Master's Degree in Mental Health Counseling
Each year, BGSP admits up to 20 promising students who share the School’s commitment to deepening insights into human behavior and the unconscious forces that drive us.
In addition to the training provided by typical Master’s programs in Mental Health Counseling, BGSP’s program provides students with training in powerful psychodynamic methods. As a result, our graduates are able and confident in their abilities to work with a wide range of patients in a variety of settings.
We take great pride in the contributions of our Mental Health Counseling alumni to the lives of the clients they treat as well as to their profession.
BGSP Offers More
Graduates are eligible to sit for the NCMHCE (National Clinical Mental Health Counselors Exam) and to apply for licensure as a Mental Health Counselor in Massachusetts and many other states. All states require that licensees graduate from a regionally accredited school, and BGSP is regionally accredited through the New England Commission on Higher Education. There are 7 states that may also require additional accreditation from a professional counseling accreditation board (CACREP). Massachusetts does not require this additional accreditation. Please let us know if you are interested in licensure in another state.
Here, they see you as a person, not a test score.
The admissions process at BGSP gives you a good feel for what the school is like. Rather than asking you to submit a GRE score, they ask you to come and interview with three faculty members. Even before I was admitted, the professors genuinely wanted to know me as a person. As a student, they helped me leverage my personal strengths and background toward becoming the best clinician I can be.
-Ranjana Mayar, Master's of Mental Health Counseling Graduate, 2019
Every student has a different experience.
There are no lecture halls at BGSP. Classes are small and the faculty teach to the students in the room. You learn by exploring your own life, so you gain a deeper understanding of theories and techniques than any text book or lecture can provide.
-Cyriesse Hall, Master's of Mental Health Counseling Graduate, 2019
Our small class sizes and individualized, experiential approach to learning help students get beyond theoretical understanding to the effective, practical application of therapeutic techniques.
In this program, students:
- Engage in a comprehensive program of coursework in mental health counseling
- Learn about human development over the lifespan
- Study a broad range of counseling theories and clinical methods
- Explore social, cultural, and biological issues related to counseling
- Learn to evaluate, diagnose, and treat people experiencing a wide variety of concerns
- Understand ethical issues in treatment
- Gain a psychodynamic perspective on human development, psychopathology, and clinical work
- Observe and understand their own emotional life as a precursor to understanding others
This program is ideal for the student interested in practicing as a licensed mental health counselor with a psychodynamic understanding. Graduates are qualified to apply for advanced standing in BGSP’s Doctor of Psychoanalysis program.
Course of Study
Coursework includes theories of counseling, basic and comparative psychoanalytic theory, developmental studies, psychopathology, assessment, diagnosis and treatment planning, ethics and professional practice, and group dynamics.
The first clinical experience is the 400-hour practicum, conducted in a fieldwork setting where students sit with people experiencing psychosis and extremely regressed mental states. This experience, unique to BGSP, provides the opportunity to learn how to develop skills in establishing a therapeutic relationship with people experiencing these states. The practicum and accompanying fieldwork seminar and supervision foster an ability to read the person's contacts, responses to stimulation, and symbolic communications while observing the emotional responses induced in oneself. These skills are basic to working with people at all levels of functioning. Students continue meeting with the three people seen in the practicum placement beyond the 100-hour counseling license requirement, in order to have a long term experience with this population.
After a semester in the practicum placement, the student begins the internship experience, placed for 15 hours a week in a clinical setting serving adults, children or adolescents, for a total of 600 hours. Group supervision is provided at BGSP; individual supervision with qualified supervisors takes place at BGSP and on site. Placements include clinics, day treatment programs, residential settings, schools, early intervention programs, and substance abuse programs.
Each student participates in a total of 70 hours of training analysis, working one-on-one with an analyst throughout the program. The training analysis is an important part of the educational process. It deepens the student’s understanding of course material through personal experience and helps the student tolerate the feelings aroused by study of the human mind. It offers a fuller appreciation of one’s own emotional dynamics, increases the student’s access to all emotional states, and increases self-understanding, which is particularly critical for understanding others. Students complete at least seventy hours of training analysis, typically meeting weekly.
- Successful completion of the 66 credit curriculum
- 400-hour clinical practicum
- 600-hour internship
- 70-hours of training analysis
- Fieldwork case presentation and paper indicating sufficient understanding of case dynamics
Please refer to the program catalog for exact graduation requirements.
Time to Program Completion
Students can complete the program in four semesters and one summer if they study full time.
Students beginning in the Spring semester will require an additional semester because of internship scheduling. Students with high curiosity, openness to new experiences, and tolerance for ambiguity tend to proceed more successfully through the program. Some students postpone the internship until a third year in order to reduce the workload in years one and two.
Qualifying for Licensure
The Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling provides students with the education and clinical experience needed at the pre-master’s level to meet licensing requirements in the state of Massachusetts. Post-master’s requirements include an additional 3360 hours of clinical experience in an approved setting providing additional hours of supervision, as well as successful performance on the licensing exam. While these requirements are similar to those of other states, applicants and students should check the requirements of the state in which they intend to work. For information on Massachusetts licensing, click here.