features

Graduate Clinical Counseling at Assumption University: An Informational Session

Nicole Letendre ’23

Features Editor

Dr. Leonard Doerfler, a faculty member of the Clinical Counseling Psychology program at Assumption University, highlighted the benefits of a graduate degree in counseling, as well as the particular strengths of Assumption’s rigorous program. First, the overall program is constructed for students to meet the educational requirements to receive a license as a Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in Massachusetts, and most other states. The curriculum is heavily based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques and practices, and students will ultimately hold a Master of Arts (MA) in Clinical Counseling Psychology after completion. Within this program, two concentrations are offered to students: a Concentration in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies (centered on adults), or a Concentration in Child and Family Interventions (which also involves CBT practices). In addition, the University offers ten Graduate Fellowships each year. They are distributed on the basis of academic merit, and once accepted, a student will aid a faculty member in the Psychology division and will receive 30 credits of tuition remission, equivalent to about half the cost of their Master’s program. As for the program curriculum itself, there are three major components: a total of 60 course credits towards their degree, the practicum experience in the field, as well as the internship. 

Graphic by Valentina Moran ‘23. Photo from Assumption University’s website.

As Dr. Doerfler stated, “There has been a shortage of qualified mental health professionals.” Clinical counseling is an incredibly involved career, which takes patience and empathy. Research projects in particular may be in-depth, long-term, and complex studies that directly involves patients, and the student experience may vary. The Aaron T. Beck Institute for Cognitive Studies at Assumption receives support from the founder of CBT, namely Aaron T. Beck himself. This location regularly hosts CBT practitioners and conducts workshops, free of charge to students in the program. Through opportunities such as these, paired with a comprehensive curriculum, students have the ability to nurture their skills as future licensed counselors. 

Interested in applying? The application is online, and requires official transcripts, a résumé, personal statement, as well as three letters of recommendation from professors or individuals who have supervised your interactions with others and can speak to your professional capacities. A quick tip? Dr. Doerfler suggested submitting four letters of recommendation if possible, to act as a “backup” in preventing any difficulties in receiving the necessary letters by the deadline. When completing your application, consider questions like, “Where do you see yourself in the future?” and “Why do you want to be a clinical counselor?” As for your time spent after completing this program, you must pass the national licensing exam, as well as work under more experienced supervision, lasting the equivalent time of two years of full-time work. No matter your path to clinical counseling, you can be sure your work will positively impact patients by providing empathy, understanding, and your own therapeutic knowledge within the field. For more information, or to apply, visit the following: http://www.assumption.edu/graduate/clinical-counseling-psychology

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