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Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (MHC)

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The Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (MHC) offers a 60-hour degree designed for students seeking graduate-level instruction in professional counseling that prepares the student to pass the Texas State LPC qualifying exam and provides an opportunity to integrate professional counseling competencies with spiritual, religious and ethical values.

The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), has granted accreditation to the Master of Arts degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Southwest is the only institution in Central Texas to offer this degree with this accreditation.

All MHC courses address the knowledge, skills, and dispositions required for competent professional counseling practice in a diversity of settings. The four courses in spiritual integration provide additional Biblical, theological, historical, and ethical foundation for integrating spiritual, ethical, religious and multicultural competency with counseling theories and techniques.

Questions? Contact: Grayson Dail : 512-439-0374 / [email protected]

Notes on Professional Counseling Licensure:

The MHC curriculum provides the academic foundation, including the 300-hour practicum requirement, specified by the State of Texas for the credential of Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). While conforming to the state requirements, courses in the MHC program at the seminary are taught from a Christian faith perspective such that professional counseling and spiritual competency are both emphasized. Requirements for the LPC license in Texas include (1) completion of a graduate degree of at least 60 hours as specified by the Department of State Health Services, (2) a passing score on the National Counselor Examination (NCE) required by the State of Texas, and (3) a post-graduate supervised internship of at least 3000 hours. As with other counseling programs, the MHC program at Seminary of the Southwest does not administer the NCE after graduation nor provide for placement in a post-graduate internship. Students and prospective students are urged to obtain current requirements for licensure from the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors at (512) 834-6658. If pursued, successful completion of post-graduate licensure is the responsibility of the student and not of the Seminary of the Southwest. Students from states other than Texas are responsible for determining the requirements of those state examining boards.

Mental Health Counseling (MHC) Program Vision, Mission & Goals:

The vision of Seminary of the Southwest’s Masters of Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is to cultivate transformation through mutuality. 

The mission of Seminary of the Southwest’s Masters of Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is to prepare counselors  through a social justice oriented curriculum and a spiritually integrated foundation so that they can be builders of beloved community.

Our goal is to graduate culturally and spiritually competent counseling professionals who have experienced formation and transformation in the three areas of 1) being, 2) knowing, and 3) doing. By doing this, we intend to help meet the mental health needs of diverse communities and move the counseling profession forward in the theory and practice of psychological and theological integration.

The MHC is a program of The Loise Henderson Wessendorff Center for Christian Ministry and Vocation at Seminary of the Southwest. Endowed by the Henderson-Wessendorff Foundation, the Center offers programs for working people who wish to enhance their spiritual lives and use their gifts in the service of God.

Learn more about the MHC program by reading the blog Encounter, written by MHC faculty and students.

Mental Health Counseling (MHC) Program Objectives:

Through in-depth study of counseling theory and ethical practice in a multicultural society, as well as spiritual integration courses in Bible interpretation, American religions, theology and ethics, students will experience formation and transformation in the three competency areas of Being, Knowing, and Doing:

Being- Disposition Objectives

  • Students will display a professional counselor identity in relation to self, including self awareness, openness, and a commitment to personal and spiritual well-being.
  • Students will display a professional counselor identity in relation to others, including character, cultural empathy, and professionalism.

Knowing – Content Objectives

  • Students will demonstrate knowledge of professional orientation and counselor identity, social and cultural diversity, human growth and development, career development, helping relationships, group work, assessment, research and evaluation, crisis and trauma, psychopathology, couples, parents and family systems and addiction, as well as clinical mental health counseling foundation, context and practice.
  • Students will demonstrate knowledge of the influence of culture, religion and spirituality on clients’ and counselors’ worldview

Doing- Skill Objectives

  • Students will perform the essentials tasks of a competent professional clinical mental health counselor.
  • Students will commit to and engage in personal and spiritual practices capable of sustaining the vocation of a professional counselor

MHC Program Faculty

Dr. Awa Jangha, Loise Henderson Wessendorff Associate Professor of Spiritual Integration in Counseling

Dr. Gena St. David, Assistant Professor of Counselor Education

Dr. Stephanie Ramirez, Associate Professor of Counselor Education

Dr. Marlon Johnson, Assistant Professor of Counselor Education

Dr. Maria Reyna, Assistant Professor of Counselor Education

Dr. Gustavo Bárcenas, Assistant Professor of Counselor Education

MHC Program Admissions Criteria

Entry-level admission criteria for the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree program include a completed application for admission, official transcripts with minimal GPA of 2.5 and undergraduate degree completion, and three (3) letters of recommendation. Applicants are further required to submit two written personal statements describing their learning and career goals, examples of their effectiveness in forming relationships and respect for cultural differences, and demonstrating their aptitude for graduate-level study.

MHC Program Financial Aid Information

Financial assistance is available to students that demonstrate financial need and is awarded on a year-to-year basis. Types of financial aid assistance include:

  1. Institutional Aid: To qualify for consideration for a scholarship grant, an applicant must complete the Institutional Financial Aid Evaluation form and complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid ) online at  Please use school code: G03566.
  1. Outside Scholarships: The Financial Office strives to be a resource to seminarians and does its best to compile a comprehensive list of outside scholarship opportunities.
  1. Loans: Student loans are available to students in master’s-level degree programs through the William D. Ford Direct Loan Program made by the U.S. Department of Education. Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to qualify.

Please reference the entire Financial Aid section of the SSW Website for more detailed information and/or contact [email protected], phone: 512-472-4133

Bishop Dena A. Harrison Fellows Program is an innovative partnership between the Episcopal Health Foundation and Seminary of the Southwest. Our Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling (MHC) graduates may apply for a two-year paid internship serving at a mental health facility in East Texas.

MHC Program Matriculation Requirements for Newly Accepted MHC Students

Before New Student Orientation:

  • Accept the Offer of Admission.
  • Confirm your plans to attend mandatory New Student Orientation.
  • If you’ve moved (or will) since applying, update your mailing address.
  • Contact the Enrollment Office with questions pertaining to Admissions, Financial Aid, Housing, and Special Learning Accommodations.

After New Student Orientation

  • Sign and return MHC Handbook and Seminary of the Southwest’s Academic Code Acknowledgement Form.
  • Verify your seminary email login.
  • Entering Student Questionnaire
  • Verify your Seminary of the Southwest Intranet login.
  • Register for class(es).
  • Pay tuition and fees.
  • Verify your Moodle login.
  • Confirm your plans to attend Matriculation service and dinner program.

For questions contact [email protected]

Course Requirements for the MHC Degree (60 hours)

Click the link above to view course requirements for the MHC degree as listed in the course catalog. The counseling program at Seminary of the Southwest offers evening and weekend classes to accommodate working adults. Full-time students complete the degree in 2.5 to 3 years.

MHC Program Methods of Instruction

To achieve the objectives and address the content areas for each MHC course, the instructor will employ a variety of teaching interventions including audio/visual media, lecture, assigned reading and facilitated reflection, large and small group discussions, experiential activities such as role plays, writing assignments designed to facilitate synthesis of the course material and the development of personal, professional and spiritual practices to sustain an ethical, competent vocational practice of professional counseling.

MHC Program Accreditation Status

The seminary has been accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS) since 1958 and by the Southern Association of Colleges (SACS) since 1983. The MHC program at Seminary of the Southwest is achieved accreditation status in 2017 from the  Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

In addition to these accreditations, Seminary of the Southwest also belongs to the Council of Southwestern Theological Schools, the American Theological Library Association, the Texas Counseling Association, and Association for Spiritual, Ethical and Religious Values in Counseling.

Annual Clinical Mental Health Counseling Degree Program Assessment Report

Click the link above to view the latest report on how effectively the MHC program is preparing our students to meet the mental health care needs in the community.

Professional Counseling Organizations:

American Counseling Association

American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy

Texas Department of State Health Services (512) 305-7700

Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council

Theological Degrees

Learn more about a Master of Divinity, a Diploma of Anglican Studies, or other programs that lead to ordination.

Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Learn about a CACREP accredited Master of Mental Health Counseling Degree.

Ways to Support

Learn about opportunities to support  Southwest through Annual Fund, Scholarships, and more.

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