CACREP Accredited Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program

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Ranked #1 for Top Value Counseling Master’s Degrees and Reaccredited Through 2025

Fairfield University’s Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree offers counseling courses under the guidance of faculty members who are nationally recognized in the field. The program fulfills the 60 credit requirements for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of Connecticut. Fairfield’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program is ranked #1 for top value counseling master’s degrees in Connecticut.

The program develops knowledge and skills in nine areas: Human growth and development l The helping relationship l Lifestyle and career development l Research and evaluation l Social and cultural foundations l Group counseling I Individual appraisal l Professional orientation l Clinical skills.

Students are provided with an excellent educational foundation that leads to licensure and work in counseling settings including mental health agencies, college counseling centers, hospitals and private practice. Application deadlines for the Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling programs are October 1 and January 15.

We are extremely proud of our student body in the Counselor Education Department. They are dedicated and consistently achieve at the very highest levels. Our graduates:

  • Have authored articles published in peer-reviewed counseling journals.
  • Regularly present at state and local conferences.
  • Consistently score well above the national average on the National Counselor Examination.
  • Participate in numerous outreach projects, collecting food, coats, and money for victims of disasters and individuals in need.

View the Counselor Education Department Fairfield University Program Outcomes Report (PDF) for the academic year 2019-20.

Accreditation

CACREP Accredited Logo

The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) has accredited the MA programs in School and Clinical Mental Health Counseling. In January 2017, after being reviewed on all 241 2009 Standards, CACREP accredited the School and Clinical Mental Health Counseling programs for eight years through March 31, 2025. CACREP accredited the Fairfield counseling programs in 1986, the first programs in Connecticut to receive this accreditation.

Training & Preparation

Professional Preparation

In addition to preparing our graduates for certification and licensure, our programs provide opportunities that can serve to further our students' professional development or increase their readiness for post-masters studies. Many of these opportunities occur in the Counselor Education Lab and Training Center, a state-of-the-art campus facility, is home to our 3-tier practicum supervision model; a model often seen only in doctoral training programs. In addition to the standard coursework, our students have many opportunities to gain additional preparation in supervision, research, substance abuse counseling, and spirituality in counseling.

As students increase and refine their clinical skills they are encouraged to: participate as coaches in several core courses; participate as process observers for the group, career, and theories courses; and engage in research, writing, and professional presentations with faculty. Combined with ongoing supervision, these various opportunities solidify a set of teaching, research, and supervision skills, that when added to the high level of clinical training, create a bridge for entry into the professional field or post-masters studies.

Counselor Education Lab and Training Center

The Counselor Education Lab and Training Center is housed in Dolan West on the Fairfield University Campus. This state-of-the-art facility was created with the purpose of training our Counselor Education students.

Our training facility includes an office for the clinical coordinator, two seminar classrooms, an observation room with a two-way mirror, and six rooms equipped with iPad technology allowing faculty to observe and monitor students practicing counseling skills and interventions.

Mission Statement

The Counselor Education Department, as a program within a Jesuit community, maintain a primary focus on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion globally (i.e., social action and advocacy) and the use of Ignatian pedagogy in our pursuit of academic, as well as clinical excellence. We subscribe to a belief in the inherent worth and dignity of each person; to the need to develop throughout the lifespan a greater sense of self-realization; to a commitment to serving a diverse society; to a commitment of service to others both for the prevention and remediation of life’s problems; and to the pursuit of the highest standards of excellence in the counseling profession.

We are committed to training our students to meet the needs of diverse communities by including experiences throughout their training that provide exposure to a variety of settings.  Within these experiences we provide students with support and opportunities for challenges that encourage them to become compassionate, reflective, and critical advocates and practitioners as they work with individuals and communities in the pursuit of increased self-awareness and well-being.

We as faculty members in Counselor Education acknowledge our obligation as gatekeepers to students who will pursue professional preparation as clinical mental health counselors or school counselors and to the larger public to be served by our graduates. In our role as gatekeepers, we value the need to create a climate of professional care and consistency from a compassionate, supportive view.

 

 

Course Offerings

Credits
Multicultural Issues in Counseling 3
Lifespan Human Development 3
Psychopathology and Classification II 3
Professional Issues in Counseling 3
Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy 3
Counseling Relationships and Skills 3
Group Work: Theory and Practice 3
Career Development: Theories and Practice 3
Assessment in Counseling 3
Research Methodology 3
Counseling Practicum* 3
Clinical Mental Health Counseling* 6
Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Management, Delivery, and Evaluation 3
Introduction to Substance Abuse and Addictions 3
Trauma and Crisis Intervention 3
Introduction to Clinical Supervision 3
Introduction to Marriage and Family Therapy 3
One (1) Elective Course (in consultation with advisor) 3
One (1) Elective Course (in consultation with advisor) 3
Comprehensive Exam in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
(May be taken during the last semester of study or one semester prior)
3
Total 60

*Grades of B or better are required in all clinical coursework.

Admission

Applicants to the Counselor Education Program must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university (or the international equivalent) and give promise of meeting the standards set by the School.

More About Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Message from the Chair

Read the Message

Message from the Chair

Dilani Perera headshot

Welcome to the Counselor Education program!

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling programs at Fairfield University are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Our training following the humanistic narrative which recognizes the major role that the counselor-client relationship plays in promoting therapeutic change. As such, the program faculty emphasize interpersonal learning as a core competency, along with academic and clinical skill competencies.

The Counselor Education faculty are dedicated to preparing our graduates for licensure and certification aligning with the mission of the American Counseling Association “to enhance the quality of life in society by promoting the development of professional counselors, advancing the counseling profession, and using the profession and practice of counseling to promote respect for human dignity and diversity.”

Our programs provide opportunities that serve to further our students' professional development or increase their readiness for post-master’s studies. Our commitment to our three-tier practicum supervision model; a model often seen only in doctoral training programs, is evidence of our focus on training professional and school counselors. In addition to the standard coursework aligning with CACREP accreditation, our students have many opportunities to gain additional preparation in supervision, research, group work, substance abuse counseling, and spirituality in counseling.

We welcome you to join and experience our program.

Dilani Perera, PhD
Chair and Professor of Counselor Education

Career & Professional Opportunities

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Career & Professional Opportunities

Connecticut Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) are trained “principles of psycho-social development and behavioral science to the evaluation, assessment, analysis, diagnosis and treatment of emotional, behavioral or interpersonal dysfunction or difficulties that interfere with mental health and human development. "Professional counseling" includes, but is not limited to, individual, group, marriage and family counseling, functional assessments for persons adjusting to a disability, appraisal, crisis intervention and consultation with individuals or groups” (Connecticut General Statues Chapter 383c. Sec. 20-105aa). Connecticut offers a tiered licensing system.

At Fairfield University, our counseling graduates are trained to provide the above services from a perspective that is sensitive to race/ethnicity, age, gender, sexuality, socioeconomic status, and other cultural variables.

Upon completion of a minimum of a 60-credit hour master’s degree M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, passing the state required licensure examination, and necessary background checks, graduates are eligible to seek Licensed Professional Counselor Associates (LPC-A) credential that leads to paid mental health positions.

Professional Counselors may be employed in a wide variety of settings, including:

  • Commercial Settings
  • Correctional Facilities
  • Detoxification and Rehabilitation Facilities
  • Educational Institutions
  • Government Agencies
  • Hospitals and Other Medical Facilities
  • Mental Health Facilities
  • Private Practice

Professional Counselors provide the following services:

  • Assessment
  • Career Counseling
  • Crisis Counseling
  • Consultation
  • Group Counseling
  • Marriage and Family Counseling
  • Individual Counseling

Please visit the Department of Public Health's page for more information on Professional Counselors in Connecticut.

Faculty

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Faculty

Our faculty in the Counselor Education Department is second to none, receiving some of the highest accolades in the profession. Our faculty:

  • Have authored books and numerous published scholarly journal articles covering topics including clinical supervision, spirituality, school counseling advocacy, and multiculturalism.
  • Have served as presidents of the Association for Spiritual, Ethical, and Religious Values in Counseling and the North Atlantic Region Association for Counselor Education and Supervision, and the Connecticut Association of Counselor Education and Supervision, vice president of the Connecticut School Counseling Association.
  • Are currently involved in research integrating mindfulness into counseling curriculum, campus climate regarding Mental Health Initiatives, sexual assault on campus, School Counseling Students' Social Advocacy, and Sexual Abuse among Girls and Women in Jamaica.
Meet the Faculty

Frequently Asked Questions

The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) is a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Accreditation from CACREP is voluntary. Those institutions who wish to receive this accreditation are required to meet a rigorous set of program and faculty standards.

For the incoming student, a CACREP accredited program is beneficial for a few reasons:

  • An assurance that the educational activities of an accredited institution or program have been found to be satisfactory and therefore meet the needs of students
  • Assistance in the transfer of credits between institutions or in the admission of students to advanced degrees, through the general acceptance of credits among accredited institutions when the performance of the student has been satisfactory and the credits to be transferred are appropriate to the receiving institution
  • A prerequisite in many cases for entering a profession

Applicants for the Master of Arts degree must hold an earned Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university. A minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 2.67 is strongly recommended. Applicants for the Sixth Year Certificate of Advanced Study must hold an earned Master's degree from an accredited college or university, completed with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.00.

Yes, you are able to take up to six (6) credits in the School Counseling program and up to nine (9) credits in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program as a non-matriculated student before being accepted into the program.

At a minimum, it takes 2 years. On average, it takes our students approximately 2.5 to 3 years to complete the program.

Classes will cover various topics including counseling theories, fundamental counseling skills, group counseling, multicultural issues, research, assessment, ethical and legal codes, and career counseling.

Yes. Once you are accepted into the program, you will receive a letter notifying you of your advisor's name. You will then be asked to contact your advisor to set up a meeting to discuss and design your plan of study.

Elective classes are offered in the program; however, depending on your plan of study, you may or may not have an opportunity to take them.

No.

Classes are offered with the graduate student's schedule in mind. We offer weekday classes at night from 4:55-6:55 p.m. and from 7:15-9:15 p.m., as well as weekend classes.

The program's Clinical Coordinator will assist you in finding a practicum and internship site.

To begin the practicum process, you must first turn in a completed, signed, Application for Practicum to the Clinical Coordinator by the date indicated on the Departmental Calendar. Then, you and the Clinical Coordinator will arrange to meet to discuss your career objectives and the availability of practica sites within your area of interest. Once the availability of a practicum site is confirmed, you will be asked to contact the site to arrange an interview.

For internships, some students will stay at their practicum sites. In other cases, students will have identified sites through contacts that they have made during practicum experiences. Others will require assistance from the Clinical Coordinator in finding and securing an internship site. In all of these cases it is the student's responsibility to take the appropriate steps to secure a site within a timely manner, which will require meeting with or contacting the Clinical Coordinator to ascertain that a particular course of action or setting is appropriate.

Practicum cannot be taken over the summer. Clinical Mental Health Counseling students have the opportunity to take one semester of internship during the summer. School Counseling students do not.

Internships are a two-semester (10-month), full-time commitment for those school counseling students who do not hold a Connecticut Teaching Certificate but wish to be certified as school counselors. For all others, the internship will consist of a 600-hour experience that can be completed in either one or two semesters.

You do not need to be licensed to work at a clinical mental health agency. You only need to be license-eligible, which you will be after completing the program.

Counselors in the state of Connecticut are licensed through the Department of Public Health. Please visit the Department of Public Health for a list of requirements.

Yes, please see the Office of Financial Aid.

Please come to one of our Graduate Information Sessions. Visit the Graduate Admission page for the schedule.

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