Mental Health Counseling (Licensure)

The doctoral program in Mental Health Counseling provides professional preparation in applied mental health counseling. The Mental Health Counseling doctoral program is designed to meet the educational requirements for a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) in Massachusetts, and similar professional designations in other states. Students gain experience addressing mental health issues, human dynamics and social justice for a variety of individual or group cases, institutions or work places. The program is based on a balanced sequential scientist/practitioner model and emphasizes the interrelatedness of theory, research, and practice, and offers choices to meet the individual needs of students.

Those who are interested in pursuing certification or licensure will generally meet academic, experiential, and other requirements depending on the type of certification/licensure sought, however, each state or jurisdiction may have additional requirements.  Students are responsible for ensuring that they meet all state licensing requirements as promulgated by the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Allied Mental Health Professionals or by the appropriate board in the state in which they wish to practice. For specific information, your state or provincial certification/licensing board should be contacted.

Learning Outcomes for Mental Health Counseling
  • Students will develop competencies in lifespan development and psychopathy assessment, diagnosis, case conceptualization, and treatment planning and will apply that knowledge to the practice of mental health counseling and research.
  • Students will develop competencies in individual/cultural differences, and ethical and legal standards in order to provide ethical and culturally sensitive services to culturally diverse populations and organizations and will apply that knowledge to the practice of mental health counseling and research.
  • Students will develop competencies in counseling and psychotherapeutic interventions, treatment modalities, clinical skills, remediation and consultation and will apply that knowledge to the practice of mental health counseling and research.
  • Students will develop written and oral competencies in scientific methodology and the application of these competencies to psychoeducational and clinical practice and other scholarly activities and will apply that knowledge to the practice of mental health counseling and research.
  • Students will develop personal and interpersonal competencies and skills essential for mental health counselors to conduct themselves in a competent and professional manner and will apply that knowledge to their practice of mental health counseling and research.

66 Credit Program Requirements

Core Course Requirements

  • PSY8217 Counseling Theories, Techniques, Practice and Consultation
  • PSY8225 Family, Marriage and Couples Counseling and Consultation
  • PSY8227 Crisis Intervention and Trauma Informed Care
  • PSY8307 Career Development and Lifestyle Appraisal
  • PSY8317 Group Counseling Theories and Practice
  • PSY9418 Psychometric Tests and Measurement for Individuals and Groups
  • PSY8355 Systems and Theories in Counseling and Psychology
  • PSY9410 Substance Use Disorders and Addiction Counseling
  • PSY8507 Issues and Ethics in Professional Orientation
  • PSY8607 Clinical Skills in Treatment Modalities and Consultation
  • PSY8517 Psychopharmacology and Substance Abuse
  • PSY8340 Racial, Multi-Cultural and Social Bases of Behavior
  • PSY9220 Bivariate and Multivariate Applied Research Methods and Evaluation
  • PSY9949 Studies in Human Lifespan Development
  • PSY9950 Studies in Psychopathology Assessment, Diagnosis and Intervention

Practicum and Internship Requirements

(Students required to complete only the practicum and internship in their area of study)

  • PSY8219 Practicum in Mental Health Counseling
  • PSY8518 Internship in Mental Health Counseling I
  • PSY8519 Internship in Mental Health Counseling II*

Dissertation Requirements

(Continued Enrollment fee available for those who have not completed dissertation after 2 semesters)

  • PSY9951 Dissertation in Mental Health Counseling I (6 Credits)
  • PSY9952 Dissertation in Mental Health Counseling II (6 Credits)

Total required Credits: 66

*Some states may require more internship hours than others. Each student must check the requirements as stated by their state’s licensure board.

Additional Program Notes

Students must pass the Comprehensive Qualifying Exam (COMPS) before starting dissertation. One semester of practicum and two semesters of internship are required for the degree.  Total number of hours for practicum and internship is dependent on the type of licensure the student is pursuing.  It is the student’s responsibility to contact their specific state or provincial certification/licensure board for further information. Transfer credits may not be not considered for licensure track due to licensure requirements in Massachusetts. Students with a Master’s degree in a related field and seeking licensure must complete a minimum of 66 credits as determined in consultation with the program director.

Course Descriptions

This course examines the major theories, principles and techniques of mental health counseling and the application of such theories to counseling settings. This includes the examination of the influence of psychoanalytic, interpersonal/social, cognitive and behavioristic theories on present therapeutic techniques. A number of treatment modalities and styles of counseling are evaluated and the relationship between the nature of the current DSM diagnoses and the effectiveness of each approach is discussed. Coursework, classroom discussion and role play are used to translate theoretical understanding into effective counseling behavior for a clear understanding of applying theoretical perspectives to work with clients and for consultation with individuals and families. PREREQUISITE: None

This course emphasizes diversity in relation to the theories, issues, and trends related to multicultural counseling and family consultation. The focus is on the impact of diversity on psychological, physical and social health and growth. Coursework covers studies of the attitudinal and behavioral patterns of diverse people based on life stage, religious beliefs and rituals, sexual orientation, gender identity, racial identity, ethnicity, cultural beliefs and rituals, familial dynamics, socioeconomic status, and intellectual and physical differences. The students will gain the necessary knowledge and skills to provide competent counseling and consultation to diverse individuals, groups and families. PREREQUISITE: None

This course examines the theoretical bases of the counseling processes, mental health counseling techniques, and their therapeutic applications in relation to the understanding and practice of counseling skills necessary for the mental health counselor and psychologists. This course will provide students with a number of treatment modalities and techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy, and psychoanalysis to integrate the theories of treatment into specific situations that the counselor or psychologist will confront in actual practice. Case studies and simulations of therapeutic interventions will support the application of theories to practice. Topics will range from working with clients individually and multiple system membership to consultation around behavioral/emotional issues in a variety of clinical settings. The consultation model will be considered as it relates to counselors and psychologists within a multicultural model. PREREQUISITE: PSY5347

The focus in this course is on the practical problems involved in real-world research. Topics covered include the nature of causal inference, validity of instruments and design, experimental and quasi-experimental field-based research approaches, design development, and problems involved in the statistical analysis of data obtained from complex design.

This course encompasses the understanding of substance use disorder within the criteria of the current DSM and addiction as a disease within the medical model.  Students will be introduced to contemporary theories on the social, physiological, psychological and emotional components of addiction. The appropriate mental health counseling treatment modalities for addiction and co-occurring disorders will be reviewed and practiced through an understanding of the stages, effects and processes of addiction. This course will cover preventions, interventions and outreach strategies related to addiction and recovery counseling. Medically assisted treatment will also be discussed.

This course covers the major theories of human lifespan development in relation to the well-being of individuals and mental health counseling. Students will engage in a comprehensive study of major theories of physical, cognitive, affective, and social development and their application to mental health counseling and psychological interventions. Students will relate developmental theory to real life developmental issues and to the understanding of learning and personality development. Through case studies and review of literature, students will understand the nature of the developmental needs and potential issues of individuals and families at each developmental stage of life. PREREQUISITE: Permission of program director.

This course covers major theories and principles of psychopathology and intervention in relation to mental health counseling. Students will engage in a comprehensive study of identification and diagnosis of psychopathology as well as mental health treatment planning for abnormal, deviant, or psychopathological behavior. This course includes the study of assessment of psychopathology and therapeutic strategies for treatment of crisis, short-term mental health issues and long-term mental health issues. Students will study the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) for the criteria of diagnoses, in relation to the intake, assessment, treatment planning and counseling. Case studies will be examined to address the physiological, biological and environmental factors related to psychopathology across the human lifespan. PREREQUISITE: Permission of program director.

The purpose of this second semester of practicum is to continue to provide experience for the student in counseling practice and supervision totaling a minimum of 100 hours. The student is offered an opportunity to apply skills gained from coursework to counseling practice through peer role plays and laboratory experience in individual, group, couple, and family interactions. Students may also choose to complete their practicum experience at a conforming clinical field experience site. The student works under the direct supervision of an approved licensed mental health counselor or equivalent. Periodic campus meetings are held with the college supervisor. Additional requirements may apply. Student is responsible for meeting any regulatory requirements for licensure. PREREQUISITES: Advanced standing and permission of the department chair

Supervised experience in psychotherapeutic and assessment procedures in an approved clinical facility. Includes seminars and case conferences and must be supervised by a licensed clinical psychologist. The internship may be selected after the student has completed 60 credit hours of doctoral work and involves 16 to 20 hours a week. On-campus meetings are also required as a key part of the supervision. Additional requirements may apply.

The second semester of post-practicum supervised curricular experience totaling a minimum of 600 hours of supervised practice. Includes supervised field experience in counseling, psychotherapeutic techniques and assessment procedures in an approved clinical facility supervised by an approved licensed mental health counselor or equivalent. On-campus meetings are also required as a key part of the curricular experience. Includes seminars and case conferences. The internship may be selected after the student has completed the majority of doctoral coursework and involves 16 to 20 hours a week. Additional requirements may apply. Student is responsible for meeting any regulatory requirements for licensure. PREREQUISITES: Advanced standing and permission of department chair

The first semester of the dissertation process. Part I of the dissertation process includes the completion of the dissertation proposal in accordance with the program manual and approval of the dissertation committee and program director.

PREREQUISITE: Completion of all course requirements and permission of the program director. Limited to candidates for the Doctor of Mental Health Counseling degree who have successfully completed the comprehensive courses PSY9949 and PSY9950.

The second semester of the dissertation process. Part II of the dissertation process includes the completion of the dissertation and passing the oral defense of the dissertation in accordance with the program manual and approval of the completed dissertation and oral defense by the dissertation committee and program director.

PREREQUISITE: Completion of all course requirements and permission of the program director. Limited to candidates for the Doctor of Mental Health Counseling degree who have successfully completed the comprehensive courses PSY9949 and PSY9950.

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