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Develop the confidence, qualifications, and critical thinking skills necessary to advance as a mental health professional with a master’s in clinical mental health counseling.
Increasingly the legal and criminal justice systems are seeking the expert advice and skills of forensic counselors to determine the proper resolution of cases and the most effective treatment for offenders. Through this specialization, you can build your knowledge of mental health law, with a specific focus on juvenile justice and delinquency.
Enhance your competencies in conflict management and negotiation and learn how those skills can be applied to resolve conflicts in the criminal justice system. Upon completion of this specialization, you will be eligible for certification and licensure as a professional counselor with additional training in forensics.
“We are entering an era of greater collaboration within the courts and the criminal justice system and forensic counselors are vital parts of this coordinated effort to enhance the judicial process,” says Savitri Dixon-Saxon, PhD, associate dean, School of Counseling. “From offering mediation assistance in child custody cases to working with offenders as they move through the system, forensic counselors have an important role to play in ensuring the best possible resolution for individuals involved in the legal system.”
This sequence represents the minimum time to completion. Time to completion will vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at 855-646-5286.
Two courses (10 cr.) are required.
Choose one additional course (COUN 6511 is required).
|Course Code||COUN 6511||Course||Treatment of Forensic Populations||Credits||(5 cr.)|
Juvenile Justice, Delinquency, and Development
Conflict, Conflict Resolution, and Peace
Mental Health Law
In this course, students gain the foundational knowledge necessary to evaluate and subsequently treat many different forensic populations, such as sex offenders, substance abusers, and white-collar criminals. Students analyze the use of traditional forms of intervention, including individual and group psychotherapy, as well as recent developments in intervention, such as restorative justice. Applying concepts and theories learned in the course, students develop a project scenario in which they feature an offender and describe treatment approaches as well as related ethical, legal, and multicultural factors that may impact treatment. Reflecting on the course, students also consider and discuss professional identity and goals.
In this course, students focus on the various aspects of the juvenile justice system and the population that it serves. Students experience an overview of development theories, such as biological, cognitive, social-emotional, and social. Students apply these theories to cases of juvenile delinquency to determine appropriate prevention, treatment, and intervention strategies. They examine juvenile justice codes, case law, and effective methods for reporting offenses. Students also explore the changing landscape of the juvenile justice field based on current research of its population. Using theories presented in the course, students develop a delinquency-prevention or treatment program for their community, focusing on the underlying goal of social justice and change.
Through this course, students engage in a study of conflict, conflict resolution, and peace from psychological and social psychological perspectives. Students examine the concept of conflict and methods of addressing it, including management, resolution, and transformation; theories related to conflict resolution; approaches to conflict resolution, including negotiation and third-party interventions; and social psychological factors that influence conflict and conflict resolution. They also consider the influence of culture in conflict and conflict resolution; the role of ethics; intractable and international conflicts; the concept of peace; and how third-party approaches can contribute to the peace process. Students apply conflict resolution approaches to conflicts at all levels, from interpersonal to those involving whole nations.
Mental health counseling professionals in all areas, especially criminal forensic psychological practice, may encounter various conflicts regarding psychological and legal approaches to treatment. Therefore, it is important for counselors to have a firm understanding of mental health law to avoid conflicts, such as issues of liability and malpractice. Students in this course are provided with the opportunity to examine several different aspects of the law related to mental health issues, including those constituting forensic psychological practice, such as civil matters (personal injury and civil competency issues) and criminal matters (competency to stand trial, criminal responsibility, diminished capacity, and death-penalty issues). Students employ recent court decisions and laws, such as the Tarasoff ruling, mandated reporting, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), to examine how mental health law influences the practice of psychology and mental health counseling.
*You can focus on a general counseling area and complete your field experience before the Forensic Counseling courses, or focus on a specific area of Forensic Counseling and complete your field experience after your specialization coursework.