Mental health counselors treat mental and emotional disorders and promote mental health.
Mental health counselors begin the counseling process by learning about their clients. Gathering information about the client’s concern may include interviewing not only the client, but also school and employment personnel, appropriate medical personnel and family members and other relevant persons to determine the exact nature and possible solution to the problem.
Mental health counselors work in a variety of settings, such as state mental health agencies, state and private psychiatric hospitals, probation and correctional institutions, various private, community based counseling settings, university counseling centers, and private practice. Other settings include private industry, including insurance companies and other commercial enterprises, consulting firms, and various employee assistance programs.
A 60 semester hour master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, is generally considered the minimum educational requirement for CMH counselors. For most counseling positions, state licensure as a Professional Counselor or eligibility for licensure is required.
The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) accredits graduate programs in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. A minimum of two years of study, including both a supervised practicum and internship is required for the master’s degree. Master’s degree programs generally offer courses in human development, social and cultural foundations, the helping relationship, group counseling, lifestyle and career development, appraisal and assessment, research and evaluation, and professional orientation.