&CT_URI=tcm:27-117-32.
- Earned bachelor's degree in a human
service or social sciences discipline and have completed prerequisite
coursework in general psychology, behavior disorders/abnormal psychology,
research methods, and statistics. Students with deficits in
coursework/demonstrated competencies may be conditionally admitted prior
to fulfilling these requirements and may, in some cases and with the
program admission committee’s approval, take graduate courses concurrently
with their completion of the prerequisite competencies.
- Undergraduate cumulative grade
point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 (Applicants with a lower GPA may be
considered, however they must submit a letter with their application
materials outlining special circumstance, explaining why they believe
their undergraduate GPA does not reflect their potential, and describing
their readiness for graduate studies).
- Applicants must have acceptable scores on the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or
Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
- Completed background check. While
the findings from this background check may not preclude program
enrollment, problematic findings are likely to restrict practicum and
internship placements, complicating successful completion of the program.
In addition, such issues may preclude state licensure.
- Suitable disposition for graduate
work in counseling as indicated by letters of recommendation and a program
All students admitted to
the master’s program will held to the program specific policies and procedures
that are outlined in the program handbook. All students will be given a copy of
this handbook during orientation. some information is outlined below.
to the Professional Sequence of the Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling
are encouraged to begin the application
for the professional sequence following successful completion of PSYC 675
(Techniques of Counseling). This application process must be initiated at
completed at least one semester prior to enrollment in PSYC 690 (Counseling
Practicum) and PSYC 695 (Counseling Internship). To apply, students should
complete the Professional Sequence Application Form and submit a brief
description (maximum of 300 words) of their academic, personal, and
professional growth while enrolled in the program, as well as the names and
contact information of two references familiar with the student’s performance
and growth. These materials should be submitted to the program director. Program staff will schedule a personal
interview with the students.
Professional Sequence Acceptance Criteria
required materials must be considered before a candidate is considered for
admission to the Professional Sequence. The program’s admission committee
considers multiple factors when making decisions about a candidate’s
acceptance; those factors include the following:
- the applicant’s academic performance in
- the applicant’s evidence of personal
and professional growth while enrolled in the program.
- the applicant’s readiness to form
meaningful and ethical helping relationships.
Program staff will notify students of their status in the professional
Students may appeal
admission decision to the professional sequence by submitting a letter-of-appeal to the
program director within 15 days of receiving notification of admission status.
That letter should include a brief overview of the issue, information about the
basis and rationale for the student appeal, and an explanation of the student's
perspective about why his/her application to the program should be
reconsidered. The student may further appeal the decision to the School of
Letters and Sciences dean, the vice president for academic affairs, and,
ultimately, the Board of Review as outlined in the Graduate Catalog.
Professional Development Activities and
responsibilities and ethics will be emphasized throughout the program. Students
will be expected to model appropriate professional behaviors in their classroom
behaviors, interactions with faculty and co-students, and in the experiential
learning activities (i.e., volunteer activities, practicum, and internship)
they pursue. Program staff will conduct an annual review of individual student
performance and provide feedback to students about performance, strengths, and
areas needing improvement.
Program staff members maintain high standards for student
academic performance and expect students to demonstrate commitment, initiative,
and high expectations for their own learning in the program. Students must
maintain a 2.8 grade point average each year to remain in the program and a 3.0
grade point average to graduate. Students are expected to adhere to the
academic integrity and attendance policies outlined in the Graduate Catalog.
In addition to formal
course work, students will be strongly encouraged to pursue appropriate professional
affiliations. Students are encouraged to maintain a professional portfolio of
materials documenting their professional development and supporting their
pursuit of internship placements, certifications/licensure, and employment. Prior to graduation, all students must
successfully complete the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination
(CPCE) in preparation for licensure.
Students are required to purchase professional insurance by
the beginning of the second semester of the program, and carry that throughout
their enrollment in the program. Details are provided in the program handbook.
Procedures for Addressing Professional
Development Concerns, Including Dismissal from the Program
Program faculty members
conduct a systematic and ongoing developmental assessments of each student’s
progress, including consideration of the student’s academic performance,
professional development, and personal development. Consistent with the Viterbo
University due process policy and the relevant professional codes of ethics and
standards of practice, if such evaluations indicate that a student is not
appropriate for the program or not progressing in the program, faculty members
will help facilitate a plan for remediation with the student. If the student’s
implementation of the plan does not adequately remedy the issue, if the student
does not implement the plan, or if the faculty concerns are related to an
egregious violation of the Code of Conduct or other ethical issue, it is
predictable that the student will be transitioned out of the program and, if
possible, into a more appropriate area of study. Students will be invited to
discuss potential dismissal with program staff prior to receiving a written
notification of dismissal.
Students may appeal
decisions related to professional development concerns and/or dismissal by
submitting a letter-of-appeal to the program director within 15 days of
receiving notification of the issue. That letter should include a brief
overview of the issue, a description of the specific concerns expressed by
program staff, information about the basis for the student appeal, and an
explanation of the student's perspective about why the professional development
concern is in error or corrected. The student may further appeal the decision
to the School of Letters and Sciences dean, the vice president for academic
affairs, and, ultimately, the Board of Review as outlined in the Graduate Catalog.
All students are required
to complete 60 credits and maintain a 3.0 grade point average to be awarded the
Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling degree. Those credits include
core courses to be completed by all students, as well as electives to fulfill
requirements of one of the program’s specialty certification programs. The core
courses will include practicum experiences and research activities. Initial
contacts with one’s academic advisor will focus on developing an academic plan.
510, 520, 530, 540, 550, 560, 570, 580, 590, 630, 640, 650, 675, 680, 690, six
credits of 695, one of the below specialty areas (six credits)
- Complementary Wellness and Spiritual
Health, COUN 581, 582
- Child and Adolescent Counseling, COUN
- Addiction Counseling, COUN 591, 592
Faculty and Program Personnel
Director, Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling/Professor,
B.S., Viterbo University; M.A., St. Mary’s University of
Minnesota; Psy.D., University of Saint Thomas
Assistant Professor, Psychology
B.S., Ph.D., University of Iowa
B.A., Macalester College; M.A., Minnesota State
University, Mankato; Ph.D., Eastern Michigan University