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MASTER OF ARTS IN COUNSELING PSYCHOLOGY (Specialization: Clinical Mental Health Counseling)


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Program Description

The Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology is a 60 semester hour program that is designed to provide multicultural, student-centered training in counseling psychology with a specialization in clinical mental health counseling. The program is offered through the Department of Psychology.

Counseling psychology as a psychological specialty aims at facilitating personal and interpersonal functioning across the life span with a focus on emotional, social, vocational, educational, health-related, developmental, and organizational concerns. Through the integration of theory, research, and practice, and with sensitivity to multicultural issues, this specialty encompasses a broad range of practices that help people improve their well-being, alleviate distress and maladjustment, resolve crises, and increase their ability to live more highly functioning lives. Counseling psychology is unique in its attention both to normal developmental issues and to problems associated with physical, emotional, and mental disorders. Here are two websites that contain more information about the field of counseling psychology: Society of Counseling Psychology and

Our program is nationally accredited by the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council through its Masters in Psychology Accreditation Committee for the period of March 14, 2011 through March 1, 2021. MPCAC accredits academic programs in psychology and counseling, which promote training in the scientific practice of professional psychology and counseling at the master’s level. Accredited programs must demonstrate a commitment to science-based training in all aspects of psychology and counseling and to enhancing services to the consumer and the public at large. The University of Hawaii at Hilo is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology program is to provide multicultural, student-centered, graduate training in clinical mental health counseling. The program is designed to train students to become knowledgeable, skillful, ethical counselors who will be able to help people in need of professional counseling services. For students who may wish to pursue a doctoral degree in psychology later, the program provides training in advanced statistics and research methodology. It also offers opportunities for students to gain research experience by participating in ongoing projects and/or by initiating their own research projects or a Master’s Thesis. The program assigns a high priority to meeting the educational and personal needs of its students and is based on the scientist-practitioner model.

The objectives of the counseling program are:

  • To provide students with the knowledge and skills to counsel clients from different ethnic, socio-economic, and educational backgrounds.
  • To provide students with a broad understanding of general counseling theory and practice, within a scientist-practitioner framework.
  • To provide students with the knowledge of the social, psychological, health, and economic problems that residents of Hawai’i face, along with the professional skills to help people cope with and manage these problems in the future.
  • To offer research training opportunities to students who are interested in pursuing a doctoral degree in counseling/clinical psychology or a related field.

Licensure as a Mental Health Counselor

Our program specializes in mental health counseling and our curriculum meets the educational requirements for licensure (as Licensed Mental Health Counselor) in the state of Hawai’i. See the mental health counselor webpage at the Hawai’i Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs for additional information. If you want to practice as a LMHC in another state, you 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). The American Counseling Association maintains a web page with links to all of the state licensing boards for mental health counselors.


Contact Us

If you have any questions about our program, we would like to hear from you. Please email one of our core faculty directly:

Bryan S. K. Kim, Ph.D., Professor and Director of MA Program in Counseling Psychology


B. Christopher Frueh, Ph.D., Professor


Steve Herman, Ph.D., Associate Professor  


Charmaine K. Higa-McMillan, Ph.D., Associate Professor


Chad P. Johnson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor


Sunyoung Kim, Ph.D., Associate Professor


Mailing address:

MA Program in Counseling Psychology
Department of Psychology
University of Hawai’i at Hilo
200 West Kawili Street
Hilo, HI 96720

The UH Hilo's MA Program in Counseling Psychology is accredited by the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC) through its Masters in Psychology Accreditation Committee for the period of March 14, 2011 through March 1, 2021.

Scroll down to see pictures of the program's graduates.

The class of 2015 at graduation (May 16th, 2015)

From left to right: (top row) Kerith Edwards, Lawrence Cariaga, Erick Kim, Rachel Searls, Kelly Broussard, Andrea Lim; (bottom row) Kit Hill, Faith Payne, Britney Kunihiro, Gosia Krepps, Janelle Au, Shaye Kimura


The class of 2014 at graduation (May 17th, 2014)

From left to right: (top row) Saengthong Douangdara, Alexander "Acky" Unwin, Eve D'Vincent, Maria Martin, Alexander Jardon (bottom row)  Danielle Zanderbergen, Dayna Gaitan, Xiaohui Yang, William Karino, Michele Newman, Christen Zulli, Sandra Osborne, Emily Low

The class of 2013 at graduation (May 11th, 2013)

From left to right: Elizabeth Askren, Alexander Stitt, Nancy Johnson, Melissa Bartholomew, Elizabeth "Libby" Sisson, Rebekah Bernard, Stacy Ippolito, Isaac Vigilla, Abbie Fisher

The class of 2012 at graduation (May 12th, 2012)

From left to right: (top row) Maggie Price, Hilary Leasure, Emily Koester, Ashley Matsui, Lyssa Sakamoto, Kassandrea Patrick, Yardley Duran, Brittany Klarin, Reece Urutani (bottom row) Mihana Diaz, Kau'i Trainer, Ashley Usita, Gretchen Swick

The class of 2011 at graduation (May 14th, 2011)

From left to right: Yardley Duran, Kahea Like, Rex Like, Elsha Tivera, Meg Davis, Brittany Klarin, Meghan Chin, Natalia Kupriyanova, Cynthia Flack, Cheryl Jorgensen, and Misti Walker.


The class of 2010 at graduation (May 2010)

From left to right: Shari Tresky, Shannon McNiece, Kailoa Harman, Kau'i Ontai, Keola Birano, Anjala Dalton, Kahea Wright, Laura Pacheco, and Maureen Riley.


The class of 2009 at graduation (May 2009)

From left to right: Clarissa Fernandes, Monica Adams, Kyoko Nozaki, Athena Gray, Aimee Deliramich, Aulii Canencia, Lily Chan-Harris, and Eddie Johns.


The class of 2008 at graduation (May 2008)

From left to right: Tamia McKeague, Emi Ueki, Darissa Kekuawela, and Olga Archambeau (not pictured is Lovina Moveao). 


The class of 2007

From left to right: Pansy LindoMoulds , Tiffany Freitas, Penelope Rodriguez, Virginia White, Karen Crowell, Christine Park, Laura Acevedo, Erica Godoy.