The Assumption College Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology program prepares you for a career as a mental health counselor, fully integrating Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) theory and practice in addressing common clinical problems like aggressive behavior in children, ADHD, depression, anxiety and substance abuse.
Why Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is So Crucial and Relevant for Today’s Clinician
CBT and other evidence-based treatments have repeatedly proven their effectiveness in clinical settings throughout the United States and around the world.
For a number of the most common mental health conditions, CBT has proven to be the most effective treatment. As a result, CBT is increasingly being recognized, promoted and reimbursed by federal healthcare-policy makers, insurance companies and HMOs. The domino effect is that employers are actively seeking skill-based counselors with practical cognitive therapy experience.
The M.A. Program is Built on a Set of Competencies in Five Major Domains:
1. Competence in developing an interpersonal relationship with clients and clinical supervisors
2. Competence in clinical assessment
3. Competence in implementing evidence-based interventions
4. Competence in evaluating psychological research in domains that contribute to the practice of mental health counseling
5. Ethical and professional conduct in relationships with clients, faculty, and colleagues
A Robust Curriculum
The 60-credit Master of Arts degree curriculum is structured so that students can complete the program in as few as two years. The program has three course levels: entry level courses which stress the counseling process and its application in field settings; general core courses which provide a broad background in scientific and professional foundations of mental health counseling; and advanced counseling courses. The curriculum includes 12 elective credits which allows you to pursue career interests and to gain in-depth training in a particular area.
The entry-level courses are designed to provide you with a broad overview of theories, models, and research findings that have shaped the field of Counseling Psychology. After you complete these entry-level courses, you will have a broad, comprehensive understanding of the field. The advanced counseling courses will build on this foundation by helping you develop and master specialized skills in cognitive-behavioral therapies.
The curriculum is organized so that full-time students can complete the required 19 courses, including practicum and internship, in either two or three years depending on when they begin taking courses. Full-time students may begin in the summer or fall semester. Part-time students may begin in the summer, fall, or spring semester. To complete the program in two years, however, you must begin during the summer semester in order to complete your oral exam during spring semester of your second year; oral exams are not conducted during the summer semester. The two-year full-time program requires five three-course semesters and one four-course semester.
We have organized the program so that it is possible to complete the degree on a 3-year schedule. With this plan, you will take 2 courses for 8 semesters and 3 courses for one semester.
Part-time students are welcomed in the program and you can take courses on a pace that fits your circumstances. Students have up to 7 years to complete all requirements for the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology.
Required Entry-level Courses Stressing Conceptual Foundations
PSY 500 - Abnormal Psychology
PSY 501 - Psychology of Personality
PSY 502 - Psychology of Development
PSY 504 - Psychological Measurement
PSY 600 - Counseling (Principles and Practices)
PSY 604 - Ethical Principles for Counselors
PSY 627 - Issues in Professional Practice
PSY 630 - Cultural Competencies in Counseling
PSY 650 - Research Seminar
PSY 790 - Professional Integrative Seminar
PSY 705 - Group Approaches to Counseling and Psychotherapy
PSY 708 - Cognitive Assessment and Psychotherapy
PSY 801 - Counseling Practicum
PSY 802 - Counseling Internship I
PSY 803 - Counseling Internship II
After satisfying these program requirements, you may select four elective courses. These electives allow you to develop specialized skills in working with particular client groups and in using specific approaches to counseling. You may also use your electives to gain in-depth expertise in a particular concentration. Concentrations include Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies and Child and Family Interventions. You can also fulfill the requirements for both concentrations in the 60-credit program without taking additional courses.; to do so, you must complete both PSY 711 and PSY 712.
More on Concentrations
The Counseling Practicum-Internship Sequence is comprised of three indivisible and consecutive courses: the Practicum, and Internships I and II.
Supervised Practicum and Internships are required for the Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology. Only degree candidates of Assumption College may enroll in these courses.
The Practicum (PSY 801) is a one semester summer course which immediately precedes two semesters of Internship (PSY 802 and 803). The Practicum requires a minimum of 100 hours at a clinical agency or school. Students must attend an informational meeting during the spring semester prior to the summer in which they enroll in their practicum. Minimal qualification for Practicum is satisfactory completion of PSY 500 (Abnormal Psychology), PSY 501 (Psychology of Personality), PSY 600 (Counseling Principles and Practices), and PSY 604 (Ethical Principles for Counselors).
Students may not terminate their Practicum placement or withdraw from the Counseling Practicum Seminar (PSY 801) except in extraordinary circumstances and only with the written permission of the Practicum-Internship Coordinator. Students are not permitted to re-enroll in the Practicum course without written permission of the Practicum-Internship Coordinator.
The Internship (PSY 802 and 803) is a two-consecutive-semester program which begins in the fall and concludes in the spring of the same academic year. Over the course of two semesters, students must complete a minimum of 600 hours at a clinical agency or school. Students cannot withdraw from or terminate their placement in the middle of the internship sequence except in extraordinary circumstances and only with the written permission of the Practicum-Internship Coordinator. Students are not permitted to re-enroll in the Internship courses without written permission of the Practicum-Internship Coordinator. To enroll in the Internship courses, students must have successfully completed Counseling Practicum (PSY 801) and two 700-level advanced courses.
Licensure is important for professional practice as a mental health professional and the Counseling Psychology Program is designed to prepare graduates to meet the educational requirements for licensure as a Mental Health Counselor in Massachusetts and most other states. For students who are interested in applying for licensure in other states, the Counseling Psychology Program faculty will provide assistance in locating and understanding the licensing regulations for those states. The faculty also will provide assistance in developing an educational plan of study that will allow students to compile a portfolio that can be submitted to the licensing board in other states.
The oral exam is required for all students in the Counseling Psychology program. The exam itself will be conducted in such a way as to maximize your opportunity to exhibit your ability to synthesize and integrate theory, practice, and research.