School of Professional Studies in Chicago

Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Earn Your MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

The Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (MACMHC) is a fully online program that trains students to apply counseling techniques while recognizing the profoundly spiritual core of persons.

CMHC Program Mission Statement

North Park University’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program provides comprehensive academic and clinical training in professional counseling, equipping students to be ethically skilled counselors serving culturally and spiritually diverse communities. The CMHC program prepares counselors for lives of significance and service throughout their professional careers.

Students will receive a strong foundation in counseling theory, understand the profession’s legal and ethical responsibilities, and master the skills necessary for effective client assessment, diagnosis, and treatment. Upon program completion, students can apply to take the National Counselor Examination (NCE) to become licensed professional counselors. The CMHC program meets the educational and internship requirements for licensure in 39 out of 50 states (excludes Arkansas, California, Florida, Idaho, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, and South Dakota).

Professional Counseling Careers

  • Counselor with a community mental health agency
  • Youth counselor in outpatient or residential treatment centers
  • Grief counselor at a hospital or hospice center
  • Couples and family counselor
  • Counselor working with veterans and active military members
  • Group counselor in college counseling centers
  • Addictions or rehabilitation counselor
  • Spiritual counselor affiliated with a church, denomination, or community agency
  • Outpatient practice, working with couples, families, or individuals

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Kara Wolff

Dr. Kara Wolff is the Director of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. In addition to teaching experience she brings an extensive background in mental health practice as a counselor. Wolff believes that good counselors are genuinely curious about the world. “I hope that my students develop a life-long goal of satisfying that curious spirit. Human beings are incredibly interesting and there is so much more to know about why we do the things that we do.”

More about Dr. WOLFF

See all faculty

Pre-Licensure Preparation

The MACMHC Counseling program aligns with Illinois’s eligibility requirements for licensure as a licensed professional counselor. Candidates must pass the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE). All candidates must also complete the application process, which may include fees and/or a background check.

Admission Requirements

Along with our free online application, you’ll need: 

  1. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
  2. An electronic copy of your current resume.
  3. Two professional and/or academic recommendations. Log in to the supplemental items list in your account at send a recommendation request through our online system.
  4. An essay, as described in the application.
  5. Official transcripts from all colleges and universities you have attended, sent directly to North Park University.


Continuing Education (CE) Workshops for Professional Counselors

Looking to enhance your counseling skills? The School of Professional Studies (SPS) offers various Continuing Education (CE) workshop opportunities for mental health professionals seeking to expand their skills. The Illinois Department of Professional Regulation requires Continuing Education Units, and they are available for licensed professional counselors (LPC) and licensed clinical professional counselors (LCPC). SPS is offering two sessions during the spring 2024 semester.

Earn three hours of CE Credit for LPCs and LCPCs.

The Tree of Life (TOL) is a narrative tool that promotes identity and connectedness and allows people to re-author their stories. Originally developed to support vulnerable children in East and Southern Africa, TOL draws on the metaphor of a tree, taken from Zimbabwean folklore and collective narrative practice to support groups and communities in overcoming difficult life experiences. Counselors can use TOL to help families reclaim hope and build a solid foundation to thrive during adversity.

After this workshop, participants will be able to:

    1. State how families with difficult life situations can use the narrative intervention TOL.
    2. Develop their own ability to use this tool.
    3. Create their own tree of life.

Led by Martha Mason, assistant professor of counseling, North Park University

North Park University, Johnson Boardroom (JOHN 325), 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.


The “baby boomer” generation is aging and seeking counseling more readily than previous generations, who were often reluctant to enter counseling relationships. This workshop will explore multiple mental health issues this cohort brings to counseling, including stressors related to caretaking, retirement, couple conflicts, coping with loss, alienation from adult children, and existential loss of meaning. We will discuss the importance of stories and strategies for promoting positive coping skills through case studies drawn from counseling “boomer” clients.

After this workshop, participants will be able to:

    1. Identify mental health issues related to the senior cohort known as “baby boomers.”
    2. Understand the importance of life stories in establishing effective counseling relationships with seniors.
    3. Articulate treatment plans and strategies for developing effective coping skills and facilitating growth in older adults.

Led by Michael DeVries, former director of the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at North Park University

North Park University, Johnson Boardroom (JOHN 325), 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.


CMHC Viewbook

Take a look at some facts about the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling below.

2021–22 Annual Report

View our annual report here.