Degree Requirements: Bachelor's degree
Completion Time: 3 years
Earned Credits: 60
Through an approach that focuses on the interconnectedness of all things, students will learn how to apply holistic and systemic perspectives to working with individuals or groups in a variety of settings, including:
Do you want to learn how to put your compassion to work, facilitating others’ healing journeys?
To do this effectively, we offer a training program that aligns with national training standards for the counseling program.
Saybrook’s hybrid online M.A. Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counseling Specialization is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). CACREP accreditation assures that the content and quality of our program has been evaluated and meets standards set by the profession. Graduates of CACREP-accredited programs are prepared with the skills and knowledge to work competently in the field of clinical mental health counseling.
Through a hybrid online learning format that includes 700 hours of field experience, our M.A. Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counseling Specialization program focuses on preparing students for career opportunities in the broad field of clinical mental health counseling. Guided by faculty with years of experience in the field, students can complete their degrees without relocating. In this low-residency program, students become part of a cohort, interacting online and meeting at the beginning of each semester at residential conferences. Throughout the semester, students join their cohort through our online Canvas learning system to receive instruction from and ask questions of faculty. This 60-credit program includes three semesters of fieldwork: Practicum, Internship I, and Internship II.
Primary Faculty Members
- Jennifer Preston, Ph.D., NCC, LPC, Counseling Department Chair
- Hridaya Sivalingam, Ph.D., NCC, LCMHC, Practicum and Internship Coordinator
- Dominque Avery, Ph.D., NCC, LPC, LMHC, MA.. Counseling Program Coordinator
- Kent Becker, EdD., LPC, LMFT, Program Faculty
- Jane Warren, Ph.D., LPC, LAT, LMFT, Program Faculty
Counseling faculty at Saybrook University are committed to preparing competent mental health professionals who inspire transformational change in individuals, families, and communities toward a just, humane, and sustainable world.
The Counseling Department has adopted a set of professional and personal qualities all students and faculty are expected demonstrate. These qualities are directly linked to the mission and core values of Saybrook University and inform the related program objectives. The program learning outcomes were born directly out of the department’s core values. All members of the counseling community are expected to embody these qualities inside and outside of courses to the greatest extent possible. Upon completion of the counseling programs, students will demonstrate the associated learning outcomes. Learn more about our M.A. Counseling program outcomes by reviewing our Student Handbook or Annual Assessment Report.
Graduates from this three-year (60-semester credit) program will have satisfied course requirements to apply for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC), or Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC). As different states have different licensing requirements, we work with students from the very beginning to help them qualify for licensure in the state where they wish to practice. Learn more about the program’s alignment with state professional licensure requirements.
Learn more about our M.A. Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counseling Specialization program through our Student Handbook.
Application to Saybrook University is open to students with a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution.
Our Financial Aid office is dedicated to helping identify the opportunities, understand the options, and make the choices that are right for you.
Saybrook University is accredited by the Senior Commission of Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), a regional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and by the state of California. More program information can be found in our academic catalog.
Annual Program Related Student Outcomes
The Counseling Department is pleased to share the following student outcomes, both to meet ongoing CACREP requirements and to share the success of our graduates. We began collecting this data with our first M.A. Counseling program cohort in spring 2015.
2017-2018 graduates: 11
Our current cohort completion rate is 80%.
Credentialing examinations pass rates (by student self-report):
- 82% of graduates have not yet taken the licensing exam for their state.
- 9% of graduates passed the exam on first attempt.
- 9% of graduates have not yet passed the exam.
Job placement rates:
- 82% are employed within the mental health field.
- 9% are currently seeking a position.
- 9% have delayed seeking a position due to family reasons.
More program information can be found in our academic catalog.
All new students in the MA Counseling program begin their studies with a one-time, virtual Orientation. The Orientations will be a combination of Canvas orientation and virtual meeting ahead of the academic term start date.
All students participate in two five-day-long required residential conferences per year (one at the beginning of the Fall semester and one at the beginning of the Spring semester) for the duration of the program. Activities during the required residential conferences are designed to expand further on the knowledge from coursework to practice clinical skills, and to participate in professional development through lectures, workshops, invited talks, roundtables, courses, and seminars as well as formal and informal meetings and discussions with faculty, advisers, and peers. Although students complete most of their courses through distance learning, full attendance at all residential conferences is an academic requirement, and their completion is important for successful academic progress as well as allowing students to meet with faculty and co-learners in a stimulating face-to-face environment.
In order to become licensed as a professional counselor, professional clinical counselor, or mental health counselor candidates must complete the degree, program, and/or coursework required by their chosen state. States also have licensing requirements beyond a program’s graduation requirements including: post-master’s supervised clinical experience, examination(s), background check, and application for license.
At the time of publication, the M.A. Counseling hybrid online program meets degree and coursework requirements in 43 states and Washington, D.C. Minor program modifications may be necessary to meet coursework requirements in Indiana, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Saybrook’s Counseling program does not meet licensure requirements of Kansas, North Dakota, Rhode Island, or Wisconsin.
The M.A. Counseling hybrid online program is aligned with the degree and coursework requirements of the California Board of Behavioral Sciences for registration and examination eligibility as a Professional Clinical Counselor (Business and Professions Code section 4999.33) Candidates for licensure must pass the relevant clinical examination and law and ethics examination. Additional post-master’s supervised experience is required and candidates must register with BBS as an APCC in order to accrue supervised experience. All candidates are also required to complete the application process, which includes fees and a background check. For further information about licensure in California, please visit the Board of Behavioral Sciences.
During the first semester, all Counseling students complete a curriculum map to licensure to assure that they complete the coursework requirements for their state. State professional licensing requirements are subject to change at any time. Students should contact the specific state licensing board directly to verify information regarding professional licensure. A list of state board contact information is available via the American Counseling Association.
COUN 2500 – Basic Counseling Skills
This course develops foundational clinical skills for professional work with individuals, couples, families, and groups. The course integrates humanistic theories and techniques with emphasis on self-exploration toward cultivating professional development of the counselor and psychotherapist. The course introduces foundations in clinical theory including stages of therapy, diagnostic assessment, and therapeutic intervention. The course focuses therapeutic practices including skills in developing the therapeutic container and alliance, empathic listening and reflection, unconditional positive regard, recognition of boundaries and therapeutic frame, exploration of self, sensitivity to diversity and multicultural issues, and capacity to embody an authentic sense of self as a counselor and psychotherapist. 3 credit(s)
COUN 2560 – Cultural Humility and Responsiveness
This course explores psychological approaches in social constructs and emphasizes the following factors in individual and family development: language, acculturation, economics, race, class, gender, sexual orientation, sociopolitical factors, child-rearing practices, family structure, religious traditions, cultural values, and attitudes. The course focuses clinical issues of cultural competence in the context of ethics, laws, and regulations that define cultural awareness in counseling and psychotherapy. 3 credit(s)
COUN 8153 – Internship 1
This is the second of three required 3-unit courses that continue the field placement training. Both the approved field placement and the internship course enrollment are required. Internship 1 is designed to provide students with a model for approaching crisis and critical issues in clinical work, while also providing an arena in which to compare and contrast field placement experiences with other students. Internship 1 focuses on professional development important in issues in cultural and spiritual diversity. Students share from their internship experience, drawing on their internship reflections, individual and group exercises, and regular on-line threaded discussions. Students develop case formulations to recognize issues in assessment, evaluation, and diagnosis, and review treatment models, interventions, and therapeutic outcomes. 3 credit(s)
“The Saybrook University CACREP accredited MA Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is committed to training counselors for work with clients within their broader social and cultural context, and with a full appreciation of the inseparable nature of spirit, body, and mind.”
—Jennifer Preston, Ph.D., NCC, LPC, Department of Counseling Chair