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Master of Science in Clinical Rehabilitiation and Mental Health Counseling

The online Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health program offers multiple opportunities for our students and graduates in the fields of both clinical rehabilitation counseling and clinical mental health counseling. The scope of practice for graduates of this degree covers a wide spectrum of work with people who have disabilities, including those with cognitive disorders, physical disabilities, intellectual disabilities, substance use disorders, and mental health diagnoses. 

Students learn to address multidimensional issues in healthcare, and can provide a comprehensive counseling approach for people in recovery from traumatic injuries, neurological events or disorders, mental health disorders, and chronic health conditions, to include addictions. They are also prepared to provide assistance to those with developmental disabilities and aging related health conditions.

Rehabilitation Counseling

Rehabilitation counselors are counselors with a special focus to their preparation, developing the knowledge and skills to support individuals with disabilities on their path of rehabilitation and recovery to independence.

The field has been built on evidence-based knowledge on integration of effective counseling interventions with service-enriched plans that help people have the independence, income, and resources to participate in society. They use this expertise in critical areas of healthcare and human services:

  • Counseling specific to addressing challenges and barriers, as well as navigating change, trauma, grief and loss, as well as success.
  • Medical, psychosocial and functional aspects of disability, to include physical, cognitive, intellectual, developmental, sensory, communication, behavioral, social, and mental health;
  • Career development, employment strategies, and workforce development leading to meaningful engagement in life and the economic resources to participate fully in society.
  • Advocacy in facilitating client choice, due process; individual empowerment and rights, and self-advocacy.

Using this expertise, rehabilitation counselors continue to serve veterans in vocational rehabilitation and employment programs in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), people with disabilities in both private and public vocational rehabilitation programs, youth with disabilities navigating the transition from school to higher education or work; those recovering from traumatic incidents or chronic health problems in rehabilitation and medical centers, those with substance abuse disorders engaged in treatment and recovery; as well as mental health programs, and student/employee assistance programs, to name a few.

Rehabilitation counselors interview people with disabilities and their families, evaluate school and medical reports, and confer and plan with physicians, psychologists, occupational therapists, and employers to determine the capabilities and skills of the individual. Conferring with the client, they develop an individualized plan that often includes training or education that leads to skills necessary to be successful in the workforce. Rehabilitation counselors also work toward increasing an individual’s capacity to live independently, addressing physical, social, and societal access issues.

Clinical Mental Health Counseling

"Clinical mental health counselors are highly-skilled professionals who provide flexible, consumer-oriented therapy. They combine traditional psychotherapy with a practical, problem-solving approach that creates a dynamic and efficient path for change and problem resolution" - American Mental Health Counselors Association

Counselors were created to meet the need of vocational guidance in response to the Industrial Revolution and social reform movements. They grew through the decades into specializations, the core becoming the distinct and valid profession of mental health counseling with national standards for training and practice. They are among the most recent to emerge in the human service provider professions.

Among mental health provider groups, clinical mental health counseling is unique in its insistence on a balance between prevention and psychoeducational, developmental approaches on the one hand and its insistence on clinical competencies for the treatment of psychopathology on the other hand. They operate from a systems perspective, recognizing that individuals are embedded within and influenced by their family, societal, historical, cultural, and socioeconomic context in which they live.

Mental health counselors have defined their work as,

  • The promotion of healthy lifestyles that include emotional, physical, social, vocational, and spiritual domains;
  • Identification of individual stressors and personal levels of functioning; and the
  • Preservation or restoration of mental health.

Mental health counselors may work in family services, outpatient and inpatient mental health and substance abuse treatment centers, hospitals, government, schools and in private practice. They can choose to work with a specific population, such as with teenagers, the incarcerated, families, or the elderly. A parallel career path is marriage and family therapy. In today's managed care environment, clinical mental health counselors are uniquely qualified to meet the challenges of providing high quality care in a cost-effective manner.

On the job, they may work with individuals, groups, families and communities to improve mental health conditions as well as relationships. They develop therapeutic process that encourage clients to discuss emotions and experiences, as well as examine issues including substance abuse, aging, bullying, anger management, careers, depression, relationships, LGBTQ issues, self-image, stress and suicide. In this, they are helping people define goals, plan action, and gain insight.

Program Delivery

Our program is delivered through an eCampus delivery system, which means it is primarily online. Students apply for fall admission only. There are two intensive one-week sessions on campus that are mandatory. 

If students so desire, they can petition to participate in selected counseling coursework on campus in face-to-face didactic courses. These arrangements are made with advisor assistance.

Students are encouraged to attend a one-day orientation session during the first week of class. This session focuses on how to use eCampus, services available through the WVU Library, and obtaining textbooks through the WVU Bookstore. It is offered on campus and through a webinar, usually on Friday of the first week of courses.

At least eight required courses are offered each semester, four directed to the first year cohort and four to the second year group. A student who follows the full time schedule can graduate in two years (pending appropriate progress). Part time allows you to accomplish graduation in 3 years. We discourage full-time enrollment by students who are working full-time. The pace is too intense to allow for adequate learning, if your schedule is restricted by a forty-hour work week. 

Students also must attend on-site, week-long sessions in Morgantown. An intensive, one-week session during the first year addresses skill-building requirements of Counseling Theory and Techniques I & II (usually Fall of year one). We also require attendance during one week for an internship seminar and experiences related to the Group Counseling Theory and Techniques course in the semester you are involved in those courses (usually Spring of your 2nd year). These are mandatory, even if you submit a request to transfer in counseling courses from another program. 

State residents will pay a remarkably low rate and non-residents are afforded the opportunity to also pay in-state rates for the e-campus program, thanks to the Southern Regional Electronic Board. For information on the cost of tuition, please use the WVU Tuition Calculator.