Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Clinical Mental Health Counseling is a distinct profession with state and national standards for education, training, and clinical practice. Mental health counselors (MHCs) practice in a variety of settings, including community agencies, managed care organizations, hospitals, schools, substance abuse treatment centers, judicial systems, university counseling centers, private practice, and more. MHCs provide a full range of services, including assessment and diagnosis; psychotherapy with individuals, couples, families, and groups; treatment planning and utilization review; career counseling; substance abuse treatment; psycho-educational and prevention programs; and crisis management.

Unlike many of the other master’s level counseling subspecialties, clinical mental health counselors are eligible for licensing in all 50 states, including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam: a desirable option since licensure provides graduates with access to more, and better-paying, job opportunities, including private practice opportunities. Students relocating to states other than Hawaii after degree completion will need to confirm licensing requirements in those states.

Did you know?

Employment prospects for mental health counselors are strong in Hawai‘i and in other parts of the United States. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that a shortage of qualified counselors exists nationally, and expects the employment of mental health counselors to grow by 24 percent between 2008 and 2018, or much faster than the average of all occupations.

HPU’s MACMHC program serves students looking to become licensed as professional clinical mental health counselors, as well as those seeking to eventually proceed into doctoral programs.

The program design and training philosophy reflect the scientist-practitioner model of training in psychology: a primary training goal of the program is to produce clinicians who can integrate the science of mental health research with clinical practice.

The curriculum fulfills the academic requirements for state licensure as a Clinical Mental Health Counselor; and for counselor credentialing at the national level. In addition, the curriculum was developed to be congruent with first and second-year coursework required in APA-accredited doctoral programs in clinical psychology, to facilitate graduates’ ability to continue their education at the doctoral-level if desired.

At HPU, students in the MACMHC program benefit from small, seminar-type classes, academic rigor, and extensive engagement with and mentoring from faculty on an individual level. The core curriculum includes course work in theory, methods, and skills. During the second year of study, students complete 2 semesters of internship under licensed supervisors at approved community sites designed to provide them with counseling experience in community settings. Students who wish to prepare for future studies at the doctoral level can also elect to prepare and defend a Master’s thesis.

The program is accredited by the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC) for the period of September, 2015 through September, 2025. MPCAC emphasizes a scientist-practitioner model of training in psychology. Accredited programs must demonstrate a commitment to evidence-based practice and ethical and cultural competence.

Hawaii Pacific University is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

Our program fulfills educational requirements for state licensure in Hawaii and in most other states. Those wishing to practice as a LMHC in another state should research licensure requirements in the specific states you are interested in. Other states may refer to what are called LMHCs in Hawaii with different terminology, e.g., as Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs).

Students who complete the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling will:

  • Understand professional issues relevant to the practice of counseling and psychology; and demonstrate the ability apply and adhere to the legal and ethical guidelines of the counseling profession.

  • Demonstrate knowledge of and appreciation for individual differences and the diversity of social, cultural and environmental influences on human behavior, and apply multicultural competencies in practice.

  • View human behavior, problems, and concerns from a perspective of human growth and development.

  • Develop an understanding of career development and related life factors and the effects on an individual's mental health and lifestyle.

  • Demonstrate knowledge, skill and multicultural competency related to counseling needs in the clinical mental health setting: etiology, diagnosis, assessment, treatment, and prevention of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders.

  • Demonstrate theoretical and experiential understanding of the principles, issues, and dynamics of group work; and be able to ethically and competently conduct group counseling.

  • Be able to accurately interpret, evaluate and contribute to professional research literature, and to guide and evaluate counseling practices through research and program evaluation.

  • Demonstrate self-awareness, social and environmental responsibility, and a commitment to services and life-long learning.

Individuals wishing to apply to the MACMHC degree program at HPU are required to submit the following:

  • Application
  • Transcripts
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Resume
  • $50 Application Fee
  • GRE Quantitative and Verbal Scores

Internship

The internship experience builds on the knowledge and skills learned in academic courses. Students are placed in approved clinical community settings for 2 semesters for the purposes of applying theory learned in the classroom, developing clinical skills, and becoming familiar with the roles and responsibilities of mental health professionals. Students will work under the individual supervision of a licensed mental health professional at the site and also receive group supervision facilitated by a faculty instructor.

Convenient scheduling options

MACMHC courses are offered in the evenings to accommodate working students.

The MACMHC program consists of 60 semester hours of required coursework, typically completed over two full calendar years.