• Health Psychology

    This program is specifically designed to prepare the next generation of mental health professionals to work in the Patient Centered Medical Home.

Health Psychology and Counseling Master of Arts (MA)

The Master of Arts in Counseling and Health Psychology prepares graduates to function as independent professional mental health counselors, in both behavioral health and medical settings. Massachusetts has quickly become one of few states in the country leading health care reform. Specifically, there is a movement toward using integrated behavioral health models within primary care and other medical settings.  Through a series of several courses, our graduates will gain a solid background in Health Psychology, Behavioral Medicine interventions, and Integrated Behavioral Health in medical settings. Students will learn to function as members of interdisciplinary teams and in the treatment of chronic illness and other behavioral health and medical specialties. The Counseling and Health Psychology program utilizes the bio-psycho-social-spiritual frame to understand health and human behavior. With the understanding of the Mind/Body connection, the mental health professional will be exposed to Behavioral Medicine interventions including evidence-based approaches to care, motivational interviewing, brief treatment models, biofeedback, hypnosis, and other relaxation techniques. Graduates of this program will have fulfilled all educational requirements to qualify for licensure in the state of Massachusetts as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and develop basic competencies in being a key member of a team, ready to conduct brief assessments, consult with colleagues from other health care disciplines, and treat patients and families in both brief and extended models of care .

A Letter from the Vice President for Academic Affairs

Stan BermanThank you for considering this exciting new degree program at William James College. Two recent actions, one from the U.S. federal government and one from the profession of medicine have coalesced to create new professional opportunities in mental health. The American Medical Association has been promoting the concept of the Patient Centered Medical Home, PCMH, for the last several years. This model promotes the idea of the primary care physician as the patient’s ongoing health provider and partner in health. A key component of this model is the integration of several health professionals, including the behavioral health specialist into primary care. This model is within the blueprint of the 2010 federal legislation, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act(PPACA). In other words, the federal bill also promotes the idea of integrated, collaborative health care teams. States are exploring how to best implement the Patient Centered Medical Home. In our state, Massachusetts, for instance, the Secretary of Health has mandated a working committee to construct a model for integrating behavioral health into primary healthcare in much more involved and collaborative manner. We believe that there will be new employment opportunities for Licensed Mental Health Counselors, as well as other mental health professionals in community health centers, in HMO practices and in larger group practices in the private sector.

This new practice opportunity would mean that licensed mental health counselors would work on a collaborative team, co-interview patients with physicians and nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants, do triage and consultation and offer direct mental health services. The focus is on both mental health difficulties as well as assisting patients manage their health (exercise, nutrition, smoking cessation) and cope with challenging illnesses including heart disease, cancer, neurological illnesses, asthma etc.  Students in our program will also study Clinical Health Psychology in order to be prepared for this component of their work.

The Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology is a 60 credit program that takes two year full time to complete, including the summer between Years I and II.  Students can also elect to pursue a three year part time program. Students will spend Year I in a 12-16 hour a week practicum learning foundational skills in mental health counseling, In Year II, their 20-24 hour a week internship will be in a placement where they can train in health psychology. Our graduates will be eligible to sit for the examination to become licensed mental health counselors. They can then pursue the new job opportunities in health psychology and/or seek employment in other mental health fields, as they will also be well trained as generalists.


Stanley Berman, PhD
Vice President for Academic Affairs

Career Outlook

Employment Opportunities for MA Counseling & Health Psychology Graduates and LMHCs

Our graduates will be among the first group of professional counselors trained to specifically work effectively in health psychology settings. We anticipate that our graduates will be quite competitive to land good jobs in this emerging area with their background in primary care and health psychology with a public health perspective. Our graduates will also be well trained generalists as mental health counselors

Mental Health Counselors work in a wide range of settings. Among these are community mental health centers; hospitals and clinics; residential treatment enters; substance abuse treatment facilities; college and university counseling centers; employee assistance programs; managed behavioral health care organizations; government agencies; elder care facilities; and faith communities. Once they have earned licensure, they can also pursue independent practice. There are many employment opportunities in the Boston area and throughout the United States for qualified master’s level clinicians. Once they have completed their post-master’s work experience requirements and have passed the national licensing examination (known as the NCMHE), mental health counselors can also pursue independent practice. In Massachusetts, licensed mental health counselors are known as LMHCs. 

Advantages of a Graduate School Education at William James College

94% of Graduates receive jobs in their field within 6 months of graduating

Job Outlook: Percent (%) Change in Employment for 2014-2024 Bureau of Labor Statistics
Marriage and Family Therapist Up 15%
Mental Health Counselor Up 20%
Clinical, Counseling & School Psychologists Up 19%

US News & World Report Best Social Service Jobs US News Best Jobs Logo
School Psychologist No. 1
Marriage and Family Therapist No. 16
Mental Health Counselor No. 33

Median Salaries* Data from 2009 APA Salary Survey and US News & World Report

American Psychological Association Logo
US News Best Jobs Logo
Clinical Psychologist $87,015
School Psychologist $67,760
Mental Health Counselor $40,850
* Licensed mental health professionals have the opportunity for additional income through private practice.

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