MA in Mental Health Counseling and Behavioral Medicine
The Mental Health Counseling and Behavioral Medicine master’s degree is the only accredited program that is housed in a medical school. Our emphasis on behavioral medicine and neuroscience makes us unlike any other counseling program. The two-year intensive program prepares graduates for mental health counseling licensure in Massachusetts and in other states. The program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
Our two-year, 60-credit counseling program offers unparalleled clinical training opportunities in and around greater Boston, including placements at the Veteran’s Affairs, Boston Medical Center, college counseling centers, trauma counseling and refugee centers, integrated primary care, emergency departments, forensic settings and prisons, treatment centers for substance use and eating disorders, inpatient settings, and clinical research teams, to name a few. Students receive rigorous training in mental health assessment and diagnosis, counseling theory and application, and are exposed to a wide array of client populations and career paths. Our passionate and caring faculty and staff deliver a counseling curriculum that incorporates coursework in behavioral medicine, neuroscience, and psychopharmacology.
Each year, graduates of the Mental Health Counseling and Behavioral Medicine program are exceptionally well-prepared for employment in mental health counseling positions across the United States and internationally. Between 2016 and 2018, graduates who responded to our survey achieved the following outcomes:
- 100% passed the counseling licensure exam
- 87% worked in mental health counseling positions after graduation
- 81% of those who applied were accepted into and awarded scholarships within prestigious PhD doctoral programs
The Mental Health Counseling and Behavioral Medicine Program is a two-year Master of Arts program designed to meet the educational requirements for licensure as a mental health counselor in Massachusetts. We work closely with students to ensure that they meet requirements for licensure in states all across the country.
Graduates of our mental health counseling program have secured a wide range of positions, such as:
- Trauma counseling
- Counseling in an integrated medical setting
- Counseling individuals seeking to make health-related lifestyle changes
- School-based counseling for children and adolescents
- Counseling children and adults in a day treatment/partial hospital program
- Counseling sexual offenders in a corrections prison system
- Substance use counseling
- Private practice counseling
- Member of a clinical research team
- Director of an eating disorders residential facility
- Clinician in a college counseling center
We work hard to remain connected to our alumni and facilitate connections and networking between current students and alumni through LinkedIn and in-person events. Alumni offer advice about licensure in other states, the licensing exam, and pursuing other educational opportunities. Many of our alumni are in supervisory and/or administrative positions and often hire graduates from our program.
Since its inception, the Mental Health Counseling and Behavioral Medicine Program at Boston University School of Medicine has educated and trained hundreds of mental health counselors with a core academic and clinical curriculum aligned with professional standards recommended by the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) and American Counseling Association (ACA).
The mission of the Mental Health Counseling and Behavioral Medicine master’s degree program at Boston University School of Medicine is to provide exceptional academic and clinical fieldwork experience that emphasizes the core competencies of clinical mental health counseling with complementary training in behavioral medicine and neuroscience. The Mental Health Counseling and Behavioral Medicine program strives to be a national leader in counseling education by preparing future generations of clinical mental health counselors to use evidence-based practices in their work with diverse client populations and with a variety of health and mental health disorders.
Accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), the Mental Health Counseling and Behavioral Medicine program places great value on excellence, diversity, integrity, social justice, advocacy, collegiality, equality of opportunity, and interdisciplinary collaboration. Our program offers theoretical, experiential, clinical, and research-supported activities related to clinical mental health counseling with adults, adolescents, and children on the medical campus as well as in community settings. We accept and educate a broad range of outstanding and diverse students who seek careers as clinical mental health counselors.
Graduates of the Mental Health Counseling and Behavioral Medicine program generally become independently licensed and are trained to work in settings where traditional mental health counseling interventions can be informed by evidence-based practice, an understanding of neuroscience, and strategies to address physical illness and health promotion.
At the completion of the MHCBM Program, students are able to:
- Demonstrate the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values that uniquely embody clinical mental health counseling
- Apply counseling theories and methods derived from the mental health counseling field to assess, prevent and treat a variety of health and mental health conditions
- Integrate multicultural and diversity competence into their counseling practice
- Articulate how a behavioral medicine framework and neuroscience evidence can inform mental health counseling
- Establish that they possess the requisite knowledge to become licensed to practice mental health counseling within the behavioral healthcare workforce
The Mental Health Counseling and Behavioral Medicine program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Our counseling program is among a select few in the United States to receive an eight-year accreditation after the first attempt, and is only one of a handful of programs in New England accredited for clinical mental health counseling.
Benefits for students who graduate from a CACREP-accredited counseling program include the following:
- Some states require graduation from a CACREP-accredited counseling program for licensure
- Graduates from CACREP accredited counseling programs experience fewer barriers to transferring a license from one state to another
- National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) permits students from CACREP-accredited counseling programs to take their licensure exam while in graduate school
- US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recognizes only licensed counselors who graduated from a CACREP-accredited clinical mental health counseling program as approved providers
- National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) will soon require graduation from a CACREP-accredited counseling program in order for eligibility for national certification
- American Counseling Association (ACA) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) both identify CACREP as the sole accrediting body for counseling education
All counseling programs accredited by CACREP have successfully passed evaluation for content and quality standards set forth by the mental health counseling profession. Specific to curricular experiences, the Mental Health Counseling and Behavioral Medicine program requires completion of counseling coursework across eight core CACREP areas:
- Professional orientation and ethical practice
- Social and cultural diversity
- Human growth and development
- Career development
- Helping relationships
- Group counseling and group work
- Research and program evaluation
Our counseling program also provides education and training in knowledge and skills/practices across CACREP domains unique to clinical mental health counseling, including the diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders.
History of the Field
The American Mental Health Counseling Association defines Mental Health Counseling as:
“…the provision of professional counseling services involving the application of principles of psychotherapy, human development, learning theory, group dynamics and the etiology of mental illness and dysfunctional behavior to individuals, couples, families and group, for the purpose of threading psychopathology and promoting optimal mental health. The practice of mental health counseling includes, but is not limited to, techniques aimed at the prevention of such disorders, consolations to individuals, couples, effective psychotherapeutic treatment modalities.”
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts licenses Mental Health Counselors (LMHCs) who have met the education and training criteria set by the Allied Mental Health and Human Services Board of the Division of Professional Licensure. Licensed Mental Health Counselors are prepared to assist clients to cope with a wide variety of mental health problems and related concerns, some of which include:
- anxiety and phobias
- mood disorders
- child and partner abuse
- family conflict
- drug and alcohol use
- trauma recovery
- career issues
72 East Concord Street
Robinson Bldg, Suite B-212
Boston, MA 02118
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