The Training, Value, and Reality of Master's-Level Mental Health Counselors

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Abstract

There is a need for individuals trained in professional practice that cannot be met by psychologists and psychiatrists. Because the American Psychological Association (APA) maintains that the minimum requirement for the independent practice of psychology is a doctorate degree, master's-level programs significantly increased and produce graduates in professions separate from psychology. These master's-level clinicians are more likely to identify professionally with the standards and values endorsed by counseling, marriage and family therapy, and social work organizations (McPherson, Pisecco, Elman, Crosbie-Burnett, & Sayger, 2000). Given the number of master's-level clinicians working side by side with clinical psychologists, this article aims to provide a brief introduction of the master's-level clinicians. Furthermore, it focuses on the counseling profession because it has the largest overlap with psychology. In the discussion, the authors highlight strengths of master's-level training in counseling as well as identify areas that could be informed by the field of psychology. Similarly, this article discusses aspects of training that master's-level counselors receive, which may inform the field of applied psychology, such as skill-training models and the credentialing of supervisors.

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