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Guidelines for Authors

The Journal of Mental Health Counseling (JMHC) publishes articles on all aspects of practice, theory, professionalism, and research related to clinical mental health counseling. The American Mental Health Counselors Association consists of clinical mental health counselors (MHCs), educators and supervisors of MHCs, and researchers interested in advancing knowledge and practice in mental health. Therefore, articles should include a detailed discussion of implications for clinical mental health practice.

JMHC is divided into five sections: Practice, Theory, Professional Exchange, Research, and Neuroscience-Informed Counseling. Although separate descriptions follow, overlaps between sections may naturally occur. Manuscripts are submitted to JMHC as a whole (not to an individual section), and accepted manuscripts are ordered into sections by the Editor.


MHCs work in a variety of clinical settings with diverse client populations. Cutting-edge strategies and techniques as well as innovative applications of established clinical practices are emphasized in this section. Critical analyses of the existing literature and descriptive application of clinical approaches, strategies, and techniques are essential.


Explication of theoretical constructs and their application in clinical mental health practice are the emphasis of this section. Theoretical articles must be well grounded in the existing conceptual and empirical literature, delineate implications for practice, and provide illustrative applications (e.g., case studies).

Professional Exchange

This section allows for dialogue among MHCs regarding dilemmas, challenges, divergent perspectives, and other emergent topics relevant to clinical mental health counseling. Points of view should demonstrate an understanding of historical precedents and opposing viewpoints, be grounded in the professional literature, and provide well-constructed arguments.


This section provides MHCs with information related to empirically supported best practices, evidence-based approaches, and new developments in clinical mental health counseling. JMHC accepts for publication qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods studies. Thorough support for the research should be provided through a detailed literature review. Manuscripts should also clearly delineate the research questions and the methodology (i.e., description of the participants, IRB approval, variables and instruments, and data analyses). For quantitative studies of evidence-based treatments, methodologies that allow for comparisons among treatments and control for threats to validity will be given priority consideration. For quantitative manuscripts, authors should report effect sizes; reporting confidence intervals can also be helpful. Authors must describe the clinical significance of the results. All research manuscripts should include implications for professional MHC practice and future research.

Neuroscience-Informed Counseling

Neuroscience-informed counseling refers to the application of neuroscience principles related to the central nervous system and physiological processes to the practice of counseling for the purpose of enhancing effectiveness in counseling and wellness promotion. In this section we encourage manuscripts that emphasize innovative strategies and techniques demonstrating the theory, research, and practice of neuroscience-informed counseling.

Manuscript Preparation

  1. Manuscripts should be prepared in accord with the 7th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Manuscripts should also adhere to the following requirements:
  2. Manuscripts typically should not exceed 25 pages, including references and tables. Margins must be at least 1 inch on all sides, and all content must be double spaced. Times New Roman is the preferred typeface, with 12-point font size.
  3. The title of the article should appear on the first page of the manuscript. The article title should be as short as possible and typically no longer than 10 to 12 words.
  4. The abstract should be between 125 and 150 words in length and clearly summarize the main ideas of the manuscript. The abstract should be immediately followed by a series of five keywords.
  5. References should follow APA style. Check all references for completeness and accuracy including year, volume and issue number, pages of journal citations, and, if available, the digital object identifier (DOI) in format. Make certain that all text references are listed in the reference list and vice versa.
  6. Do not use footnotes. Instead, incorporate this material into the text.
  7. Keep tables to a minimum. Include only essential data and combine tables where possible. Refer to the APA Publication Manual for style of tabular presentations. Each table or figure should be on a separate page following the reference section of the manuscript. Final placement of tables and figures is at the discretion of the Editor.
  8. Lengthy quotations require permission from the copyright holder for reproduction. Adaptation of tables and figures also requires reproduction approval from the copyrighted source. It is the author’s responsibility to secure such permission. A copy of the copyright holder’s written permission should preferably be provided to the Editor at the time of submission and must be received no later than immediately after acceptance of the article for publication.
  9. Manuscripts should be well organized and concise so that the development of ideas is clear. Avoid stereotyped writing and jargon. Aim for clear communication of ideas. Concise headings and subheadings enhance the organizational structure of the manuscript and enable readers to anticipate topics and follow themes.
  10. Authors must reduce bias in language against persons on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, racial or ethnic group, disability, age, and other aspects of identity by applying the guidelines in the APA Publication Manual.

Manuscript Submission

All manuscripts are initially reviewed by the Editor to determine suitability of the manuscript for JMHC. Upon satisfactory initial review, manuscripts are subject to a double blind review process. Therefore, authors must take particular care to conceal their identities within the manuscript in order to ensure a masked review. Please adhere to the following steps:

  1. The title page should be prepared according to 7th edition APA Publication Manual guidelines, including ORCID iDs (if any) for all authors.
  2. Prepare a cover letter addressed to the Editor following APA Publication Manual guidelines and including the following:
    1. The name and full contact information for the first and corresponding authors (if different), as well as the names and email addresses of all other authors;
    2. A statement that all authors have agreed to manuscript authorship and the authorship order;
    3. A statement that the manuscript has not previously been published nor is being considered for concurrent publication elsewhere;
    4. A statement that the manuscript (including any research on which the manuscript was based) was prepared in accordance with the ethical standards published by AMHCA, ACA, or another relevant organization;
    5. Disclosure of funding sources and possible conflicts of interest;
    6. Confirmation of permission to include any copyrighted material (if applicable);
    7. For manuscripts including research studies with humans or animals, statements confirming that (1) the studies were exempted/approved by an institutional review board (IRB), (2) all participants completed informed consent (or that the IRB approved waived consent), and 3) a brief description of any other studies (published or anticipated) resulting from the same data sets; and
    8. For manuscripts including a case illustration that does not fall under the purview of a case study or other research, a statement that the case either is fictitious or has all identifying information changed or removed.
  3. Submit the manuscript and cover letter electronically as two separate Microsoft Word documents to [email protected]. In the subject line of the email, state “JMHC manuscript submission.”
  4. Receipt of manuscript will be acknowledged by email. Authors can expect notification about the manuscript disposition within 12 weeks of its receipt.

As described in the Tavakoli et al. 2020 article (“Publishing in the Journal of Mental Health Counseling: A Guide for Authors”), we strongly recommend that authors attend to the following when preparing a manuscript for submission to the Neuroscience-informed Counseling section of JMHC:

  • Ground arguments and methodology in previously published basic primary science research rather than (or in addition to) translational secondary sources
  • Include examples of ways the neuroscience-informed ideas or interventions can be applied in counseling practice
  • Consider methodologies that evaluate intervention impact and outcome using physiological measures (e.g., heart rate, EEG, cortisol level, etc.)
  • Clearly describe the research questions, sampling methodology, survey instruments, and data analysis methods so that the reader could replicate the study
  • For quantitative manuscripts, attend to basic methodological considerations such as sample size and statistical power and addressing statistical assumptions (among others)
  • For qualitative manuscripts, attend to basic methodological considerations such as positioning, coding approach, and trustworthiness (among others)

Accepted Articles

Upon notification of acceptance, all authors are required to provide an unmasked article to the Editor and transfer copyright of the article to AMHCA. The copyright transfer is mandatory for all articles published in JMHC prior to publication. Authors will also receive a form to designate one author who will review the final article proof after copyediting and prior to publication.

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