About Licensed Mental Health Counselors
Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHCs) are highly qualified, Master's level, 3rd party reimbursable, cost-effective, public service oriented mental health practitioners. There are now over 4500 LMHCs in Massachusetts, working in private practice settings, and agencies, clinics, schools and hospitals, providing quality mental health services for consumers in the Commonwealth.
Licensed Mental Health Counselors are prepared to assist clients who are coping with a wide variety of problems and concerns. Licensed Mental Health Counselors specialize in many areas such as the emotional problems of anxiety and phobias, depression, child and spouse abuse, family conflict, eating disorders, sexual dysfunctions, drug and alcohol abuse, crisis intervention, job and career issues, personal growth, bereavement, and crime victimization.
Mental Health Counselors have been licensed as independent practitioners in Massachusetts since 1987. They are regulated by the Division of Registration, Professional Licensure, Board of Allied Health and Human Service Professions. LMHCs have rigorous clinical training which includes clearly specified, comprehensive, educational and field-training requirements:
• A Masters degree in counseling or a related field
• 60 credit hours in total
• 700 hours of pre-masters supervised clinical practicum and internship training
• 3360 hours of post-masters, supervised, clinical work experience prior to licensure
• A passing score on the National Clinical Mental Health Counselors Examination (NCMHCE)
• Training supervisors of LMHCs must have five years post-masters clinical experience
Importantly, LMHCs must continue their education and training to renew their license. They must obtain 30 hours of continuing education credits every two years. Additionally, to ensure the highest quality of care and protection for mental health services consumers, there are National Standards of Professional Practice and Ethical Standards to which LMHCs must conform.