Using the Millon College Counseling Inventory to Assess Student Mental Health Needs

By Millon, Theodore; Strack, Stephen et al. | Journal of College Counseling, Fall 2008 | Go to article overview

Using the Millon College Counseling Inventory to Assess Student Mental Health Needs


Millon, Theodore, Strack, Stephen, Millon-Niedbala, Carolyn M., Grossman, Seth D., Journal of College Counseling


Students visiting college counseling centers experience a broad range of complex and sometimes severe concerns that are often not adequately addressed by existing clinical measures. In response, the Millon College Counseling Inventory (MCCI;T. Millon, S. N. Strack, C. Millon, & S. Grossman, 2006) was specifically designed for use with contemporary college populations. The authors introduce the MCCI, briefly explain its development, discuss its utility for everyday use in counseling centers, and offer a fictional case illustration.

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The Millon College Counseling Inventory (MCCI; Millon, Strack, Millon, & Grossman, 2006) is a multidimensional self-report questionnaire designed specifically to measure and describe the presenting concerns, personality dynamics, and mental health needs of contemporary college and university counseling center clientele. In this article, we first introduce the MCCI and briefly describe its development. Next, we explain how it might be used by counseling professionals in college settings as an intake tool, as a means to gauge the progress of counseling, and as a way to measure outcomes. We then provide a case example illustrating its use with a college counseling client.

Assessing College Student Mental Health Needs

Effective counseling in contemporary mental health settings depends on accurate assessment to make sense of client needs (Hinkle, 1994; Seligman, 2004). Furthermore, with today's emphasis on brief counseling methods and eclectic and solution-focused psychotherapy models, efficient assessment of client needs has become even more essential (Budman & Gurman, 1983; Mahalick, 1990; Neukrug, 2001). In particular, professionals in college and university counseling and mental health centers are seeing greater numbers of clients, many of whom are perceived as experiencing complex concerns, as presenting with ambiguity regarding their potential for more severe pathology and potential for harm to self or others, or as having acute needs that may require more immediate intervention (Archer & Cooper, 1998; Bishop, 2006; Bishop & Cohen, 2000). College counselors are also often required to make important service decisions in the face of limited or competing resources and to demonstrate accountability (Bishop, 1990; Gallagher, 1996; Heppner et al., 1994; Stone & Archer, 1990). Correspondingly, effective counseling responses, good clinical decision making, and demonstrating accountability are all enhanced by useful clinical assessment tools.

At the same time, to date, counseling centers have been inconsistent in their use of clinical assessment tools. For example, Gallagher, Gill, and Goldstrohm (1998) reported that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed., text rev.; American Psychiatric Association, 2000) diagnostic system was used by less than 30% of centers. Likewise, formal psychological testing traditionally has not been widely used as a core assessment strategy in college settings (Archer & Cooper, 1998). When psychological testing is used, counseling center staff typically rely on single-construct measures, such as a tool for identifying an eating disorder or posttraumatic stress disorder (Mowbray et al., 2006), or they use mainstream instruments, such as the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 (Butcher, Dahlstrom, Graham, Tellegen, & Kaemmer, 1989) or the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory--III (Millon, Millon, Davis, & Grossman, 2006). Single-construct measures are useful for the narrow domain they are designed to assess but do not identify a client's full range of presenting concerns. Mainstream instruments, although appropriate for some college counseling applications, are designed with a more general clinical/psychiatric focus that may not adequately address typical college student needs. Furthermore, in some cases, these instruments are very time intensive to administer. …

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