Educational Psychology & Counseling Department

Clinical Mental Health Counseling


Program Coordinator

Casey A. Barrio Minton
Professor & Program Coordinator
444 Claxton Complex
1122 Volunteer Boulevard
Knoxville, TN 37996-3542

Program Secretary

Kathi Pauling
Administrative Support Assistant III
421 Claxton Complex
1122 Volunteer Blvd.
Knoxville, TN 37996-3452

Welcome to our Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program webpage. Our desire is to admit individuals who we believe have the potential to develop into excellent professional counselors. We expect our graduates to go out and positively affect the community by providing support and mental health counseling services for individuals in need. We also expect our graduates to serve as advocates for the counseling profession. Each applicant brings a unique set of skills, but in general, we look for both the heart and the mind of a great counselor. We consider the unique strengths of each applicant and how those strengths can be used to help others in communities across the world. If you are passionate about helping others and interested in learning more about professional counseling, perhaps the next great counselor will be you! We encourage you to apply to our program. Please review our program information and follow-up with a contact, if needed.

About Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Statement of Purpose

In the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program at UT, we aim to make the world a better place for persons in need through educating excellent counselor-scholars.  Our graduates excel in providing healing therapeutic relationships, optimally efficient and effective counseling services, and leading our field to better help persons in need through their work in clinical mental health counseling settings and beyond.

Statement of Expectations

From the UT Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program (CMHP) you should expect:

  • High standards, experiential learning, and self-development for practical application
  • Faculty expertise to support your passions across a wide range of counselor work settings and problem areas, and across the lifespan, from young children and families to adolescents to adults of all ages
  • Special expertise for preparing counselors with interest in helping at-risk children, youth and families
  • Opportunities for specialized course work, practica and internships in play therapy
  • A learning community that is small enough to be close-knit and supportive, yet thriving among the great opportunities of a major flagship university.
Program Goals

The goal of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program is the preparation of graduates as:

  •  Strong, effective, self-aware counselors
  •  Persons ready to develop deeply healing therapeutic relationships
  •  Professionals well-skilled in the full range of task areas needed from clinical mental health counselors
  •  Scholars with a solid background of understanding and a personal and professional curiosity to guide their life-long study of counseling, mental health, and human development
  •  Persons and professionals ready to thrive in and embrace the increasingly diverse world in which we live and work.
  1. Graduates will have foundation knowledge necessary for success as professional counselors
  2. Graduates will be able to develop therapeutic relationships that are deeply healing, culturally sensitive, developmentally appropriate, and ethical.
  3. Graduates will demonstrate professional dispositions including Commitment, Openness, Respect, Integrity, and Self-Awareness.
  4. Graduates will be culturally sensitive and ethical advocates for self, clients, and profession through counseling interventions, programming, and professional and community engagement.
  5. Graduates will be well-skilled in the full range of tasks needed for clinical mental health counseling including interventions for prevention and treatment of a broad range of mental health issues; roles of mental health counselors; and settings and service delivery models.



Casey A. Barrio Minton

Jeff Cochran

Jeff Cochran

Joel Diambra

Joel F. Diambra
associate professor

Melinda Gibbons

Melinda Gibbons

Bob Kronick

Robert Kronick


Shawn Spurgeon
associate professor


Laura S. Wheat
assistant professor

Information for Potential Applicants

Application Requirements

Applications are due each year on February 1 for fall or summer admissions
The application process begins with Graduate Admissions.

EPC Financial Aid Information
Includes EPC GA Application form, departmental fellowships/scholarships, and links to other funding sources around UT Knoxville.

School Counseling & Clinical Mental Health Counseling Dual Track Licensure Preparation Option

Students admitted to the Clinical Mental Health and School Counseling programs have the opportunity to complete dual-track licensure preparation requirements. The completed coursework will provide the student with a structured method for meeting the academic requirements for licensure as a Professional Counselor (LPC) and as a Professional School Counselor in the state of Tennessee. The dual licensure preparation requires a total of 63 hours. Faculty permission and an application are required, and students must declare their intentions during the first semester in their program. Faculty will make a determination of all submitted applications and inform students before the Fall semester ends. Selected students remain in the program for which they were admitted (i.e., school or clinical mental health) but agree to and are expected to complete the dual licensure preparation requirements.

CMHCP Practicum and Internship

Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program (CMHP) students complete a one semester, 3-credit hour practicum in a setting providing mental health counseling. This work is closely supervised through weekly meetings with faculty instructor, university supervisor, and site-supervisor. Site-supervisors carefully assign and monitor practicum student work with clients. Practicum students also receive extensive group and individual supervision from university faculty and advanced doctoral students in Counselor Education and Supervision. Students complete a minimum of 100 total hours in this practicum with at least 40 hours being direct service to clients. Note that students must apply for practicum the semester prior. Applications are due October 1st for practicum.

After practicum, CMHCP students complete a 9-credit hour internship that spans a calendar year. While careful supervision continues from university faculty, advanced doctoral students, and site supervisors, interns increase their levels of responsibility for client care and related services to that of an excellent entry level professional counselor during internship. Interns complete a minimum of 900 total hours in this internship with at least 360 of those hours being direct service to clients. CMHCP interns also develop and complete a professional quality, individually developed theory integration to address client needs through their internship, culminating in a professional presentation and manuscript draft.

Note that students must apply for internship. Applications are due March 1st. Also note that the numbers of hours required for internship would preclude full-time, non-internship work in most cases.

Practicum and internship sites are selected in communication with the CMHP Placement Coordinator, as well as advisors and other faculty. Sites are matched to students’ individual areas of interest and needs. Students are welcome to suggest sites and areas of interest as well as to ask for guidance and suggestions. Students are required to have all sites approved by the Placement Coordinator before engaging in significant communication with persons at the site regarding a practicum or internship placement.

Licensure and National Certification

The Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is carefully designed to exceed the educational and graduate clinical preparation requirements for licensure as a professional counselor with mental health service provider designation (LPC-MHSP), which is required for counselors to practice privately and for counselors or their employers to be reimbursed for services through third party payers (e.g., insurance companies, HMO’s, Medicaid). The curriculum also exceeds the graduate preparation requirements for the National Counselors Exam (NCE) of the National Board for Certified Counselors, which is used as the licensure exam in Tennessee and many other states. Exceeding the graduate preparation requirements for licensure in Tennessee as LPC-MHSP and for the NCE also helps our graduates be well prepared for licensure in the other states or countries in which they may serve. The 60-semester credit hour program’s accreditation by the Counsel for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and the program’s specific focus in clinical mental health counseling serve to ensure quality counselor preparation and to ease the path to licensure for graduates.

Affording Graduate School

Most of our students pay for their graduate studies through combinations of traditional financial aid, part or full-time work, and savings. Our faculty members understand that graduate studies can be very difficult to afford. We work to keep costs low and assist our students with this difficulty in every way possible. Regrettably, there is little financial aid directly within our control.

We are occasionally able to provide special scholarships or assistantships. When this becomes possible, faculty advisors contact individual students to guide their application.

We forward notices of open assistantships or other work opportunities on campus to our students. Faculty members support our students’ applications for these opportunities as requested.

The Graduate School has a limited number of fellowships. We normally recommend a small number of our most competitive new students for these fellowships.

The Graduate School maintains information regarding student funding such as fellowships and other financial aid possibilities. If you have applied to or are accepted to the MHCP and see that you are particularly well qualified for a fellowship, contact the Program Coordinator to explain how and why you may be competitive for the opportunity. The Coordinator and faculty members will assist you in pursuing the opportunity, if they also see you as competitive.

Advisors & Affiliated Program Faculty

The following are the faculty from the closely linked, CACREP accredited, counseling programs at UT. These are the faculty members that teach most of the courses in the CMHP.
The set of UT CACREP accredited programs are:

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision
  • Master of Science in Counseling – Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Masters of Science in Counseling – School Counseling.

“CACREP” is the Counsel for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Professions, the premiere accrediting body for counseling programs.

Program Coordinator
Shawn Spurgeon

MHCP Faculty Advisors
Jeff L. Cochran
Bob Kronick
Shawn Spurgeon

Additional CACREP Counseling Program Faculty
Joel Diambra
Melinda Gibbons

Information for Current Students

Additional Information

Our CORE Values, called CORIS:

Commitment: investment in the counseling profession, counselor identity

Openness: to ideas, learning, growth, others, feedback, and change

Respect: for self and others, honoring diversity and wellness

Integrity: responsibility, maturity, courage, honesty, congruence

Self-Awareness: self-reflection, self-exploration, attitude of humility

Full Disposition           Dispositions Poster

Updated 09/13/2018

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