About Us



Where can I find a clinical mental health counselor?

Clinical mental health counselors practice in a variety of settings, including:

  • private practice
  • community agencies
  • managed behavioral health care organizations
  • integrated delivery systems
  • hospitals
  • employee assistance programs, and
  • substance abuse treatment centers

Need a counselor? Find one in your area - 

Goodtherapy.org

Psychologytoday.com


What makes a good counselor?

Great question! The Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies says it best:

"When people look for mental health treatment for themselves or a loved one, it is common to search for a psychotherapy provider who may have availability in their schedule, desired fees, or is covered by a specific insurance plan. However, it is essential that people in search of treatment also get specific information about the type of treatment that a mental health care provider will offer."

Watch the video below from the Veterans Health Administration to learn what it means to have "evidence-based" treatment programs.

Our Vision

The American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) is the leading national organization for licensed clinical mental health counselors. AMHCA strives to be the go-to organization for licensed clinical mental health counselors for advocacy, education, leadership, and collaboration. Our organization provides the backbone of resources needed for clinical mental health counselors to thrive in today's world. Read about where AMHCA has come from in our history. Learn about our board of directors.

 

Our Mission

The mission of AMHCA is to enhance the profession of clinical mental health counseling through advocacy, education and collaboration.

 

 

Our History

Read about our history from a past president and learn more about where we are today.

 

 

 

What is a clinical mental health counselor?

Clinical mental health counseling is a distinct profession with national standards for education, training and clinical practice. Clinical mental health counselors are highly-skilled professionals who provide flexible, consumer-oriented therapy. They combine traditional psychotherapy with a practical, problem-solving approach that creates a dynamic and efficient path for change and problem resolution.

Clinical mental health counselors offer a full range of services, including:

  • Assessment and diagnosis
  • Psychotherapy
  • Treatment planning and utilization review
  • Brief and solution-focused therapy
  • Alcoholism and substance abuse treatment
  • Psychoeducational and prevention programs
  • Crisis Management

In today's managed care environment, clinical mental health counselors are uniquely qualified to meet the challenges of providing high quality care in a cost-effective manner. CMHCs have a foundational skillset that is distinct from those of other behavioral health disciplines. Their training in addressing the needs of the whole person and in wellness and prevention makes them well-situated to lead the effort in integrating health care.

Graduate education and clinical training prepare clinical mental health counselors to provide a full range of services for individuals, couples, families, adolescents and children. The core areas of mental health education programs approved by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) include:

  • Diagnosis and psychopathology
  • Psychotherapy
  • Psychological testing and assessment
  • Professional orientation
  • Research and program evaluation
  • Group counseling
  • Human growth and development
  • Counseling theory
  • Social and cultural foundations
  • Lifestyle and career development
  • Supervised practicum and internship

Licensure requirements for clinical mental health counselors are equivalent to those for clinical social workers and marriage and family therapists, two other disciplines that require a master's degree for independent status.

A licensed clinical mental health counselor has met or exceeded the following professional qualifications:

  • Earned a master's degree in counseling or a closely related mental health discipline;
  • Completed a minimum of two years post-master's clinical work under the supervision of a licensed or certified mental health professional; and
  • Passed a state-developed or national licensure or certification examination.