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Why Should I Earn a Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling?
BVU’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling master's program prepares students to address the growing need for accessible, professional mental health services. Licensure in mental health counseling includes options for concentrations in:
• Addictions Counseling
• Play Therapy
• Trauma-Informed Counseling
The clinical mental health counseling program is designed to meet the curricular requirements for Iowa professional licensure under section 31.6(2) of the Bureau of Professional Licensure of the Iowa Board of Behavioral Science standards for a content-equivalent program.
The program is offered in a combination of online and face-to-face classes. Classes begin in July with online assignments combined with a summer residency held from Friday through Thursday in Storm Lake. The residency requirement will be for each summer of enrollment. Students may stay in residence halls for a nominal fee.
Classwork throughout the rest of the terms/semester will be completed in a hybrid format with some online coursework through Canvas, combined with one class meeting in the evening each week via Zoom—virtual meetings through your computer.
- Program Syllabi
Program syllabi are available for review upon request. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- Annual Executive Report
Program goals and objectives are evaluated using multiple methods over a five-year cycle. Our annual executive report is available for your review. Download the report here.
- Clinical Mental Health Counseling 2019 Vital Statistics
In 2019, 13 students graduated from the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program, with a 70 percent completion rate. Of the students seeking employment following graduation, 100 percent were able to obtain employment in the mental health field. For those students who choose to complete the credentialing examination, 90 percent passed on the first attempt with a 100 percent passing rate after a second attempt.
- Program Mission, Vision, and Goals
Counseling Program Vision
The BVU Counseling Program prepares a community of ethical and culturally-competent practitioners who reduce suffering, promote wellbeing, empower individuals and families across the lifespan, challenge inequities and contribute to the counseling profession and society in meaningful ways.
Counseling Program Mission
The BVU counseling program provides high-quality, accessible education rooted in a liberal arts tradition to prepare competent masters-level counselors who are engaged generalist practitioners, leaders and citizens of a global society.
Counseling Program Objectives
The BVU Counseling Program seeks:
- To provide accessible education through diverse delivery methods - online, hybrid and brief, intensive face-to-face components.
- To educate scholar-practitioners who understand and incorporate current research into counseling practices.
- To educate scholar-practitioners who will serve as active professionals, advocates and leaders for the counseling profession and the clients, communities and institutions they serve.
- To build a foundation for culturally reflective practice.
- To foster the development of ethical and reflective practice by nurturing curiosity, building critical thinking skills and enhancing awareness of self and others.
- To infuse formal and informal opportunities to modify programs, courses and activities based on input provided by students, alumnae, supervisors, employers and faculty, to reflect the changing needs of the community and society.
- To value and build upon the diversity of student experiences and backgrounds.
Areas of Concentration
The addictions counseling concentration provides students the knowledge and experience needed to work with individuals, families, and communities that struggle with various forms of addiction (drug, alcohol, etc.), and other potentially damaging addictive behaviors. This concentration provides the education requirements for graduates to apply for certification in alcohol and drug counseling in Iowa.Video: About addictions counseling
This concentration provides students with the experience and skills needed for a successful career in this growing field. Play therapy is a theoretically-based approach for working with children and families on behavioral health issues. There is an increasing demand for play therapists in therapeutic and educational settings. This concentration provides the education, experience and supervision needed to become a register play therapist upon licensure.
A systemic approach to helping, based on the idea that human distress and maladaptive behaviors are natural human responses to events and environmental circumstances rather than individual pathology or deficit. Traumatic experiences are prevalent, range in intensity and frequency, and occur at any time. Most importantly, well-intentioned clinicians may exacerbate client distress if they are not aware of these impacts.Video: About Trauma-Informed Care
Apply now! The priority application deadline is March 15, 2022. Following the priority deadline, applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.
Why Study Clinical Mental Health Counseling at BVU?
Learn Online and In Person
This two-year clinical mental health counseling program is designed to be taken alongside your current career. You will spend one week at the beginning of each year learning at our Storm Lake campus. Then, you will complete coursework online and participate in a virtual meeting once each week in the evenings.
Face-to-Face Experience and Skill Building
As part of our professional school counseling and clinical mental health counseling programs, students take part in a week-long residency at our beautiful campus on the shores of Storm Lake in Iowa. This week of learning is one of the highlights of the program, where you get to know others in your cohort and gain experience working on your skills with your classmates.
Continuing Education Opportunities
Buena Vista University’s Graduate Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program is pleased to announce their recognition as an Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEP) through the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). As a newly approved provider, the department offers regular continued education presentations both remotely and on their Storm Lake campus. Social workers and licensed marriage and family therapists are also invited to attend these presentations to meet state requirements for continuing education.
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I fell in love with BVU’s clinical mental health counseling program. I was really blown away because even though this is a challenging discipline, the professors contribute real-life experiences. I appreciate the mentorship aspect that the instructors provide for us.
Courses & Application Requirements
Our comprehensive MSEd curriculum will prepare you for practice, developing your skills in counseling assessments, research, and advanced counseling practices. Through supervised practicums, you'll graduate with hands-on experiences that will prepare you for the real-world of counseling. And, our elective courses allow you to focus even more on topics like addictions counseling, play therapy, and trauma-informed counseling.
- Clinical Mental Health Counseling Courses (60 Hours)
Core Courses (57 credit hours)
- GMHC 510 Assessment and Appraisal Techniques in Counseling
- GMHC 519 Professional and Ethical Orientation to Counseling
- GMHC 520 Counseling Couples and Families
- GMHC 528 Research Methods in Counseling
- GMHC 529 Human Development and Learning Through the Lifespan
- GMHC 530 Theories of Counseling
- GMHC 535 Program Evaluation and Consultation in Counseling
- GMHC 540 Psychopathology and Psychological Disorders
- GMHC 544 Social and Cultural Foundations of Counseling
- GMHC 546 Methods and Procedures in Counseling
- GMHC 548 Group Counseling
- GMHC 549 Career Development and Assessment
- GMHC 550 Diagnostics and Treatment Planning
- GMHC 552 Counseling Children and Adolescents
- GMHC 570 Advanced Counseling Practices and Crisis Interventions
- GMHC 580 Supervised Practicum in Mental Health Counseling
- GMHC 581 Supervised Practicum in Mental Health Counseling II
- GMHC 590 Internship I in Mental Health Counseling
- GMHC 591 Internship II in Mental Health Counseling
- GMHC 592 Internship III in Mental Health Counseling
- GMHC 594 Internship IV in Mental Health Counseling
- GMHC 598 Capstone: Professional Issues in MHC
Electives (3 credit hours required)
- GMHC 521 Advanced Couple and Family Counseling
- GMHC 553 Play Therapy Theories and Techniques
- GMHC 554 History and Theories of Play Therapy
- GMHC 555 Family Play Therapy
- GMHC 556 Applications in Play Therapy
- GMHC 557 Clinical Experience in Play Therapy
- GMHC 558 Concepts in Trauma-Informed Counseling
- GMHC 593 Overview of Substance Abuse and Addictive Disorders
- GMHC 595 Internship in Mental Health Counseling Part V
- Application Requirements
- Official transcripts
- Two letters of recommendation
- BVU Autobiographical Questions
Describe significant personal and/or professional experiences that influenced you to pursue the counseling profession.
Describe a time when you advocated for or demonstrated leadership in something that mattered to you.
Discuss messages you have received from your family of origin or the people who raised you about people who were different from you and how your attitudes and experiences as an adult do or do not reflect those messages.
Bias can be defined as prejudice in favor of or against a specific thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair. What do you see as your potential biases, and how will you deal with those when/if they surface?
You are entering a field dedicated to helping others? Discuss how you will take care of yourself or attend to your own well-being.
Following the March deadline, all completed applications will be reviewed by the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Faculty. If your application meets the programs requirements, you will be asked to complete an individual and group interview. Following this interview, you will either be accepted, accepted with conditions, added to the wait list, or denied admission.
We’ll help you figure out your options for receiving financial assistance.Learn More
Mental Health Counseling Faculty
Our instructors are committed to helping you build the future of Iowa and beyond.See Our Faculty
No GRE Required
BVU does not require students to take the GRE for admission — saving you time and money.
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