University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
Clinical Mental Health Counseling MA
Forensic and Correctional Counseling Emphasis
Class of 2019
Hello Prospective Students!
I grew up in a small town in Central Massachusetts and earned my undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. During my undergraduate career I was involved in my school’s Psi Chi division and participated in many community-based activities. I am currently a part-time student in the Forensic and Correctional Counseling emphasis of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at William James College.
After completing my undergraduate degree I worked in the mental health field for two years before deciding to apply for graduate school. In the fall/winter of 2015 I began researching graduate programs that I would be interested in attending. William James College was one of the first schools to catch my attention. I enjoyed the small community and felt that I would be able to form close connections with those around me. Having attended a state university for my undergraduate education, it was important for me to find a school where I would not be “just another number.” I was also drawn to William James College because it is one of very few schools that offer a forensic/correctional counseling concentration that meets the requirements for licensure in the state of Massachusetts. This was one of the reasons why William James College was the only school that I applied to. Another reason that I chose to apply only to this school was because of the core values. William James College values experiential education, social responsibility, and personal growth. Through my search for schools this was the only school that prided itself on its core values.
As the first person in my family to attend college I found myself lost and confused at times when applying for this program. Throughout the process I was able to reach out to the Admissions Office and the Student Ambassadors for assistance and guidance. Each individual that I contacted was more than willing to assist me with the process making it less stressful. Leading up to the Interview Day, I was extremely nervous and unsure what to expect. However, the faculty and current students were very welcoming and created a relaxing environment.
As a part-time student my experience has been a little different than other students within the Forensics and Correctional Counseling concentration. Although I have taken many of the same classes as my fellow students, I will not begin my practicum until the fall of 2017. I chose to complete this program as a part-time student because I am also working full-time as a mental health caseworker. Although it can be difficult at times, it is possible to complete this program while working full-time if you have good time management skills.
Upon completion of my master’s degree at William James College, I hope to pursue a career working within a Jail Diversion program in the state of Massachusetts. The goal of these programs are to divert persons with mental illness, substance abuse, developmental disabilities, and other behavioral issues from the criminal justice system and toward appropriate services within mental health and substance abuse systems. There are several ways in which this can be accomplished, including cross training police and psychiatric emergency staff; providing clinical services when police intervene in disturbances involving emotionally or psychiatrically troubled persons; and providing appropriate referrals for mental health services. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to accomplish this before persons are arrested. But there are various points in which clinical intervention can be provided even after arrest. Many students that I have spoken with about their career goals have focused on working with persons once they have been arrested and convicted. My hope is to work with individuals before it gets to this point and to provide them with appropriate treatment.
The faculty and students at William James College are dedicated to working with underserved populations and ensuring that everyone receives the treatment that they deserve. I am grateful to be a member of such a community and to be able to continue my education at a school that is committed to diversity and difference. I would recommend that anyone looking into this school take the time to tour the building and meet with faculty and staff in order to see what the school is truly about.