By the Division of Professional Licensure

2.01: Preface

To qualify for licensure as a mental health counselor, pursuant to the requirements of M.G.L. c. 112, § 165, an applicant must provide evidence satisfactory to the Board that the education and clinical field experience requirements listed in 262 CMR 2.01(2) have been met by the applicant.

All licensed mental health counselors are charged with having knowledge of the existence of 262 CMR and are required to practice mental health counseling in accordance with its provisions.

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2.02: Definitions

Approved Supervisor. An approved supervisor is a mental health practitioner who meets the qualifications listed under 262 CMR 2.02: Approved Supervisor(a), (b), (c), (d) or (e); all of these approved supervisors must have five years of full time or the equivalent part time postgraduate clinical mental health counseling experience. 262 CMR 2.02: Approved Supervisor(f) refers only to college supervision of students in practica and internships; site supervisors for practical internships must meet one of the 262 CMR 2.02: Approved Supervisor(a), (b), (c), (d) or (e). Currently approved supervisors who do not meet the standards must meet these requirements by July 1, 2004.

(a) An LMHC; a currently licensed mental health counselor.

(b) A CCMHC; a Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor who holds a currently valid certificate.

(c) a licensed mental health practitioner who:

  1. has a master's degree in social work and is licensed for independent clinical practice;
  2. has a master's degree in marriage and family therapy;
  3. has a doctoral degree in clinical, counseling or developmental psychology or a medical degree with a sub-specialization in psychiatry.

(d) A licensed mental health practitioner who has:

  1. a master's or doctoral degree in rehabilitation counseling, pastoral counseling, psychiatric nursing, developmental or educational psychology, or other related fields (see 262 CMR 2.02: Related Field);
  2. successfully completed a Supervised Clinical Experience; and
  3. achieved a passing score on the NCCMHC licensure examination.

(e) An out of state supervisor who is a licensed mental health practitioner (in states that have licensure in their discipline) and who meets the qualifications for licensure for independent clinical practice in Massachusetts in his/her respective discipline.

(f) For the specific purpose of the college supervision of students in a practicum or internship, an approved supervisor may be a mental health practitioner who:

  1. holds a teaching or supervisory position in a recognized educational institution which trains clinical mental counselors; and
  2. holds a graduate degree in mental health counseling or a related field.
  3. Site supervisors for practica and internships must meet the qualifications for 262 CMR 2.02: Approved Supervisor(a), (b), (c), (d) or (e).

Board of Allied Mental Health Counselors and Human Services Professions. The Board at the Division of Professional Licensure that regulates and governs the licensing of Mental Health Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists, Rehabilitation Counselors and Educational Psychologists.

CCMHC. Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor credential issued by the National Board for Certified Counselors, Inc.

Clinical Field Experience Sites. Clinical field experience sites for pre and post masters field experience training include public and private health and mental health institutions that have integrated programs for the delivery of clinical mental health counseling, and have established provisions for appropriate supervision.

If the clinical field experience is an internship see also 262 CMR 2.02: Internship Sites.

NOTE: Neither individual nor group private practice experience will be accepted as a qualifying clinical field experience.

Contact Hours. The unit of measurement of organized learning or supervision, lasting a minimum of 50 consecutive minutes.

Contract Supervision/Contract Supervisor. Individuals or sites offering clinical mental health counseling services may contract with a supervisor to provide supervision for a fee or pro bono. The contact supervisor must have a minimum of five post-graduate years of experience in clinical mental health counseling and must be either a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC), or a CCMHC. A contract supervisor must have a written agreement with the individual and the site regarding the supervision to be provided. Written notice of the agreements with a contract supervisor must be provided to and maintained on file by appropriate personnel at the site. Quarterly evaluations of the supervisee must be completed by the contact supervisor and reviewed and maintained on file by appropriate personnel at the site.

Direct Client Contact Experience. Direct/face to face clinical counseling experience with individuals, groups, couples and families in clinical field experience sites. Such experience does not include vocational guidance services, academic school guidance counseling, industrial or organizational consulting services, teaching or conducting research.

Emergency Contact (on-site). In school settings where individuals are working as school adjustment counselors, the school principal, a guidance counselor or a licensed educational psychologist may serve as the emergency contact. In certain health care facilities where mental health counseling is provided, a licensed rehabilitation counselor, a licensed psychologist, a psychiatric nurse practitioner or a designated clinical administrator may serve as the emergency contact. The emergency contact does not replace the need for a clinical supervisor.

Full Time. 35 hours per week, 48 weeks per year. The full time practice of clinical mental health counseling includes at least ten hours per week (28.5%) of direct/face to face client contact experience clinical work with individuals, groups, couples or families.

Graduate Level Course. A course consisting of graduate level academic work. For required courses, a graduate level course is a minimum of three semester credits or four quarter credits. For electives, courses may be one or more semester/quarter credits.

Group Supervision. A regularly scheduled meeting of not more than ten mental health practitioners under the direction of an approved supervisor for a period of at least one contact hour. "Peer" supervision groups will not be considered to be qualifying supervision for these purposes.

Individual Supervision. A meeting of not more than two mental health practitioners with an approved supervisor for at least one contact hour.

Internship. A distinctly defined, post-practicum, supervised curricular experience that totals a minimum of 600 clock hours. An internship is intended to enable the individual to enhance clinical mental health counseling skills, and integrate professional knowledge and skills appropriate to the individual's initial professional placement. An internship provides an opportunity for the individual to perform all the activities that a regularly employed staff member in the setting would be expected to perform.

Internship Sites. Appropriate internship sites are described in the 262CMR 2.02: Clinical Field Experience Sites; in addition internship sites must provide an emergency contact on-site. This does not take the place of the required clinical supervision by an approved supervisor on-site or a contract supervisor. In the case where the internship is conducted in the intern's place of employment, the internship site must provide additional activities and supervision clearly delineated from the intern's usual work activities.

Licensed Mental Health Counselor. A person licensed or eligible for licensure under M.G.L. c. 112, § 165.

Licensure Examination. The examination for licensure as a mental health counselor shall be the National Clinical Mental Health Examination (NCMHCE) administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors, Inc. (NBCC).

Mental Health Counseling. The rendering of professional services to individuals, families or groups for compensation, monetary or otherwise. These professional services include: applying the principles, methods, and theories of counseling, human development, learning theory, group and family dynamics, the etiology of mental illness and dysfunctional behavior and psychotherapeutic techniques to define goals and develop a treatment plan of action aimed toward the prevention, treatment and resolution of mental and emotional dysfunction and intra or interpersonal disorders to all persons irrespective of diagnosis. The practice of mental health counseling includes, but is not limited to, assessment, diagnosis and treatment, counseling and psychotherapy, of a nonmedical nature of mental and emotional disorders, psychoeducational techniques aimed at prevention of such disorders, and consultation to individuals, couples, families, groups, organizations and communities.

NCMHCE. National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination.

NCCMHCE. National Certified Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination.

Part Time. For the purpose of meeting the post-graduate clinical field experience requirement, part time practice of mental health counseling must complete the number of required hours (3360) within a six year period. 50% of part time work must be direct/face to face client contact experience and there must be bi-weekly case consultation or supervision.

Practicum. A distinctly defined, pre-internship, supervised curricular experience that totals a minimum of 100 clock hours over a minimum of a full academic term. A practicum provides for the development of clinical mental health counseling and group work skills under supervision. A practicum may take place on the academic campus or in a field setting.

Recognized Educational Institution. An educational institution licensed or accredited by the state in which it is located which meets national standards for the granting of a master's or doctoral degree. "National standards" shall be deemed to include, but not limited to, approval by the United States Department of Education.

Related Field. An accredited degree in counselor education, creative arts therapy, community mental health, adjustment counseling, rehabilitation counseling, educational or developmental psychology, psychoanalysis, or other field determined by the Board to be a related field.

Supervised Clinical Field Experience. Supervision by an approved supervisor while in the practice of clinical mental health counseling services.

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2.03: Licensure Eligibility Categories

A candidate for licensure as a mental health counselor must meet the requirements of 262 CMR 2.03(1) or (2):

(1) CCMHC (Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor). A candidate applying under this category must provide satisfactory evidence that the candidate is currently a CCMHC in good standing with the NBCC (National Board for Certified Counselors);

(2) Non-CCMHC. A candidate who does not have current CCMHC certification must:

(a) meet the education/degree completion requirements described in 262 CMR 2.04. 205, and 2.06;

(b) meet the Post Master's clinical mental health field experience and supervision requirements described in 262 CMR 2.07; and

(c) achieve a passing score on the NCMHCE (National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination). Scores on the examination remain valid for a period of five years from the date the examination was taken.

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2.04: Education and Degree Requirements: Pre-July 1, 1998

A candidate must meet all of the following requirements prior to July 1, 1998 in order to be eligible for licensing;

(1) Degree Requirements. A master's degree in mental health counseling or a related field. The degree must be from a recognized, accredited educational institution.

(2) Educational Requirements. In addition to the master's degree, or as components of that degree, candidates must met the following requirements:

(a) 48 graduate semester hours

(b) A practicum (a minimum of 100 hours)

(c) An internship (a minimum of 600 hours)

(d) Required Courses. Total required courses = three. Successful completion of one graduate level course (three semester hours or four quarter hours) in each of the following content areas listed in 262 CMR 2.04(2)(d)1. through 3.:

  1. Counseling Theory, Practice and Techniques
  2. Human Psychology, Development, Behavior and Learning, and Personality Theory
  3. Psychopathology, Abnormal Psychology, Abnormal Behavior, Etiology Dynamics and Treatment of Abnormal Behavior

(e) Elective Courses. Total elective courses = Six. Successful completion of a minimum of six graduate level courses in the content areas listed in 262 CMR 2.04(2)(e)1. through 10.:

  1. Social and Cultural Foundations, Populations and Cultures
  2. Group Dynamics and Development
  3. Appraisal/Assessment/Crisis Intervention, DSM-111R or DSM-1V
  4. Research and Evaluation
  5. Professional Orientation Ethics/Legal Issues
  6. Psychopharmacology for non-medical professionals
  7. Addiction Disorders
  8. Marriage and Family/Human Sexuality and Lifestyle Choices
  9. Psychotherapeutic Techniques, Treatment and Modalities
  10. School counseling/Career and Lifestyle Choices
<>(f) 25 hours supervision by an LMHC, or by a Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor (CCMHC).

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2.05: Education and Degree Requirements: Post-July 1, 1998

(1) Degree Requirements. A minimum of 60 semester hours of graduate level academic courses in counseling or a related field; this includes a minimum 48 semester credit Master's degree. If the candidate does not have a minimum 48 semester credit Master's degree, other options are:

(a) a Master's degree with an advanced certificate (e.g. CAS, CAGS); or

(b) a second Master's degree; or

(c) a Doctoral degree.

All degrees/certifications must be from integrated, planned and comprehensive programs; and must be from regionally accredited institutions of higher education.

(2) Education Requirements. As components of the degrees/certificates listed in 262 CMR 2.05(1) or in addition to them candidates must meet the following requirements:

(a) 60 graduate semester hours; if the candidate has the minimum 48 semester credit master's degree, they need 12 credits in addition; if the candidate does not have a 48 semester credit master's degree, see 262 CMR 2.05(1), degree requirements.

(b) A practicum (a minimum of 100 hours)

(c) An internship (a minimum of 600 hours)

(d) Required Course Areas; A minimum three semester hour or four quarter hour course must be taken in each of the ten areas. Candidates must successfully complete a minimum of ten graduate level courses, covering the content areas listed in 262 CMR 2.05(2)(d)1. through 10. Each course can be used to fill only one requirement.

  1. Counseling Theory. The theories of psychotherapy and counseling, theories of personality, treatment and prevention modalities.
  2. Human Growth and Development. Understanding the nature of human development.
  3. Psychopathology Identification, diagnosis of and treatment planning for abnormal, deviant or psychopathological behavior.
  4. Social Cultural Foundations. (e.g.) Issues and trends of a multicultural and diverse society; working with minority populations.
  5. Helping Relationships. Counseling techniques, skills and procedures.
  6. Group Work. Dynamics and processes
  7. Special Treatment Issues. (e.g.) Psychopharmacology, substance abuse, school, career issues, marriage and family treatment, sexuality and lifestyle choices, treating special populations.
  8. Appraisal. Appraisal and psychological assessment and techniques.
  9. Research and Evaluation.
  10. Professional Orientation. ethical and legal issues in counseling.

(e) Electives Areas; Elective courses must include knowledge and skills in the practice of mental health counseling. Students should understand the scope of practice and learn the responsibilities in the clinical practice of mental health counseling. Appropriate courses could include any of the Special Treatment Issues listed above, as well as:

  1. modalities for maintaining and terminating counseling and psychotherapy;
  2. consultation skills;
  3. outreach and prevention strategies;
  4. diagnosis and treatment issues;
  5. working with special populations;
  6. professional identity and practice issues, including historical perspectives;
  7. mental health regulations and policy;
  8. management of community mental health problems.

Similar related courses focused on issues related to the practice of mental health counseling are also appropriate.

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2.06 Pre-master's Clinical Field Experience Requirements

(See 262 CMR2.02: Definitions: Practicum and Internship for further clarification; 262 CMR2.02: Definitions: Clinical Field Experience Sites and Internship Sites are also guides for internship placements)

(1) Practicum Hours Requirement. Applicants must complete a minimum of 100 hours of pre-master's degree supervised clinical experience in mental health counseling providing direct client contact (e.g.) individuals, groups, couples, families). A practicum may take place on the academic campus or in a clinical field experience site. A Practicum must include:

(a) 40 hours of direct/face-to-face client contact experience with clientele appropriate to the program agency emphasis area; or peer role plays and laboratory experience in individual, group, couple and family interactions.

(b) 25 hours of supervision, over a minimum period of one-half to one full academic term, of which:

  1. a minimum of ten hours must be individual supervision using direct observation or contemporary audio and/or visual recording techniques;
  2. a minimum of five hours must be group supervision with no more than ten students;
  3. the remaining ten hours may be individual or group supervision.

(c) College and Site Supervisors.

  1. For practicum and/or internship college supervision, an approved supervisor may be a person who holds a graduate degree in mental health counseling or a related field and has a teaching or supervisory position in a recognized educational institution which trains clinical mental health counselors.
  2. Site supervisors must be approved supervisors or contract supervisors as listed in 262 CMR 2.02: Definitions.
  3. Practicum students in a clinical field experience site may only see Clients when there's a clinical supervisor or emergency contact on site as listed in 262 CMR 2.02: Definitions.

(d) Regular evaluations of the student's performance throughout the practicum, including a formal evaluation at the completion of the practicum.

(2) Internship Hours Requirement. Applicants must complete a minimum of 600 hours of pre-master's degree supervised experience in clinical mental health counseling providing direct face-to-face client contact (e.g. individuals, groups, couples and families). An internship must include:

(a) 240 hours of direct client contact experience with clientele appropriate to the program emphasis area and in the context of activities that enable the intern to enhance clinical mental health counseling skills.

(b) 45 hours of supervision, of which:

  1. a minimum of 15 hours must be individual supervision by an approved supervisor, or a contract supervisor;
  2. a minimum of 15 hours must be group supervision, with no more than ten supervisees in a group, by an approved supervisor or contract supervisor;
  3. the remaining 15 hours may be individual or group supervision.

(c) College and Site Supervisors:

  1. For practicum and/or internship college supervision, an approved supervisor may be a person who holds a graduate degree in mental health counseling or a related field and has a teaching or supervisory position in a recognized educational institution which trains clinical mental health counselor.
  2. site supervisors must be approved supervisors or contract supervisors as listed in 262 CMR 2.02: Definitions.
  3. Interns may only see clients when there is a clinical supervisor or emergency contact on site as listed in 262 CMR 2.02: Definitions.

(d) Degree Completion:

  1. Pre-July 1, 1998. Post master's internship; Applicants who perform an internship after the award of a qualifying 48 semester hour graduate degree may credit post-degree internship experience toward the post master's clinical field experience requirement. Such an internship must include a clearly defined educational program and schedule of services and duties to be performed the intern. A written evaluation of the performance of the intern plus an evaluation of the internship experience by the intern must be provided.
  2. Post-July 1, 1998. Internships must be part of an applicant's educational program.

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2.07 Post-master's Clinical Field Experience Requirements

(1) Post-master's Hours Requirements: Applicants must complete a minimum of two years of full-time or equivalent part-time, post-master's degree supervised clinical field experience in mental health counseling, providing direct/face-to-face client contact with individuals, groups, or families. Post master's work experience may not begin until an individual has earned 60 credits, including all requirements:

(a) Total Hours Required = 3,360; and

(b) Direct Client Contact Hours Required = 960; a maximum of 250 hours of the required 960 direct/face-to-face client contact hours may be group client contact experience.

(2) Post-master's Degree Supervision Requirements:

(a) Total Supervision Hours Required = minimum of 130

(b) Individual Supervision Hours Required = minimum of 75

(c) Supervision must include a minimum of one hour of supervision for every 16 client contact hours

(d) Supervision must be by an approved supervisor.

(3) On-site Supervision Requirements: The applicant must have a formal relationship with the work site and must be supervised a minimum of one hour for every 16 hours of direct/face-to-face client contact experience. The supervisor must be a staff member of the site who is an approved supervisor or a contract supervisor who has entered into a written agreement with the individual and the site to provide supervision either on or off site, in accordance with the requirements of contract supervision and supervision as defined by 262 CMR 2.02.

(4) On-site Emergency Contact For Supervision:

(a) In school settings where individuals are working as school adjustment counselors, the school principal, a guidance counselor or a licensed educational psychologist may serve as the emergency contact.

(b) In certain health care facilities where mental health counseling is provided, a licensed rehabilitation counselor, a licensed educational psychologist, a psychiatric nurse practitioner or a designated clinical administrator may serve as the emergency contact.

Emergency contact provision must be in place for all work placement settings. The emergency contact individual DOES NOT replace the requirement for an approved supervisor.

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2.08: Supervision Hour Requirements

Total supervision hours required, pre-and post-master's combined = 200 hours

(1) Pre-master's Degree Supervision. A minimum of 70 hours of supervision, both individual and group;

(2) Post-master's Degree Supervision. A minimum of 130 hours of supervision, of which a minimum of 75 hours must be in individual supervision;

(3) Of the 200 total hours, a minimum of 25 hours (pre- and/or post-master's) must be supervision (individual or group) by a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) , a Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor (CCMHC). All the above supervisors must have at least five years post master's clinical mental health counseling experience. Applications filed after July 1, 2004 must document 50 hours.

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REGULATORY AUTHORITY
262 CMR: M.G.L. c. 112, §§ 163 through 172, M.G.L. c. 13, §§ 88 through 90