Clinical Mental Health Counseling M.S.

A group of people sitting in chairs in a circle outside talking.

 

The Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree program prepares culturally competent, advocacy driven counselors and, to develop a mindset of social justice and community responsibility in students, while fostering a common professional identity that both honors and embraces the diversity each student brings to the program.

 

 

Course of Study

Program Overview

The Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is a 60-hour program accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. Graduates of the program become knowledgeable, ethical and culturally sensitive counselors through a course of study that includes classroom, online, and field-site training. The program includes a two-semester internship. Interns deliver counseling services, under supervision, in the community. Students in the program take the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Exam offered by the National Board for Certified Counselors. They are also eligible to become members of the American Counseling Association and/or the American Mental Health Counselors Association.

Careers in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling graduate degree program is designed to prepare students with professional competencies required for the professional counseling field. Graduates provide counseling services in various settings such as public and private counseling agencies, government service agencies, family court systems, college development centers, substance abuse centers and private practice.

Click here for admissions procedures.

Contact

Yvette Getch, Ph.D.
Counseling Programs Coordinator,
Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Practicum and Internship Coordinator
Ph: (251) 380-2885
ygetch@southalabama.edu

▼   Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program Objectives

The USA Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program prepares students to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the foundations of clinical mental health counseling to include history, current trends/issues, roles, functions, professional identity, leadership/advocacy strategies, and laws/legislation effecting the counseling profession.
  2. Facilitate clients’ growth and development over the lifespan within a strengths-based and wellness framework.
  3. Utilize technology as applied to clinical mental health counseling.
  4. Demonstrate cultural sensitivity, competency, humility, and responsiveness with all individuals, couples, and families.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to develop, implement, and evaluate comprehensive needs assessments.
  6. Demonstrate effective and meaningful individual counseling, couples and family counseling, and group work with diverse clients with diverse needs.
  7. Serve as culturally responsive and empowerment-based advocates with individuals, families, and communities to promote optimal growth and wellness to meet the needs of diverse clientele.
  8. Demonstrate skills related to clinical assessment and interpretation of assessment results to clients.
  9. Demonstrate appropriate use of multi-axial diagnosis in a manner that promotes the optimal well-being of clients.
▼   Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program of Study
Year Fall Spring Summer
1

Foundations of Clinical
Mental Health Counseling

Principles and Theories
of Counseling

Seminar in Ethical &
Legal Issues in Counseling

Tests, Measures &
Evaluation in Counseling

Diagnosis &
Treatment Planning

Group Counseling,
Theory & Process

Counseling Skills. & Process

Multicultural Counseling

Human Growth &
Development (Maymester)

Educational Research and Evaluation

Supervised Practicum
in Counseling

Elective

2

Internship

Career Development,
Assessment & Intervention

Crisis & Trauma Counseling

Elective

Internship

Addictions Counseling

Elective

Elective

 
▼   Practicum and Internship Sites

The CMHC program maintains longstanding relationships with multiple field placement sites in the Mobile area. Students do not select their own sites and are matched with one of the existing sites below. Each site is closely evaluated for its capacity to meet CACREP accreditation requirements and provide the highest quality of clinical supervision. 

▼   Alumni

CMHC alumni work in a variety of mental health and related professional positions. Below are some examples of our alumni and their professional experiences.

Lukas Presley, M.S.

Lukas is currently completing his Ph.D. in Counselor Education & Supervision at the University of Missouri - Kansas City. He completed his M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at USA in 2016 and completed his internship through the Mobile Juvenile Court Collaborative project. His interest focus on mental health issue affecting LGBTQIA+ client populations


Jo Lauren Weaver

Jo Lauren Weaver, M.S.

Jo Lauren is currently completing their Ph.D. in Counselor Education at the University of Florida. She previously earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at USA in 2017. While a masters' student Jo Lauren completed her internship in the Mobile Juvenile Court Collaborative project and completed a formal thesis project focusing on cyberstalking.


Saundra Tabet

Saundra Tabet, Ph.D.

Dr. Tabet is a 2014 graduate of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. They completed their Ph.D. in Counselor Education from the University of Central Florida. They are currently an Assistant Professor at the University of San Diego in the Department of Counseling & Marital and Family Therapy.


Courtney East

Courtney East, Ph.D.

Dr. East is a 2014 graduate of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program and also earned her doctoral degree in Counselor Education & Supervision from Auburn University. They are currently an Assistant Professor of Counselor Education at Doane University in Nebraska. Dr. East teaches a variety of courses including Group Processes, Counseling Theories, and Career Counseling. They also facilitate Group Supervision of Practicum and Internship students. Primary research and scholarship areas include sexual and gender identities, specifically with youth and teenagers. Other interest areas of research include exploring multiracial identities.


Sarah Fucillo

Sarah Fucillo, Ph.D.

Dr. Fucillo is an Assistant Professor of Counselor Education & Supervision at Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, Kentucky. Dr. Fucillo earned her M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at USA in 2014 and then her Ph.D. in Counselor Education & Supervision from Auburn University. While in the CMHC program she completed her internship through the Mobile Juvenile Court Collaborative team. Her research has focused on vicarious trauma, trauma-informed care and juvenile offenders.


Kassie Terrell

Kassie Terrell, Ph.D.

Dr. Terrell is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Mental Health Counseling at the University of North Florida. Dr. Terrell earned her Ph.D. in Counselor Education & Supervision at the University of Mississippi and her M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at USA in 2014. Dr. Terrell's research interests focus on assessing counseling competencies in working with LGBTQIA+ clients and understanding how sex, gender, sexuality and minority stress affect mental health.  


Kristine Ramsay-Seaner

Kristine Ramsay-Seaner, Ph.D.

Dr. Ramsay Seaner is an Assistant Professor of Counseling & Human Development at South Dakota State University. Dr. Ramsay Seaner earned  her M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling in 2013. Their research interests focus on gerontology as well as diversity, inclusion and empathy development to support the mental health needs of underserved populations. They serve as the Clinical Experiences Coordinator for her academic department.  


Laventrice Ridgeway

Laventrice Ridgeway, M.S.

Mr. Ridgeway is a 2013 graduate of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling M.S. program. They currently serves as the director of the University of South Alabama's Center for Educational Accessibility & Disability Resources. Mr. Ridgeway is currently earning his doctoral degree in Higher Education Leadership at USA as well and serves as the president of the Black Faculty & Staff Association. 


Danny McCarty

Danny McCarty, Ph.D.

Dr. McCarty is currently an Assistant Professor of Clinical Mental Health Counseling at the University of South Alabama. He earned his doctoral degree in Counselor Education & Supervision at the University of Arkansas, and previously earned his master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at USA in 2013. Dr. McCarty's scholarly interests are in the areas of Adlerian Counseling and lifestyle assessment, psychological meaning behind tattoos and the utility of wilderness and experiential counseling techniques. 


Brenton Vance

Brenton Vance, LPC

Brent completed his master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at USA in 2011. He has previously worked as a therapist for Lifelines Counseling Inc. and as the Oil Spill Distress Hotline Coordinator. He later was transferred to serve as a therapist at the Child Advocacy Center and eventually was appointed as the clinical director at the CAC. Brent has lead efforts to implement trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy services at CAC.


Sheree Bodiford

Sheree Bodiford, Ph.D.

Dr. Bodiford completed her Ph.D. in Integrated Clinical & Counseling Psychology at the University of South Alabama in 2014 after completing her predoctoral internship at the Lawrence Hall Youth Services agency in Chicago, IL. After completing her doctorate she worked at the Center for Child and Adolescent Development in Montgomery, AL and currently works as the staff psychologists at a multidisciplinary psychiatric practice in Montgomery, Alabama Psychiatry. Dr. Bodiford earned his master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from USA in 2010 and completed her internship in the Mobile Juvenile Court Collaborative project.


Elizabeth Wood

Elizabeth Wood, Ph.D.

Dr. Wood is currently  a Licensed Professional Counselor serving clients at AltaPointe Health System's Bayview Associates Clinic in Mobile, AL. Dr. Wood earned her masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from USA in 2011 and her Ph.D. in Advanced Studies in Human Behavior from Capella University in 2015. She has been credentialed as a Board Certified TeleMental Health Provider and is a Diplomate and Clinical Mental Health Specialist of the American Mental Health Counseling Association in the area of Child & Adolescent Counseling and a board certified EMDR therapist. Dr. Wood also now is an adjunct instructor in the CMHC program at USA.


Terri Duck

Terri Duck, Ph.D.

Dr. Duck is a staff psychologist at the Florida State University Counseling Center. She earned her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Louisiana Tech University, and her M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from USA in 2009. Her areas of expertise are Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Positive Psychology.


Jennifer Gregory

Jennifer Gregory, LPC

Mrs. Gregory completed her master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from USA in 2009. She has since worked as a child outpatient therapist at AltaPointe Health Systems, and later as coordinator of AltaPointe's children's outpatient program. Presently she works as the assistant director of AltaPointe's Care Pointe program, which is the first point of contact for individuals seeking mental health services.


Jennifer Burns

Jennifer Davis Burns, M.S.

Mrs. Burns currently works as Research Specialist and previously as the Operations Manager of the University of Alabama Medicine's Family Medicine Center in Huntsville, AL . She has previously worked as the Program Coordinator of the BayPointe LeMoyne School and Day Treatment Program at AltaPointe Health Systems, and prior to that as the Community Relations Representative and Staff Therapist for Lifelines Counseling Inc. She completed her master's degree in Community Counseling in 2009 at USA.


Aimee Varr

Aimee Varr, Ph.D.

Dr. Varr currently works as an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Mobile. Previously she completed her doctorate in Integrated Clinical & Counseling Psychology at the University of South Alabama. Prior to completing her doctorate she was an intern at Georgia Souther University's Counseling Center and had earned her master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from USA in 2008. 


Gena Richardson

Gena D. Richardson, M.S.

Ms. Richardson graduated from the Clinical Mental Health Counseling master's program in 2007. After working as a therapist for Southwest Alabama Behavioral Health Care Systems,  they served as Executive Director of St. Anne's Homes Inc., a residential treatment facility for women, and later as the Executive Director of The Arc of Alabama, a state chapter of a national non-profit organization that provides services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She is most recently serving as the CEO of Change by Reform which focuses on a variety of business, marketing, consulting, advocacy services with a special focus on nonprofit organizations, special events, and philanthropic causes.


Ashleigh Simon

Ashleigh Dillon, M.S.

Mrs. Dillon currently serves as the Clinical Director of the Bridge Inc. in Mobile, AL providing addictions and mental health services to adolescents. She previously worked as a therapist at Catholic Social Services Clinical Counseling Center in Mobile. She earned her master's degree in Community Counseling in 2003 at USA. 


Chandra Brown

Chandra Brown-Stewart, M.S.

Mrs. Brown-Stewart is Executive Director, Lifelines Counseling Inc. and serves on the Board of Trustees for the University of South Alabama. She previously earned a master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from USA in 2004 and a bachelor's in psychology from Xavier University of New Orleans. She has been recognized as one of Mobile Bay Monthly magazine's "40 Under 40 - Mobile's Best and Brightest" in 2010, a past president of the Junior League of Mobile, and a recipient of the Community Awareness Award from the Mobile Press Club and the Rising Star Award from the YWCA.;


Vaughn Milner

Vaughn Millner, Ph.D., LPC

Dr. Milner currently serves as an adjunct instructor in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling M.S. program at USA. She previously served as the Dean of the School of Continuing Education & Special Programs at USA, and prior to that as Chair of the Interdisciplinary Studies Department, and as an Associate Professor of Counselor Education at USA. She earned her Ph.D. in Counselor Education & Supervision from Auburn University in 1998 and her master's in Community Counseling from USA in 1994. Her research focuses on sexual wellness and sex education concerns as well as body modification practices.

▼   Student Spotlight

Amaria DudleyAmaria Dudley will graduate from the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program in August of 2021. As part of her degree Amaria chose to pursue a formal research thesis in lieu of two of her program electives. Her work on this thesis project, under the mentorship of Dr. Ryon McDermott, lead to a study entitled: Multiracial young adults, perceived racial discrimination, depressive symptoms, identity integration, and race-based rejection sensitivity: Testing a moderated mediation model.

Below Amaria responds to questions about her thesis experience:

Why did you choose this particular thesis topic?

I knew going into a master's program I wanted to conduct research, specifically a thesis. However, I was unsure how to narrow my research interests until taking the Multicultural class over the summer of 2020. In the assigned text, Counseling the Culturally Diverse by Dr. David Sue and Dr. Derald Wing Sue, there was an entire chapter on the Multiracial experience. While reading this chapter, I felt validated in the presented research as a fellow Multiracial person. I was instantly drawn to Multiracial peoples' specific experiences, mainly related to racial identity development. Considering my interest in the chapter, I reviewed the literature and discovered just how little research is conducted with this population. From there, I found my thesis topic grounded in Counseling the Culturally Diverse and my personal experiences. 

Where are you planning to go in your career next?

Upon graduating with my Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, I intend to spend a year counseling underrepresented youth in the Mobile area. Afterward, I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in Social Psychology starting in the fall of 2022. 

What is your advice to future graduate students interested in similar topics as a scholar?

Don't abandon your research interests simply because they are underresearched or unique. Research related to Multiracial individuals and racial identity is essential regardless of its current popularity. Identifying underresearched populations and issues relevant to them is critical for advancing our field and informing clinical practices. 

▼   2021-2022 CMHC Practicum & Internship Placements
  • Lucas Adrianopoulos - Spring Hill College Wellness Center a& USA Career Services
  • Jessica Allen - University of South Alabama Family Medicine
  • Rhena Baxter - Child Advocacy Center
  • Noah Brandt - University of South Alabama Counseling & Testing Center
  • Teya Hale - University of South Alabama Counseling & Testing Center
  • Christina Kountz - University of South Alabama Counseling & Testing Center
  • Elizabeth Laster - Altapointe Child Outpatient Clinic
  • BethAnn Mills - Lifelines Counseling 
  • Savannah Rommel - Child Advocacy Center
  • Hannah Soileau - Lifelines Counseling Inc.
  • Elizabeth Southern - Health Connect America
  • Martha Wright - Altapointe Children's Day Treatment Program (Fairhope)