Master of Arts in Forensic Mental Health Counseling

Master of Arts in Forensic Mental Health Counseling

The Master of Arts in Forensic Mental Health Counseling prepares students to become licensed counselors in prisons, juvenile detention centers, probation and parole agencies, and social service agencies that counsel and assess adolescents and adults at risk for criminal behavior.

Licensed Mental Health Counseling (LMHC) has become one of the fastest-growing professions in the United States, and this program has been approved by New York state as license-eligible. Licensure in New York as a mental health professional offers enhanced job opportunities, including eventual private practice as a mental health counselor.

Forensic mental health involves applying counseling theory and practice to criminal justice, family court, and other legal settings. Working with core staff in the Psychology Department, students will develop skills in interviewing, counseling, and assessment, based on established principles and research in human development, personality, psychopathology, and counseling.

In addition to the aforementioned skills, throughout their coursework students will gain knowledge and skills pertinent to conducting culturally relevant clinical interviewing, counseling, and assessment. Core and elective courses will include readings and assignments that will require students to demonstrate sensitivity and responsiveness to various areas of cultural diversity including, but not limited to diversity in race, gender, ethnicity, immigration status, sexual orientation, and religion.

Graduates will enter the job market with the specialized training required to work in forensic treatment settings such as jails and prisons, juvenile detention centers, hospitals, clinics, social service agencies, probation and parole offices, child protective services, and the courts. Counselors in these settings require unique training to deal with the specific needs of these populations. Therefore, in addition to the standard courses in counseling, the John Jay FMHC program offers focused courses in criminal behavior and aggression, juvenile delinquency, alcohol and crime, correctional and reentry counseling, risk assessment, family violence, victimology, crisis intervention, policing, sex offenders, terrorism, violent cults, and criminal profiling, among others.