M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

The professional training program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling leading to a Master of Arts degree began at Gallaudet University in 1986. The program was initiated because of a national need to provide appropriate counseling and mental health services to deaf and hard-of-hearing adults, children, and adolescents in mental health centers, psychiatric hospitals, community programs, addiction programs, and psychosocial rehabilitation programs.

The need for qualified clinical or community mental health counselors serving deaf, hard-of-hearing and deaf special needs people is critical. There is an increasing awareness that mental health counseling services must be provided to deaf and hard of hearing persons by qualified mental health counselors who are trained in mental health counseling (clinical or community emphasis) and are knowledgeable about this specific population with its subsets, increasing the job opportunities for mental health counselors at mental health and rehabilitation agencies. The impact of expanding job opportunities, the increasing options for higher education, and the moral, medical, and emotional stresses of our society have solidified the role of counseling.

We are the only graduate training program in the world that specializes in preparing mental health counselors to do clinical or community work with deaf and hard-of-hearing people as well as those with additional disabilities in mental health and rehabilitation agencies. This unique status brings monumental responsibility to Gallaudet University and the Department of Counseling faculty to provide quality education in preparation for full-time employment upon graduation. To this end, the Department of Counseling has gathered eight full-time faculty members whose credentials in the fields of counseling and deafness are nationally and internationally recognized. The resources of Gallaudet University, including the world's largest collection of printed material on deafness, nationally and internationally recognized faculty, the Pre-College National Mission program, and the undergraduate liberal arts program for deaf and hard-of-hearing young adults, add immensely to the strength of our graduate training program.

Practicum and internship resources include state, local, and federal mental health agencies, addiction programs, psychiatric hospitals, and educational programs serving the needs of emotionally disturbed deaf children, adolescents, and adults. The master's degree program suggests a minimum of 72 credit hours and requires two academic years, including one summer, to complete. The program offers students the opportunity to have a clinical or community counseling emphasis through the fieldwork placement.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students in Gallaudet's Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program will become professionals who:

  1. demonstrate knowledge and skills related to counseling needs of culturally and linguistically diverse deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing, including etiology, diagnosis (including co-occurring disorders), assessment, treatment, and prevention of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders, and who can:  a) employ developmentally and culturally appropriate prevention and intervention techniques within an accepted theoretical framework; b) develop effective treatment plans, manage multiple client loads, and work with managed care; c) effectively counsel individuals, small groups, couples, and families from diverse populations; and d) function as consultations and advocates in various mental health settings, including schools and community agencies.
  2. are able to communicate effectively with others, express themselves in writing, and can accurately interpret research and apply it to practice.
  3. show sensitivity, genuineness, and positive regard for others, practice high levels of self-awareness, and demonstrate a commitment to personal growth and on-going professional development.
  4. comprehend legal and ethical standards pertaining to mental health counselors and consistently integrate an ethical decision making model into their professional work. 

For the program of study and requirements for the M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, click "Program of Study".

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