This is an exciting time to enter Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Nationally, it is a growing field. Professional counselors are joining the ranks of providers in Veteran’s Administration settings, included under Tricare coverage, and being admitted onto national and local managed care panels. Counselors are expanding their practice with veterans and their families, federal employees, and a range of human needs presented by individuals and families with insurance coverage. Professional counselors also work with people facing serious mental illness, chemical and other addictions, and members from every cultural and socioeconomic group.
Graduates from the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program earn a Master’s of Science and are eligible to pursue New York State licensure as a Mental Health Counselor (LMHC). The license allows employment in New York State certified Office of Mental Health (NYSOMH) clinics, PROS (Personal Recovery Oriented Services), inpatient, and other programs. It also creates access to most managed care provider panels and authorization to conduct one’s own private counseling practice.
In addition to completing the eight core (CACREP) (Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs) courses students complete course work in use of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), counseling in mental health settings, and supervision of counseling. Two semesters of internship in a mental health agency complete the student’s preparation to be ready to practice as a professional counselor upon graduation.
Application of counseling theory, diagnostic and other assessment procedures, treatment planning, interprofessional collaboration, crisis intervention, client advocacy, education and training, and case management are essential skills mastered by students who graduate with the MS in Mental Health Counseling.
Graduates need to earn 3,000 hours of post-master’s clinical mental health counseling experience to become eligible to sit for the New York State Licensed Mental Health Counselor exam (LMHC requirements). Students have the option to complete one additional course and to complete the required experience hours to become eligible to take the Certified Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor exam (CASAC-T). The Department of Counselor Education is NY State certified as an education provider through the Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) and Nationally certified as a an education provider through the National Association of Addictions (NAADAC). The CASAC-T, in combination with the Master of Science and licensure as a Mental Health Counselor, make it possible for graduates to work in a range of clinical settings that serve individuals with mental health, addictive, and co-occurring disorders.
Students who wish to become certified in school counseling in New York or to practice college counseling may wish to consider a Post Master's Bridge Program as well. Students who graduate with the MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling are eligible to sit for the NCC (National Certified Counselor) exam, which is recognized in all 50 states and internationally.
Department faculty members are leaders in the New York Mental Health Counseling Association and its Greater Rochester Chapter and in other state and national counseling organizations. Faculty are licensed mental health counselors (LMHC) and/or are nationally certified counselors (NCC). Faculty have worked as counselors, supervisors, and directors in mental health settings.
Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselors have found employment in the following settings in New York State and beyond, even in trying economic times:
· Licensed New York State Office of Mental Health clinic and related outpatient programs
· Licensed New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) clinic and related outpatient programs
· Veterans Administration Medical Centers and Counseling Clinics
· Private practice
· Crisis services
· County departments of mental health
· Jail, prison, and other forensic mental health clinics
· Eating disorders treatment services
· Other clinical and residential mental health settings
The Rochester, New York and surrounding areas of western New York have a substantial number of NYS Office of Mental Health and Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services licensed programs. There are also opportunities to work in mental health counseling agencies that are not licensed and in private practice arrangements in urban, rural, and suburban settings. Students in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program participate in various sites for internship experiences and employment upon graduation:
Unity Behavioral Health
Monroe County Jail
Unity Chemical Dependency
Alternatives for Battered Women
Catholic Family Charities of the Finger Lakes
Catholic Family Center Mental Health Clinic
Catholic Family Center Restart
St. Joseph’s Neighborhood Center
St. Joseph’s Villa of Rochester
Rochester General Behavioral Health
Strong Memorial Child & Adolescent Clinic
Canandaigua VA Medical Center
Clinical Mental Health, School, and College Counseling emphases participate in collaborations with other college departments so that students have the opportunity of having exposure to other professions and work settings. Collaborations include:
Health Sciences, Criminal Justice, Educational Administration, and Social Work; student practica take place in the college’s counseling center
Students are encouraged to participate in professional counseling organizations and to attend professional conferences at special student rates, such as the American Counseling Association and ACA-NY, New York Mental Health Counseling Association and its Greater Rochester Chapter, New York State School Counseling Association (NYSSCA) and its Western New York affiliate, and College Student Personnel Association of New York State.
Students have presented at national and state conferences with faculty and peers. Publications in peer reviewed counseling journals, e.g. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, Adultspan, and CSPA-NYS.
Dobmeier, R., Hernandez, T., Barrell, R., Burke, D., Catlin-Rakoski, S., Hanna, C., Luce, D., Rowe, J., & Siclare, M. (2011). Student knowledge of signs, risk factors, and resources for depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, and other mental health problems on campus. CSPA-NYS Journal, 11, 1, 103-122.
Kassirer, S., Delaney, N., Goldstein, L., Davis, M., Dobmeier, R., and Hernández, T. Scope of practice impact on employability in New York State: Director and counselor views. Journal of Mental Health Counseling (in press).
Dr. Robert Dobmeier is the Liaison for the Clinical Mental Health Counseling emphasis. A licensed mental health counselor, Bob is a member of the New York Mental Health Counseling Association and was awarded the NYMHCA Thomas W. Clawson Award for Service at their 2012 conference. He is also a member of the Greater Rochester Chapter of NYMHCA. Dr. Dobmeier is Co-President of the New York Association of Counselor Education and Supervision and western Regional Chair of ACA-NY. His research interests are mental health counselor scope of practice, professional counselor identity, and mental health problems among college students; also, co-occurring disorders and spirituality in counseling. Prior to coming to The College at Brockport, Dr. Dobmeier worked as a mental health counselor, supervisor, and director of clinical services in Erie County, where he subsequently administered an eating disorders program. Dr. Dobmeier served as director of the mental health department in Cattaraugus County from 2003 to 2007. Dr. Dobmeier has considerable experience counseling individuals with severe mental illness and co-occurring disorders. He currently chairs the Public Policy and Legislation Committee of the Association for Adult Development and Aging and is a member of the American Counseling Association, the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision, the Association for Ethical, Religious, and Spiritual Values in Counseling, and the Association for Assessment in Counseling and Education.