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Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC)


Why a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling?

Counseling Session

Counseling Degree

Fulfill the educational requirements to obtain counseling licensure in both Illinois and Missouri.

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The Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) is designed to provide students with a practitioner model that fulfills the educational requirements for students to obtain counseling licensure in both Illinois and Missouri. The counseling graduate program in CMHC has a mission of training reflective, ethical practitioners who work in a variety of mental health settings. The counseling program faculty is committed to providing a dynamic education that prepares students to promote health and wellness in an ever-changing world. An emphasis is placed on both professional and personal development, recognizing that well-prepared counseling professionals are those who possess relevant academic training, as well as the self-understanding and awareness needed to facilitate growth, development, and healing among others. The counseling faculty provides an open and stimulating intellectual climate that prepares professional counselors who:

  • Respect cultures, values, beliefs, and talents of all people

  • Conceptualize human behavior by applying theory to specific issues

  • Develop appropriate knowledge and skills to effectively affect wellness and facilitate change

  • Reflect professional ethics

  • Commit to professional development that is essential for growth in learning, advocacy, and service

  • Value the contextual and interactive roles between the profession and the community

  • Believe that professional counselors must be effective oral and written communicators


Why McKendree University?

The CMHC program at McKendree University focuses on academic excellence through didactic coursework as well as courses that focus on the counselor-in-training developing skills through the use of live supervision. Students achieve competency in counseling skills on campus by participating in skills lab; individual practicum in the Stress Management Clinic; and a group practicum that focuses on facilitating graduate student mentor groups, process groups, or career decision making groups. Internships are completed off campus through pre-approved clinical sites.



McKendree welcomes applications from students holding a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution who seek a challenging educational experience in a stimulating and friendly environment. Applicants are considered on an individual basis without regard to sex, race, sexual orientation, disability, nationality, or religion.

Admission Requirements

The program admits students who present evidence of their potential for scholarly and clinical work. The following documentation and/or components are required for consideration for admission to Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling:

1.  A completed graduate admission application (no fee).

2. Official transcripts from each college or university attended. Official transcripts are those mailed from institution to institution.

3. The successful completion of the equivalent of six undergraduate credit hours in a behavioral science. Of these six credit hours, three hours must be in introduction to psychology. Students lacking these credit hours may be conditionally admitted to the program on the provision that deficiencies are corrected within one semester. Once deficiencies are corrected, students should submit a transcript as proof of meeting this requirement.

4. A current resume.

5. A 3.0 GPA on a four-point scale in undergraduate studies. Strong applicants with a GPA of 2.75-2.9 may be conditionally admitted. Conditional status will be removed provided that students maintain a minimum a 3.0 G.P.A. for the first 12 hours of graduate coursework with no grade lower than a B. Current undergraduates will be admitted on the basis of current transcripts – final admission status will be determined after receipt of a final transcript showing the student has graduated.

6. A three page statement describing interests in counseling as a career, personal strengths and weaknesses, perceived ability to successfully pursue/complete graduate work, and future career goals.

7. Three recommendation forms from master’s or doctoral level professionals who can attest to the applicant’s ability to pursue graduate work in a clinical program. Recommendations from personal acquaintances (i.e., friends, church leaders, family members, etc.) are not acceptable.

All applicants will not be admitted to the program. Only those who are considered academically qualified for the program are invited for a formal onsite interview with the admissions committee. The purpose of this interview is to assess the individual’s interpersonal skills and boundaries, as well as his or her suitability to pursue graduate level training in counseling. Those judged to possess the relevant ability will be offered admission to the program.

Application Deadline

The program admits students, once a year, in the fall semester. We suggest that applicants use the deadline in order to receive full consideration for admission to the program.

Fall Admission - June 1st



The tuition for the 2017/2018 academic year (August-July) is $480 per credit hour.


Financial Aid

Graduate Financial Aid





This program is offered in a campus-based evening format. During fall and spring semesters, classes meet one time per week for 16 weeks. Summer courses meet twice a week for six weeks. The program follows a cohort model that begins every fall and is completed in three years.




Curriculum Requirements

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling master’s degree is 60 credit hours completed in a three year cohort format. 

CNL 590 - Foundations of Professional Counseling (3 Credits)

CNL 600 - Counseling Theory (3 Credits)

CNL 601 - Social & Cultural Foundations (3 Credits)

CNL 602 - Professional & Ethical Issues (3 Credits)

CNL 603 - Counseling Skills (3 Credits)

CNL 604 - Maladaptive Behavior & Psychopathology (3 Credits)

CNL 605 - Research & Evaluation (3 Credits)

CNL 606 - Human Development & Learning (3 Credits)

CNL 607 - Substance Abuse Counseling (3 Credits)

CNL 608 - Individual Assessment (3 Credits)

CNL 609 - Couples & Family Counseling (3 Credits)

CNL 610 - Group Counseling (3 Credits)

CNL 611 - Career Development & Counseling (3 Credits)

CNL 614 - Grief, Loss, & Crisis Intervention (3 Credits)

CNL 630 - Individual Practicum (3 Credits)

CNL 635 - Group Practicum (3 Credits)

CNL 637 - Internship I (6 Credits)

CNL 638 - Internship II (6 Credits)

CNL 697 - Comprehensive Examination (0 Credits)



Career Opportunities

Graduates of Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling find employment in:

  • Mental health agencies
  • Private practice groups
  • Hospitals
  • Prisons
  • Elementary and secondary schools
  • University counseling




Interesting Classes

The following reflects the courses in which students develop counseling skills through live supervision on campus and real world experience in the field.

CNL 603 Counseling Skills

A fundamental study of the helping relationship is provided. The course provides an overview of basic and advanced counseling skills, including listening, reflection, rapport building, creating a therapeutic alliance, interviewing, goal-setting, session structuring, and confrontation. Information regarding facilitation of client self-awareness and change will be provided. The importance of therapist self-understanding and development will be emphasized throughout the course.

CNL 630 Individual Counseling Practicum

This course is a supervised practice of advanced individual counseling skills. Students must accrue a minimum of 50 clock hours for this experience. Emphasis is placed on the development of the counselor/client relationship. The focus of the course is on theory integration, assessment, instrument administration and interpretation, counseling technique, and referral/termination procedures.

CNL 635 Group Counseling Practicum

This course is a supervised, pre-internship counseling experience where students learn to apply theory with entry level counseling skills. Students must accrue a minimum of 50 clock hours for this experience. Emphasis is placed on counseling skills as applied to group work.

CNL 637 Internship I

This course provides supervised clinical experience at an approved training site. Students must accrue a minimum of 300 hours of experience. In addition to the required hours working at the training site, students enrolled in internship also meet weekly in an internship group supervision led by a faculty member. Supervision facilitates students’ clinical skills such as client conceptualization, application of theory, treatment planning, and intervention.

CNL 638 Internship II

This course is an extension of Internship I. It provides supervised clinical experience at an approved training site. Students must accrue a minimum of 300 hours of experience. In addition to the required hours working at the training site, students meet weekly in an internship group supervision. Supervision facilitates students’ clinical skills such as client conceptualization, application of theory, treatment planning, and intervention.




Internship Opportunities

An internship is a clinical training experience that takes place in a health care delivery system. Students generally take internship during the last two semester of their course work. To enroll for internship, students must be in good standing, maintain a GPA of 3.0 or better, and have successfully completed CNL 590, 600, 601, 602, 603, 604, 605, 606, 608, 610, 611, 630, and 635.

Internship is treated like a course. It carries 6 credit hours per semester (internship + seminar = 6 credits) for a total of 12 credit hours for the academic year. Students apply for and secure internship sites prior to the semester in which they enroll in the course. All students enrolled in internship must also concurrently attend a weekly group supervision led by a faculty member. The content of the supervision varies according to the internship sites represented.

Internship Application and Placement Procedures

1) Submit an application for internship and secure permission for placement

During the semester prior to beginning internship students must submit an Internship Registration Form to the Counseling Program Internship Coordinator. The Internship Coordinator will review applications and provide permission to those students meeting all the necessary qualifications. Students should not contact internship sites until securing approval from the Counseling Program Internship Coordinator.

2) Review the internship database and begin an internship search

Once eligibility is established and the Internship Coordinator has granted permission to take internship, students should review the internship database. The Internship Database contains sites that have met minimum training standards as determined by the Counseling Program. No site is recommended over another. When selecting a site, students should consider factors such as: commute time, personal safety, and professional needs. Students may also wish to contact fellow students who trained at sites of interest in previous years to discuss their experiences. After determining internship sites of interest, students should prepare a current resume, perhaps including completed courses taken prior to beginning internship. Also, prepare a brief cover letter highlighting why you would like to train at that particular site, what you would bring to that site, and what you would hope to gain while there.

3) Submit an application(s) to a site(s) of interest

Students should submit an application to the site (s) of interest. The application process varies from one site to another. Some sites are very competitive and have specific application deadlines. Be sure to pay attention to these. After submitting an application to a site, a student might be contacted for an interview. Students are responsible for arranging their own interviews with the site supervisors. Much like a job interview, these meetings are an opportunity for students and sites to evaluate each other and review training opportunities, expectations, needs, and responsibilities. Internship sites vary considerably regarding their interview and selection schedules. Students begin accepting offers during the middle of the semester prior to beginning internship. Before accepting internship offers, students may request a reasonable amount of time (i.e., a few hours to 1-2 days) to hear back from other prospective sites. Sites are not required to honor such requests, though many do so in order to give students enough time to make informed decisions. 

Verbal acceptance of an offer constitutes a contractual agreement between McKendree, the internship site, and the student in which the student’s delivery of service is exchanged for clinical supervision, access to clinical populations, facilitation of professional role development, and participation in other professional activities (e.g., rounds, staffing, seminars, etc.). The contract may only be withdrawn under the most unusual and/or extreme of circumstances and requires the full endorsement of all parties. In these rare instances, students must contact the Counseling Program Internship Coordinator before discussing a potential withdrawal with his or her internship site. Following acceptance of an offer, students contact other sites by phone, email, or mail to withdraw their active candidacy and to thank them for their consideration. 

If a student does not receive or accept an offer from the initial list of sites, the selection process continues until a match is found. Students experiencing difficulties obtaining a site must contact the Counseling Program Internship Coordinator for individualized assistance and for approval of additional sites to which they can apply.

4) Notify the Internship Coordinator of your internship site selection

An appropriate representative from the site completes an Affiliation Agreement with McKendree University that outlines the responsibilities of both institutions. The Internship Coordinator manages distribution and collection of these agreements. Students may not begin their internship until this signed affiliation agreement is secured from their site. Students should not begin seeing clients at their internship site until the beginning of the semester in which they are enrolled in internship. Students are permitted to complete required training or orientation prior to that time if needed.

Fall Start Internship Deadlines

Internship Registration Form Due: February 1

Site Must Be Confirmed By: May 1



Comprehensive Examination

The Comprehensive Examination assesses students’ knowledge and ability to apply theoretical constructs learned throughout the Program. The Clinical Mental Health Counseling program uses the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE). The CPCE is a standardized examination that assesses knowledge of core content areas that are designated by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and state licensure rules. These core areas and corresponding program courses are listed below.

Core Areas

Professional Orientation and Ethical Practice - CNL 590, 602

Social and Cultural Identify - CNL 601

Human Growth and Development - CNL 606

Career Development - CNL 611, 635

Helping Relationships - CNL 600, 603, 607, & 609

Group Work - CNL 610, 635

Assessment - CNL 604, 608

Research and Program Evaluation - CNL 605

Students take the comprehensive examination during the fall semester of their third year. To be eligible for the exam, students must have completed all core classes, with the exception of the internship experience. During the regular course registration period prior to the semester in which students intend on taking the exam, students will register for comprehensive exam by enrolling in CNL 697 Comprehensive Examination on WebAdvisor. Failure to adhere to University course registration dates will likely delay graduation.




Stress Management Clinic

We all experience some stress in our lives, however, when stress becomes overwhelming it is counterproductive and can ultimately lead to depression, anxiety, and deterioration in physical health.

Every fall and spring semester the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program offers confidential stress management services that focus on education, prevention, and support. Interested students meet one-on-one with trained practicum students enrolled in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program. All sessions are supervised live by Dr. Laura Harrawood.

For more information contact Dr. Laura Harrawood.




Meet the Faculty

Photo of Laura Harrawood, Ph.D.Laura Harrawood, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Counseling
Director of M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Internship Coordinator
Clark Hall, 301
(618) 537-6137


Ph.D. in Counselor Education & Supervision, Southern Illinois University Carbondale

M.S. in Education, Educational Psychology, Marriage & Family Counseling, Southern Illinois University Carbondale

B.A. in Psychology, Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Harrawood has published numerous refereed journal articles and book chapters. She has also presented extensively at the local, state, regional, and national/international levels. She is both a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) who has worked in community agencies, college counseling centers and private practice. She currently provides individual counseling services on the McKendree University campus through Counseling Services.

Mark Carich, Ph.D.

Ph.D. in Counseling, St. Louis University

M.A. in Counseling, St. Louis University

B.S. in Psychology, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Nigel Darvell, M.S.W.

M.S.W. Mental Health, Washington University, St. Louis

B.A. Social Policy and Administration, University of Kent at Canterbury

Peg McMullen, Ph.D.

Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, University of Missouri, St. Louis

B.A. in Psychology, University of Oklahoma

Ellen Glover-Orr, Ph.D.

Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, University of Iowa

B.A. in Psychology, University of Missouri, Columbia