Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology (Specialization: Clinical Mental Health Counseling)
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 CounselingPsychology.org.
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 Hawaiʻi at Hilo is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
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 Hawaiʻi 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 Hawaiʻi. See the mental health counselor webpage at the Hawaiʻi 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 Hawaiʻi 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.
If you have any questions about our program, we would like to hear from you. Please email one of our core faculty directly:
MA Program in Counseling Psychology
Department of Psychology
University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
200 West Kāwili Street
Hilo, HI 96720
See historical photos of the program's graduates, since 2007.