What is a Clinical Mental Health Counselor?
Clinical mental health counseling is a distinct profession with national standards for education, training, and clinical practice. Clinical mental health counselors are highly-skilled professionals who provide flexible, consumer-oriented therapy. They combine traditional psychotherapy with a practical, problem-solving approach that creates a dynamic and efficient path for change and problem resolution.
Clinical mental health counselors offer a full range of services, including:
Assessment and diagnosis
Treatment planning and utilization review
Brief and solution-focused therapy
Alcoholism and substance abuse treatment
Psychoeducational and prevention programs
In today's managed care environment, clinical mental health counselors are uniquely qualified to meet the challenges of providing high-quality care in a cost-effective manner. Clinical mental health counselors practice in a variety of settings including independent practice, community agencies, managed behavioral health care organizations, integrated delivery systems, hospitals, employee assistance programs, and substance abuse centers.
The American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) is the professional membership organization that represents the clinical mental health counseling professions. Clinical membership in AMHCA requires a master's degree in counseling or a closely related mental health field and adherence to AMHCA's National Standards for Clinical Practice.
Graduate education and clinical training prepare clinical mental health counselors to provide a range of services for individuals, couples, families, adolescents, and children. The core areas of mental health education programs approved by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) include:
Diagnosis and psychopathology
Psychological testing and assessment
Human growth and development
Social and cultural foundations
Lifestyle and career development
Supervised practicum and internship