The CACREP Accredited Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program prepares students for service as Licensed Professional Counselors. Its graduates find employment in public or private human service agencies and in private counseling practice. Clinical mental health counselors are distinguished among the helping disciplines by their balanced focus on wellness and psychopathology. Their preparation and professional practice emphasize the needs for prevention, advocacy, and positive social change in communities in addition to individual and group counseling intervention with individuals, groups, and families. Clinical Mental Health Counselors are more likely to reach out to those in need than to wait for those in need to come to them. Consequently, they are often a first and critical point of contact between troubled community members and the helping services that they require. Courses within the Clinical Mental Health Counseling curriculum fulfill all classroom and clinical instruction requirements for licensure as a Professional Counselor in Virginia and certification by the National Board of Certified Counselors. Through the provision of carefully selected course material, experienced faculty, and substantial opportunity for supervised practice, the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program provides students with both the skills and confidence to perform their challenging and vital role.
Completion of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program requires a total of 60 semester hours of classroom and clinical course work that can be completed in two academic years. Accredited by CACREP (the Council on Accreditation for Counseling and Related Educational Programs), the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program adheres to a rigorous set of standards for both classroom and clinical instruction. Clinical instruction consists of a required 1-semester (100 clock hour) Practicum and a 2-semester hour (600 clock hour) Internship in which students work as clinical mental health counselors in a field placement of their choosing under the close supervision of faculty and field site supervisors.
An important strength in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program is its faculty. In addition to their own histories of academic excellence, the Counseling Faculty have rich and diverse experiences in both contemporary counseling practice and counselor education. All are engaged in ongoing research and professional writing to broaden the knowledge base in their specialty areas and to improve counseling services to communities generally. The small size of the Program affords students extensive opportunity for interaction and collaboration with faculty around coursework and clinical experiences.
The Masters Degree is the entry-level degree for professional counseling; thus, we accept students from a variety of academic backgrounds, and previous counseling experience is not required. Students can attend the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program on a full or part-time basis. Upon admission to the Program, a unique Program of Study is developed for each full-time or part-time student outlining the specific content and sequence of course work that will be completed for the Master of Education degree. Opportunities for financial assistance in the form of graduate assistantships at Counseling Program, School of Education, and College levels are available for full-time students.
Licensure as a Professional Counselor in Virginia
At this time in Virginia, licensure as a Professional Counselor requires a master’s degree in counseling, 60 hours of graduate course work in counseling, a 3400-hour, post-master’s clinical residency, and successful completion of the licensure examination. The program of studies for all of the M.Ed.degrees in Counseling at William & Mary includes all the required areas of classroom and clinical instruction needed for licensure as a Professional Counselor in Virginia and most other states.
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