Apply as a Transfer/Demotion applicant

$40.70-$51.45 hourly / $7,055.00-$8,918.00 monthly / $84,656.00-$107,016.00 yearly


Under direction, to be responsible for the day-to-day operation of a specialized treatment program on an assigned shift; to train, direct and supervise subordinate mental health counselors providing for the care, welfare, counseling and rehabilitation of clients; to oversee the activities of clients; and to perform other work as required.

Distinguishing Characteristics

Senior Mental Health Counselor is responsible for serving as the day-to-day supervisor over staff and program planning on an assigned day or swing shift in a specialized adolescent treatment program. This class is distinguished from the higher class of Mental Health Client Specialist, which is responsible for the assessing, developing service and coordination plans, and providing complex interventions. It is distinguished from the lower class of Mental Health Counselor II that is not responsible for supervision of other staff, day-to-day operations on a shift, or determination of the types of program activity.

Typical Tasks

Assign, direct and evaluate the work of subordinate mental health counselors providing for the care, welfare, counseling and rehabilitation of clients in a specialized treatment program; train new personnel, participates in the preparation of written performance evaluations and facilitates their development into fully functioning mental health counselors; consult with superiors and coordinates with staff, teachers, mental health clinicians, probation officers and others regarding the conduct, attitudes and special problems of clients; counsel clients individually and in groups and assist in the development of positive behaviors and social skills; assist in calming potentially violent situations; develop, schedule and coordinate the work and recreation activities of individuals and groups in the program; ensure the performance of specific program policies, procedures and routines; oversee the maintenance of logs and reports, including progress notes, including possible effects of medication on behavior; prepare clinical reports and maintain necessary records; make decisions on interpreting rules and consequences for clients, assist in determining which adolescents might join and remain in special rehabilitation programs; contact and work with outside groups and volunteers in developing and coordinating special programs for juveniles; oversees daily activities and development of life skills; assists patients in taking prescribed medication; leads off-site therapeutic activities; assists with intake; explain the purposes and procedures of the program; participates in four-month treatment plan review meetings; participate in multi-disciplinary clinical meetings with clients and families; maintain good discipline and instruct youth in acceptable behavior; take proper action for non-cooperating clients; remain alert for potential problems and take measures to reduce tensions and avoid possible violence; contact parents, probation officers, police and others as required; observe and facilitate family and significant other visiting; conduct program meetings and in-service training; attend and participates in staff, program and planning meetings; transports groups on therapeutic outing activities; transports individuals to hospitals, clinics and community facilities; may provide back-up for other classifications as required; may supervise volunteers and interns.

Employment Standards

Knowledge of:

Working knowledge of:

  • Techniques of group and individual counseling.
  • Basic interviewing principles and techniques.
  • Methods of behavior management and crisis intervention.
  • Safety requirements associated with treatment programs.
  • Factors that influence human behavior and constructive ways of coping.
  • Modern methods and techniques used in treatment programs for emotionally disturbed adolescents.
  • Hygiene, first aid and CPR.
Some knowledge of:

  • Community based drug, alcohol, counseling and gang intervention programs.
  • Basic elements of supervision and training.

Ability to:

  • Serve as supervisor to organize, plan, assign, monitor, train and evaluate the work of subordinate personnel.
  • Schedule and oversee the implementation of recreation and work programs on an individualized or group basis for youths.
  • Conduct individual and group counseling for adolescents with behavioral or emotional problems.
  • Recognize and respond effectively to emergency situations.
  • Understand and respond constructively to client behavior problems and gain their cooperation.
  • Supervise clients in a group setting.
  • Communicate with community groups regarding their potential for assistance to clients.
  • Prepare clear and concise written reports.
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships.
  • Stand and walk for extended periods of time for up to 12 hours.
  • Lift items weighing up to 35 pounds from floor level and 50 pounds from 12 inches above floor level, such as assisting in lifting a minor detainee, and carry items weighing up to 50 pounds.

Education and Experience:

Any combination of education and experience that demonstrates possession of the required knowledge and abilities is qualifying, unless otherwise specified. A typical way to obtain these knowledge and abilities would be:

One year of experience performing duties comparable to a Mental Health Counselor II in Santa Cruz County.

Special Requirements/Conditions:

License/Certificate Requirement: Possession of a valid California class C driver license. Possession of a valid First Aid and CPR Certificate issues by the American Red Cross.

Special Working Conditions: Exposure to: possibility of bodily injury; infections which may cause chronic disease or death; combative minor detainees; offensive odors; high noise levels; insect bites; dust and pollens.


Bargaining Unit: 41
EEOC Job Category: 04
Occupational Grouping: 69
Worker's Comp Code: 0285
Analyst: PTĀ 

CLASS: SL7; EST: 2/1/1997;