MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

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This program can be fully virtual, in-person, or hybrid.

Each year, ICPS 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 Clinical Mental Health Counseling, ICPS’s two-year, full-time program 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 Clinical Mental Health Counseling alumni to the lives of the clients they treat as well as to their profession.

Program Objectives

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.

Course of Study

Degree Requirements

  • successful completion of the 61-credit curriculum
  • 100-hour clinical practicum
  • 600-hour internship
  • Fieldwork case presentation indicating sufficient understanding of case dynamics
  • Accepted Fieldwork Research Paper.

Program Catalog

 Please refer to the program catalog for exact graduation requirements.


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.


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 ICPS 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)

Training Analysis

Each student participates in a training analysis, with an ICPS approved, certified psychoanalyst, 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.

Time to 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.


The Master of Arts in Clinical 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.

ICPS Advantages

In addition to the training provided by typical Master’s programs in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, ICPS/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.

  • 94% of ICPS graduates hold clinical jobs or are in private practice.
  • $60,00-$64,000 is the average salary range of ICPS graduates.
Typical Mental Health Counseling ProgramsICPS’s Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Eligibility for Licensure and the NCEYesYes
Academic Course Credits61 credits61 credits
Clinical Experience700 hours700 hours
Hours of Clinical Supervision70 hours120 hours
Training in Psychodynamic MethodsNoYes

Admissions Criteria

At a minimum, applicants to the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program are required to have earned a baccalaureate degree from an approved undergraduate institution. Beyond this credential, however, applicants demonstrate through their personal statement and interviews (when invited) their motivation to learn, capacity to understand oneself and others, academic and applied interests, and readiness to engage in studies of unconscious processes.

In order for ICPS to determine academic readiness for graduate level study, applicants submit transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and a writing sample. For those applicants who meet the academic criteria, there will be two admissions interviews scheduled with the faculty.  In addition, applicants who are interviewing are asked to write a spontaneous response to a psychoanalytic text.

Applicants who are non-native speakers of English may be asked to submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Those educated outside the United States also submit transcripts to a credential equivalency service. ICPS is not accepting international applicants at this time. International students are encouraged to visit BGSP’s main campus’ Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

ICPS does not discriminate in its admission policy or other aspects of its program against persons on the basis of race, age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, color, creed, national or ethnic origin or employment status.