If you enjoy working with people and helping people progress, then you might want to think about becoming a Massachusetts’ counselor, a specialty field in psychology. While this field is accessible to even new graduates, you should know that there are licensing requirements that must be met before you can legally begin working.
Facts about Massachusetts Counseling
Technically, all mental health counselors must prove themselves before the Board, and according to requirements listed in the 262 CMR lists of qualifications. Licensees must be approved supervisors, and indicated that they five years of full-time experience or in some cases, part time postgraduate experience in a clinical setting. The two official titles describe are an LMHC, or Licensed Mental Health Counselor or a CCMHC, which stands for Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor.
When it comes to education, most counselors will have a master’s degree specializing in a related field, such as independent clinical practice, marriage, family therapy, and several others. A medical degree with a specialization in psychiatry would also suffice. Naturally, a higher-level doctorate degree would also suffice, provided it is in the field of rehabilitation counseling, psychiatric nursing or educational psychology. The applicant must also pass the NCCMHC exam and successfully finish a Supervised Clinical Experience. Your point of contact would be the Board of Allied Mental Health Counselors and Human Services Professions, which oversees all counselors, therapists and educational psychologists. One of the most important requirements is that of the direct client contact experience, which puts the new graduate with real clinical counseling cases, either in a group setting or an individual setting.
Continuing Education in Counseling
There is always news happening in this career path, and even if you are not required to take continuing education courses, for your own legal protection and benefit, keeping apprised of the news would be imperative. There is always new information coming out regarding methods, counseling theories, human development findings in science, learning theory, family therapy, and even the proper understanding of mental or emotional illness. More is being written lately on dysfunctional behavior and how best to treat families or individuals who are stuck in a pattern.
Two of the biggest news items in the media today, which do affect the whole profession, are attempts to ban conversion therapy being used on children against the wishes of GLAD, and with no scientific evidence in support of the issue, as well as the unusual case of a girl who was kicked out of summer camp at Camp Emerson in Hinsdale for a kiss. The parents of the girl are suing the camp because of the accusations of the counselor, as well as the fact that there is no law against this particular expression. This is an interesting case to watch to see how the rights and or limitations of counselors are being interpreted outside of clinical settings.
This is a career that pays well and helps shape the lives of other people, young and adult alike, for a more prosperous life. Now is the time to get started with a bachelor’s degree program, so you can work your way up!