Mental Health Counseling Objectives & Structure


Building on the mission of St. John Fisher College, the Mental Health Counseling program’s mission is to deliver personalized instruction to a diverse student body regarding essential counseling knowledge and skills, as well as facilitating the development and enhancement of personal qualities and characteristics necessary to become an outstanding professional mental health counselor.

Program Objectives

Upon graduation from the Mental Health Counseling Program, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate professional skills and personal qualities required for working as an effective counselor in an interdisciplinary mental health setting.
  • Demonstrate a variety of differential diagnostic assessment skills consistent with the most current diagnostic manual.
  • Demonstrate the ability to use a diverse range of evidence-based intervention strategies.
  • Develop appropriate intervention plans based upon knowledge of culturally relevant variables in client care, including ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic levels, gender, sexual orientation, and disability status.
  • Demonstrate professional behavior consistent with ethical guidelines of Mental Health Counseling professional organizations and regulatory agencies.

Program Structure

You may take courses on a full-time or part-time basis (see Program Requirements). You are required to complete 60 credit hours of coursework, including a supervised practicum experience with a minimum of 100 clock hours and a supervised internship with a minimum of 900 clock hours. This supervised application of counseling skills in various community sites will gives you the opportunity to grow into an effective mental health counselor.

Because of the demands of our program and sequencing of courses, students are admitted for fall semester only. Our curriculum was developed according to the New York State Department of Education requirements for licensure as a mental health counselor.

Michelle Ziegler

Michelle Ziegler

I researched other programs, but I chose St John Fisher College for my M.S. in Mental Health Counseling because I was impressed with the structure and rigor of the program. I felt that the quality and breadth of the courses, as well as the internship opportunities, would prepare me to be the best counselor that I could possibly be. When compared to other master's programs in the area, it seemed to be the most focused on preparing counselors who could work in a variety of mental health settings with a variety of clients. This made me feel secure that once I graduated I would be marketable in this competitive field. I also felt comfortable with the faculty that I met. All in all, it seemed to be a good fit for me.

My experience with the faculty and my fellow students has been amazing. The process of becoming a counselor takes a great deal of introspection and inner strength, and it has been wonderful to feel supported and understood by all of the people involved in this program. I am grateful that time has been spent, throughout our courses, on understanding how this career can affect you personally. In order to be an effective counselor it is crucial that you understand yourself. Fisher definitely makes this a priority, and now I feel more comfortable in my ability to counsel others. The faculty is not solely focused on our academic life; they are invested in our growth as individuals as well as our competence as counselors. My peers are very supportive; we help each other out not only academically, but personally as well. The supportive atmosphere has been helpful in allowing me to grow as a person as well as a counselor.

What I appreciate most about the faculty in the program is that they are willing to share their own personal stories and struggles with the mental health field. Their case examples and descriptions of life out there in the "real world" of counseling have really supplemented the material from our texts. I anticipate that it will also be influential during our fieldwork experience.

I worked for a few years before returning for a master's degree, and I was concerned that I would not fit in with the students who had just graduated from college. When I started the program, I realized that there were students younger than me, but also some older than me too. This variety has enriched my experience because each student shared their own unique perspective, which enhanced the knowledge that we gained from the professors and the texts.


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