Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Master of Arts

The graduate program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling was established in 1986, in response to 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 specializing in serving deaf, hard-of-hearing and deaf special needs people is growing. This is a unique opportunity for well-trained counselors to find work in a growing array of mental health jobs that meet the unique needs of the deaf and hard-of-hearing.

Gallaudet has the only graduate training program in the world that specializes in providing quality education, in preparing counselors for full-time employment in mental health and rehabilitation agencies upon graduation.

The Department of Counseling has gathered seven full-time faculty members whose credentials in the fields of counseling and deafness are nationally and internationally recognized. Additional resources of Gallaudet University include the world's largest collection of printed material on deafness, and the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center. The amount of information Gallaudet has to offer, along with total immersion with deaf and hard-of-hearing students allows creates an ideal learning environment for our students.

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling program offers students the opportunity to focus on clinical or community counseling through the fieldwork placement. Practicum and internship resources include state, local, and federal mental health agencies, addiction programs, psychiatric hospitals, and educational programs serving the mental health needs of deaf children, adolescents, and adults, and their hearing family members. The program is a hybrid program with the first year (including the summer session) being in residence at Gallaudet with courses taught primarily in the traditional classroom setting and the second year being a fieldwork placement outside of the DC metropolitan area with continued coursework online.

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:
    • employ developmentally and culturally appropriate prevention and intervention techniques within an accepted theoretical framework;
    • develop effective treatment plans, manage multiple client loads, and work with managed care;
    • effectively counsel individuals, small groups, couples, and families from diverse populations; and
    • 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.

Courses and Degree Requirements

Field Experience

Fieldwork is an important component of the counselor's training. It is through this hands-on experience that students begin to apply principles and practices of professional counseling. In the second semester of the program, a 200-hour practicum is served in a mental health setting with deaf, hard of hearing and deaf clients with additional special needs, in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. During the second year of the program, students complete a 2-semester (600 clock hours) internship in a mental health agency with deaf, hard-of-hearing and deaf with additional special needs people outside of the Washington, DC area. As with the practicum experience, the Department of Counseling assists with the site selection and placement of the student. Students must have at least 280 client contact hours before graduation.

Click here to access the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Fieldwork Manual.