Mental health counseling courses and classes are offered by many colleges and universities through their distance learning programs. Although the classes themselves may be fully online, students typically must participate in on-site field experiences or residencies. Students might have to purchase course-specific software and textbooks to take these courses.
Mental health counseling courses are usually part of a degree program, such as a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a mental health concentration, Master of Science (M.S.) in Mental Health Counseling or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Counselor Education and Supervision program. Graduates of mental health counseling programs often find career opportunities with schools, private clinics or corrections facilities.
Online Mental Health Counseling Courses
Provided below are the descriptions of commonly offered online mental health counseling courses.
- Legal Issues and Ethics in Counseling Course: This course introduces the fundamentals of mental health and professional counseling. Topics addressed include trends in mental health and professional counseling, the counselor's role in social and cultural settings, counselor and client advocacy, counselors' professional standards of ethics and philosophy and history of mental health counseling.
- Mental Health Counseling Introduction Course: Students learn the principles of the mental health counseling profession, including theories, philosophy and history, with an emphasis on professional issues, credentials and the actual practice. This course focuses on the professional competencies of mental health counseling and the role students will play as mental health counselors.
- Substance Abuse Counseling Course: This course focuses on psychological aspects of addictions, such as dependency on prescription medications, alcohol and illegal substances, with discussion of current research. Students learn various methods of diagnosis and treatment plans, including behavioral change. They also are taught to evaluate treatment methods.
- Counseling Skills Course: This course utilizes video and audiotape, role-playing and other training methods to help students develop skills that are useful in mental health counseling, including communication, sincerity and empathy. Emphasis is on using interpersonal skills to develop a beneficial relationship with clients.
- Psychopharmacology Course: This course explores the medications used to treat psychiatric disorders. Coursework includes an overview of the psychotropic drugs currently in use, their actions and side-effects and ongoing research in the field. Studies focus on the disorders for which these medications are prescribed, with an emphasis on methods of combining medication and counseling for each.