M.A. in Mental Health Counseling (license eligible)
Each year, BGSP-NJ admits up to 20 promising students who share the School’s commitment to deepening insights into human behavior and the unconscious forces that drive us.
In addition to the training provided by typical Master’s programs in Mental Health Counseling, BGSP’s curriculum provides students with training in powerful psychodynamic methods. As a result, our graduates are able and confident in their abilities to work with a wide range of patients in a variety of settings.
We take great pride in the contributions of our Mental Health Counseling alumni to the lives of the clients they treat as well as to their profession.
- 94% of BGSP-NJ graduates hold clinical jobs or are in private practice.
- $60,00-$64,000 is the average salary range of BGSP-NJ graduates.
BGSP-NJ Offers More
The Master of Arts degree program in Mental Health Counseling (MAMHC) combines BGSP-NJ’s integrative approach to learning about unconscious mental life with the practicality of a license-eligible counseling degree. Students gain the knowledge, skills, and experience needed for licensed clinical practice in professional counseling while developing a psychodynamic understanding of healthy human development and psychopathology.
“Well, it’s so diverse here. And I also tell my friends, there are people in classes here who are just starting out, and then there are people who already have their doctoral studies completed. So it is for everyone, because it’s a different way of thinking, of asking questions, of talking, of sharing, and of listening, most importantly.”
-Kelly Horan, BGSP-NJ, 2019
“Working in this field, it can be isolating, especially if you work one-on-one with people, so there always has to be a continual dialogue with other professionals, through supervision, through your own analysis, (with peers and colleagues), because it’s just so intense. You know, on the physical level and also on the emotional level. It’s just really important. You have to take care of yourself. … all of the professors at ACAP/BGSP-NJ, they’re so well trained.”
-Marguerite DeRosa, BGSP-NJ, 2020 current student
"Here, they see you as a person, not a test score.
The admissions process at BGSP gives you a good feel for what the school is like. Rather than asking you to submit a GRE score, they ask you to come and interview with three faculty members. Even before I was admitted, the professors genuinely wanted to know me as a person. As a student, they helped me leverage my personal strengths and background toward becoming the best clinician I can be."
-Ranjana Mayar, Master's in Mental Health Counseling Graduate, 2019
"Every student has a different experience.
There are no lecture halls at BGSP. Classes are small and the faculty teach to the students in the room. You learn by exploring your own life, so you gain a deeper understanding of theories and techniques than any text book or lecture can provide."
-Cyriesse Hall, Master's in Mental Health Counseling Graduate, 2019
In this program, students:
- Engage in a comprehensive program of coursework in professional counseling
- Learn about human development over the lifespan
- Study a broad range of counseling theories and clinical methods
- Explore social, cultural, and biological issues related to counseling
- Develop skills in assessment and intervention in clinical settings
- Learn to evaluate, diagnose, and treat a wide variety of clients
- Understand ethical concerns in treatment
- Gain a psychoanalytic perspective on human development and clinical work
- Study unconscious processes such as repetition, defenses, transference, resistance, and symbolism
- Develop a psychoanalytic framework for understanding psychopathology across a wide range of diagnoses
- Observe and understand their own emotional life as a precursor to understanding others
This program is ideal for the student interested in practicing as a licensed professional counselor within a psychoanalytic framework at the master’s level.
Graduation requires successful completion of the 60-credit curriculum, a 100-hour clinical practicum, a 600-hour internship, a presentation of fieldwork cases indicating sufficient understanding of case dynamics, and an accepted Fieldwork Research Paper. Coursework includes theories of counseling, basic and comparative psychoanalytic theory, developmental studies, psychopathology, assessment, diagnosis and treatment planning, ethics and professional practice, and group dynamics. Students also undertake a personal analysis as part of their training. Please refer to the program catalog for exact graduation requirements.
Graduation Requirements To graduate, students complete:
1) 60 credits of academic and clinical coursework.
2) A 700-hour fieldwork, of which 100 hours constitute the counseling practicum and 600 hours constitute the internship
3) Satisfactory presentation of fieldwork cases
4) Approved Masters Paper
5) Minimum of 70 sessions of training analysis
Time to Program Completion
Students can complete the program in four semesters and one summer if they study full time.
Students beginning in the Spring semester will require an additional semester because of internship scheduling. Students with high curiosity, openness to new experiences, and tolerance for ambiguity tend to proceed more successfully through the program. Some students postpone the internship until a third year in order to reduce the workload in years one and two.
Qualifying for Licensure as a Professional Counselor in New Jersey
The Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling curriculum is approved by the New Jersey Professional Counseling Examiners Committee as meeting its standards. The program provides students with the education and clinical experience needed at the pre-master’s level to meet licensing requirements in the state of New Jersey. Post-master’s requirements include additional clinical experience in an approved setting providing additional hours of supervision, as well as successful performance on the licensing exam. While these requirements are similar to those of other states, applicants and students should check the requirements of the state in which they intend to work. For information on licensing in New Jersey, click here.
Each student participates in a training analysis, working one-on-one with an analyst throughout the program. The training analysis is an important part of the educational process. It deepens the student’s understanding of course material through personal experience and helps the student tolerate the feelings aroused by psychoanalytic study. It offers a fuller appreciation of one’s own emotional dynamics, increases the student’s access to all emotional states, and increases self-understanding, which is particularly critical for understanding others. Students complete at least seventy hours of training analysis, typically meeting weekly.
Beginning in the second semester, fieldwork studies in the Master of Arts in Psychoanalytic Counseling degree program provide a rich learning experience for the counseling student interested in psychoanalysis. Fieldwork studies include the 100 hour practicum and 600 hour internship with on-site supervision by a licensed mental health professional, as well as the Fieldwork Externship course sequence and BGSP-NJ small group supervision (GPSA 701-703).
Students engage in a field placement in a setting for regressed patients to practice basic counseling skills. This experience provides the foundational building blocks to develop the skill set to develop a relationship with patients at the earliest levels of psychic functioning. The fieldwork courses foster the ability to read the patient's contacts, responses to stimulation, and symbolic communications while observing the emotional responses induced in oneself. These skills are basic to working with any patient.
The Fieldwork Coordinator consults with each student on the internship selection and helps the student structure it to meet Counseling Internship criteria, with appropriate licensed supervisors and sufficient clinical hours.
To complete the fieldwork sequence, students present their work with cases in the final semester of the Fieldwork Seminar and submit a case study research paper to the Fieldwork instructor and the Research Instructor (see Research section below).
The Master’s research curriculum introduces students to research methods in the human sciences and facilitates the student’s completion of a Master's Fieldwork Research Paper. In the paper, the student analyzes qualitative clinical data from the practicum field placement. Working with both the research instructor and the fieldwork seminar instructor, the student demonstrates his or her ability to apply psychoanalytic theory, to view the clinical process from a research perspective, and to provide an empirical basis for inferences. Interested students may choose to enroll in Directed Research and work with a thesis chair on a more elaborate research project as well.