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BRIEF HISTORY AND PROGRAM DESIGN OF

CLINICAL MILITARY COUNSELING CERTIFICATE (CMCC)

CMCC Seal 

Brief History and Design of CMCC

The military community has become an emerging and major priority for mental health counseling and related services. Many active duty service members who transition to civilian life require ongoing medical, psychosocial, vocational, and mental health support. The military community is clearly a unique culture because of its language, rituals, organizational structure, values, mission, as well as differences that exist within each of the various branches of the Armed Forces (e.g., Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard, Reservists).

The CMCC mission began in North Carolina as a recognition that providing mental health and counseling-related services to North Carolinians were critical to serving the 35% of its residents who comprised active duty service members, veterans, veterans with disabilities, family members, and dependents. There are few practitioners, counselor educators, and researchers that recognize and understand the unique cultural differences between military vs civilian mental health services; particularly as it relates to the diagnosis, assessment, and treatment of military mental health and related issues.

The Clinical Military Counseling Certificate (CMCC) credential was originally modeled after the Military and Trauma Counseling (MTC) graduate certificate program developed by Dr. Mark A. Stebnicki, Professor, Department of Addictions and Rehabilitation, Coordinator of East Carolina University’s MTC certificate program. He developed one of the nation’s first military counseling certificate programs in January 2014 which was based in a Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP- accredited program). The MTC graduate program consists of 12 semester hours of all online introductory and intermediate-level course work that relates to the medical, psychosocial, vocational, mental health, and cultural aspects of active service members, veterans, veterans with disabilities, and family members. 

The MTC program was developed using a focus-group of active duty service members, combat veterans, veterans with disabilities, family members, and dependents in videotape interviews. It has been based on the qualitative experiences of these service members, veterans, and their family members. As a psychotherapist, Dr. Stebnicki has been a service provider for active duty Marines from Camp Lejeune, Jacksonville, NC as well as veterans and their family members. As a professor, his research focus has been in developing training materials through published journal articles, book chapters, and books. Thus, an extensive review of the literature in evidence-based military mental health and related practices have been undertaken for the content development of the CMCC credential.

In early 2016, Dr. Stebnicki developed the credential (formerly titled the Certificate in Clinical Military Counseling [CCMC]) for Licensed Professional Counselors in North Carolina (LPCANC). It was based primarily on content from the MTC program. The LPCANC was administratively responsible for the support of this credential and for providing training at state-wide conferences. Dr. Stebnicki served as chairperson for LPCANC’s CCMC Task Force; also known as Operation Military Counseling (OMC). The Task Force included Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) who were service providers with the military community. The CCMC Task Force Committee members comprised of Mark Stebnicki, Suzanne Walker, Maggie and Esteban Minsk, Bill Butler, Harold McMillian, and Deanna Madison. Task Force members were chosen because of their background in military mental health as well as their status as a veteran, military spouse, and dependent/family member of those who served in the Armed Forces. The first CCMC training took place in Wilmington, NC, April 2016.

The CCMC training program moved administratively from the LPCANC because the credential and training was limited to LPCs in NC. There were multiple other states (e.g., SC, TX, NY) and professionals (e.g., psychologists, social workers) that wanted to earn the CCMC credential. The CCMC was originally intended to be a member benefit of the LPCANC organization. Because of its growth and increase interest, the CCMC was administratively supported for a short time (August – December 2017) through ECU’s the Office of Continuing Studies.

In February 2018, a new era began for the CMCC credential (formerly titled as CCMC). The Telehealth Certificate Institute (TCI) of New York became the new administrative support and learning platform by which professionals across multiple disciplines can earn the CMCC. TCI is the primary provider because of its reputation in providing professional training to the field and the flexibility of earning this credential through face-to-face trainings, webinars, and the option of an all online 12 hour continuing educational training opportunity.

In summary, Dr. Stebnicki has been primarily responsible for ongoing developed of the CMCC credential. The CMCC’s core content and curriculum provides continuing education, training, and development for multiple professionals to provide best practices in dealing with the medical, psychosocial, vocational, mental health, and cultural aspects of the military community.

I fully enjoyed learning the contents of this course and feel it will be extremely useful when working with veterans of our armed forces.

Marek R Moldawsky
Licensed S. Psychologist / Southwest Psychological Services, llc
Having completed the Clinical Military Counselor Certificate program, I am honored and proud to endorse this training for those interested in providing counseling services to veterans, active duty personnel, and their loved ones. The CMCC program comprehensively covers veterans and disability (i.e., psychiatric disorders and physical disability), effective counseling strategies, elements of skillful interviewing during the intake process, and cultural aspects of the military. Although the CMCC program focuses on the unique challenges faced by the three aforementioned groups, your skillset as a current and/or future practitioner will be significantly enhanced after successful completion of the training. Having reviewed other military counseling certificate programs, this is by far one of the best available!
Noel Ysasi
President – American Rehabilitation Counseling Association, United States Navy Veteran / Northern Illinois University
The CMCC course offers helpful information to better prepare counselors and clinicians to work with military personnel and veterans regardless of work setting. The information provided is relevant and considers the holistic needs of military personnel. I highly recommend this course to anyone wanting to know more about this group of individuals and professionals who wish to enhance their knowledge and understanding.
Dr. Susan Stuntzner PhD, LPC, LMHP, CRC, NCC, BC-TMH
Director of Disabiity Services / Adjunct Faculty / Southwestern Oregon Community College / University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

I first learned of the Clinical Military Counselor Certificate (CMCC) program during my first semester enrolled as a graduate student in the rehabilitation counseling program at Northern Illinois University. As a result of the training, I was able to gain further insight into the United States military culture, the impact trauma can have the service member, veteran, and family, and the methods for working with clients who face an array of challenges such as transitioning into civilian life post-military discharge. In addition, Dr. Stebnicki provides an array of resources that will undoubtedly prove useful post-graduation, but has aided me during my current graduate studies. My professors have oftentimes provided high praise in my ability to offer a deeper level of understanding on the issues discussed in class (i.e., psychosocial aspects of disability and counseling skills) and thankfully, continues to carry over in my other courses. Lastly, I was recently interviewed for practicum and internship by a highly competitive agency which has a high volume of veteran clientele, and was I accepted as a result of my CMCC certificate! Thank you Dr. Stebnicki for providing this outstanding and practical course!

Alison Murphy
Rehabilitation Counseling Graduate Student / Northern Illinois University

Excellent course. Great content and resources. Very well organized. Thank you for developing such an outstanding resource to better serve the military population.

Jenny Wagstaff
Assistant Professor / Campbell University

As a professional counselor and leader in several professional associations, the CCMC program has been a tremendous asset to my personal knowledge and skills. Dr. Stebnicki is a visionary in how to translate the unique military culture into sound, evidence-based principles that can be easily applied by counselors and other mental health providers. His passion, commitment to ethical and evidence-based practice, and engaging style makes the CCMC training and credential a must have for all mental health providers.

Eric T. Beeson, Ph.D., LPC, NCC, ACS, CRC
President Elect of the American Mental Health Counseling Association / The Family Institute at Northwestern University, Core Faculty

Dr. Stebnicki has created an excellent certification program rich with the necessary information needed to provide effective and ethical services to military-affiliated populations. The information provided moves substantially beyond the more obvious basic military cultural norms to include the subtle aspects of military culture and experience that are so important when both providing services to military populations and when educating counselors-in-training about military clinical issues.

Thomas I. Watson, EdD, LPC, NCC, CPCS
Assistant Professor – Counseling President – Military & Government Counseling Association (MGCA) – 2017-2019 / Military & Government Counseling Association (MGCA)

My name is William Herbert Butler. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in North Carolina. I have been counseling combat veterans and their families with the federal government since 2006. I have had the privilege to co-facilitate multiple presentations of the CMCC course with Mark Stebnicki over the past 3 years to counseling professionals. I am a retired United States Marine of 30 years and a 10-month tour of duty in Iraq in 2005. I believe this course is a valuable source of insight for professionals not familiar with the military community.

William Herbert Butler, LPC
Retired Marine GySgt / Vet Center Greenville, NC