The emphasis of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) program at Grace College is to train graduate students to be competent professional counselors who help hurting people overcome the obstacles that keep them from becoming the men and women that God created them to be. The Department of Graduate Counseling faculty is committed to equipping new counselors-in-training to be scripturally grounded, professionally skilled and interpersonally competent. A Christian worldview and biblical principles are woven throughout the CMHC curriculum, and students are encouraged to consider a faith perspective when learning and applying clinical knowledge and skills. Students completing the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling are prepared and qualified to seek state licensure as a professional counselor or to pursue doctoral studies in counseling. Graduates of the Grace CMHC program are employed in a variety of Christian and secular counseling settings, including community mental health centers, residential programs, schools, colleges, churches and private practice. The Department of Graduate Counseling offers both online and on campus learning options to assist students in meeting their educational goals, work obligations and family responsibilities. The online option consists of courses delivered over the internet and requires students to attend residency on campus each year. The on-campus option is the traditional classroom learning environment for those students who enjoy face-to-face interactions with their instructors and peers. Both online and on-campus learning environments are CACREP-accredited and provide the same quality curriculum and training.
Examples of courses in this major:
This course will examine a theological foundation of counseling as it pertains to Scriptural truths and principles. A biblical theory of personality will be presented, which will lead to biblical concepts of counseling. Three hours.
This course will examine the dynamics, theories, ethics, leadership styles, types and purposes, methods and skills, development and therapeutic factors of group counseling as applied in a multicultural society and as viewed from a Christian perspective. Students will be trained in applications of group counseling through group discussions and applied learning activities for the purpose of developing proficiency in group leadership skills. This course includes an experiential component intended to increase the student’s understanding of the dynamics of group membership. Three hours.
This course focuses on concepts of psychopathology as well as the major diagnostic categories of the current DSM, etiological factors and differential diagnoses. Students are introduced to psychopharmacology as well as current therapeutic approaches, with an emphasis on ethical assessment and treatment planning. Students will examine issues of psychopathology and normalcy through the lens of Scripture while considering cultural, biological, social, psychological and spiritual factors. Three hours.
Students will acquire a broad knowledge base of the legal and ethical issues relevant to clinical mental health counseling practice. Instruction in critical thinking and ethical decision making is a major component of this course. Students will draw from scripture, codes of ethics, and state and federal law to develop a high degree of personal and professional ethics to enhance clinical work. Three hours.
The individuals who will challenge you to learn:
B.A. in Psychology and Sociology, Indiana University; M.A. in Counseling, Grace College; Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision, Regent University
Amy Gilbert taught as an adjunct professor and served on the Advisory Council for the School of Behavioral Sciences at Grace before becoming full-time faculty in 2014. She is a licensed mental health counselor, who has practiced in a variety of settings including a community mental health center, a faith-based counseling center, a juvenile residential center, a center for the chronically mentally ill and a school system. Her counseling specialties are women's issues and children with special needs. Her current focus of research is counselor education.
B.A. in Psychology, Grace College; M.A. in Biblical Counseling, Grace College; M.Div., Grace Theological Seminary; Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, Ball State University
Thomas Edgington joined the Grace College faculty in 1992. He is a licensed psychologist and mental health counselor, who has practiced in community health centers, church counseling centers and private practice. He is involved in ongoing research and has interests in marriage counseling and counseling depression and anxiety.
B.A. in Elementary Education, Grace College; M.A. in Counseling, Grace College; Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology, Adler School of Professional Psychology
Deb Musser has been a core faculty member in the Graduate Department of Counseling since 2007. Musser has a passion for instilling hope to hurting people and is especially interested in women's issues and social justice. Before joining the full-time faculty, she worked for 12 years in the Student Affairs Department at Grace College. Musser is now teaching part-time and is also the director of the Grace College Health and Counseling Offices.
B.C.E. in Christian Education, East Coast Bible College; M.A. in Community Counseling, Regent University; Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision, Regent University.
Jerry Vuncannon originally hails from North Carolina, where he was in professional practice. Through various settings, including government mental health, community agencies and private practice, Vuncannon has worked with various populations through the years. Through these experiences, he has gained considerable knowledge, which he utilizes in the classroom to help students learn practical aspects of the counseling field. His professional interests have included group counseling, multicultural counseling/issues, counselor training/development, counselor supervision, and counseling issues as it relates to international settings.
B.A. in Psychology, University of Michigan; M.S. in Clinical Psychology, Baylor University; Psy.D. Baylor University
Lisa Wooley is currently on the faculty at Grace College as an assistant professor of behavioral science. She received her master’s degree and doctorate in clinical psychology from Baylor University. She has worked for the Bowen center for the past 15 years in the capacity of a psychologist, county director or training director of the pre-doctoral training program. She has training in parent child interactional therapy, with specialization in depression, play therapy, adult, child and adolescent therapy, sexual abuse, anxiety and attachment disorders. Her primary research interests include play therapy, attachment issues and trauma. She has been married to her husband, Larry, for 19 years, and they have three children. Her personal interests include reading, photography, pottery and swimming.
B.S. Religious Studies, Ball State University; M.A. Interpersonal Relations, Grace College; Ph.D. Counselor Education and Supervision, Trevecca Nazarene University
Angie O'Gieblyn joins the Grace faculty as an innovative clinician, scholar and educator who has a passion for helping others become all of who God created them to be. As a clinician, she has worked in college counseling and in a group private practice, where she encountered a variety of clinical issues. Clinically, she approaches therapeutic work from an integrated attachment-based lens and focuses mostly on wellness, stress management, self-growth and family of origin issues. Research interests include self-efficacy, wellness, person of the therapist issues and counselor development.
Some of the positions you can obtain:
What others are saying:
I know [this] sounds dramatic, but the relationships built within my co-hort and with my professors, the quality of the program, and the attention shown to students’ wellbeing and education was outstanding! The college truly cares about each student, and that shines through each aspect of the program. I recommend this program to everyone that is looking for a master’s in counseling degree.
- Mary Babb, M.A., Mental Health Counseling, 2014
I came to Grace in the fall of 2010 to begin the Master's in Mental Health Counseling Program. As a non-traditional student, I remember thinking, “will this program really work for me?” My worries were immediately proven to be for naught. The faculty of the Counseling Department welcomed each student graciously and with intent to speak to each person’s concerns and needs. The coursework has challenged me both academically and spiritually, and I feel well prepared to begin my career as a mental health counselor. I will leave Grace when I graduate in May, and I will miss the interactions with my professors and classmates. They have been pivotal in expanding my faith during this time of academic training. I think that’s what makes Grace’s counseling program so alluring: they rigorously train their students [according to] CACREP standards, yet remain accessible to each student and focus on each student’s heart as well. I am leaving Grace a changed person. I leave without a doubt that I am a daughter of God. That knowledge, above all book and clinical learning, is what will truly provide a compass for my counseling career.
- Lisa Harris, M.A., Mental Health Counseling, 2012
It is impossible for me to express accurately how this program has affected not only my professional development, but also who I am becoming as a person. Since beginning this stage of my life last fall, I have had the divine opportunity to grow and learn under individuals who are exceptionally equipped to prepare students in the skills and practice of the profession, and, perhaps more importantly, to usher others, as they have me, into the presence of the King where healing is abundant. I did not anticipate that my entrance into this program would change me at the depths of my core and I am eternally grateful that I was incredibly wrong.
- Natalie Hubartt, M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, 2012
I remember looking down at my desk during class one day and seeing my lecture notes on top of my textbook on top of my Bible and thinking, "What a great picture this is of the grad program." As a student in the Graduate Counseling program at Grace College, I was exposed to the latest research, treatment options, and information pertaining to the counseling field, and was taught and challenged to view and examine all of it through the lens of God's truth. I also had the great privilege of learning from truly competent professors who modeled what they taught, who readily invested in me, and who created a space for me to grow as a person, young professional, and one who continues to be healed and restored by the Wonderful Counselor Himself.
- Molly Coonrod, M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, 2011
Having been called by God to become a marriage counselor, obtaining a degree in the graduate program in clinical mental health was an obvious choice. I was challenged to stretch and grow in every class and by every professor and clinical supervisor. The focus on prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit in counseling was deeply engrained during my opportunity to be blessed at Grace, and as a counselor, I daily use the heart and soul of the training I received.
- John Rife, M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, 2011
While pursuing a graduate degree in counseling, I have had several opportunities to become involved with members of the community of the college. This has challenged and stretched me in ways that have expanded my capacity as a vessel of God’s mercy. The growth I have experienced in the pursuit has led to a growing belief that God is able to affect change in the soul, bringing healing and perspective that cannot be granted through technique alone. Compassion is at the heart of service in this counseling program, which combines skill development and spiritual growth.
- Josh Topel, M.Div., Grace Theological Seminary, 2009; M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, 2010
Perhaps the aspect of the program I most appreciate is the one I was least looking for. Throughout my time here I’ve not just learned, I have changed. I have changed not only as a counselor, but also as a husband, Christian and employee—as a whole. At Grace, I have been challenged not only to adapt my mind to the world of counseling, but also to alter my life in such a way so as to make me more suitable to serve God. Though someday I may need to re-learn some of the details of various coursework I’ve had, I don’t think I will ever forget what it means to perceive hurt, extend compassion and love people well.
- Andrew Boekstein, M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, 2010
My Grace College graduate school experience has been an amazing and life changing journey both personally and professionally. What I love most about the program is the wisdom and servant leadership that the instructors modeled in their lives and in their teaching. Having the opportunity to be a part of a God-centered community has been a gift and has forever changed the direction of my life, as I was lovingly challenged and blessed through education, supervision and leadership opportunities.
- Angela C.R. Semonis, B.S., Psychology and Sociology, 1998; M.A. in Counseling, 2006
Having been out of the master’s program for over a year now, I can confidently say that I can’t imagine what kind of counselor—or person, for that matter—I would be without the life-changing education I received at Grace. The program does an amazing job of living in an indescribable tension: affirming and refining the gifts God has lovingly bestowed on us to become effective counselors . . . while acknowledging that we’re not going to be “enough” for our clients, and that we are called to represent the Wonderful Counselor in helping draw people one step closer to Jesus. I feel especially equipped (and appropriately limited) to work with victims of abuse and other types of trauma, as this is a distinctive of the program—teaching us how to sit with someone in their “death” and hope and pray and invite them to a life more abundant. Oh, how we pray and pray and pray.
- Hannah Hermiz, M.A. in Counseling, 2007