Choose Excellence with a MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
The online MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at William James College is a 2.5- 3-year program depending on your term of entry. You’ll earn 60 credits. Most courses are 7-weeks and asynchronous for fall and spring. There are two required on-campus residencies during the summer and a weekly synchronous online course throughout Years II and III that is a component of your field education.
As part of our curriculum, your coursework is complemented throughout your master’s program with closely supervised clinical field experiences. One of the unique aspects of our MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is the practical, hands-on experience you’ll gain while you’re studying.
The field work takes place over 4 semesters beginning in the fall. As a student, you’ll have the opportunity to work as a practicum student and complete a minimum of 360 hours and as an intern and complete a minimum of 600 hours. You will gain knowledge and skills to enhance what you’re learning in the classroom, and to prepare you for your professional career.
Upon graduation, you will have fulfilled all the educational and pre-master’s field experience requirements to qualify for the license as a mental health counselor (LMHC) in Massachusetts and many other states.
We also offer an on-campus version of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. The core curriculum and field education requirements are similar. However, there are some differences. You can read about the on-campus MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.
What is Clinical Mental Health Counseling?
According to the American Counseling Association, “Professional counseling is a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals. Counselors work with clients on strategies to overcome obstacles and personal challenges that they are facing. The practice of professional counseling is regulated by the states and territories in the United States, defining the scope of practice for counselors.”
As a professional counselor, you can provide psychotherapy, assessment, consultation, research, supervision, education and training.
Choose Real-World Learning with Experiential Education
Field placement is a transformational aspect of our educational model. In your Practicum experience, you will begin by shadowing and observing mental health professionals. When you are ready, you will join in performing intakes, co-leading groups, participating in milieu therapy, and in some cases, conducting individual therapy sessions by the end of the second semester.
The Internship experience, which is a minimum of 600 hours prepares you to function as a clinical mental health counselor under supervision, carrying your own case load of individual clients, leading groups, conducting intakes, and using other modalities depending on the setting. This work is done under the supervision of a licensed approved field supervisor.
William James College has a dedicated Licensed Mental Health Counselor on our Field Education team to provide individualized help in finding practicum and internship placements. She works with online students to ensure all requirements are met for licensure in the state where you intend to practice. If you live locally, we have affiliations with organizations that provide services to different populations in Massachusetts. We also have some sites in New Hampshire and Rhode Island.
The field placement experience includes small Clinical Seminars with a Faculty Supervisor. There is a maximum of 8 students in each seminar course. The faculty supervisor maintains close contact with your site supervisor to ensure you have the best education and skills training on-site and in the classroom. This course is offered online and is synchronous each week, which means there is a dedicated class time to meet together.
"In a world where mental health services are increasingly needed, choosing this career means that you become an integral part of creating a better society. You will use your assessment and counseling skills to bring clarity to situations and to help others become empowered to change their own lives and the lives of others." —Nilda M. Laboy, PsyD, Chair, Counseling Department
Choose Impact with a Commitment to Social Responsibility
Our MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is rooted in social justice, respect for diversity, and multicultural perspective. Our approach is woven through our entire curriculum and training model. We recruit, train, mentor, and prepare professionals who are committed to delivering culturally responsive care to meet a growing need in an increasingly diverse society.
Our online counseling students also have the option to choose to participate in a co-curricular, college-wide concentration to enhance their studies and expand their learning. Available concentrations include Military and Veterans Psychology. This concentration affords students the opportunity to dedicate part of their training to gaining focused understanding to support a particular population, while also connecting with students and faculty across the college who share similar academic interests.
Students in the online MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling can participate exclusively in the general track. The areas of emphasis are not offered in the online program.
Choose Community Connectivity, Support and Student Life
The William James College community is supportive and connected. Our Dean of Students Office offers regular programming, in person and online, for all students, and oversees our Academic Resource Center. Student leadership and student groups create more opportunities for engagement, and we are proud to be home to the William James College Black Mental Health Graduate Academy, a community for Black students enrolled in our doctoral and master’s degree programs, that provides mentorship and networking opportunities.
Choose Mentorship and Personal Growth
As a student, you will engage with faculty through education, research, mentorship, and training. All students work closely with an advisor on course planning, personal and professional development, and career goals. In the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Master’s program, you will be assigned an advisor starting during orientation. Our advisors have only 12 students assigned to them to allow for a more personal experience for the student.
Our clinical mental health counseling faculty members, collectively, represent expertise across many domains of counseling including forensics, marriage and family therapy, health and behavioral medicine, diversity and multiculturalism, substance use and addictions, and more.
William James College faculty are practicing professionals who bring their clinical expertise and real-world examples into the classroom. They pair this experience with empirically based research, teaching you nuances, protocols, and interventions, that prepare you for your field work as a student and for your career as a future clinical mental health counselor.