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Mental Health Counseling


Mental health counseling programs prepare people to counsel patients with personal problems, conflicts, or emotional crises.

In mental health counseling programs students learn to guide patients to improved mental health. Students also learn counseling and interviewing skills. In addition, they learn observation and testing methods

Mental health counseling program include topics such as:

Mental health counseling programs prepare people to work in:

Students can concentrate their course work on different age groups, such as children, adolescents, or adults.


Many colleges and universities offer graduate degrees in mental health counseling or social work. A master’s degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor’s degree. Doctoral (PhD) degree programs usually require two or more years of study beyond the master’s degree.

See schools that offer this program.

Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. You need a bachelor's degree, good grades, and good test scores.

Typical Course Work

Graduate Program Courses

This graduate program typically includes courses in the following subjects:

Graduate programs that lead to a doctoral degree typically include:

Nearly all mental health counseling programs require students to complete an internship. In addition, you must accumulate a certain number of hours of clinical observation. Often you "shadow" a professional counselor while she conducts therapy sessions with patients. When you have accumulated a certain number of hours of observation, you can begin counseling patients yourself. Students are supervised at all times by professors and licensed counselors.

During clinical hours and internships, you continue learning about counseling techniques and psychological problems. You also learn firsthand what it's like to be a mental health counselor. You learn to apply your course work to real-life situations. You can also apply your experience to your professional work after you complete your degree.

Things to Know

Most states require graduates from marriage and family counseling programs to become certified or licensed to practice. Usually you are required to work for two years under the supervision of a certified marriage and family counselor after you finish your degree, and pass a written and oral exam.

Marriage and family counselors often work varied hours, such as evenings and weekends, to accommodate their patients' schedules.


East Side Area

Central Washington University

King-Snohomish Area

Antioch University

Bastyr University

City University of Seattle

Northwest University

Saybrook University LIOS Graduate College

Seattle Pacific University

Seattle University

Spokane Area

Eastern Washington University

Gonzaga University

Whitworth University

Tacoma Area

University of Puget Sound

West Side Area

Saint Martin's University

Western Washington University