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Why study Mental Health Counseling?
Belmont’s M.A. in Mental Health Counseling is unique among counseling programs. Combining rigorous study in contemporary scientific psychotherapy with the wisdom, insight and values of the Christian tradition of caring for souls, this one-of-a-kind graduate program will give you practical tools and techniques to more effectively treat your patients. Moreover, it will also expand your capacity for compassionate and professional service.
What You'll Learn
Our program, drawing students from a variety of backgrounds, is led by a diverse faculty who remain engaged in research, academic writing, and clinical practice to ensure students are equipped with the training and skills required to practice as counselors after graduation. While fulfilling standards for accreditation, the faculty and curricula offer spiritual and theological foundations concomitant to psychotherapeutic training that will prepare students to become practitioners who are prepared and empowered to ethically treat clients holistically.
As a student in the master's level Mental Health Counseling program, you will choose one of four specialty tracks. Each requires 60 hours of coursework and common classes in Techniques of Counseling, Foundations of Clinical Practice, and more. The second year of the program includes a Practicum and Internship experience at one of the dozens of site affiliations in the Greater Nashville Area, or Belmont can form a new affiliation with a practice you prefer, as long as it meets all CACREP requirements. All of these specialty tracks prepare you for variations in care approaches, practice settings, and licensure requirements so that you may impact others as early as the second year of this program, and beyond.
This track satisfies the academic coursework requirements for Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and the Licensed Professional Counselor with the Mental Health Service Provider designation (LPC-MHSP) in Tennessee. Graduates of this track can work in a variety of settings, such as clinical mental health counseling facilities, nonprofit agencies, addiction treatment centers, career counseling centers, adult probation offices, hospital counseling centers and in private counseling practices. 100% of our CMHC graduates passed the National Counseling Exam (NCE).
This specialty track qualifies you to apply for licensure as a Marital and Family Therapist (LMFT) in Tennessee. Graduates go on to work with individuals, couples and families in a variety of counseling settings. Being licensed as a marriage, couple and family therapist does not limit your ability to work with individuals. The designation refers more to the approach—an LMFT is trained to help each client within the context of his or her social environment and relationships, past or present. 75% of our MCFC students passed the MFT Clinical Exam.
This track satisfies the academic requirements for licensure in the state of Tennessee as a Clinical Pastoral Therapist. While a Clinical Pastoral Therapist will have a practice that looks very similar to that of an LPC, LPC-MHSP or LMFT, the difference is in their reliance on faith, spirituality and theology, in addition to psychotherapy, to help people who are suffering. Graduates can work in a variety of settings including clinical mental health counseling facilities, faith-based counseling centers, psychiatric hospitals and in private practice. Zero students have taken the licensure exam in this track.
The School Counseling Track prepares graduate students to serve as school counselors in public or private pre-k-12 schools. The program satisfies the educational requirement for licensure as a School Counselor in the State of Tennessee. Since this is a new program track, no students have taken the Praxis II Exam in this track.
Methods of Instruction
The instruction for the Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling and Pastoral Therapy tracks within the Mental Health Counseling Program at Belmont University are primarily taught on campus with the exception of the Field Education element. Program faculty in these tracks teach all curriculum face to face with the students. The School Counseling Track is taught solely online with the exception of one weekend intensive per semester.
- Clinical Mental Health Counselor
- Marriage, Couple, and Family Counselor
- Clinical Pastoral Therapist
- School Counselor
The Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling degree is a 60 credit hour program. For students enrolled in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling specialty track, the program satisfies the educational requirement for licensure as a Professional Counselor-Mental Health Service Provider in the State of Tennessee. For those enrolled in the Marriage, Couples and Family Counseling specialty track, the program satisfies the educational requirements for licensure as a Marital & Family Therapist in the State of Tennessee. For students enrolled in the Pastoral Counseling specialty track, the program satisfies the academic requirements for licensure as a Clinical Pastoral Therapist in Tennessee. The school counseling track satisfies requirements for licensure as a school counselor in the state of Tennessee.
Students are required to complete a practicum and internship consisting of 700 clock hours of counseling and counseling related activities in an approved site or agency as a part of the program. Normally, students will complete 24 semester hours of course work prior to beginning their practicum experience. School counseling students must complete a pre-practicum class consisting of observations during their first year. Students will be required to pass a background check and show proof of approved professional liability insurance prior to beginning the clinical experience component of the program.
Courses You'll Take
CTM 5011, Foundations of Clinical Practice 3 Hours
This course is an advanced survey of the practice of clinical psychotherapy. The purpose of the course is to orient students to the contemporary field of clinical psychotherapy and prepare them to engage in direct clinical care of persons. The course will explore the roots of contemporary psychotherapy in the Western cure of souls tradition. Also, students will be exposed to a range of psychological and theological resources applicable in the clinical encounter. These resources will include understandings of what it means to be human, theories of human development and the dynamics of relational systems, the diagnosis of mental and relational dysfunction, and approaches to clinical intervention and treatment. This will all occur in the context of understanding the formation of the professional self of the psychotherapist.
CTM 5013, Christian Perspectives on Psychopathology & Human Suffering 3 Hours
This course is an introductory survey of the phenomenon of psychopathology from the perspective of a Christian theological world view. What are the various forms psychopathology takes and how are they accounted for from a contemporary scientific perspective? How is this “soul suffering” accounted for from a spiritual/religious world view? How can this form of human suffering be addressed and/or ameliorated? These questions will be explored both historically as well as cross culturally.
CTM 5014, Diagnosis & Treatment of Mental Disorders 3 Hours
This course is an introduction to the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders of the American Psychiatric Association. The DSM shall be understood in the historical context of the “cure of souls” tradition. Students will explore the history, development and current iteration of the APA’s diagnostic system. Students will also correlate the process of diagnosis with the development of treatment plans.
CTM 5015, Spirituality & Theories of Human Development 3 Hours
This course is an exploration of the nature of spiritual/religious experience across the life-cycle. Students will be introduced to a variety of theories of human development and the interface of those theories with the shape of moral, religious and spiritual experience at various points of the life-cycle. The course will explore the relationship between biological and environmental influences on the structuring of character and personality and how this influences the formation of individual, family and group spirituality.
CTM 5016, Diversity & Social Justice in the Clinical Encounter 3 Hours
This seminar explores ways of understanding the cultural context of relationships and institutions as they contribute to complex social identities in individuals and disclose the necessity of analytical and clinical skills for addressing an increasingly complex society. The range of issues to be explored includes: race, ethnicity, class, age, gender, sexual orientation, cognitive and physical characteristics, and religion.
CTM 5017, Christian Ethics in the Clinical Encounter 3 Hours
This course is an exploration of the moral dimensions of, and the ethical and professional issues relevant to, clinical mental health practice. Codes of professional ethics and state laws pertaining to the practice of professional counseling, marriage & family therapy, and clinical pastoral therapy will be examined. Through the use of case studies, students will explore the complex moral and ethical dynamics that emerge in the course of clinical practice.
CTM 5018, Theories & Methods of Psychotherapy Research 3 Hours
This course seeks to introduce students to the process of research both through and about psychotherapy. Students will explore the history of research about psychotherapy and how this research can inform the formation and maintenance of caring relationships. Students will also be introduced to processes through which the actual practice of psychotherapy may be the source of new knowledge for and about the discipline. Ethical guidelines for research in psychotherapy will be addressed.
CTM 5019, Techniques of Counseling & Psychotherapy 3 Hours
A fundamental skills and techniques course for master’s level counseling students. The purpose of the course is to provide students with their initial counseling experiences under supervised conditions and for the student to experience a didactic and experimental training with the focus of the course on the development of basic counseling skills which include invitational skills, reflection skills, summarization skills, challenging skills, goal setting skills, assessment skills, application of a theoretical orientation and application of therapeutic technique. The course will include interactive lecture, demonstration, discussion, participation in skills practice, student to student role playing, student video demonstration of skills, and individual supervision.
CTM 5160, Psychological & Theological Perspectives on Human Sexuality 3 Hours
Sexuality is a dimension of human existence that is inescapable. As human beings we do not merely act sexually, rather, we are sexual as living beings. This course will seek to explore this dimension of human existence through the lenses of both psychology and theology. Students will be exposed to the historical understandings of human sexuality that we have inherited from our traditions as well as contemporary scientific and theological understandings.
CTM 6010, Practicum in Mental Health Counseling 3 Hours
The practicum is an introductory exposure to the setting of clinical mental health counseling. Students will participate in counseling related activities such as staff meetings, case conferences, record keeping, individual clinical supervision as well as direct client contact in assessment, co-counseling and counseling activities. Students will also participate in a weekly group supervision session under the leadership of program faculty.
CTM 6110, Internship in Mental Health Counseling I 3 Hours
The internship is a more intense exposure to and engagement in the setting of clinical mental health counseling. Students will participate in counseling related activities such as staff meetings, case conferences, record keeping, individual clinical supervision as well as direct client contact in assessment, co-counseling and counseling activities. Students will also participate in a weekly group supervision session under the leadership of program faculty. Students are expected to work approximately 20 hours per week in the clinical setting.
CTM 6210, Internship in Mental Health Counseling II 3 Hours
A continuation of Internship in Mental Health Counseling; I. Exposure to and engagement in the setting of clinical mental health counseling. Students will participate in counseling related activities such as staff meetings, case conferences, record keeping, individual clinical supervision as well as direct client contact in assessment, co-counseling and counseling activities. Students will also participate in a weekly group supervision session under the leadership of program faculty. Students are expected to work approximately 20 hours per week in the clinical setting.
In order to matriculate through the program, students must be admitted, complete all degree and assessment requirements, and apply for graduation.
The following links assist with matriculation through the 60-hour master's programs from admission to graduation.
- Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling Track
- Clinical Mental Health Counseling Track
- Clinical Pastoral Therapy Track
- School Counseling Track
- Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling + Clinical Pastoral Therapy Dual Track
- Clinical Mental Health Counseling Track
- Marriage, Couples and Family Counseling Track
- Clinical Pastoral Therapy Track
- School Counseling Track
- PhD Handbook
Field Experience Manuals
Graduate Student Life at Belmont
As a graduate student at Belmont University, you are in an exceptional environment to develop yourself and reach your highest potential. In the classroom, you will meet knowledgeable professors and fellow students who are both dedicated and supportive in helping you succeed.
Moreover, Nashville’s diverse economy boasts an array of sectors from finance to health care and tech, providing students with plenty of chances to explore their potential. In short, there are few places as well-suited for career growth as Belmont with its entrepreneurial spirit and a wealth of connections in Nashville and beyond.
Join a pharmacy club, volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and enjoy basketball games, concerts, chapel services and much more. On campus, you’ll find countless opportunities to become involved in activities, helping the surrounding community and gaining valuable experience along the way.
The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), has granted accreditation to the following programs in Belmont University’s College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences: the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program (M.A.) and the Marriage, Couples and Family Counseling Mental Health Counseling Degree Programs (M.A.).