Jan 29, 2023  
2018 Siena Heights University Catalog 
2018 Siena Heights University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Clinical Mental Health Counseling, M.A.

All courses require a grade of B- or better to continue in the program.

Siena Heights University offers the Master of Arts degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC). The Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is comprised of 60 credit-hours, including a practicum of 100 clock hours (with 40 contact hours) and an internship of 600 clock hours (with 240 contact hours).

Students completing the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program are eligible for the Michigan Limited Licensed Professional Counselor (L.L.P.C.) credential immediately upon receiving the Master of Arts degree and completing the application process with the Board of Counseling. The Michigan Licensed Professional Counselor (L.P.C.) credential can be obtained after achieving a passing score on the National Counselor Examination and gaining 3000 hours of professional counseling experience under the supervision of an L.P.C. Supervision must be completed in no less than two (2) years and in no greater than ten (10) years.

Requirements for Clinical Mental Health Counseling credentials vary among the states. Students intending to seek counseling credentials in states other than Michigan, should consult with their adviser early in the program so that appropriate planning may occur.

Graduate students in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program must file the intent-to-participate application for practicum and internship prior to the registration period to ensure appropriate field placements.

Accreditation Statement

The CMHC program is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission as part of Siena Heights University’s accreditation and is an approved counselor education program in Michigan. 

Clinical Mental Health Counselors

Clinical mental health counselors are employed by a variety of agencies and organizations to deliver counseling and consultative services. Graduates of Siena Heights University’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling program have positions with public and private community mental health agencies, hospices, hospitals, specialized clinics (such as eating disorders), substance abuse centers, churches and parishes, state and local governments agencies, rehabilitation services, detention facilities, nursing homes, residential youth facilities, employee assistance programs, community colleges, and universities. Many graduates also enter private practice.

Managed health care benefits and changes in federal law (i.e., the Affordable Care Act) in the medical and mental health care industries are changing the employment possibilities for Clinical Mental Health Counseling graduates. Students and potential students are encouraged to participate in a variety of counseling settings and to engage in dialogue with counselors active in the profession. These interactions will assist the student in setting realistic graduate school and career goals. Many insurance companies recognize licensed professional counselors for third-party payment for counseling treatment.

Expectations of Students

Counseling is a profession. It demands specialized education and training, and continual learning. Its professional association, the American Counseling Association, has established legal and ethical standards expected of persons practicing in the field. These standards are to be followed by all Clinical Mental Health Counseling students at Siena Heights University. Counseling students need to be especially aware of ethics concerning confidentiality and roles and relationships.

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling faculty, with the approval of the Graduate Council, have established general personal and professional expectations of the students in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program. Additional expectations are set for specific courses and experiences throughout the program.

Students must maintain the required grade point average for continuation in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. Students earning a “C” grade in any course must repeat the course and earn a “B” grade or better. Graduate students, who receive a grade of “C” in any course, are placed on academic probation for the next six (6) credit-hours. The grade transcripts of Clinical Mental Health Counseling students are reviewed by the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program Director at the completion of each term.

In addition to course grades, in each course, students are assessed on three (3) domains: academic achievement, clinical skill, and professionalism via a program assessment tool titled the Student Progress Feedback Form (SPFF). Faculty review SPFF data at the end of each session. A formal progress review covering all SPFF data is done at the end of each academic year. Students, whose SPFF scores do not meet standards, are required to meet with their advisors to create a personal development plan (PDP) to address areas of concern. Failure to improve in noted areas of concern results in the core counseling faculty developing a formal remediation plan with students. When remediation goals and objectives are not met, students are suspended from the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. As per this catalog, students may appeal suspensions to the Graduate Council. The Council can decide to reinstate students, to reinstate them with conditions, or to dismiss them from the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program and Siena Heights University Graduate College.

Students are required to meet all deadlines associated with successful progress through the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program.

Students are expected to demonstrate proactive social advocacy for the profession and for the individuals and organizations served by the profession. Examples of advocacy are identified on the student’s resume prior to the completion of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program and the awarding of the Master of Arts degree.

Students are required to hold student membership in the American Counseling Association.

Student membership in the professional state-level counseling association is also strongly encouraged. The student files evidence of membership (i.e., photocopy of membership card) with the Program Coordinator on the Adrian campus, no later than the second sub-session or session of study in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program.

Students are required to obtain professional liability insurance prior to beginning their field experiences, Practicum and Internship. Students file evidence of the insurance with the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program Coordinator, on the Adrian campus at the same time as the application forms for Practicum and Internship are filed.

Students are required to develop an electronic portfolio to illustrate professional development as a counseling student. Evidence and reflection of the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values associated with the counseling profession are to be included in the portfolio.

Students are expected to demonstrate professional and lifelong learning habits through the reading of professional journals and books, attendance and participation at professional meetings, seminars, and conferences/conventions, use of technology as a learning resource, and sharing of professional information with colleagues.

Failure to adhere to all of these expectations may lead to suspension from the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program.


Persons interested in making application for admission to the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program must filean on-line application to the Graduate College by the due date (start.sienaheights.edu).

Before any admissions consideration, each applicant’s file must contain the completed on-line application form, the application fee, the application essay, three professional reference forms pertinent to the applicant’s desire and ability to perform graduate-level work and to meet the expectations of the counseling profession, a current resume, a completed Conviction Disclosure Form (CDF), and official transcripts from each post-high school educational institution the applicant has attended. Qualified applicants will be invited for an admissions interview with the Program Director.


Although applicants for the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program do not need to have specific undergraduate majors or minors, certain courses are considered advantageous for success and progress in the program. Undergraduate courses in the areas of psychology, sociology, research, education, and oral and written communication are beneficial in gaining acceptance to the program and also for success in the program.

Life and work experience are of benefit to professional counselors and therefore to students in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling programs. All applicants to the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program are expected to demonstrate a minimum of two (2) years of experience, paid or volunteer, in working with people.

The Capstone Portfolio

The capstone portfolio is developed throughout the course of the program: it provides evidence of students’ reflections on their accomplishments and progress related to the established Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program Learning Outcomes. As part of the portfolio, students provide evidence and thoughtful evaluation of their achievement and progress at various points in the program. The portfolio is created in a web-based electronic format for ease of portability, revision, and dissemination. The organization of the portfolio is according to the ten (10) broad categories of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program Learning Outcomes.

As part of graduation requirements, students are required to present their finished exit portfolio to program faculty and other students. This presentation is usually done during the Internship 2 (CMH 684 ) seminar. Exit portfolios are developmental, with information relevant to potential employers or doctoral program faculty should the student wish to continue his or her graduate education. By continuing the portfolio process after graduation from Siena, counselors have a means of substantiating effectiveness, professional development, professional identity, and goal attainment. Portfolios also provide a method of self-assessment for the purpose of developing and implementing a continuous improvement plan.

Students begin development of the portfolio in CMH 620 Foundations Of Clinical Mental Health Counseling , by producing the basic organization of the portfolio as well as introductory documents. Ideas and examples of portfolios are discussed with students enrolled in CMH 620 . Evidence and reflections from every course in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program are added to the portfolio as the student progresses through the curriculum.

During Practicum (CMH 680 ), the portfolio is examined and the contents evaluated by the course instructor. Students are provided written feedback concerning the progress of the portfolio. At this stage of the program, the portfolio assists the program faculty in determining student preparedness for Internship. Each portfolio is individualized to reflect the uniqueness of the counseling student. Although every student engages in similar course work and experiences, the internalization of the learning and its meaning is unique to the individual.

The Graduate College may retain access to the electronic document(s) of the students’ portfolios for the purpose of accreditation review by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and other accrediting bodies.


Several graduate courses, especially those in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program, incorporate components of skill development through the integration of personal and other potentially confidential information. Students must respect the ethical considerations of the process and demonstrate the respect for confidentiality. Students who are suspected of breaching confidentiality are interviewed by the respective program director, who is responsible for determining the nature of the suspected offense and reporting it to the Dean of the Graduate College. The Dean determines the penalty for the offense, if documentation substantiates the accusation. Possible penalties include suspension or permanent dismissal.

Field Experiences

Two specific field experiences are included in the Master of Arts degree program. The first is the CMH 680 Counseling Field Practicum , offered in fall of the third year of study. The second is Internship which is comprised of CMH 683 Counseling Internship 1 / Conceptualization , and CMH 684 Counseling Internship 2 / NCE Preparation , offered in winter and summer of the third year of study. The practicum is comprised of 100 clock hours (40 contact hours) of supervised experience in a counseling setting, while the internship is an intense experience comprised of 600 clock hours (240 contact hours) of supervised experience in a counseling setting. Practicum must be completed at one (1) site, and internship at no more than two (2) sites. The student may or may not do the practicum and internship at the same counseling site.

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling student is supervised at the site by a qualified counselor (preferably with the licensed professional counselor credential) familiar with the roles and responsibilities of counselors at the site and with the dynamics of counseling supervision.

The practicum and internship require the student to file the appropriate application forms and proof of liability insurance to the Program Coordinator, on the Adrian campus. Failure to comply with documentation requirements result in postponing the registration for the participation in the practicum and/or internship. Clinical Mental Health Counseling faculty determine the student’s readiness for the practicum and internship experiences. The student, who does not satisfy the expectations for beginning the practicum, meets with an assigned faculty member to design and implement a professional development plan, which includes a timeline. When the professional development plan has been fulfilled, the student may again reapply. The student is not guaranteed permission to register for and participate in the practicum and/or the internship. Additional information about field experiences can be found in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Field Placement Manual.