The mission of the SOU Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program is to train competent, culturally aware, ethical counselors who will provide exceptional mental health services in both public and private settings to meet the needs of increasingly diverse communities.


Program Objectives:

  • Students develop strong professional identities as mental health counselors and learn to think and act ethically, demonstrating professional accountability for their knowledge and application of ethical principlescodes, and decision-making processes.

  • Students learn to be sensitive to the diversity in ethnicity and life situations of their clients and are able to adapt their counseling practice to the individual needs of diverse clients.

  • Students will be able to apply various theories of human development to their counseling process, so they are effective at integrating a developmental approach to counseling in their work with clients.

  • Students understand career development across the lifespan for diverse clients, how to integrate career concerns with mental health concerns, and demonstrate ethical and culturally competent career counseling strategies.

  • Students learn the foundational ingredients of effective counseling and psychotherapy, particularly development of an empathic, collaborative therapeutic alliance and therapeutic skills that foster movement toward clients’ goals and potentialities. Students demonstrate basic competence in utilizing psychotherapy skills fundamental to all theoretical approaches, conduct an intake interview with initial assessment and case conceptualization, and facilitate counseling sessions with classmates using role play scenarios under supervision.

  • Students are introduced to the theory and practice of group counseling. Students demonstrate understanding of types of groups related to clients’ goals; ethical and professional concerns related to group work; leadership issues and skills; group dynamics; stages of group development; therapeutic factors evoked within groups, application of contemporary theoretical approaches; and standards of practice through completion of a group proposal.

  • Students will gain knowledge needed to administer, interpret and utilize psychological tests and other sources of assessment data in school, community, clinic and other mental health settings.

  • Students will understand how to apply principles of effective research to evaluating counseling research to inform their counseling practice and to participate in practice-based research at their counseling site.

  • Students understand the theories and models of clinical mental health counseling and are able to effectively use client case conceptualizations to assess, diagnose, and identify and apply appropriate treatment modalities to a wide range of client situations.

  • Students demonstrate the interpersonal capacity to relate to others in the appropriate and professional manner as expected of professional counselors.