Clinical Mental Health Counseling GOES ONLINE At Hodges University

Dr Ali Wolf

Students interested in pursuing an online master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling (CMHC) now have the opportunity thanks to Hodges University. In January 2017, the university launched a fully online program for students looking to earn their degree but who are unable to attend class on campus. “Providing the same level of education and learning, the online program will allow a greater level of access for students who are unable to attend classes on campus,” said Dr. Amber Pope, clinical mental health counseling program chair at Hodges University.

Students who enroll in the online CMHC program will adhere to the same course requirements as those enrolled in the current CMHC program,
which is offered in a hybrid format with traditional, on-campus meetings, as well as online instruction. All core and elective classes will contain at least three synchronous sessions lasting two and a half hours each. Students will also be required to complete four residencies throughout the program. Each will occur over the course of a Friday-Sunday weekend and will require students to attend the residencies on campus in order to receive the hands-on practice, which is essential for the development of master’s level knowledge and skill.

“It is our goal to provide a student-focused experience in an online program taught primarily by core-faculty with extensive professional and academic experiences. We want our online students to develop an in-depth understanding of counseling practice and theory, as well as be able to demonstrate high competency in counseling skills and interventions,” said Dr. Ali Wolf, CMHC professor.

In a survey conducted by current clinical mental health counseling faculty at Hodges, local professionals and national mental health counseling programs believe their students and employees, who are not currently enrolled in a master’s program, would be interested in attending Hodges’ CMHC online program. By offering a completely online program, it would serve as the only accredited online CMHC program fulfilling the need in the state of Florida. In addition to the online program, CMHC faculty are currently researching and developing educational strategies to provide enhanced training to students who are bilingual and aspire to practice bilingual therapy. Dr. Tom Hofmann, Applied Psychology program chair and CMHC professor, stated, “We emphasize the advantages of overall diversity, and we understand the challenges of building counseling fluency in more than one language.”

Hodges alumna and Applied Psychology adjunct faculty member Liana Calderin explains the importance of this research, saying, “We live in a community where, once you become a therapist, it is a strong possibility your clientele will not be native English speakers.” She goes on to say, “There are two bilingual groups: those who speak English and learn Spanish, and those who speak Spanish and learn English. It is much more than learning the language, their culture and background play a large role.”

Located in Hodges’ Nichols School of Professional Studies, the CMHC program is accredited through the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP). As of September 2016, Pope stated, “Since the program’s inception in 2011, 44 students have graduated from the program and more than 90 percent of our alumni, who were seeking employment as counselors, have
acquired full- or part-time employment in a counseling-related area.” To find out more information about Hodges’ clinical mental health counseling program, visit You may also contact Dr. Amber Pope at or Dr. Ali Wolf at

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