Prepare for a rewarding career helping others

The Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) prepares students to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) or a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT).

The Counseling program is designed to serve students who range in life experiences. This is reflective of the community they will ultimately serve. Students will be exposed to a variety of approaches for treating mental health, from the latest research on the relationship between neuroscience and mental health to eastern philosophies and treatments that have been practiced for thousands of years. Students benefit from an experiential curriculum, accomplished faculty comprised of working mental health professionals and innovative electives, such as art therapy, mindfulness, and dealing with PTSD. 

4 In-Demand Counseling Careers in Austin

Here are a few areas of counseling that the experts from St. Edward's say need more attention.

Both the Clinical Mental Health Counseling and the Marriage, Couple & Family Counseling concentrations in the MAC program are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

The MAC is typically completed in about three years, with three semesters a year and two classes per semester for 10 semesters. Students can also complete the program in about two years if they elect to take three classes per semester for seven semesters. Suggested sequencing guides for part time and full time coursework for both concentrations can be found at the following links:

7 semester suggested course sequencing guide CMHC
7 semester suggested course sequencing guide MCFC
8 semester suggested course sequencing guide CMHC
8 semester suggested course sequencing guide MCFC
10 semester suggested course sequencing guide CMHC
10 semester suggested course sequencing guide MCFC

New Community Counseling Clinic in the News (KXAN)

The new Community Counseling Clinic at St. Edward's University was featured on KXAN.  Dr. Kerrie Taylor and Dr. Bill McHenry describe how St. Edward's MAC students are creating more accessibility to mental health services in the Austin community.

Hear From Our Students

Learn how two of our students, Emily Roberts and Sam Grimaldo, have benefited from earning Master's in Counseling degrees at St. Edward's University.

State-of-the-art Facility for Counseling Students

The Center for Counselor Training enables students to simulate real counseling scenarios and analyze their sessions well before their practicum experience. See the space

Degree Plans & Required Coursework

For detailed descriptions, please see the Graduate Bulletin (course catalog).

CLINICAL MENTAL HEALTH CORE COURSES (27 CREDIT HOURS)

  • Professional Orientation
  • Abnormal Human Behavior
  • Counseling Theories
  • Counseling Skills and Techniques
  • Human Growth and Development
  • Legal and Ethical Issues for Health Care Professionals
  • Critical Evaluation of Research in Counseling
  • Introduction to Systems Theories in Counseling
  • Counseling Diverse Populations

CLINICAL MENTAL HEALTH CONCENTRATION (33 CREDIT HOURS): The following courses, in addition to the nine core courses, are required for the Clinical Mental Health concentration:

  • Group Counseling
  • Psychopathology and DSM-5
  • Crisis and Trauma Management
  • Addictions Counseling
  • Career Development and Planning
  • Assessment Techniques
  • Two Advanced Electives (e.g. Relationships & Sexuality, Narrative Therapy)

One practicum course and two internship courses are also required. These courses must be taken during the last three semesters:

  • Counseling Practicum
  • Counseling Internship I
  • Counseling Internship II

Total Hours: 60

To help plan your degree make an appointment with your faculty advisor.

OR

MARRIAGE, COUPLE, AND FAMILY COUNSELING CONCENTRATION (60 CREDIT HOURS): 

MCFC Core Courses

  • Professional Orientation
  • Human Growth and Development
  • Critical Evaluation of Research in Counseling
  • Legal and Ethical Issues in Counseling
  • Counseling Diverse Populations
  • Counseling Theories
  • Career Development and Planning

MCFC Advanced Courses

  • Introduction to Systems Theories in Counseling
  • Counseling Skills and Techniques
  • Psychopathology & DSM-V
  • Assessment Techniques
  • Addictions Counseling
  • Crisis and Trauma Management
  • Group Counseling

MCFC Specialization Courses

  • Overview of Treatment in Child and Adolescent Counseling
  • Marriage, Couples, and Families in the Life Cycle
  • Relationships and Sexuality in Couples Counseling

One practicum course and two internship courses are required. These courses must be taken during the last three semesters:

  • Counseling Practicum
  • Internship I
  • Internship II

Total Hours: 60

As a part of the program’s philosophy and educational training program, you will participate in training experiences that encourage self-growth. These exercises may require an appropriate degree of self-disclosure, which you will not be graded on. This confidential information will not be discussed outside of the classroom.

Faculty

Dr. Bill McHenry is an associate professor of counseling. Dr. McHenry is an LPC in Texas as well as a NCC. He has worked with clients across the spectrum ranging in age from 3 to 96. Dr. McHenry has provided professional counseling in a variety of settings including schools, mental health agencies, community counseling clinics, rehabilitation agencies and college counseling centers. Dr. McHenry is the co-author of six books on counseling and 18 peer-reviewed journal articles. He has presented at the international, national, regional and state levels on numerous different counseling topics.

Currently, Dr. McHenry is working on his next book in the area of Human Growth and Development along with an article on the neurobiological implications of music therapy on clients brains and clinical implications.

Throughout his career, Dr. McHenry has taught nearly every course in a standard counseling program. Among his favorites are addiction counseling, play therapy, skills and techniques and counseling theories. (CV)

Dr. Melissa Alvarado is an associate professor and chair of the department of counseling. She earned her Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (CACREP- Accredited). Dr. Alvarado is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Board Approved Supervisor (LPC-S) in Texas. Most of her clinical work has been with adolescent and adult survivors of trauma. She is an active member of many professional counseling associations and regularly presents at national, regional, and state conferences. Her research interests include positive youth development, supervision best practices, yoga and mental health, and counselor self-care.

In 2017, she was awarded the Humanistic Clinician Award by the Association for Humanistic Counseling. This award recognizes a clinician who holds a notable humanistic philosophy of counseling that resulted in an impact on their community or clients.

Dr. Alvarado has taught various classes in the counseling curriculum. Her favorite classes to teach are professional orientation, ethics, and practicum. (CV)

Dr. Kerrie Taylor is an assistant professor of counseling, director of the St. Edward's Community Counseling Clinic, and is a licensed professional counselor and marriage and family therapist. She received her M.A. in Marriage and Family Counseling from the University of Central Florida and her Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Counseling from Idaho State University. She has worked with clients across the life span, while specializing in counseling adults with severe and persistent mental illness who are involved with the criminal justice system and adults with co-occurring disorders. Dr. Taylor also enjoys collaborating with interdisciplinary professionals for research, education, and advocacy efforts. She has presented at several national, state, and local conferences on topics including neuroscience, pedagogy, integrating technology with clinical supervision, and suicide prevention.

Dr. Taylor has written articles published in national journals and enjoys contributing to knowledge creation in the counseling field. Her current research interests include critical and anti-racist pedagogical approaches, gatekeeping practices in counselor education, values conflicts, and ethical decision-making. Dr. Taylor is an enthusiastic researcher and is particularly interested in qualitative methodologies and mixed-method studies. She has experience teaching classes across the mental health core curriculum and particularly enjoys teaching diagnosis and skills. (CV)

Dr. Cristina Thornell is an assistant professor in the Department of Counseling and an LPC in Texas. She received her Ph.D. in Counseling Education and Supervision from a CACREP accredited program at the University of Texas at San Antonio. 

Dr. Thornell has experience delivering individual and group counseling services, in English and Spanish. She has worked with adults during their recovery process in a transitional living program, with individuals living in homeless shelters, facilitated groups for teens and parents, and provided private counseling services to people with different immigration statuses. Dr. Thornell has served as a language interpreter during psychological evaluations and assisted in the administration of psychological forensic evaluations.

Throughout her career, Dr. Thornell has explored a variety of research topics including counseling outcomes, non-suicidal self-injury, parallel process in counseling, ethics in counseling, multicultural counseling, and bilingualism. Some of her primary research interests include bilingual counseling education and supervision, self-efficacy, and multiculturalism. She has authored/co-authored various professional and peer-reviewed publications, translated a self-help book from English to Spanish, and delivered several presentations at national, state, and local conferences. 

Dr. Thornell has taught various classes among the counseling curriculum. Some of her favorite courses to teach are internship, professional orientation, culturally diverse populations, and bilingual-bicultural populations. (CV)

Dr. Alexis L. Croffie is an Assistant Professor in the department of counseling. He earned his
PhD in Counselor Education from Texas Tech University (CACREP-Accredited). He is a
Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Texas. Most of his clinical experience includes
working with survivors of crime, individuals with chronic pain, and LGBTQ+ communities. He
is an active member in many professional organizations including, but not limited to, Texas
Counseling Association, Texas Association for Counselor Educators and Supervisors, and
International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors.

Dr. Croffie has a strong enthusiasm for the growth of research in the field. His current research
interests include international students, ethics in counseling, individuals with invisible
disabilities, pop-culture in counseling, and LGBTQ+ populations. He specializes in qualitative
research and enjoys hearing the stories of his research participants.

Dr. Croffie has taught a variety of core courses within the counseling profession. His favorite
courses to teach include ethics, skills and techniques, intro to family systems, and counseling
theories. Through a blend of small group discussions and class lectures, Dr. Croffie hopes to
foster connections between his students to help them grow into strong professional colleagues.

Dr. Marcus Folkes is an assistant professor of counseling, Internship coordinator, Licensed
Mental Health counselor (FL), licensed professional counselor and qualified supervisor. He
received his M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Bethune Cookman University and
his Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision with a specialization in Advance Counseling
from University of the Cumberlands. He has worked with clients across life span, while focusing and specializing in counseling with adolescents and young adults with adjustment or traumatic stress who are involved in the child welfare system. Dr. Folkes enjoys advocating for diversity, equity, and inclusion in collaboration with other professionals. He has presented at many state conferences and local conferences on topics such as Mental Health 101, Resiliency in youth, Trauma-informed Care, Self-Care, Intergenerational and Transgenerational Trauma and Mental Health Stigma.

Dr. Folkes has contributed to scholarly book chapters and newsletters, relating to the counseling field. His current research interest includes creative interventions/modalities in psychotherapy, historical, racial, generational trauma, and utilizing technology and gaming in andragogical and pedagogical educational practice. Dr. Folkes is an enthusiastic practitioner, who find joy onadding new knowledge and research to develop and enhance the field of counseling. He is particularly interested in Quantitative research modalities. He has experience teaching classes across mental health core courses and particularly enjoys Diagnosing and Treatment planning, Legal Ethical Issues, Human Sexuality, and Psychopharmacology.

Dynetta Clark is a clinical assistant professor of counseling and the director of the SEU Community Counseling Clinic. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), National Certified Counselor (NCC), and Approved Clinical Supervisor (ACS). Professor Clark has provided individual, group, and crisis counseling services to individuals and families across the lifespan in various settings, including schools, home-based services, residential services, college counseling centers, and community mental health settings. She also has nearly fifteen years of providing clinical and administrative supervision. 

Professor Clark is a member of several professional counseling associations. Her research interests include supervision, counselor preparation, and trauma. She enjoys teaching experiential courses like skills, practicum, and internship. 

Jessenia Garcia, Ph.D., LPC- Assistant Professor

Dr. Jessenia Garcia is an assistant professor of counseling. She is a first gen student and daughter of Mexican and Salvadoran immigrants. She is a proud roadrunner as she completed her masters and doctoral degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio. She is also a licensed professional counselor. Dr. Garcia’s clinical experiences include working in eating disorder treatment centers, college counseling centers, adolescent transitional living, and private practice. Her research interests include bilingual counseling, Latinx mental health concerns, first-generation wellness, professional identity development, and eating disorders. She is a 2022-2023 American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE) Faculty Fellow, a former graduate fellow of Texas Chicanos in Higher Education, (TACHE) and holds several leadership positions in state professional organizations.

Crystal Morris M.Ed., LPC-S, NCC, CSC- Visiting Assistant Professor

Crystal is an educator, counselor, and mentor inspiring youth and people of all ages. She has been in the education field for over twelve years, working with at-risk youth, young adults, military service members, veterans, and families. She is currently a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor, National Certified Counselor (NCC), Certified School Counselor (CSC), owner, and clinical director at Butterflies Prospering Wellness Co.

She has worked as a professional school counselor, educator, graduate research assistant, military family life counselor, and private practice therapist. In addition, she is the author of The Butterfly Affect: Living the Single Life Through God's Eyes, 21 Days of Positive Living, and the soon coming book, The Butterfly Affect: Establishing Healthy Relationships in the series. Crystal is a doctoral candidate in the Ph.D. Counselor, Education, and Supervision program at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Crystal’s research interests focus on mindfulness-based strengths practices, character strengths, and positive psychology as interventions to explore relationship satisfaction in female survivors of military sexual trauma. Also, her research interest focus on holistic wellness, mental health in the Black, African American communities, multicultural competent and social justice advocacy in counseling, ethics in counseling,relationships (couples), sexual abuse/trauma in women, and PTSD/trauma.

Mission Statement

The professional mental health counseling programs at St. Edward’s University educate, train, and prepare highly skilled, ethical, compassionate mental health professionals grounded in humanistic values that focus on prevention, wellness, personal growth, and a commitment to respecting and promoting human dignity.

Our programs emphasize the client-counselor relationship, creative and experiential modalities, and our curriculum reflects multiple and varied theoretical perspectives with guidance to support students in developing their own framework for community and clinical practice.

Our programs create a transformative environment which allows students to enter their field with an understanding of their own social locations and the role of power, privilege, and difference within institutional, social, intimate, and therapeutic relationships. 

St. Edward’s University has a commitment to social justice which is embodied and embraced across the curriculum in content such as counseling with diverse populations, pro-social autonomy across the lifespan, and community/professional advocacy for the populations we serve. These ideals and many more are fostered within a dynamic, multi-modal learning setting in which critical thinking and the creation and integration of knowledge and experience are celebrated. 

St. Edward’s Master of Arts in Counseling graduate programs take pride in creating life-long learners.

Learning Goals

Upon completing the MAC concentration degree plans, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the theoretical foundations of counseling, describe their own professional style and approach, and integrate theory and style into practice
  • Demonstrate an understanding of applied ethical standards and the ability to practice counseling using ethical and moral principles
  • Demonstrate the skills required for effective client evaluation and assessment, treatment planning, and implementation of appropriate counseling strategies and techniques and appropriate follow-up methods
  • Understand the characteristics of various social, cultural and ethnic groups and the impact these characteristics have upon the counselor and counseling profession
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the ways in which behavior, attitudes and values, both their own and those of others, impact professional counseling relationships
  • Demonstrate the ability to conceptualize, analyze, critique and report research data, studies and abstracts
  • Meet the academic requirements to apply for a temporary license from the Texas State Board of Licensed Professional Counselors, the Texas State Board of Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, or both Students who meet the above requirements will receive a Master of Arts in Counseling degree from St. Edward’s University

Methods of Instruction

The MAC program courses are taught in multiple formats. Some classes are taught face-to-face, others are taught in a blended format. Face-to-face classes meet once per week each week of the semester. Blended classes are taught using a model that incorporates both face-to-face classes as well as online instruction. Blended classes are typically taught at a ratio of 65–75% face-to-face and the remaining part online. The MAC program uses Canvas as the learning platform for online instruction.

Program Outcomes

The MAC program offers an educational and training experience that prepares students to work as professional counselors or marriage and family therapists in a variety of settings, including hospitals, residential treatment centers, nonprofit agencies, government, for-profit organizations and private practice. As graduates of the program, students may choose to focus on working with children, adolescents, adults, families or couples.

To become a licensed professional counselor, graduates of the MAC program must:

  • Pass the National Counselor Exam (NCE) to fulfill the Texas state board requirement to become Licensed Professional Counselors and
  • Complete 3,000 hours of supervised field experience with a temporary license (LPC Intern)

Our Masters of Arts in Counseling program has a 95% passing rate for the National Counselor Exam (NCE).

To become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, graduates of the MAC program must:

  • Pass the state LMFT examination to fulfill the Texas state board requirement and
  • Complete 3,000 hours of postgraduate supervised field experience with a temporary license (LMFT-A) and a board-approved LMFT supervisor

A student's career path could include:

  • Working with adults and teens who suffer from addictions, eating disorders or depression
  • Counseling distressed couples and families
  • Providing counseling services within a nonprofit organization
  • Developing his or her own private practice

 The following documents represent an assessment of student learning within the Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) program:

 

Admissions Criteria

All admissions decisions are based on a complete application submitted by the student including:  

  1. Application (submitted online)
  2. Statement of Purpose (essay)
  3. Résumé
  4. Official Transcripts
  5. IELTS/TOEFL (if degree was earned in language other than English)
  6. Foreign Credential Evaluation (if degree earned in country outside of USA)

The admission criteria considered by the faculty include:

  1. Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from a regionally accredited institution.
  2. Demonstrated scholastic achievement at the college level evidenced by a minimum GPA of 3.0 on the last 60 semester hours of work or a 2.75 GPA on all college-level work.
  3. Applicants educated at the college level in a language other than English must demonstrate English proficiency by attaining a minimum TOEFL score of 79 on the Internet-based test, its equivalent in other formats, or a score of 6.0 on IELTS.
  4. Evidence of the potential to responsibly and successfully complete a program of rigorous graduate studies.
  5. Evidence of ability to assume responsibility in the work environment; professional work experience is highly desirable.
  6. Complete an application form with supporting documents and application fee submitted to the Office of Admission.
  7. Once past the initial screening process, applicants may be invited to an interview (in person or via phone) with the admission committee.

Admission Categories: Students are admitted to the MAC program in one of the following categories:

  1. Unconditional Admission: All admission formalities have been completed. Minimum stated criteria for admission are met.
  2. Conditional Admission: Students that do not meet the GPA requirement may be admitted conditionally if they can show potential for success through work and/or life experiences. To be considered for conditional admission, the applicant must evidence at least three years of full-time work experience. Students admitted conditionally whose cumulative graduate GPA falls below 3.0 at the end of the term in which they meet or exceed 12 hours of credit will be dismissed from the MAC program.
  3. Non-degree-seeking: Persons holding an earned master’s degree from an accredited institution may enroll in MAC courses to meet the academic coursework requirements of the Texas State Board of Examiners for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).

Apply using the St. Edward's University online application. For information on application deadlines and an application checklist, please see the Deadlines and Checklist page.

Student Resources

This section includes various resources that may be useful to current MAC students.

The following table provides a summary of the direct and total hours (expressed in the form <direct hours>/<total hours>) that are required for the various degree plans:

   Degree Plan Practicum Hours Internship I Hours Internship II Hours Grand Total
Clinical Mental Health Counseling    40/100   120/300  120/300  280/700
Marriage, Couples,  and Family Counseling    40/100   120/300  120/300  280/700

In addition, the following documents are available:

Supervisor Resources

Documents and resources for practicum/internship supervisors are found at http://sites.stedwards.edu/macss