Master’s (MS) in Clinical Mental Health Counseling With Trauma Counseling Emphasis

Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with an Emphasis in Trauma

Offered By: College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Learn to Assist Others in the Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program

A traumatic experience can result in acute symptoms and long-term complications for an individual. Through intensive trauma counseling, individuals may begin to reclaim their health and wellness. Trauma counselors often choose this field because they are highly compassionate and empathetic people who heed God’s call to serve others. To be qualified to become a trauma counselor, you can earn your Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with an Emphasis in Trauma at Grand Canyon University (GCU).

The MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling for trauma emphasis is offered by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. As a student, you will examine the causes and effects of trauma across the lifespan, as well as the intricacies of human behavior. There is a focus on the application of evidence-based research to assess and treat trauma-related disorders.

Designed for working professionals, GCU’s MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with trauma counseling emphasis is offered both online and through evening classes. For online students, the majority of courses can be taken on a flexible schedule through an innovative digital platform that connects you to our expert faculty.

For those who require scheduling flexibility, but prefer to learn in-person, the evening program offers courses once a week so you can balance your education with other responsibilities. Whether you study online or in-person, this counseling for trauma emphasis program requires all students to complete supervised clinical fieldwork experience.

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Course Topics for the Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling for Trauma Emphasis

The courses in this master’s in clinical mental health counseling program with trauma emphasis were selected to meet the academic requirements of the National Board for Certified Counselors for the National Certified Counselor (NCC) credential, the Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor (CCMHC) credential and the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners. A master’s degree is a required steppingstone for clinical licensure in all 50 states.

This MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program fulfills GCU’s mission of enabling students to be effective communicators, innovative thinkers, transformative leaders and global contributors. As a student, you are inspired to strive for professional excellence through the rigorous Christian worldview curriculum and hands-on, supervised field experiences.

In this program’s courses, you will thoroughly examine the following topic areas:

  • Interpersonal violence, including its contributing factors, treatment implications and best practices
  • Major counseling theories and principles, including existential psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and reality therapy
  • Culturally responsive counseling strategies and interventions
  • Short-term and longitudinal impacts of childhood trauma
  • Best practices for working with communities in crisis

In addition, students pursuing a master’s in clinical mental health counseling with trauma counseling emphasis will complete the Counseling Practicum and two internships. These hands-on, supervised experiences in the field round out the students’ coursework and reinforce the advanced skills needed to be an effective professional counselor.

Career Opportunities for Clinical Mental Health Trauma Counseling Graduates

As an aspiring trauma counselor, you may one day assist clients who are struggling with complex trauma, childhood trauma or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). You might work with victims of natural disasters, mass shooting events, assault or childhood abuse. Trauma counseling can be an emotionally difficult but highly fulfilling career path. Trauma counselors are employed in a range of settings, including:

  • Hospitals and clinics, including military hospitals
  • Prisons and juvenile detention facilities
  • Inpatient psychiatric centers and outpatient psychiatric programs
  • Community-based health centers
  • Nonprofit and faith-based organizations

This master’s in clinical mental health counseling online program with trauma emphasis meets the requirements to become a Licensed Associate Counselor (LAC) and a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Arizona. These requirements can vary from state to state. Students are responsible for checking the requirements for the state in which they plan to practice.

Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program With Trauma Counseling Emphasis FAQs

If you are interested in working with clients who have been impacted by trauma, read our responses to the questions below and get started on earning your master’s in clinical mental health counseling online degree with an emphasis in trauma counseling.

Once you have at least a master’s in clinical mental health counseling and the required license to practice in your state, you may be interested in opening your own counseling practice. It is recommended for newly licensed counselors to gain counseling experience and learn as much as possible about the business and administrative responsibilities of running a practice before you set out on your own.1

Earning a master’s in clinical mental health counseling for trauma is worth your consideration if you are compassionate and empathetic and want to use your innate qualities to help others and make a positive impact on their lives. The career outlook in this field is also expected to grow. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, 77,500 new jobs are estimated to open for substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health counselors from 2021 to 2031.2

In order to become a licensed mental health counselor, you will first need to earn your master’s in clinical mental health counseling for trauma degree, followed by supervised clinical work experience. The MS in Clinical Mental Health program at GCU incorporates a practicum and two internships into the curriculum to allow students to gain the required supervised hours for licensure in Arizona. Graduates must then take and pass the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Exam (NCMHCE) before applying for the license.

1 Meyers, L. (2019, March 22). Establishing a Private Practice. Counseling Today. Retrieved on May 23, 2023.

2 COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 and 2021 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as well. Accordingly, data shown is effective October 2022, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder and Mental Health Counselors, retrieved on April 25, 2023.

TOTAL CREDITS & COURSE LENGTH:
Total Credits: 74
Online: 8 weeks
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TRANSFER CREDITS:
The coursework in this program is non-transferable from other institutions.
TUITION RATE:
Online: $590 per credit
[Tuition, Fees and Financial Aid]

Cost of Attendance

Course List

Major:
74 credits
Degree Requirements:
74 credits

Core Courses

Course Description

This course is designed as an orientation for the graduate learning experience at Grand Canyon University. Students have opportunities to develop and strengthen the skills necessary to succeed as graduate students in counseling. Emphasis is placed on utilizing the tools for graduate success.

Course Description

This course provides a broad understanding of counseling ethics, legal standards, and responsibilities, including professional identity, report writing, record keeping, and service reimbursement for clinical mental health and school counselors. Additionally, the history of and current trends in counseling are addressed. Important goals of this course are to help students develop a strong personal and professional ethic, as well as an appreciation of the value of professional collaboration and identity.

Course Description

This course provides a comprehensive survey of the major counseling theories and principles. Coursework includes the following theories: psychoanalytic, Adlerian, existential psychotherapy, behavioral, cognitive behavioral, person-centered, reality therapy/choice theory, and rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT).

Course Description

This course provides a broad understanding of the stages, processes, and effects of substance use disorders, biological, social, and psychological dynamics of substance use disorders, and the professional's role in prevention, intervention, and aftercare, including recovery and relapse prevention. This course explores theories and models of treatment of addiction disorders to include understanding different types of addiction disorders, effective skills, drug classification, and assessment. It also continues building foundational knowledge, utilization of professional resources, and exploration of standards to help students prepare for licensure/certification within the counseling industry.

Course Description

This course provides a broad understanding of counseling processes, including characteristics and behaviors that influence the helping processes. Included are age, gender, ethnic differences, verbal and nonverbal behaviors, personal characteristics, and orientations. The development of counseling techniques is emphasized, including establishing and maintaining the counseling relationship; diagnosing and identifying the problem; formulating a preventative, treatment, or rehabilitative plan; facilitating appropriate interventions; and successfully terminating the counseling relationship.

Course Description

This course provides a broad understanding of issues and trends in a multicultural and diverse society. Studies in this area include the following: attitudes and behaviors based on such factors as age, race, religious preference, physical disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity and culture, family patterns, gender, socioeconomic status and intellectual ability; individual, family, group, and community strategies for working with diverse populations; theories of multicultural counseling and identity development; multicultural competencies; and issues such as substance use disorders. Students examine a variety of cultural populations, exploring issues and trends that are associated with each population. Cultural considerations for immigrants, refugees, and undocumented citizens are also addressed.

Course Description

This course provides a broad understanding of group development, group dynamics, group counseling theories, and ethical standards with reference to professional and substance use disorders counseling. The course addresses group process components, appropriate selection criteria, developmental stage theories, group members’ roles and behaviors; and group leadership styles and approaches. The course includes didactic and experiential group learning. Required synchronous group experience: 12 hours. Prerequisite: CNL-515.

Course Description

This course introduces students to the basic principles of psychopharmacology and the effects of psychoactive substances. Students examine the behavioral, psychological, physiological and social effects of psychoactive substance use, and learn to recognize symptoms of intoxication, withdrawal, and toxicity. The class covers various screening options, limitations, legal implications, and the utilization of pharmacotherapy as part of substance addiction treatment.

Course Description

This course is divided into two distinct and separate sections. The first part of the course examines human sexuality and systems of sexual therapy. Psychological, biological, social, and moral perspectives on sexual development and functioning are also examined. The last part of the course provides an understanding of the nature of aging and older adults. Theories and strategies for facilitating optimum care of older adults are addressed. Elder abuse, dependent adult abuse, and neglect of the aging and older adults are explored. Sexuality, mental health, physical health, the role of substance use disorders, and family issues are also addressed.

Course Description

This course provides an understanding of the nature, needs, and differing abilities of individuals at all developmental levels. Theories of individual and family development, transitions across the life span, theories of learning, theories of personality development, and ethical and cultural strategies for facilitating optimum development over the life span are addressed.

Course Description

This course provides a broad understanding of the structure and dynamics of couples and families, which includes theory, assessment, and application of couples and family intervention and counseling.

Course Description

This eight-topic course is divided into three distinct and separate sections. The first three topics examine crisis intervention and trauma counseling; Theories and strategies of trauma counseling and facilitating crisis interventions are also addressed. The second three topics examine spousal or partner abuse assessment, detection, and intervention strategies. The legal and ethical issues, the role of substance use disorders, and children in families where domestic violence and abuse occur are also addressed. The last two topics examine child abuse assessment and reporting. Legal and ethical issues and specific California child abuse assessment and reporting codes are also examined.

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to basic tests and appraisal in counseling. Individual and group approaches to testing, assessment, evaluation, behavioral observations, computer-managed and computer-assisted methods are addressed. The following statistical concepts are also addressed: scales of measurement, measures of central tendency, indices of variability, shapes and types of distributions, correlations, reliability, and validity.

Course Description

This course provides a broad understanding of career development and related life factors including psychotherapy, career counseling techniques and processes, career development theories, decision-making models, issues of diversity, and interrelationships between work and family.

Course Description

This course introduces research methods and basic statistical analysis, including the following: the importance of research, opportunities for research, and difficulties in conducting research. Research methods such as qualitative, quantitative, single-case designs, action research, and outcome-based research are addressed.

Course Description

This course provides a conceptual framework for the use of assessment and diagnostic tools for the development of appropriate treatment interventions for a variety of behavioral health and substance use disorders. Included is an introduction to the use of the diagnostic tools, including the DSM, and the integration of diagnostic and assessment information, in the development of treatment plans.

Course Description

This course introduces the study of mental illnesses and the science of psychopathology. The goal is to provide counseling students a conceptual understanding of psychological and behavioral dysfunction that occurs in mental illnesses. The course includes a survey of major psychiatric disorders and their causes.

Course Description

Students in this course are introduced to a variety of testing instruments used to determine a client's emotional or mental status. Assessment procedures are explored within the context of diagnosis and treatment planning. This course focuses on the administration and interpretation of individual and group standardized tests of mental ability, personality, and measurement.

Course Description

This course teaches students the basics of diagnosing and treating post-traumatic stress disorder, acute stress disorder, and other anxiety cluster disorders. This course also provides a historical context for treatment of trauma-related disorders as well as current best practices in the treatment of trauma.

Course Description

This course helps students develop a comprehensive understanding of interpersonal violence. Students analyze the contributing factors of interpersonal violence, treatment implications, and best practices within the context of the helping professions.

Course Description

This course outlines the short-term and longitudinal impacts of childhood trauma. This course pays special attention to the effects of trauma on attachment in the child and the family.

Course Description

This course investigates community and global crisis. This course also reviews best practices of working with communities in crisis.

Course Description

The practicum course is a distinctly defined, supervised clinical fieldwork experience in which the student develops basic counseling skills and integrates professional knowledge under the supervision of a faculty member or an on-site clinical site supervisor approved by the college or university with a minimum of 1 hour per week of individualized and/or triadic supervision throughout the practicum. Practicum students participate in an average of 1 ½ hours per week of group supervision via Zoom with a counseling faculty member or student supervisor who is under the supervision of a counselor education program faculty member on a regular schedule throughout the practicum. Documentation of a minimum requirement of 100 hours of counseling-related activities, which includes 40 direct client contact hours, is submitted directly to the college’s Office of Field Experience for verification and tracking. The practicum is completed prior to the internship; therefore, students may not progress to CNL-664A without the required amount of hours submitted, the required amount of individual and group supervision, and proper approval. This course has multiple synchronous required activities. Students must be prepared to be flexible in meeting the demands of this course in order to progress to the internship. Practicum/field experience hours: 100. State licensure requirements may mandate additional hours. Students must review and adhere to their state board's additional requirements. Prerequisites: Completion of all didactic coursework in the program; a GPA of 3.0 or better; and maintenance of student professional liability insurance in the amount of $1 million, $3 million.

Course Description

The internship course is a distinctly defined, supervised clinical experience in which the student refines and enhances basic counseling and student development of knowledge and skills, and integrates and authenticates professional knowledge and skills related to program objectives. The internship is performed under the supervision of an on-site clinical site supervisor approved by the college or university with an average of 1 hour per week of individualized and/or triadic supervision throughout the internship. Internship students participate in a minimum of 1 ½ hours per week of group supervision via Zoom with a counseling faculty member or student supervisor who is under the supervision of a counselor education program faculty member on a regular schedule throughout the internship. Documentation of 300 hours of counseling-related activities, which includes a required minimum of 120 direct client contact hours, is submitted directly to the college’s Office of Field Experience for verification and tracking. Internship hours: A minimum of 300 total hours of which 120 is total direct hours. Students must successfully complete CNL-624 before progressing to the internship. This course has multiple synchronous required activities. Students must be prepared to be flexible in meeting the demands of this course in order to meet the internship requirements. Practicum/field experience hours: 300. State licensure requirements may mandate additional hours. Students must review and adhere to their state board's additional requirements. Prerequisites: CNL-624; a GPA of 3.0 or better; maintenance of student professional liability insurance in the amount of $1 million, $3 million; and college approval.

Course Description

The internship course is a distinctly defined, supervised clinical experience in which the student refines and enhances basic counseling and student development of knowledge and skills, and integrates and authenticates professional knowledge and skills related to program objectives. The internship is performed under the supervision of an on-site clinical site supervisor approved by the college or university with an average of 1 hour per week of individualized and/or triadic supervision throughout the internship. Internship students participate in a minimum of 1 ½ hours per week of group supervision via Zoom with a counseling faculty member or student supervisor who is under the supervision of a counselor education program faculty member on a regular schedule throughout the internship. Documentation of 300 hours of counseling-related activities, which includes a required minimum of 120 direct client contact hours, is submitted directly to the college’s Office of Field Experience for verification and tracking. This course has multiple synchronous required activities. Students must be prepared to be flexible in meeting the demands of this course in order to meet the internship requirements. Practicum/field experience hours: 300. State licensure requirements may mandate additional hours. Students must review and adhere to their state board's additional requirements. Prerequisites: CNL-624 and CNL-664A; a GPA of 3.0 or better; maintenance of student professional liability insurance in the amount of $1 million, $3 million; and college approval.

Locations

GCU Online Student


Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere.

GCU Evening Student


Grand Canyon University’s evening programs cater to the demands of working professionals who prefer an in-person learning environment. Our night classes meet just once per week and offer the interaction and discussion of a typical college classroom.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.