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Global Mental Health

Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology in Global Mental Health Program (MA)

Accepting Applications on a Space Available Basis

The MA in Counseling Psychology in Global Mental Health (GMH) prepares students for careers to work with people and communities affected by the trauma of war, natural disasters, human trafficking, and gender and ethnic oppression and violence around the globe and in the United States.

Our Faculty

Our distinguished faculty members have experience working with communities in the United States and abroad to address the effects of chronic distress and trauma. In the classroom, GMH professors contrast Western interventions with the healing practices of other cultures. The goal is for students to develop a critical awareness about diverse healing practices. GMH professors teach a holistic and human rights sensitive approach that prepares students in the use of policy, health systems, cross-discipline collaborations, and clinical interventions. At the individual level, students learn to screen, evaluate, diagnose, develop treatment plans, provide individual and group psychotherapy services and assess treatment outcomes using trauma-sensitive and culturally-attuned frameworks and interventions. At the population level, students learn to administer health promotion programs, work on cross-disciplinary teams, and integrate mental health skills in non-traditional settings (e.g. attorney practices, refugee settlements, medical settings).


Students in the Counseling Psychology in Global Mental Health can also enhance their education with immersion experiences facilitated by MSPP faculty. Immersions begin with instruction in post modern, dialogical, and critical theories that potentiate cross-cultural and cross-national collaborations. Students subsequently travel outside of the United States to apply the knowledge they gained in the classroom. Most importantly, students learn both the benefits and challenges of applying such frames in interactions with foreign professionals and populations. The main objective is for the student to develop the critical thinking and relational skills (e.g. tolerance, mutual respect, affect based trust) necessary to continue to successfully engage in international work beyond graduation. Yearly trips are scheduled to Costa Rica and Ecuador through the Latino Mental Health concentration at MSPP. MSPP faculty also have ongoing involvement with organizations and universities in Haiti, Palestine, and Guatemala among several others, and they facilitate student trips to these countries.

Who Can Apply

This program is for health and mental health workers, humanitarian and human rights workers, community health clinic workers, clergy, and individuals with a BA/BS or higher degree who want to learn how to deliver trauma-sensitive and culturally-attuned mental health services to refugees and other immigrant populations. The program is a two-year, 60 credit course, which can also be completed in three years part-time.

Job Opportunities After Graduation

MSPP's Counseling Psychology in Global Mental Health program provides a unique opportunity to gain the skills for employment in the United States in a variety of positions in the mental health field or internationally. Graduates will also have completed the requirements of the Massachusetts Board of Allied Mental Health and Human Services Profession to become a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC). A license elegible degree substantially diversifies and expands the job opportunities of a graduate. In addition to working in policy oriented programs, GMH graduates can also provide billable direct services in U.S. clinics to refugees and immigrants. A GMH graduates' global perspective, combined with knowledge of trauma-sensitive mental health interventions, is the ideal skill set to meet the needs of the United States' increasing multicultural and immigrant populations, including U.N. and non-U.N. sponsored refugees (e.g. undocumented immigrants) and immigrants who may be elegible for special visas and protected status as defined by the U.S.'s Office of Refugee and Resettlement (e.g. victims of human trafficking; unaccompanied refugee minors). Globally, a GMH graduate is ready to join international teams addressing the needs of refugee groups, including attention to policy and human rights concerns, and the skills to address the acute and chronic mental health needs of diverse populations.

"This degree will be a license to do idealistic work and get paid for it. I call it employable idealism," says Dr. Richard Mollica, Distinguished Scholar at MSPP and pioneer in global mental health and Director of the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma. For first-year Global Mental Health student John Meigs, "The unique perspective of GMH has already influenced how I approach working with clients in the Boston area. I think GMH will set me up to be a more informed and more effective clinician wherever I end up, whether it's in a refugee camp or an office in Cambridge, or both."

Updated 1/15/15

P. Michelle Contreras

For inquiries, please contact Program Director, MA in Counseling Psychology in Global Mental Health, P. Michelle Contreras, PsyD

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