FDU Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program

Vision, Mission, and Objectives

It’s our belief that counseling is not just a profession – it’s a calling.

It is a calling that attracts people motivated to use their talents to improve the lives of others.  In order to help all of our students join the counseling profession and answer that calling, we have established the following vision statement, mission statement, and program objectives. These principles are intended to guide everyone involved in the FDU CMHC program.

Vision Statement

The Fairleigh Dickinson University Clinical Mental Health Counseling program (FDU CMHC) will prepare culturally competent counselors who are dedicated to the service of the community through the enhancement of the dignity, potential, and uniqueness of each individual.

Mission Statement

The FDU CMHC program mission is to prepare counselors who integrate developmental, cultural, wellness, and diagnostic knowledge with clinical skills in order to enhance the lives of a diverse clientele. 

Program Objectives

Graduates of the FDU CMHC program will demonstrate:

  • Knowledge of the core curriculum areas required by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and the state of New Jersey Professional Counselor Examiners Committee.
  • Developmentally appropriate counseling skills.
  • Professional dispositions consistent with those necessary for professional counseling.
  • Awareness of inequities that affect clients, along with the ability to advocate for social justice and engage in social justice interventions.
  • A professional counselor identity while working in the continuum of care alongside other behavioral health professionals.

Application Deadline

The FDU CMHC program will begin accepting applications for the 2023-2024 academic year in January 2023. Interviews of qualified applicants will begin in February 2023. Students will be offered admission to the program on a rolling basis until the 2023-2024 cohort is full.

FDU CMHC Program Student Outcomes 2020 – 2021

  • Number of Graduates: 14
  • Completion Rate: 93%
  • Licensure Exam Pass Rate: 100%
  • Job Placement Rate within 180 Days of Graduation: 93%

Program Description

The FDU CMHC program, accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs (CACREP), prepares highly competent counseling professionals to have a positive impact on their communities by serving as mental health counselors, program directors, researchers, and policy makers on the local, state, and national levels. Graduates of the program work in a variety of settings, including community agencies, clinics, schools, hospitals, substance abuse centers, residential treatment centers, child protective services, and private practice.

To prepare you to be an effective, ethical counselor the FDU CMHC program will train you in fundamental clinical skills, such as conducting intake and assessment interviews, developing treatment plans and counseling interventions, and facilitating group therapy. You will explore various theories of human development and counseling theoretical orientations, and you’ll be exposed to the different career paths you might pursue, including career counseling, substance abuse counseling, family and couples counseling, and program planning and evaluation. You will also acquire knowledge of research and assessment techniques and the pragmatic concerns (such as managed care and budget constraints) facing the mental health field today. Unique to our program among other programs in NJ, you will take courses in Psychopharmacology, Counseling for Sexual Issues, and Fundamental of Supervision in Counseling as part of your course of study. You will leave the program prepared to demonstrate a professional counselor identity serving the community alongside other health professionals.

The FDU CMHC Program is a 60-credit degree and requires a minimum of six semesters to complete. The program is based on the practitioner/researcher model valued in the mental health professions. It meets the educational requirements of the Professional Counselors Examiners Committee for licensure as a licensed associate counselor (LAC) and licensed professional counselor (LPC) in the State of New Jersey, and is a Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) accredited program.

Students are expected to attend school full-time, including two summer semesters.  The typical full-time load is four courses per semester, except in the three semesters of practicum and internship, during which students take three courses per semester.

Courses are scheduled in a sequence designed to allow you to develop into a skilled and ethical counselor. Knowledge and skills you acquire in the first three semesters will be put into practice during your three semesters of clinical work.  Students move through the program with other students based on a cohort model. We find that this approach encourages academic comradery and long-term professional and personal connections.

Professional Licensure and Certification

Professional licensure and certification requirements may vary state to state and are subject to change. In addition, separate from educational requirements, state licensure boards may require applicants to complete other requirements. Students should contact the appropriate licensing agency in each home state to obtain the most up-to-date information.

FDU’s Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) program meets or exceeds academic requirements for the LAC, LPC, and equivalent licenses in all but 3 states in the US. These 3 states are: California (requires a list of nine courses in addition to those required by CACREP), Florida (requires additional courses on the state’s laws and rule regarding counseling and a 2-hour course on preventing medical errors), and New York (requires a course on identifying and reporting child abuse.) The program prepares students to complete the National Counselor Examination (NCE) or the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examinations (NCMHCE). Please refer to the appropriate state for your work to determine if you should complete the NCE or the NCMHCE for licensure.

Admission requirements

Please note that we are no longer accepting applications for the Fall 2022 cohort.  We will begin reviewing applications for the Fall 2023 cohort in January, 2023.

  • Graduation from an accredited college or university.
  • A minimum grade point average of 3.0 in their undergraduate major field of study.
  • No GRE scores required.
  • Submission of official undergraduate and graduate transcript(s).
  • Submission of three (3) letters of recommendation.
  • Completion of a Fairleigh Dickinson Graduate School Application form.
  • A written personal statement of professional goals.
  • A personal group interview which will be scheduled after submission of application.

Degree Plan

The MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is a 60-credit degree.  It meets the educational requirements of the Professional Counselors Examiners Committee for licensure as a licensed associate counselor (LAC) and licensed professional counselor (LPC) in the State of New Jersey and also meets the educational requirements of the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

The CMHC MA offers the option of two additional specializations. Both the school counselor and addiction specializations are 63-credit degrees. To be clear these are specializations, not separate certifications.

If you are interested in pursuing a masters degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Fairleigh Dickinson University, please contact our Graduate Admissions Coordinator, Dr. Alwin Wagener, email address awagener@fdu.edu

Clinical Course Sequence

Comprehensive Exam

NOTE: Course Syllabi Available Upon Request, please email j_wilson@fdu.edu

Chi Sigma Iota

Chi Sigma Iota (CSI) is an international honor society for professional counselors, counselor educators, and students. CSI’s global mission is to promote scholarship, research, professionalism, and leadership in counseling through recognition of individual achievements in the pursuit of academic and clinical excellence in the profession of counseling.

The Phi Delta Chapter of CSI was established at FDU in 2016.  We are a dynamic community of graduate counseling students committed to the professional and personal development of our members and to the promotion of mental health for all individuals.  Our chapter members create an atmosphere of support and encouragement for one another.  We are involved in community service, professional development, and advocacy through community outreach, workshops, and other social and professional events.  Our efforts are focused on issues of social justice and reducing the stigma of mental illness.  We are passionate about sharing our message of wellness and human dignity.    

Membership Requirements: Eligibility for membership is extended only to those students in the FDU CMHC  program who have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or better on a scale of 4.0 and are deemed promising for endorsement as a professional counselor whose ethical judgment and behavior will be exemplary.

Faculty and Staff

Conklin, Thomas
Assistant Professor
Director, FDU CMHC Program
School of Psychology and Counseling
Email: tconklin@fdu.edu
Phone: 973-443-8730

Harrington, Elliotte
Clinical Assistant Professor
Advisor, Chi Sigma Iota Honor Society
School of Psychology and Counseling
Email: harrington_e@fdu.edu
Phone: 973-443-8552

Nolan, Taylor
FDU CMHC Practicum and Internship Coordinator
Email: t_nolan@fdu.edu
Phone: 973-443-8550

Wagener, Alwin
Assistant Professor
CMHC Program Graduate Admissions Coordinator
School of Psychology and Counseling
Email: awagener@fdu.edu
Phone: 973-443-8549

Course Descriptions

  • COUN7700 This course is a competency-based course with experiential emphasis which addresses basic skills and techniques of counseling. Students will be able to demonstrate basic counseling skills, techniques, and professionally ethical and legal behavior; accurately critique one's own level of skills development; explain how one's life experiences have led him/her to the profession of counseling; and increase one's self-awareness of interpersonal dynamics. The course should be taken concurrently with COUN 7701. The student is required to demonstrate proficiency in counseling skills, concepts, and techniques before proceeding to COUN 7705, COUN 7709, and COUN 9701.

  • COUN7701 This course is a competency-based course with experiential emphasis which addresses basic skills and techniques of counseling. Students will be able to: demonstrate basic counseling skills, techniques, to understand professionally ethical and legal behavior, accurately critique one?s own level of skills development, explain how one?s life experiences have led to the choice of a profession in counseling, and increase one?s self-awareness of interpersonal dynamics. The course should be taken concurrently with COUN 7701. The student is required to demonstrate proficiency in counseling skills, concepts, and techniques before proceeding to COUN 7705, COUN 7709, and COUN 9701.

  • COUN7702 A consideration of the etiology, treatment and prevention of psychopathology. An exploration of the most frequently appearing abnormal behaviors in our culture, such as psychosomatic disorders, alcoholism, drug addiction, character disorders, psychoses amd disorders associated with brain pathology. Recent research in this area and its practical applications will be emphasized.

  • COUN7703 This course is an introduction to theories and patterns of development from conception through late adulthood, emphasizing early childhood and adolescence. The focus is on growth and development of sensory, motor, language, cognitive, emotional, and social processes. Individual family and environmental factors which affect development throughout the lifespan are explored.

  • COUN7704 A form of brief therapy, focusing on stress-induced reactions studied in historical and theoretical contexts. Course will cover treatment of family conflicts, child abuse, divorce, illness, substance abuse and national disasters. Prevention techniques and evaluation of services also are discussed.

  • COUN7705 This course covers the therapeutic nature of the group process by drawing from counseling, social, psychological and psychotherapeutic literature. The many approaches to counseling, ranging from encounter to more traditional methods, are discussed in depth. The classroom process is used as a demonstration of group process.

  • COUN7706 This course introduces strategies for career planning and counseling (e.g. skills and interest assessment and values clarification). The course provides an understanding of career development theories, lifestyle and career development program planning. It includes important components as enhancing the clients sense of self-esteem and self efficacy and career and leisure counseling.

  • COUN7707 This course will examine the broader context of a client's life to include families, schools, workgroups, religious institutions and other significant organizations. The primar goal is to promote an understanding of family development structure, history, and process to aid in the assessment, intervention and treatment of psychological problems and other dysfunctional behaviors. Emphasis will be in understanding the family, forming a therapeutic system, exploring areas of dysfunction and initiating a change process.

  • COUN7708 A critical survey of the philosophy and techniques of measurements and appraisal, with emphasis given to the administration, interpretation and evaluation of intelligence, achievement, interest, aptitude and objective personality instruments.

  • COUN7709 This course builds on previous assessment and counseling skills to consider the systemic and cultural issues that influence an individual?s worldview and life experience. An in-depth exploration of cultural heritage and multidimensional (racial/gender/class/religious) identify development in relation to the therapeutic relationship. The goal is to develop the skills of a culturally competent counselor.

  • COUN7710 The goals of this course are to acquaint the student with the basic premises of scientific investigation, the major methods of conducting psychological research and the statistical procedures employed in analyzing data. The methodological section includes experimental design, questionnaire construction, interviewing strategies, field projects evaluation research and survey techniques.

  • COUN7711 This course will focus on issues that counselors and supervisors face due to their professional roles. It includes topics such as ethics, ACA (American Counseling Association) guidelines, supervisory challenges, the pressures denied from public policy and managed-care decisions.

  • COUN7713 This course is designed to review the etiology, diagnoses and treatment of alcohol and drug addiction. Ethical considerations and philosophy of treatment are discussed. The physiology and pharmacology of alcohol and drugs are also covered.

  • COUN7714 Study in the relationship between drugs and behavior, especially maladaptive behavior, and research in human biochemical changes.

  • COUN8700 The course provides an overview of the approaches to the planning, formulation and evaluation of programs in various community and industrial settings, and principles and applications of needs assessment and use of research findings to inform programs and policy-level decision making. This course also covers the issues that must be addressed in designing effective prevention and education programs. Planning of realistic service delivery with built-in evaluation components, survey research.

  • COUN8706 This is an advanced counseling course that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of sexual issues. The range of topics include psychosexual issues and the gay, bisexual and transvestite/transsexual client. Dealing with sexual dysfunction for the individual and in a relationship is explored.

  • COUN9701 A course designed to be a transitional experience from the graduate counseling classroom to the professional counselor role in a mental health setting. Students engage in a clinical experience appropriate to their level of professional development. Class includes didactic and experential actvities and supervision of field experience. Requires 100 hours with 40 direct client contact supervised by onsite mental health professionals.

  • COUN9702 Following successful completion of practicum; students complete a supervised 600 hour (240 hours direct contact) field experience in a clinical setting. Interns are supervised by an on-site mental health professional and on campus in weekly group supervision by university faculty. The goal is intergration of intake assessment treatment planning, case management, and counseling skills as a professional counselor. Course will be pass/fail.

  • COUN9703 This course is the second half of an already established course of field placement for counseling students. The student must complete a minimum of 300 hours in the field for the course. Course will be pass/fail. Prerequisities: take COUN 9701, COUN 9702.

  • COUN9704 This course is for students who are unable to complete their 600 hours of internship in two semesters.

  • COUN9800 This course will provide a summary and critique of the literature in counselor supervision. The course will focus on defining and conceptualizing various supervision models; the dynamics of supervisory relationship and counselor development; supervision methods and techniques; multicultural and ethical concerns.

  • COUN9900 The student will register for the Comprehensive Exam in the final semester of the program.