The curriculum of Bradley University’s online Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) program is structured to provide students a comprehensive education in all areas of counseling to build skills and competencies. Progressing through the coursework helps prepare students for employment in diverse settings and imparts a robust set of skills that professional counselors need to effectively serve their clients.
Within the online MAC program are two specialization tracks students can choose between to focus their studies, with Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) being one of these degree tracks. CMHC students experience a curriculum augmented with specialty courses that tackle topics, subjects, themes and theories specific to their specialization.
Clinical mental health counselors can expect to encounter coursework that relates directly to their client populations. The lessons that constitute the Clinical Mental Health specialty courses are designed to help counselors obtain this knowledge and develop skills to carry out essential duties and services.
Variety of CMHC jobs underscore value in specialty focus
The goal of the Bradley online MAC program is to prepare students for licensure and employment as professional counselors focusing in clinical mental health. This is done by structuring the curriculum to ensure all students have extensive knowledge relating to their specialty. There are many different types of clinical mental health counselors, including substance abuse counselors, rehabilitation counselors, crisis counselors, grief counselors, marriage and family counselors, and veterans’ counselors.
The wide variety of clients within these populations means clinical mental health counselors need training that addresses those realities and equips counselors with advanced strategies and skills to serve clients. Methods like geriatric counseling, brain-based counseling interventions and other therapeutic techniques are the focus of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling specialty courses. Combined with the core classes, these specialty courses give counselors the comprehensive education needed to aid diverse client populations.
Let’s take a closer look at those courses.
Brain-Based Interventions – ENC 608
Helping clients with their mental health begins with understanding the brain and its role in emotions and behaviors, specifically, how professional counselors can help clients train their brains to better manage their lives and mental well-being.
In the Brain-Based Interventions course, students learn about assisting clients in working with their brains. Exploring current research on brain functioning introduces students to these concepts, while instructions, demonstrations, practice and evaluation of brain-based counseling interventions further familiarize counselors with application of these methods in client interactions.
Neurocounseling: Bridging Brain and Behavior – ENC 607
Neurogenesis is the brain’s ability to generate new nerve cells — sometimes in response to injury, other times as new information or skills are gained. As new neural pathways are created, counselors and clients can work to leverage them in mindfulness and other activities and exercises.
This course will teach students how physiology and the brain affect behavior and emotions and thus impact counseling. They will learn about the emerging field of neurocounseling, as well as give them first-hand experience through instruction, simulation, demonstration, practice and evaluation examining the connections between the human brain and counseling efficacy.
Clinical Mental Health Counseling – ENC 651
One of the key outcomes of the Bradley online MAC program is to instill in counselors an appreciation for the worth of an individual and commitment to fulfilling human potential. Counselors pursue these ideals in their direct interactions with clients, but such sessions are not the only forum for counselors to advocate self-development and emotional management. Different organizations exist to advance these same interests, whether community mental health clinics or nonprofits, and often employ counselors, who may otherwise be involved in one way or another.
Learning how to leverage policy, organizational power and advocacy efforts to further client services and quality of treatment is key for professionals, and the subject of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling course. This class addresses how communities and agencies can work to promote human development, as well as probes the role of counselors as agents of change and client advocates. This course impresses the importance of networks on students and introduces them to administration, finance and accountability within mental health organizations.
Counseling and the Dynamics of Aging – ENC 663
Building skills and knowledge related to geriatric counseling is important for a clinical mental health counselor. An aging American public means professionals are likely to see more older adult clients on their caseload, whether in substance abuse counseling, grief counseling or marriage and family counseling. According to the Population Reference Bureau, the number of Americans 65 and older is expected to double from 46 million in 2016 to 98 million by 2060, equal to a quarter of the population, compared to 15 percent in 2016. The eventuality of 1 in 4 Americans being 65 and older means counselors need to build their geriatric counseling skills and knowledge to most effectively serve older adult clients.
The realities of aging raise the question of being prepared to possibly deal with dementia or other loss of mental or physical faculties in later life. A greater need among seniors to make sense of their situations will increase the value in developing geriatric counseling methods and skills. In ENC 663, students dive deep into the dynamics of aging and the intersection with mental health, how it impacts clients and counselors alike, and what strategies can be implemented to address the concerns of aging.
Contact Bradley University for more information
The Clinical Mental Health Counseling specialty courses help form the backbone of the focused education professionals can expect to gain from Bradley University’s online MAC program. Students can earn degrees with a more flexible schedule, benefiting from the full support of Bradley faculty and staff along the way.
Contact an enrollment advisor today to learn more about Bradley’s online MAC program.
A career in counseling: A closer look at areas of specialization