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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 www.cacrep.org.

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.
Summary of Program Evaluation

Admissions and enrollments for the academic year were consistent with past semesters. Looking at specific semesters, Fall 2019 was higher than Fall 2018 and Spring 2020 was lower than Spring 2019. The declines in Spring 2020 could be due to COVID-19. Demographic data is consistent with years past.

Beginning Summer 2020, Knowledge Outcome Assessments (KOAs) are now being collected through Tevera. These 13 knowledge objective assessments match with the first 13 program objectives. These are administered in required courses and assess knowledge of the eight core CACREP areas and the clinical mental health specialty area. Faculty members assessed students using the criteria: 1- Fails to Meet Development Level, 2- Meets Developmental Level, and 3- Exceeds Developmental Level. During the Fall 2019-2020 academic year, all courses were above 2 (meets developmental level).

Enrollment for Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 practicum and internship courses was congruent with patterns of program admission and graduation. Enrollment in Summer 2020 practicum and internship courses declined as a result of pandemic conditions.

The department changed its program evaluation software from Chalk & Wire to Tevera (initiated Summer 2020) in an effort to improve and optimize program assessment and the student experience. Some of the benefits include: electronic record keeping for documenting field placement hours, lifetime access to personal data (e.g., field hours) for students/alumni, broader data collection capabilities, and easier interface for students and faculty. Students, faculty, staff, and site supervisors were provided multiple trainings on the use of Tevera, and support for all users is ongoing. Site supervisors reported having a better experience with Tevera than with C&W.

Evaluation of site placements via student feedback, outreach to site supervisors via verbal and electronic communication, and formal evaluations in Tevera was ongoing and revealed overall satisfaction with the quality of supervision and student experiences. Efforts to increase site partnerships is ongoing, and new sites have been added to the department’s approved site list and communicated to students regularly. Recent graduates of the program continue to report the value and role of field placements in their success in gaining employment.

Decisions regarding field placement in response to the COVID-19 pandemic were made in collaboration with university officials and were in accordance with CDC guidelines for public health and safety. Students were pulled from their internship sites in March 2020 for safety, and students were assisted by faculty and administration regarding satisfaction of hours requirements. Department and university COVID safety protocols were provided to all partnering field placement sites, and individual sites’ official safety protocols were collected from supervisors. In-person site visits were suspended in Summer 2020 due to the pandemic conditions; however, active verbal and electronic communication with sites/supervisors was ongoing in order to maintain close contact, collaborate on the field experience, and support site supervisors as needed. Although site availability was diminished during the pandemic, all students who applied for a field placement course/internship secured a site, with the assistance and support of the field placement.

Department CPCE summative scores continue to be high and above the national mean. The department expectation is that students will score within one standard deviation of the national mean. For the 2019-2020 academic year, 95% of students scored above the program requirement on their first attempt.

Fall 2019 NCE scores were consistent with past academic years, and the majority of students scored above the national mean. In Spring 2020, NBCC/Pearson Vue changed their software so that students could take the exam remotely due to the pandemic. As a result, they have not been able to provide summative reports on scores, only pass rates. The Professional Counseling department had a 100% pass rate for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Each semester, the department surveys graduating students on their experiences in the program. The survey poses a series of Likert scale questions related to the knowledge and skills the student gained while in the program. In the recent December 2019 and May 2020 graduate surveys, on a scale of 1 (Strongly Disagree) to 5 (Strongly Agree), the large majority of the items received scores of 3-5. The department continues to reevaluate courses each semester as needed and offers continuing education workshops on special topics that students can attend for free.

Each year the department surveys alumni on their experiences during the program and post-graduation. There is a combination of multiple choice, Likert scale, and open-ended questions. The survey collects demographic data, including licensure status and if the graduate is employed. The survey poses a series of Likert scale questions related to the knowledge and skills the graduate gained while in the program.

In the most recent survey, on a scale of 1 (Strongly Disagree) to 5 (Strongly Agree), the large majority of these categories received scores of 3-5. Categories with lower scores were addressed by scheduling continuing education workshops on these topics that graduates can attend for a nominal fee and receive CE hours. Current students are also able to attend for free. Continued discussions are in process about other ways to integrate these areas into the curriculum. The next Alumni Survey will be sent out Spring 2021.

Every other fall, the department surveys employers, mostly gathered from field placement site data, to assess the performance and preparation of Monmouth students and graduates. Employers will next be surveyed Fall 2020.

The department continued to utilize the Field Placement Reaction Form as an assignment in Practicum and Internship courses in order to assess student perceptions of their site supervisors and field experiences. In a five-point Likert scale across 32 domains (with “5” indicating maximum satisfaction), the average across all domains was above a 4.5. The department continued to support site supervisors with proactive outreach during COVID, continued access to department-generated continuing education programming at significant discounts, including the department’s annual Current Topics in Counseling Conference. The previously established Site Supervisor Appreciation Event, originally scheduled for May 2020, was postponed due to the pandemic.

With the transition to Tevera, the department began using the CCS-R assessment. This is a standardized instrument assessing counselor skills and professional competencies on a scale of 1 (harmful) to 5 (exceeds expectations/demonstrates competencies). Similar to the previously used dispositional assessment, this instrument is administered in PC 523, PC 550, PC 595 and PC 680. Course instructors complete one assessment at the end of the course in PC 523 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. The department began using the CCS-R in the Summer of 2020. Since there is only one semester included in this report and it was during the COVID-19 pandemic, conclusions from these results should be made cautiously.

Averages from the administrations of the CCS-R across the program ranged from 3.78 to 4.73, suggesting that all assessed courses demonstrated Near Expectations/Developing Clinical Competencies to Meets Expectations/Demonstrates Competencies. Overall, CCS-R scores increased from courses earlier in the program to later in the program. This suggests that program participation supports positive professional development. When comparing instructor, supervisor, and self-evaluations in clinical courses, supervisors had the highest averages, followed by student self-evaluations, with course instructors giving the lowest scores. CCS-R items with the lowest scores include advanced reflection and confrontation. These are more difficult clinical skills and often take longer to develop. Highest scores were ability to facilitate a therapeutic environment, openness to feedback, and congruence. These are foundational skills emphasized throughout the program.

Our current FTE ratio is under the CACREP requirement (12:1) at 10.06:1 for Fall 2019 and 10.06:1 for Spring 2020.

Substantial Program Changes

Faculty Changes:

Chair Dr. Stephanie Hall left at the end of the academic year to start a new program in Virginia.

Program Operations Changes

Dr. David Burkholder became the Department Chair beginning Fall 2020. Dr. Joanne Jodry became the Program Director beginning Fall 2020.

In May 2020, the department switched from Chalk and Wire to Tevera. Tevera is an online platform that captures information across all classes including KOAs and all aspects of practicum and internship. Dr. Jessica Burkholder, Lisa Himelman and Matthew Tirrell were instrumental in making the changes and working through any hiccups with students/site supervisors. Tevera has been a helpful change and has streamlined documentation of all electronic information needed for CACREP and student licensure.

Curriculum Changes

The following courses were added to the catalog, following approval by Graduate Faculty Council:

PC-502 Ecotherapy: Counseling and the Natural World (Credits: 3)

PC-535 Courageous Connections (Credits: 3)

In addition, the department voted to have PC-526, Case Conceptualization removed from MS curriculum chart but remain available in the catalog. PC-526 is no longer a requirement beginning in Fall 2020, but can be taken as an elective. The content previously covered in PC-526, will now be covered in PC-595, Professional Counseling Practicum. The department added a new required course PC-670, Clinical Supervision.

Changes in Practicum and Internship

Practicum and Internship procedures (hour logs, supervision plans, supervisor midterm and final evaluations, student self-evaluations and site reaction forms and instructor evaluations) were moved from paper/Chalk & Wire to Tevera. Tevera is an online platform that streamlines the practicum and internship process. One of the most helpful components is weekly hour logs are inputted into the system by the student, approved by the supervisor and finally approved by the instructor. The system calculates the running totals eliminating human error. The system eliminated the paper hour logs also eliminating any lost or misfiled paper copies. This will be especially helpful when students apply for licensure.

Comprehensive Examination (CPCE)

Students now have a maximum of three times to take and pass the CPCE, required for graduation. The option for a final project has been removed.

Program Accomplishments:

Faculty-Student Collaborations

Springer, S.I., Mason, E., Moss, L., Pugliese, A & Colucci, J. (2020). An intervention to support elementary faculty in meeting the needs of transgender and gender nonconforming youth. Journal for Child and Adolescent Counseling.

Springer, S.I., Hennigan-Paone, C., Colucci, J. & Moss, L.J. (2020). Preparedness for suicide assessment: Examining pre-service school counselors’ perceptions of their training experiences. Journal of Child and Adolescent Counseling.

Springer, S.I., Grant, K., & Cozzolino, L. (2020) Exploring students’ experiences with a shame resilience curriculum in a counseling elective course: Courageous connections. CETL Spring 2020 SoTL Mini-Grant: Monmouth University ($1000).

Faculty Presentations

Cavaiola, A. A (2019, Nov. 16). Effective techniques for counseling individuals with personality disorders [Conference session]. 3rd Annual Current Topics in Counseling Conference, Monmouth University, West Long Branch, NJ, United States.

Delaney, M. E & Huber, K. (2019, Nov. 16). Nature is Nurture: Counseling and the natural world [Conference session]. 3rd Annual Current Topics in Counseling Conference, Monmouth University, West Long Branch, NJ, United States.

Delaney, M.E. (2020, April 1). Nature is Nurture: Counseling and the Natural World [Live webinar]. Canadian Association of Social Workers.

Ford, D., Branch, J., Tirrell, M. (2020, April 9). Ethical cross-racial supervision [Live webinar]. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology Virtual Conference.

Delaney, M.E. (2020, May 2). Nature and Girl Scouting [keynote speaker]. YOUniversity: Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey.

Himelman, L., Tirrell, M., Trimarchi, J., Lapid, E., Singh, J. (2020, May 29). CONNECTION: The benefit of alumni engagement in graduate programs [Live webinar]. Virtual New Jersey Counseling Association Conference.

Delaney, M.E. (2020, July 2). Nature is Nurture: Counseling and the Natural World [Live webinar]. From our own presentation series: Monmouth University’s Counseling Alumni Connection

Books:

Caviaola, A. & Smith, M. (2020): A Comprehensive Guide to Addiction Theory and Counseling Techniques. Routledge.

Delaney, M. (2020). Nature is Nurture: Counseling and the natural world. Oxford University Press.

Professional Accomplishments:

Dr. Megan Delaney published a multiple blog posts on Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/nature-is-nurture and is featured in an article from the Monmouth Magazine:
McCarthy, B. (2020, Spring). Coping with change: Climate anxiety is real. A Licensed Professional Counselor explains how to deal with it. Monmouth Magazine. Retrieved from: https://www.monmouth.edu/magazine/coping-with-change/.

Dr. Joanne Jodry and several students worked with New Jersey Senator Vin Gopal where they assisted in research to help expand access for mental health in New Jersey. Through their collaboration, they helped Senator Gopal get the following bills signed into laws:

  • S1032, concerns expansion of services provided by DHS mental health screening services.
  • S1339, Enhances enforcement and oversight of mental health condition and substance use disorder parity laws.
  • S2861, requires health curriculum for public school students in grades kindergarten through 12 to include instruction on mental health.
  • S3172, requires public school instruction in mental health as it relates to suicide prevention and provides various elements which may be included in instruction. * Education (passed Senate)
  • SR93, Urges Congress to pass and fund federal “Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act.” Resolutions and Concurrent Resolutions Filed w/Sec. of State.

Dr. Sarah Springer became a Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator -Candidate.

CSI Highlights
  • CSI members volunteered at OASIS TLC in Middletown, NJ. The mission of OASIS is to provide a nurturing space for individuals on the Autism spectrum and provide hands on job experience at their farm.
  • CSI co-sponsored a presentation in November hosted by the Department of Professional Counseling, the School of Social Work, and the School of Nursing and Health Studies. This program focused on best clinical practices when working with LGBTQ+ clients. CSI’s donation to this event made it possible for students to attend without cost and it was available at a low cost to community members or alumni.
  • The CSI executive board and faculty advisors donated toys for the annual holiday toy drive.
  • For students preparing to take their licensing examinations, CSI provided refreshments for a study session led by two of faculty.
  • Monmouth University’s Upsilon Omega provided scholarships for active members to attend the Current Topics in Counseling Conference at Monmouth University this past November. This conference was the Professional Counseling’s Alumni Organization, Counseling Alumni Connection’s, second annual conference. The chapter helped fund conference fees for 10 current graduate students exposing many emerging professionals to their first counseling conference.
  • 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 February 2020 and inducted 60 students from the Professional Counseling and Educational Counseling departments.

Professional Development & Alumni

Events/Programs:

  • The Counseling Alumni Connection (CAC) hosted a “From Our Own” Presentation on August 29, 2019 on An Introduction to Motivational Interviewing: Basic Principles and Practical Applications presented by Matthew Tirrell, MS, LPC, NCC, ACS. Mr. Tirrell is the department’s Director of Field Placement, an adjunct faculty member, and a program alumnus/CAC co-founder. Licensed participants received a certificate for 2 continuing education hours.
  • The CAC hosted their third annual Current Topics in Counseling Conference on Saturday, November 16, 2019. The keynote speaker was Dr. Diana Hulse, EdD, LPC, NCC, Professor Emerita of Counselor Education at Fairfield University, who presented on The Necessity of Interpersonal Relationships to Thrive in the Digital Age: A Call to Action for the Counseling Profession. 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. This was the biggest conference turnout in its three year history with over 120 attendees. Licensed participants received a certificate for 6 continuing education hours.
  • The department collaborated with the School of Social Work and the School of Nursing and Health Studies to host a workshop on November 20, 2019 on Cultural Sensitivity Serving LGBTQ+ Clients: Practical Guidelines for Medical & Helping Professionals. Licensed participants received a certificate for 2.5 continuing education hours.

*The professional development program successfully pivoted to virtual opportunities in light of the COVID-19 pandemic starting in March 2020 as indicated below.*

  • The CAC’s “From Our Own” Presentation Series held a virtual Zoom workshop on March 12, 2020 on Medical Trauma: Emotional Implications and Crisis Intervention presented by Alison Kulick, MS, LAC, NCC, CVT. Licensed participants received a certificate for 2 continuing education hours.
  • The department hosted a virtual Zoom workshop on July 2, 2020 on Nature is Nurture: Counseling and the Natural World presented by Megan Delaney, PhD, LPC. Dr. Delaney is an Assistant Professor in the department. Licensed participants received a certificate for 2 continuing education hours.
  • For the first time, the department offered two NBCC approved home study programs over Summer 2020. These programs were previously recorded “From Our Own” presentations that participants were able to access on their own time to receive CE hours. The programs were facilitated through Monmouth learning management system, eCampus, and each one qualified for 2 continuing education hours.

Invited Presentations:

  • The CAC co-founders Matthew Tirrell, Jennifer Trimarchi, and Erica Lapid, as well as CAC advisor Lisa Himelman and graduate assistant Jeffrey Singh were invited to present on the impressive work of the alumni organization at the New Jersey Counseling Associated Virtual Conference in May 2020.

Ongoing Initiatives:

  • The CAC’s Peer Consultation Group continued hosting monthly meetings for licensed counselors. These meetings were at the department’s offices in Fall 2019/early Spring 2020, then switched to virtual in Summer 2020. The group is open to LAC’s, LPC’s, and recent Clinical Mental Health Counseling program graduates from both within and outside of the Monmouth community. The group is facilitated by a department alumna.
  • The CAC’s Social Justice, Advocacy, and Community Service (SoJACS) Program re-convened in Summer 2020 to launch important initiatives centered on racial justice in the country. The group developed plans for a free educational series open to the public and hosted virtually as their long-term goal. They also worked on short-term plans such as future monthly or bi-monthly group meetings/activities to keep the community engaged in this work and discourse.

Program Outcomes: Vital Statistics (as of June 2020)

  • 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 (jburkhol@monmouth.edu).