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Master of Science in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling

About the Profession

What is Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health counseling?

Clinical rehabilitation and mental health counseling is a profession that holistically applies counseling skills to assist individuals with psychiatric, developmental, cognitive, emotional, or physical disabilities to achieve their maximum level of independence, integration, and participation in the community and the world of work in accordance with each individual's personal goals, career aspirations, and perception of quality of life.

A rehabilitation counselor is a highly trained professional who uses client centered approaches to prepare individuals with disabilities in attaining optimal function, including psychological, social, and vocational function in the context of their personal goals, abilities, and perception of quality of life. Rehabilitation counseling will involve eliminating attitudinal and environmental barriers through use of counseling technology, advocacy, and support.

What types of clients might a rehabilitation counselor serve?

Certified rehabilitation counselors (CRCs) are employed in a variety of rehabilitation service agencies, transition programs, and advocacy agencies. Rehabilitation counselors are trained to work with individuals who have a disability which may include the following: developmental disability, psychiatric disability, physical disability, substance use and/or dependence.

Students in the Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling program at Fresno State receive training which would enable them to work with individuals in all disability groups.

Where do rehabilitation counselors work?

Rehabilitation counselors work in a number of settings including:

  • Private practice, as licensed professional clinical counselors (LPCC)
  • Mental health facilities, e.g. community mental health organizations
  • Private rehabilitation agencies, e.g. workers’ compensation or insurance rehabilitation
  • Public rehabilitation agencies, e.g. state vocational rehabilitation or community rehabilitation providers
  • Substance treatment facilities, e.g. residential and outpatient treatment programs
  • Correctional facilities, e.g. pre-release re-entry programs or jail diversion
  • Schools, e.g. transition services for youth
  • State and federal offices, e.g. state services for the blind or deaf, or federal disability advocates
  • Hospitals, e.g. physical rehabilitation or psychiatric outpatient programs Examples of employment of recent graduates include:
  • VA Hospital
  • Supported employment in a comprehensive autism treatment facility
  • Traumatic Brain Injury program
  • Substance abuse treatment facility
  • Public community mental health facility
  • Public rehabilitation agency
  • State vocational rehabilitation program

What special training do rehabilitation counselors receive?

In addition to receiving training in counseling theories and practice, rehabilitation counselors receive additional training, which enables them to consider the medical, psychosocial, spiritual, family, and environmental impact of disability on the individual's ability to function in the environment of their choice. Special courses in medical and psychosocial aspects of disability, employment, and advanced clinical practices prepare rehabilitation counselors to evaluate and identify individual client needs, develop services, and apply interventions that include adapting the environment and providing needed supports which assist individuals to achieve their optimal functional capacity.

Students in the Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling program at Fresno State receive “Real Life” hands-on experiences, depending on the area of specialization chosen. The program at Fresno State was formerly known as the Rehabilitation Counseling program, but as of May 2016, the program is now titled Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling.