Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) Licensure and Scope of Practice in the State of Massachusetts
Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHCs) are qualified to provide services to individuals, groups, and/or families. They apply theories, principles, and methods of counseling and psychotherapy to define goals and develop plans of action aimed toward the prevention, treatment, and resolution of mental and emotional dysfunction and intra- or interpersonal difficulties. The practice of mental health counseling includes, but is not limited to, the assessment, diagnosis, and non-medical treatment of mental and emotional disorders, the application of psychoeducational techniques and measures aimed at the prevention of such disorders, and consultation to individuals, couples, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
Graduates of the Counseling Psychology (MA), Counseling Psychology & Community Mental Health (MA), Counseling Psychology & Couples & Family Therapy (MA), Counseling Psychology & Expressive Arts Therapy (MA), Forensic & Counseling Psychology (MA), Counseling Psychology & Global Mental Health (MA), and Counseling & Health Psychology (MA) will have fulfilled all the educational requirements to qualify for LMHC licensure in Massachusetts. Before they can apply for licensure. Before they can apply for licensure, however, they must complete an additional 3,360 hours (about two years) of supervised, post-master's work experience and pass the National Clinical Mental Health Examination ( NCMHE), a written examination administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). The postgraduate work experience mustconsist of direct, face-to-face clinical service with individuals, couples, groups, or families at sites or institutions that provide such services. Academic school counseling, vocational guidance services, industrial or organizational consulting services, teaching, and conducting research are excluded and will notcount toward the post-master's experience requirement. Applicants for licensure in Massachusetts will be granted permission to sit for the NCMHE only after the Board of Registration has approved their course of academic study.
Applicants for licensure in Massachusetts will be granted permission to sit for the examination only after the Board of Registration has approved their course of academic study.
Massachusetts LMHC Pre-Licensure Educational Requirements
Described below are the educational and pre-Master's clinical field experience requirements for Mental Health Counselor licensure in Massachusetts and examples of how these are addressed within the MA in Counseling Psychology curriculum and the MA in Forensic and Counseling Psychology curriculum.
|Massachusetts LMHC Pre-Licensure Educational Requirements||How addressed in the Counseling Psychology Department Curriculum|
|A) A minimum of 60 semester hours of graduate level academic courses in counseling or a related field This can be satisfied by a 60-hour Master's degree; a 48-semester hour Master's degree with an advanced certificate (e.g., CAS; CAGS); a second Master's degree or a Doctoral degree. All degrees must be from integrated, planned, and comprehensive programs within regionally-accredited educational institutions.||The MA Curriculum consists of 60 semester credit hours distributed within an organized and sequential program of study. William James College is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), a regional accrediting body.|
|B) A practicum (minimum of 100 hours)||Practicum I & II and connected seminars (360 hours)|
|C) An internship (minimum 600 hours)||Internship I & II and connected seminars (600+ hours)|
|D) One, 3-semester hour or four quarter hour graduate-level course in each of the following ten areas:|
|1) Counseling Theory, Practice, and Techniques||Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy|
|2) Human Psychology; Development; Behavior& Learning; and Personality Theory||Lifespan Development|
|3) Psychopathology; Abnormal Psychology; Abnormal Behavior; Etiology, Dynamics & Treatment of Abnormal Behavior||Adult Psychopathology|
|4) Social Cultural Foundations; Issues & Trends of a Multicultural & Diverse Society; Working with Minority Populations||Psychology of Diversity and Difference|
|5) Helping Relationships; Counseling Skills, Procedures, and Techniques||Practicum Seminar I: Helping Relationships I • Practicum Seminar II: Helping Relationships II: • Application of Counseling Theories & Techniques|
|6) Group Work, Dynamics, & Processes||Group Counseling and Psychotherapy|
|7) Special Treatment Issues, e.g., Pharmacology; Substance Abuse; School; Career Issues; Marriage & Family Treatment; Sexuality & Lifestyle Choices; Treating Special Populations||Substance Abuse Evaluation and Treatment
Courses in elective concentration areas
|8) Appraisal; Psychological Assessment & Techniques||Psychological Appraisal and Assessment|
|9) Research & Evaluation||Research and Evaluation in Psychology|
|10) Professional Orientation: Ethical & Legal Issues in Counseling||Professional Issues and Ethics|
|E) One or more elective courses in areas relevant to the knowledge and skills relevant to the practice of mental health counseling.||Three (3) elective courses, each worth three (3) credits. For specialty programs, directed courses substitute for the elective courses.|
Master's Level Licensure Outside of Massachusetts
Because master's level licensure requirements and scope of practice vary across states, students who believe they might wish to practice in states other than Massachusetts are advised to contact directly the licensing boards in the particular state(s) where they hope to practice for information about their licensing requirements. Some of this information is also available in the American Counseling Association's (2007) Licensure Requirements for Professional Counselors: A State-by-State Report. This publication can be ordered via the American Counseling Association's website www.counseling.org. Information regarding state licensure requirements can also be found on the website for the National Board for certified Counselors (NBCC) www.nbcc.org/directory.