Belmont University was recently notified its four-year-old Mental Health Counseling program has received accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). CACREP, a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), granted accreditation to both Belmont’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling (M.A.) and the Marriage, Couples and Family Counseling (M.A.) Mental Health Counseling Degree Program tracks.
Since the program’s inception in the fall of 2016, faculty have been working diligently toward this national accreditation goal.
Director and Professor of the Mental Health Counseling Program Janet Hicks said the team is excited to receive the eight-year accreditation. “This accomplishment highlights the quality of our program, the proficiency of our curriculum, the knowledge of our current students, and the skills of our alumni currently working in the field,” she said. “This is a groundbreaking accomplishment for the program, faculty and students – past, current and future.”
Belmont’s programs are designed to prepare men and women to serve as counselors and psychotherapists in professional mental health settings ranging from community mental health centers to psychiatric hospitals, to faith-based counseling centers, to residential treatment facilities, to private practice. Housed in the College of Theology and Christian Ministry, the 60 credit hour program can be completed in two calendar years with full-time continuous enrollment.
Dean of the College Darrell Gwaltney remembers the origins of the program and touted the uniqueness in their placement. “Our goal from the very beginning has been to create a strong academic program that prepares students for a counseling vocation while being true to our ecumenical mission of learning and service,” he explained. “We are delighted to have achieved this important milestone.”
Tom Knowles-Bagwell, associate director and associate professor in the mental health counseling program, explained the program integrates spiritual principles with counseling knowledge and skills.
He said, “What sets Belmont’s Mental Health Counseling program apart from other counselor education programs is the integration of Christian resources and scientific perspectives on human nature and development, human suffering and its alleviation, and the guiding values and ideals for living.”
For more information on Belmont’s program, visit the Mental Health Counseling Program website.