Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Counselor Self-Awareness

The Importance of Self-Awareness among Counselors-in-Training: Self-awareness among counselors-in-training is of utmost importance. As such, many courses on the CMHC Program of Study require some level of self-learning and introspection. Examples of such introspective learning opportunities include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. In all four courses in the Counselor Clinical Training Sequence, students are required to demonstrate an openness to feedback from supervisors and peers regarding their counseling skills development as well as intrapersonal and interpersonal issues that may potentially interfere with their effectiveness as counselors-in-training.
  2. In the Counseling Pre-Practicum course, students are required to participate as “clients” during practice counseling sessions with their peers as part of this pivotal counseling skills development course. Thus, many students disclose and examine “real life” issues as part of these practice counseling sessions leading to personal insights and potential life changes.
  3. As a co-requisite to the Group Counseling course, students are required to participate in the Group Counseling Laboratory Experience. This confidential training component involves participation in an actual 10-week group counseling experience led by Licensed Professional Counselors outside of the department. Students report that they learn a lot about themselves as they complete this powerful clinical experience.
  4. As part of the Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling course, students are required to complete a multigenerational family history project (genogram) wherein students examine issues pertaining to their family of origin and, if applicable, their family of procreation over the course of several generations.
  5. During the CMHC Orientation and Ethical Practice course, students are required to complete a Counselor Identity Paper, examining many issues leading up to their decision to pursue a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Students also examine their personal biases, stengths, and limitations as counselors-in-training as part of this project.
  6. When students complete the Theories of Counseling course, they are required to complete a Personal Counseling Style Paper. In this paper, students examine, based upon their personal life experiences and history, many aspects of human nature and how they believe the change process may be most effectively facilitated in counseling.
  7. As part of the requirements for the Substance and Behavioral Addiction Counseling course, students are required to attend and reflect upon an addiction-related self-help group (e.g., AA, NA, Al-Anon, etc.). This can be a very eye-opening experience for students who have had personal stuggles with addiction or have had family members who suffer or have suffered from substance-related disorders. It is also a great learning experience for those not directly impacted by addiction.

Students are encouraged to honestly evaluate themselves as part of their training to become a more self-aware clinical mental health counselor. In addition, though not required, students are strongly encouraged to attend personal counseling during their graduate studies to learn more about themselves and the counseling process and to better empathize with their clients.

Lastly, due to the personal nature of subjects covered in all CMHC courses, many students disclose personal, social, or familial information during class discussions. All CMHC students are required to respect the confidentiality of student class disclosures, (as required of client disclosures). Any student who violates the privacy of information shared by another student in any forum will be subject to the Ongoing Student Progress Review Meetings held each fall and spring and may be sanctioned by the Graduate Counseling Coordinating Committee (GCCC).