Specialist in Geriatric Counseling

There is a longstanding need for increased mental health services, and service providers, in the area of clinical mental health counseling for people at the mature end of the age spectrum. Symptoms of this population can include depression, anger, withdrawal, drug and alcohol abuse, marital problems, and a wide variety of other disorders including some personality disorders. It is clear that the treatment needs of the geriatric population are best met with providers who demonstrate specific qualifications in this area.

Who is this credential for?
Candidates for this AMHCA Diplomate are required to be knowledgeable with the distinctive ethics and standards of practice in the treatment of geriatric clients. Counselors must be committed to comply with the legal, ethical, and practice standards related to this work: e.g. consent to treat, confidentiality; mandated reporting; appropriate treatment facilities; referral relationships; etc.

What does this credential represent?
The AMHCA Diplomate, Specialist in Geriatric Counseling establishes a clinical mental health counselor standard that demonstrates qualifying expertise with this population. Treatment must be based on evidenced based approaches that offer symptom alleviation. This standard enhances the dedicated, high quality of services for people of advanced age, and enriches the profession and status of the mental health counselor as we work with other specialists, state agencies, and third party payers.


Complete Requirements

Be a Clinical Member of AMHCA

Have completed all of the licensing requirements as defined by the respective state and have been awarded the license to practice independently. As an independent practitioner, the applicant must have practiced independently for a minimum of three years after completing all state licensure requirements. 

To be recognized as a Clinical Mental Health Counseling Specialist, the applicant must complete all of the following requirements for each area of specialization (A, B, C, D): 

  1. Complete professional development in each specialist area by at least 90 hours of professional development specifically related to the specialist area. These 90 hours must be documented by the date, course title, and number of course hours. Please note the following criteria: 
    1. One completed post-master’s degree graduate semester credit hour is equal to 15 professional development hours. 
    2. Presentation hours specifically and primarily related to the specialist area can be counted for up to 60 hours of the required professional development hours.
    3. Graduate courses taught by the applicant specifically and primarily related to the specialist area can be counted for up to 60 hours (a graduate semester hour taught equals 15 contact hours). 
    4. At least 15 of the 90 professional development hours must be earned within the past five years. 
    5. Only professional development hours completed within the past 15 years will be counted toward meeting the specialist training requirement. 
    6. All professional development hours must be completed post-master's degree in mental health counseling or a related counseling field. 
    7. Hours used for one specialist area cannot be applied to an additional specialist area application. 
    8. Alternatively, AMHCA members who are fully licensed for independent practice for five years in an area directly related to the specialty applied can document this license in lieu of documenting professional development hours in the specialty area (e.g., an LCMHC who is also fully licensed for five years as an LMFT can be awarded certification as a Specialist in Couples and Family Counseling).
  2. Applicants must complete at least 100 hours of face-to-face counseling in the specialist area. 
  3. Applicants must attest to having completed a minimum of 10 hours of specialist supervision by a licensed mental health professional who has expertise in the area. Supervision required for independent state licensure cannot be counted toward this specialist supervision requirement.
  4. Applicants must attest that they have the knowledge of the ethics and standards of practice in the specialist area and will abide by all applicable codes of ethics.  
  5. Complete application and pay fee.