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Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP)

The M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP). The program has been CACREP accredited since 2007. For more information on CACREP, please visit their website at

Program Mission

The M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is designed to train a diverse body of service-oriented graduate students (largely from New Jersey and nearby areas) to be practitioners, leaders, and advocates in the field of mental health counseling. The members of the faculty are committed to graduating students who have exemplary theory-based knowledge and skills in counseling and who have demonstrated competence in providing counseling services to people from diverse populations. The department’s goal is to offer a program of study that seeks to stay consistent with the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) standards, as well as the academic and skill requirements of state licensing and national certification for counseling.

The M.S. program is intended for students seeking licensure as Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) in New Jersey. It is the first clinical mental health counseling program in the state to be accredited by CACREP. Accreditation is a significant consideration for the New Jersey State Board of Examiners for LPC licensure.

If desired, students can also later pursue a doctorate in counselor education.

Program Objectives:

  1. Students will gain the knowledge and skills associated with professional orientation and ethics in counseling.
  2. Students will gain the knowledge and skills associated with culturally competent counseling practice.
  3. Students will gain knowledge of human development across the lifespan and its application within the counseling process.
  4. Students will gain the knowledge and skills associated with career development and its applications in the counseling process.
  5. Students will gain the knowledge and skills associated with the establishment of therapeutic relationships and the facilitation of client growth.
  6. Students will gain knowledge of major counseling theories, evidence based practices, and skills in applying this knowledge to the counseling process.
  7. Students will gain knowledge and skills associated with group facilitation and the group counseling process.
  8. Students will gain knowledge and skills associated with appraisal and testing.
  9. Students will gain knowledge and skills associated with research and program evaluation to inform counseling practice.
  10. Students will gain the knowledge and skills associated with working in multidisciplinary mental health systems.
  11. Students will gain the knowledge and skills associated with mental health diagnosis.
  12. Students will gain the knowledge and skills associated with providing crisis counseling.
  13. Students will gain the knowledge and skills associated with providing substance abuse treatment.
  14. Students will demonstrate an awareness of self and personal values, aptitude for graduate study, success in forming effective counseling relationships and growth in ethical and culturally competent practice.

Program Assessment:

As one gauge of the department’s success in educating its students, every year surveys are distributed to graduating students and program alumni. In December 2018 and May 2019, graduating students and alumni reported feeling prepared to enter clinical work.

Pass rates for the comprehensive examination (CPCE) and licensing examination remain very high. The CPCE is a nationally standardized examination that students in the department’s MS must pass in order to graduate. Additionally, the majority of graduate students score above the national mean when completing the National Counselor Examination (NCE) after graduation.

Every other Fall, employers (Field Placement Site Supervisors and employers of graduates) are surveyed to assess the performance and preparation of Monmouth students and graduates. In 2017, all employers rated Monmouth students as average or above average on all categories, such as “Educational Preparation,” “Counseling Skills,” “Ethical Behavior,” and “Case Conceptualization.” They all stated that they were likely or highly likely to employ another Monmouth master’s level counseling student/graduate.

Last year, the department developed 13 knowledge objective assessments (KOA) corresponding with the first 13 program objectives. These are administered in required courses, and assess knowledge of the eight core areas and the clinical mental health specialty areas. Fall 2018 through Summer 2019, all course KOA averages were above 2 (meets developmental level).

Last year the department developed dispositional assessments to be administered in PC 523, PC 526, PC 550, PC 595 and PC 680. These assessments evaluate both clinical skills and professional dispositions. Course instructors complete one assessment in PC 523, PC 526 and PC 550. Students complete a self-assessment at the end of PC 595 and PC 680. Course instructors and clinical supervisors complete both midterm and final evaluations in the clinical courses PC 595 and PC 680.  Data analysis revealed that all course averages were above “meets expectations.” It was also found that course averages for courses later in the program were higher than earlier courses. This suggests program participation supports positive professional development. Next academic year, the program will be switching to a new data collection system that will allow for more detailed analysis of the results

Faculty to Student ratio (FTE) continue to remain low at 9.56 to 1 (Fall 2018) and 8.89 to 1 (Spring 2019).

Substantial Program Changes:

Faculty Changes: Dr. George Kapalka retired in Summer 2019.

Program Operations Changes: Lisa Himelman was promoted to Director of Professional Development and Special Projects in April 2019.

Significant Curriculum Changes: As of the Spring 2019 semester, the department is no longer offering PC-545 Biological Foundations & Treatments of Psychological and Addictive Disorders. Instead, students may choose one of four clinical/skill based electives. In addition, the department has added a new values statement to the admissions process.

Changes in Practicum and Internship: No changes were made in practicum and internship structure this year.

Program Accomplishments:

Faculty-Student Collaborations

Delaney, M. & Sharma, S. (2019, May). Developing the ecological self: An evaluation of a collaborative social practice art initiative. Children and Nature Network Conference, Oakland, CA.

Springer, S.I., Hennigan-Paone, C., Colucci, J. & Moss, L.J. (in press).  Preparedness for suicide assessment: Examining pre-service school counselors’ perceptions of their training experiences. Journal of Child and Adolescent Counseling.

Faculty Presentations

Cavaiola, A. & Stout, D. (2018, Sept 1st) Beyond bullying: An exploration of other facets of workplace abuse. Annual Conference of the European Association of Occupational Health Psychology, Lisbon, Portugal.

Branch, J. & Ford, D. (2019, April). Ethical cross-racial supervision. New Jersey Counseling Association, Lincroft, NJ.

Burkholder, J., Burkholder, D. & Hall, S. (October 2018). Using ethical decision-making models to navigate dilemmas in clinical practice. European Branch-American Counseling Association, Athens, Greece.

Burkholder, J., Ford, D. & Hall, S.F. (February 2019). You’re either an ethical person or you’re not: what does it mean to be an ethical counselor? Law and Ethics in Counseling Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Journal Articles:

Malinonski, K., Yee, C., Tevlin, J. M., Birks, E. K., Durando, M. M., Pournajafi-Nazarloo, H., Cavaiola, A. A., & McKeever, K. H. (2018). The effects of equine-assisted activities therapy on plasma cortisol and oxytocin concentrations and heart rate variability in horses and measures of symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder in veterans. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science, 64, 17-26.

Springer, S.I., Moss, L.J., Cinotti, D, & Land, C. (2018). Examining pre-service school counselors’ site supervisory experiences specific to group work. Journal for Specialists in Group Work, 43(3), 250-273. doi:


Springer, S.I., Moss, L, Pugliese, A., Manavizadeh, N. (Eds.) (2018) A school counselor’s guide to small groups: Coordination, leadership & assessment. Alexandria, VA:  Association for Specialists in Group Work.

Book Chapters:

Hall, S.F., Burkholder, J. & Burkholder, D. (2019). Group work: Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender clients. In Capuzzi, D. & Stauffer, M.D. (Eds.), Introduction to group work (6th ed.). Pearson Publishing Company.

Professional Accomplishments

Dr. David Ford was elected president elect of the New Jersey Counseling Association, beginning his term April 2019.

Director of Field Placement, Matthew Tirrell obtained his ACS credential and was accepted in the Counselor Education Ph.D. program at Montclair State University.

Dr. Sarah Springer became an Appointee of the ACES Awards Committee. She also became an Executive Board Member of NARACES, as the NJ-ACES Treasurer. She was also as the keynote speaker for the Chi Sigma Iota Induction Ceremony at New Jersey City University.

CSI Highlights:

  • CSI members volunteered at Monmouth University’s Trunk-or-Treat event where local children from West Long Branch came to trick-or-treat. Faculty advisors and executive board members dressed up and took part.
  • In conjunction with Dr. Joanne Jodry’s Transformational Counseling and Travel Course, CSI sponsored items (i.e. notebooks, backpacks) and toys (tactile and sensory) to be donated to the children of the One Life to Love organization. One Life to Love is an orphanage located in New Delhi, India for children with special needs, many of whom have been abandoned by their respective families.
  • CSI co-sponsored a presentation with The Counseling Alumni Connection for the “From Our Own” presentation series. Adjunct faculty member and CSI alumna Jenni Tevlin presented on animal assisted therapy with veterans who have been diagnosed with PTSD.
  • CSI sponsored study sessions led by Dr. Megan Delaney and Professor Matthew Tirrell for counseling students preparing to take their licensure exams.
  • CSI provided scholarships to 10 active CSI members to attend the Current Topics in Counseling Conference at Monmouth University November 2018.
  • CSI facilitated peer mentoring through the Counselor Connect program, which pairs new counseling students with current students to help acclimate them to the program and build relationships throughout the program.
  • CSI held annual induction ceremony in March 2019, and indicated 45 students from the Professional Counseling and Educational Counseling departments
  • CSI sponsored speaker event with LGBTQ+ advocate, Trystan Reese, in April 2019.

Professional Development & Alumni

  • The Counseling Alumni Connection (CAC) hosted their second annual Current Topics in Counseling Conference on Friday, November 16, 2018. The keynote speaker was Dr. S. Kent Butler, PhD, LPC, NCC, NCSC, Associate Professor at the University of Central Florida. Dr. Butler’s address was titled Privileged Equity: Removing Culturally Biased Barriers. Following the keynote were six workshop sessions throughout the day on a variety of counseling related topics, as well as a networking luncheon featuring a student research poster session and vendor tables. Attendees included prospective and current students, alumni, faculty/administration/staff, and professionals in the field. Those licensed received 5.5 continuing education hours.
  • The CAC started a Guest Lecture Series featuring presenters from outside of Monmouth with expertise in a counseling area. The first presentation was facilitated in October 2018 by Dara Gasior, PsyD on Self-Injury and Suicide: Is there a connection and what do we do about it? Following the success of this workshop, the series will continue with a presentation in June 2019 by Nancy Razza, PhD on Trauma, Mental Health, and Intellectual Disability.
  • The CAC’s “From Our Own” Presentation Series held a workshop in March 2019 on Introduction to Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) in Counseling with a Focus on AAT for Veterans with PTSD presented by Jennifer Tevlin, MS, NCC, NJDRCC, LPC, PATH, & EAGALA-Certified.
  • The CAC’s Peer Consultation Group continued hosting monthly meetings for licensed counselors on the university main campus. The group is open to LAC’s and LPC’s from both within and outside of the Monmouth community.
  • The CAC’s Social Justice, Advocacy, and Community Service (SoJACS) Program launched in fall 2018. The mission of the SoJACS program is to provide a platform for alumni to engage in the counseling tenets of social justice, advocacy, and community service. The program is dedicated to establishing forums and opportunities to manifest these counseling principles into tangible action, for the benefit of underserved, oppressed, or vulnerable populations. One SoJACS initiative underway is the creation of a law prohibiting conversion therapy from being used with adults (18yo+) in New Jersey.
  • The department collaborated with the School of Social Work, Department of Psychology, and Department of Sociology to bring the award winning “Love Wins” Documentary to the university. The screening was followed by a panel discussion.
  • The department collaborated with the School of Social Work and Garden State Equality to host a SAGE Table event at the Monmouth Graduate Center.

Program Outcomes: Vital Statistics (as of June 2019)

  • Number of graduates from Summer 2019, Fall 2019, and Spring 2020: 45
  • Program completion rate: 76%
  • Licensure exam pass rate: 97%
  • Job placement rate of graduates actively seeking employment: 92%

If you would like more information regarding any of this information, please feel free to contact Dr. Jessica Burkholder (