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 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 interwoven 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.
Students interested in School Counseling: Grace College and St. Francis University have collaborated in an effort to assist Grace CMHC students interested in obtaining school licensure. Click below for more details.
Examples of courses in this major:
This course will examine a biblical theory of counseling based upon a biblical theory of personality. Other topics include biblical presuppositions, theories of “integration,” the image/likeness of God, and prayer. The implications of counseling will be discussed in each of these topics. Three hours.
This course will examine the history, theories and methods of group counseling as applied in a multicultural society and as viewed from a Christian perspective. Learners will be trained in applications of group psychotherapy through class and group discussions, group leadership experience, and group membership experience for the purpose of developing and growing group leadership proficiency. Three hours.
This course will examine the nature and practice of psychotherapy as it pertains to the topic of crises, disasters, and other trauma causing events. The nature of trauma, trauma resolution, and the standard of care in responding to trauma survivors will be explored. The course includes an emphasis on the study of Scripture to gain a biblical understanding of the process involved in grappling with suffering and how this applies to trauma survivors. Three hours.
This course provides an introduction to the concepts of psychopathology and to the major diagnostic categories of the current DSM and their etiologies. Learners will examine issues of psychopathology and normalcy through the lens of Scripture, providing an opportunity for students to develop diagnostic skills. Emphasis is placed on understanding how cultural, biological, social, psychological and spiritual factors are all necessary components when developing an ethical model of assessment and treatment planning. Three hours.
This course is designed to develop a broad biblical knowledge base, critical thinking and ethical decision-making skills for mental health counseling practice. A focus on the development of student desire and diligence as practicing counselors and the development of a high degree of personal and professional ethics to enhance clinical work will be emphasized. 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
Dr. 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
Dr. 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.S. Education, Indiana University, M.A. Counseling Grace College and Seminary
Jennifer Mitchell is a licensed mental health counselor and 1999 graduate of Grace College and Seminary Master's in Counseling program. She has served clients in community mental health, school, ministry, and private practice settings. Currently, she is in private practice with her husband, Mark Mitchell, MA, LMHC, in Warsaw, Her areas of specialty include depression, anxiety, identity, and attachment.
B.A. in Psychology, Indiana University; M.A. in Community Counseling & School Counseling, Regent University; 3rd Year Ph.D. Counselor Education & Supervision Student
Frances Dailey joined the Grace College family as in 2014. She has practiced in community health centers, church counseling centers, and private practice. He is involved in ongoing research and has interests in juvenile justice populations, juvenile sex offenders, and sex traffic survivors.
Diploma in Advanced German, Goethe Institute; B.A. in History, Grace College; M.Div., Grace Theological Seminary; D.Min. in Intercultural Studies, Grace Theological Seminary
Dr. Roger Peugh came to Grace in the fall of 1989 with three years of pastoral experience followed by 20 years of missionary experience as a church planter in Germany. While at Grace, he was involved as an elder in a church plant for 13 years. He is an active Bible conference speaker as well as guest-lecturer in several German Bible schools. In addition to his role as Professor in the School of Ministry Studies, Dr. Peugh serves Grace College as Campus Prayer Coordinator and is serving as the Interim Dean of Chapel. Dr. Peugh, who has authored on the topic of prayer, is married to Nancy and they have four children and eight grandchildren.
B.A. in Elementary Education, Grace College; M.A. in Counseling, Grace College; Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology, Adler School of Professional Psychology
Dr. Deb Musser has been a core faculty member in the Graduate Department of Counseling since 2007. Dr. 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 twelve years in the Student Affairs Department at Grace College. Dr. Musser is now teaching part-time and is also the Director of the Grace College Health & Counseling Offices.
BB.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.
Dr. Vuncannon originally hails from North Carolina where he was in professional practice. Through various settings including government mental health, community agencies, and private practice, Dr. 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.
Some of the positions you can obtain:
What others are saying:
I came to Grace in the fall of 2010 to begin the Masters 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 not; the faculty of the Counseling Department welcomed each student graciously and with intent to speak to each person’s concerns and needs. The course work 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 following 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, MA, Mental Health Counseling, May 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, 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 as a way to make me more suitable to serve God in this way. 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 all the 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