MSMHC Department


The CACREP-accredited Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program prepares students using the fundamentals of counseling theory and practice in an experiential and interpersonal learning environment. Our aim is to train professional counselors with a sound foundation in ethical behavior, counseling theories, contemporary research, and professional skills, creating a knowledge base and capacity for thinking that can be translated into effective counseling practice with individuals, families, and groups from diverse backgrounds. We strive to guide our students to become more self-aware and self-reflective as they hone their intellectual, interpersonal, and counseling skills. We encourage critical thinking, emphasize professional integrity, and foster a commitment to mental health advocacy as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Program Objectives

  • Students will understand counselor professional identity and demonstrate skill in applying ethical and legal considerations in professional counseling.
  • Students will be able to demonstrate the awareness, knowledge, and skills to counsel clients from diverse backgrounds.
  • Students will be able to apply theories of human development to clients’ needs and issues.
  • Students will have knowledge of career assessment and planning principles and theories.
  • Students will demonstrate skills necessary to be an effective counselor while applying a theoretical approach.
  • Students will demonstrate knowledge and skills to facilitate psychoeducational and process groups.
  • Students will be able to select and interpret assessment measures (i.e., academic/educational, career, personality, diagnostic, and developmental).
  • Students will be able to critically evaluate research in a manner that informs counseling practice.
  • Students will demonstrate the knowledge and ability to diagnose and design treatment plans for a broad range of mental health issues.
  • Students will engage in critical thinking and demonstrate a heightened self-awareness in the counseling role.

Annual Reports and Program Data

Prospective Students

Financial Aid

Prior Syllabi

General Program Information (Admissions Criteria, Methods of Instruction, Minimum Degree Requirements, Matriculation Requirements, and Curriculum Map)

Site Supervisors

Online Orientation and Training


Meet the Faculty

Ellen Behrens, PhD received her M.A. in Counseling from Marquette University and her PhD in Counseling Psychology from Michigan State University. She has been core faculty in the MSMHC program since 2012. Dr. Behrens has counseled teenagers, young adults, and families in many levels of care, including community mental health centers, university counseling centers, inpatient psychiatric hospitals, outpatient settings, and residential treatment centers. She has extensive experience with individual, group, and family counseling as well a clinical assessment. She currently provides individual counseling at Westminster’s Counseling Center. She is the Chief Editor for the Journal of Therapeutic Schools and Programs and a Research Scientist for the Center for Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare at the University of New Hampshire. She publishes research on the mental health, family, and attachment outcomes of adolescents and young adults in residential and wilderness treatment.

Dr. Colleen Sandor lives and works in Salt Lake City, Utah. She received her PhD in counseling psychology from the University of Utah in 1996. She has been licensed since 1997, and has worked in a variety of settings including outpatient, intensive outpatient, substance abuse facilities, college counseling centers and the VA medical center. In 2007, she and Dr. Wanlass launched the Master’s in Mental Health Counseling program. She has been the chair of this program since 2014 and is the MSMHC’s liaison to the Utah Mental Health Counselor’s Association. She is deeply devoted to training mental health counselors in delivering good counseling treatment. To that end, she sees her mission as threefold, helping counseling students develop a sound theoretical base founded on a variety of theories, helping students develop strong counseling skills that can be utilized in a variety of settings and with various populations, and helping students foster their own professional counselor identity so that when they move into their own clinical work they can represent themselves and the field of counseling in a clear and ethical manner. In addition to teaching at Westminster, Dr. Sandor has been involved in a variety of community-related activities. She is a national faculty member of IPI and of the Salt Lake Chapter of IPI, teaching and training counselors in the community and internationally. She served on the board of directors for the Utah chapter of the ACLU and the Rape Recovery Center. In 2006 she travelled to Tanzania Africa to work in an AIDS hospice for a month.

Janine Wanlass, PhD is the founding chair of the Master of Mental Health Counseling Program at Westminster College. She has been a core faculty member in this department since its inception in 2007 and has taught psychology at Westminster College since 1990. Dr. Wanlass conducts research in technology-assisted counseling and supervision, group counseling for eating disorder clients, family and couple counseling, and the clinical treatment of traumatized children. Her paper presentations span a range of topics, most recently on a model for counselor identity and grief counseling with families. She is a psychoanalyst and counseling psychologist, serving as the executive director and faculty member of the International Psychotherapy Institute in Washington, D.C., a non-profit, post-graduate psychoanalytic training institute. Her community and advocacy work include teaching psychotherapy in Russia and China, where clinicians have limited access to training, her prior service as chair of the Child Abuse and Neglect Council for Utah, and consultation with the Office of the Guardian Ad Litem. She maintains a private practice where she counsels children, adolescents, adults, families, and couples, struggling with traumatic experiences, depression, anxiety, and grief.

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