Clinical Mental Health Counseling Graduate Program Student Handbook

5. Policies

5.1 Diversity and Inclusiveness Recruitment Policy


The University of North Florida (UNF) Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) program recognizes, acknowledges and values principles of diversity, inclusiveness, equal rights and social justice.  Acceptance of these principles directs our need to maintain a commitment to equal opportunity in recruitment of students. Also important is our recognition of the need for a diverse faculty to be mentors and role models for students. 

 

UNF strives to increase its recruitment and retention of a diverse student and faculty population.  It is therefore the goal of the CMHC program to follow UNF’s modeling to employ a variety of approaches for recruiting and retaining diverse populations and for maintaining openness to the importance of inclusiveness.  With a focus on this goal, the following strategies are employed.

  • Establishing outreach and personal contact with traditionally underrepresented students
  • Maintaining and increasing mentor accessibility with university academic advising offices, faculty, and staff
  • Strengthening relationships with minority churches and organizations that provide services predominately to minority populations
  • Increasing attendance at community culturally relevant events
  • Using holistic and equitable admissions requirements (i.e., using multiple criteria)
  • Seeking to employ minority faculty members
  • Continuing to support a systematic university affirmative action program.


5.2 Ethical/Legal Awareness


CMHC students are required to adhere to the American Counseling Association Code of Ethics and the Ethical Standards of the Florida Department of Health licensing board.  Since this program is practitioner-based students train with client/counselor roles. These roles are considered a simulation of the client/counselor relationship and, therefore, subject to ethical and legal regulations governing these types of relationships.  Given the importance of ethics and the law, students are required to take MHS 6700: Legal, Ethical, and Professional Issues in Counseling during their first semester where they review professional and state licensing code of ethics and legal practice requirements. Students are required to sign statements of ethical and legal awareness prior to beginning all clinical experiences.

5.3 Student Endorsement Policy


Faculty members in the CMHC Master’s Degree Program have adopted endorsement guidelines as provided in the current version of the American Counseling Association (ACA) Code of Ethics. Per the ACA Code of Ethics (2005), “F.5.d. Endorsement: Supervisors endorse supervisees for certification, licensure, employment, or completion of an academic or training program only when they believe supervisees are qualified for the endorsement. Regardless of qualifications, supervisors do not endorse supervisees whom they believe to be impaired in any way that would interfere with the performance of the duties associated with the endorsement” (p. 14).

 

In the academic setting, endorsement includes, but is not limited to, the following activities:

  • Approving a student for graduation clearance once he or she has completed all academic requirements of the CMHC Master’s Degree Program and has not demonstrated impairment as defined by the ACA Code of Ethics
  • Preparing a letter of reference for a student for employment, a credential (e.g., LMHC, LPC), a doctoral program, etc.
  • Fielding a telephone call, written, or digital request from a potential employer, credentialing body, institution of higher learning, etc., regarding a student’s potential for success in the field of clinical mental health counseling.


5.4 Program Endorsement Policy


At various times students require an endorsement – a verbal or written recommendation – from program faculty in order to:
  • Obtain graduation clearance after application for graduation has been submitted and once all academic requirements of the CMHC Program are completed
  • Secure a practicum or internship placement
  • Gain employment after graduation from the program
  • Obtain licensure as a mental health counselor or other counseling credential
  • Apply for doctoral, professional, or other graduate degree programs

W hen students applyforgraduation, advisors in the Brooks College of Health Academic Advising Office; the student’s program mentor; the CMHC Clinical Director; CMHC Program Director; and the Department Chairperson review their records. Careis taken toensurethateverystudent has completed therequirements oftheprogram.Iffacultyandadministration find thestudent has successfullycompletedall necessarycoursework,thestudentsfileisforwardedto theRegistrar’s Office.

 

In accordance with the ACA Code of Ethics (2005; Section F.5.d.) students are endorsed by faculty only for a position or credential for which they have been prepared. Students should be aware of this policy and seek endorsement only for employment and credentials that are appropriate given the student’s training, coursework and supervised experience qualifications. Students should request verbal and/or written references well ahead of due dates and permit faculty reasonable lead time to prepare these.


Upon successful completion of the Master of Science degree in CMHC, students are eligible for licensure in the state of Florida as Mental Health Counselors (LMHC). The Clinical Director will provide the Florida Board for Clinical Social Work, Marriage & Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling with an official endorsement letter. This “letter of validation” attests to the fact that each student has successfully completed 1,000 hours of supervised field experience in a clinical mental health setting. The letter is sent directly to the Florida Board and a personal copy provided to students.



5.5 Non-Discrimination Policy Regarding Persons with Disabilities


The CMHC program adheres to UNF’s non-discrimination policies as stated on the ADA Compliance office website .  UNF is committed to creating a culture of sensitivity for individuals with disabilities where inclusion is essential to contributing towards a society that eliminates exclusion and segregation. It is UNF’s goal to continuously improve the accessibility of our campus, programs, and activities for individuals with disabilities. Promoting our goal to move beyond compliance is imperative to create an environment where access to programs and facilities appears seamless.

 

In keeping with UNF’s philosophy, the CMHC program does not discriminate on the basis of disability in the recruitment, admissions and retention of students, faculty or staff.  The CMHC program also adheres to specified federal laws and regulations in the operation of any of its program and all program related activities.   Copies of ADA Compliance Documents are available upon request.

 

Additional information is also available from:

Rocelia Gonzalez , Director

|ADA Compliance|1 UNF Drive, Building 6, Room 1314|Jacksonville, Florida 32224|Phone: 904-620-2870.

(See Appendix C for Disability Etiquette guidelines)



5.6 Background Check and Professional Liability Insurance


S tudents are notrequired to purchase professional liability insurance as long as theyareenrolled in the Clinical Mental Health Program.  The University covers this for students. 

 

Background Checks :   F o rtheprotection of all vulnerable populations withwhom students will beworking,abackground check willberequired the semester prior to the beginning of the clinical experiences.  To meet thecontractualobligationsforTheBrooks CollegeofHealth, the background check must bedonethrough theCertified Background Checkvendor, which is sanctioned bytheCollege .  This is theonlyvender accepted by TheBrooksCollegeofHealth. The background check is valid for one full year. 

 

The C er tifiedBackground packagecodeforthe Clinical Mental Health Counselingprogram is UA39. Additionally,your clinical site mayalso requirethatyou doa backgroundcheck using theirvendor. This is unfortunate, but is sometimes the case.

 

Informationrevealedbya backgroundcheckmay:

  • P r ohibit participation in required practicum and/orfield experiences.
  • P r ohibit studentsfrom taking required post-graduatestateandnational examinations forlicensure and/orcertificationand/orpost-graduate internships.

 

If you have concerns regarding a background check be sure and discuss this with the Clinical Director ortheProgram Director.