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).
Unique Program Attributes
Our program is unlike any other counseling program in the country for a variety of reasons, including:
- Only program in the United States that is both located within a nationally-ranked medical school/academic teaching hospital and accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
- Unparalleled number and types of clinical training opportunities in and around greater Boston
- Caring and dedicated transdisciplinary faculty and staff
- All core teaching faculty are active clinicians, providing them with direct, up-to-date exposure to the “real world” of clinical service
- Many of our teaching faculty are also actively engaged in research and contribute to the scientific understanding of a variety of issues.
- Curriculum that incorporates coursework in behavioral medicine, neuroscience, and psychopharmacology
One of New England’s Only CACREP-Accredited Mental Health Counseling Programs
In August 2014, the MHCBM Program was notified by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) that the program was granted accreditation through October 2022. Our 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.
Why Choose a CACREP-Accredited Program?
Benefits for students who graduate from a CACREP-accredited program include the following:
- Some states require graduation from a CACREP-accredited program for licensure
- Certifications and licenses are more portable and reciprocal across states
- US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recognizes only licensed counselors who graduated from a CACREP-accredited program as approved providers
- National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) will soon require graduation from a CACREP-accredited 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 counselor education
All programs accredited by CACREP have successfully passed evaluation for content and quality standards set forth by the mental health counseling profession.
Why Choose a Counseling Program?
Mental health counselors are trained to assess, diagnose, and provide psychotherapy to clients with a variety of mental health-related issues, including depression, substance use, trauma, and others. Mental health counselors provide individual, couples, family and group counseling to individuals across the lifespan, including children, adolescents, parents, adults, and older adults. Mental health counselors often conceptualize client problems from a developmental lens, and incorporate wellness-based lifestyle interventions into their treatment approach. They practice in a variety of settings, including community agencies, integrated healthcare, hospitals, private practice, and substance use treatment centers.
Counselors may practice independently (i.e., without supervision) once they have obtained a professional license in the state where they practice. Licensure requirements vary among states, and are roughly equivalent for clinical social workers and marriage and family therapists (e.g., a master’s degree, post-graduate supervised experience, passing a licensure exam).
Mental health counseling is unique from other related professions in that counselors 1) tend to take a flexible person-centered approach that meets the unique needs of the client they are working with, 2) tend to emphasize and respect the importance of multiculturalism and cultural background when working with clients, 3) tend to place emphasis on counselor development during clinical supervision in addition to client-related issues.
What is Behavioral Medicine?
According to the Society of Behavioral Medicine, it is the “interdisciplinary field concerned with the development of and integration of behavioral, psychological, and biomedical science knowledge and techniques relevant to the understanding of health and illness, and the application of this knowledge and these techniques to prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation.”
Our mission is that our clinical mental health students graduate from our program with a foundational knowledge in common medical disorders, medical terminology, and strategies clinical mental health counselors can utilize to prevent and treat medical illness. The behavioral medicine degree program prepares graduates to work in a collaborative fashion with multidisciplinary teams, to communicate credibly with medical providers and to provide clients with support in preparation for medical tests and procedures, diagnostic trajectories, and supportive care. Our graduates learn to incorporate assessment techniques that may assist in detecting symptoms attributable to medical disease and to attend to the biopsychosocial model throughout the course of care.
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 the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as granted by the Massachusetts Board of Allied Mental Health Professions. We work closely with students to ensure that they meet requirements for licensure in states all across the country.
Boston Medical Center
The Mental Health Counseling and Behavioral Medicine program is located on the campus of Boston University Medical Center. Boston Medical Center is a large safety-net hospital with a mission of providing “exceptional care without exception”. The Medical Center is one of the most diverse hospitals in New England, both in student-body and patient population, and is a site for many of our clinical placements for the Mental Health Counseling and Behavioral Medicine students.
Living in Boston
Boston University Medical Center is in the heart of Boston’s diverse and thriving South End community, a community including large numbers of young professionals, people of color and an LGBT community. It is also well known for its restaurants and at the center of the “foodie” culture in Boston.
Home to more than 35 colleges and universities and over 150,000 students, Boston is a dynamic city to explore with many venues for entertainment appealing to graduate students. Contrary to popular perception, Boston is one of the more ethnically diverse cities in the U.S. including large numbers of ethnically identified African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and Hispanic-Americans. The majority of linguistic minorities, immigrants and refugees in New England also live in the Metropolitan Boston area. Our diversity creates a vibrant and supportive context in which to be a graduate student in counseling.
Boston is rich in history, culture, sports, and innovation, including historical monuments and world-class theatre, art, music and dance. With so much to do here, Boston has earned the nickname of “The Hub” (it is also known as “America’s Walking City” and “Beantown.”) Boston also has many of the best sports teams in the United States—although some of you may beg to differ!
72 East Concord Street
Robinson Bldg, Suite B-212
Boston, MA 02118