The Clinical Rehabilitation & Mental Health Counseling graduate education program at West Virginia University forwards the land grant mission of the University by providing a strong practitioner training program focused on the unique needs of diverse communities. We are committed to preparing entry-level rehabilitation and mental health counselors to work competently and ethically within a pluralistic society. Our central organizing approach rests in understanding the unique needs of individuals, couples, families, and groups experiencing disability or other disadvantages across their lifespan in our society, at work, home and play.
A main objective of the program is to prepare counselors with the counseling and assessment knowledge and skills to assist clients with mental, physical and emotional disabilities. To accomplish this objective, the program aims to provide educational and practical experiences that allow every student to meet the following knowledge and outcome expectations.
The objectives of our program are linked to our mission statement. They are to provide:
- Educational experiences for every student that facilitates the development of knowledge, skills and beliefs necessary to practice as qualified clinical rehabilitation and mental health counselors in a wide variety of circumstances.
- Learning opportunities to support students’ ability to implement culturally responsive and ethically sound clinical rehabilitation and mental health counseling practices.
- Clinical training environments that are focused on real world expectations and standards of clinical practice.
Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental health Counseling - Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
The CRMHC program was accredited as a dual specialty program in clinical rehabilitation counseling and clinical mental health counseling by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) in July 2017. One of only 23 such programs in the country, the WVU program was awarded full accreditation until 2024.
Those who graduated between December 2016 and July 2017 and have met the criteria for graduating from the CACREP program in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling program are grandfathered into the designation. These means they can report having graduated from a CACREP program with a specialization in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling and one in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. These distinctions are important in application for certifications, licensure, and for some employment sites.
In the spring of 2013, the board members of CORE and CACREP directed their respective leaders in spring 2013 to work toward developing a relationship between the two organizations that would protect and benefit students in rehabilitation counseling programs who were legitimately preparing counselors to work as independent mental health counseling practitioners. In 2015, they announced a merger of the two organizations with CACREP assuming the accreditation responsibilities of programs that have been CORE-accredited effective July 1, 2017.
This is one in a long line of firsts for the program. In August of 1955, one of seven federal grants available for establishing a graduate rehabilitation counselor education program under PL 565 was awarded to WVU. This was in response to the Vocational Rehabilitation Amendments (federal legislation) that established funding sources for college and university training of rehabilitation professionals. The rehabilitation counselor education program started in 1955 with the first students enrolled in January 1956 and the first graduating class in 1957.
In 1974, it was one of first programs accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE). Students admitted Fall 1975 were the first who could report having graduated under the status of CORE accreditation.