Department of Counselor Education

Chairperson: Mark Young


Mission Statement for the Department of Counselor Education

The Counselor Education Department is grounded in a rich tradition and history. Aware of the potential for personal, professional and global transformation, we create and sustain relationships that facilitate excellence in the development of professionalism, service, and growth. Therefore, with intention, we embrace the strengths of all individuals; we invest in services that promote the greater good; we depend on and contribute to the research and practical foundations of the profession; we develop counselors who enter in human services and educational environments.

Department Theme Statement

We are practitioners who are intentional in the development of relationships that honor the strengths of all individuals and the promotion of transformational growth.


Each applicant must submit the following materials to the School of Education Graduate Admissions office prior to one of the two admission period deadlines for campus classes— January 15th for early admission decision, March 15th, final deadline; or for Site Based Program in Canada, March 15th:

  1. 1. A completed application form (see the School of Education Website: and non-refundable fee.
  2. 2. A written statement of purpose addressing the following two topics (one typed page, single spaced):
    1. a. a description of interests in graduate studies in counseling and relation to the desire to become a counselor; and
    2. b. an assessment of current strengths as a potential counselor and description of benefits in gaining a counseling master’s degree.
  3. 3. A minimum of two letters of recommendation to be sent directly from the recommending persons (your employer, professor, supervisor, or colleague) to the School of Education Graduate Admissions Office using the Confidential Recommendation forms (see the School of Education website:
  4. 4. Two official transcripts from each college or university attended (international applicants must submit foreign transcripts in the original language and an English copy), final transcripts must bear a posted bachelor’s degree.  Only degrees and courses from a regionally accredited institution will be accepted.  Community and Site-Based: One official transcript from each college or university attended (international applicants must submit foreign transcripts in the original language and an English copy), final transcripts must bear a posted bachelor’s degree.  Only degrees and courses from a regionally accredited institution will be accepted.
  5. 5. Official scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or the Miller Analogies Test (must be less than five years old), a requirement which may be waived if the applicant has an advanced degree.
  6. 6. Submission of an official TOEFL score of at least 550 (minimum score of 80 if taken via Internet) by each international applicant who has graduated from a foreign college or university and whose native language is not English.
  7. 7. Submission of a financial declaration form and supporting documentation by each international applicant.
  8. 8. Final acceptance will be based on selected candidates’ interviews.

Credit Transfer Information
With departmental permission a student may be permitted to take graduate courses up to 12 semester credits in a non-matriculated manner before full admission to the program. No more than six graduate credits from another accredited university (less than five years old) are applicable toward the degree before admission. Ask your advisor for transfer credit information.

  1. 9. Site-Based: Although a bachelor’s degree in psychology is not a pre-requisite for admission to the site-based Master of Counseling program, it is highly recommended. For applicants without said degree, a reading list will be provided and students must pass a knowledge-based competency exam prior to advancement to candidacy.

Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Clinical Mental Health Counseling Mission

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program models ethical, moral, and professional leadership as counselor educators to promote development of a solid knowledge base, a sound skills set, and an experienced understanding of the process of personal transformation. Clinical mental health counseling students are prepared to live as creative, productive, morally grounded, socially just, service-oriented leaders in the profession.

This program offers preparation for professional counselors within community agencies, hospitals, college settings, private practice, and clinics. All counselor candidates attain a core of competencies with individualization taking place through supervised internship settings. Emphasis is placed on translating theory and research from coursework into services for clients. A major focus of the program is the development and operationalization of the student’s personal theory of counseling.

Program Description

The Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is designed to train professional counselors for a variety of employment settings, including family counseling, social service and mental health agencies, college counseling centers, and private practice. Qualified candidates are screened, using standard graduate school admissions and comprehensive interviews. Candidates are introduced to theoretical and practical academic teachings, which are woven together throughout the program to ensure a rich educational experience. Upon completion of the program, they are reintroduced to the community as qualified counselors who will enhance their community through service and leadership.

A major focus of the program is in developing and operationalizing the student's personal theory of counseling. Emphasis is placed on translating theory and research from course work to services for clients. Counselor training utilizes personal as well as multi-media instruction, carefully balanced to include didactic and experiential teaching. Diverse internships are available in community agency settings with 100 hours of practicum (40 hours of direct service) and 600 hours (240 hours of direct service) of internship required. Approximately 200 hours of supervision are provided by onsite and University supervisors. Core competencies are individualized to each internship setting.

Another major focus of the program is personal growth and development. It is the belief of the faculty that students must possess insight and awareness and must be clear about the boundaries between personal issues and those of the client. To that end, students are presented with a number of opportunities for self-discovery and process and are referred outside the program for counseling when necessary. Solid mental health is the foundation to providing professional counseling services.

A primary goal of Gonzaga’s counseling program is to identify and select students who present the highest potential for success as counselors. Indicators of counselor success are demonstrations of skills, emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, consistent interpersonal behaviors, recognition of strengths and weaknesses, a clear grasp of goals, and increasing knowledge of one’s impact on others.

The following skills are essential for successful counseling:

  • Counselor-Client Communication
    Counselors must be able to demonstrate paraphrasing, reflection of feelings, clarification, silence, attending, minimal verbal response, and identification of affect. The counselor must recognize the congruence of the client’s communication as demonstrated by verbal, non-verbal, and extraverbal cues.
  • Recognition of Impact
    Counselors must be aware of how their actions may affect the client. This not only includes communication, but also confidentiality and professional standards. The counselor must take professional responsibility for providing the best possible counseling environment to assist a client’s progress.
  • Personal Growth
    Counselors should take responsibility for their own personal growth and must be able to deal with personal issues in healthy ways.
  • Conflict Resolution
    Counselors should be able to use productive methods for resolving conflicts with and between others.
  • Approach
    Client issues may be accessed cognitively, affectively, spiritually, and/or behaviorally. Counselors should be aware of traditional and innovative counseling methods.
  • Cultural Differences
    Counselors should be sensitive to the needs of multicultural populations in providing counseling intervention.
  • Consultation and Referral
    Counselors must be able to identify their areas of expertise and know when and how to consult and refer clients to specialized resources.