MA in Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness, On-Campus Program

Graduates of the Program

Graduates of the Program in Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness will be competitive with other mental health service providers in both public and private agencies including community mental health programs, university counseling centers, substance abuse treatment among others. In addition, New York State Licensure allows one to engage in private psychotherapy practice under this license. Many graduates go on to pursue advanced degrees including doctoral study.

 

Diego Santa Cruz Waissbluth
Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness, MA
Psychotherapist at IDCC- Case Manager/Care Coordinator at JBFCS, working with Maimonides Medical Center - Psychiatric Unit
Brooklyn, New York, United States

“My goal is to build a strong therapeutic connection so that patients can advance in their lives. I work with a variety of diagnoses – from Addictions, PTSD, ODD, Schizophrenia, Adjustments Disorders, Schizoefective Disorders – among others. The point of our treatment is not to focus exclusively on what the patient has been diagnosed with, but to look at them through a wellness perspective and focus on improving areas of their lives.”
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What does your typical work day look like?

As a care coordinator I focus on what will happen once the patient leaves the unit, how will he/she take care of him/herself. So, we meet together and discuss different goals that they would like to accomplish. Once we build a relationship I will follow with them after they are discharged. I get involved in their life’s and form part of there daily care.

What made you choose Steinhardt's Master's program??

My passion is placing the knowledge that psychology has built into therapy in order to enhance the lives of people. Prior to coming to Steinhardt, and while researching Master’s programs I found that at NYU Steinhardt there was a unique Applied Psychology program – Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness. Looking at the profiles of the professors, I recognized that they had a great background in research and also in the application of psychology into counseling for mental health. The wellness perspective was unique in this program: This perspective involves the application of psychology so that everyone could benefit from it, no matter how severe their condition might be, or where they are in their lives. Recovery is an ongoing process, and there is no limit to how well you are - there is always an even better place when one could be. This I found unique in this program.

How did your time at Steinhardt prepare you for your job best?

I would encourage prospective graduate students interested in this program to be confident that if their passion is therapy, this program is a great fit. The first year is a great opportunity to start forming yourself as a clinician and the second year gives you hands-on experience with an internship that can be a great clinical experience as well.

Omar Touseef
Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness, MA
Founder @ Psychability.org
School Counselor @ Lahore Grammar School
Lahore, Pakistan
LinkedIn Profile

“If you’re someone who feels that you belong in an Applied Psychology program, then NYU’s program is excellent in every possible way.”


What do you do in a typical work day?

As a School Counselor I am responsible for mental health and wellness of the entire school population comprising 2200 students and more than 200 staff members in the school. I work with diverse students and staff members on issues such as family conflict, substance abuse, gender identity, grief, depression, anxiety, career information, academic issues, social anxiety, bullying, conduct problems, relationship counseling, and other issues of adjustment. In my private practice I work with 8-10 clients a week on similar issues as my school counseling job. My typical work day entails mornings till afternoon in the school job, and evenings at my private practice.

What made you choose Steinhardt's Master's program?

My passion for counseling led me to pursue a Masters degree. I applied for the Fulbright Scholarship, and upon receiving that I worked with the organization looking for the best suited program for Counseling. Steinhardt’s Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness seemed like the perfect fit because of the academic rigor, the supervised internship requirement and the excellent faculty and resources.

What do you enjoy most about your job? What are some of the challenges you face in your current role?

I feel that work blends in very well with my personality and I feel very congruent. In a way work doesn’t feel like work, and time flies. As long as invest well in my self-care, a typical workday ends in my being very fulfilled and not carrying work home. I also feel that I have the flexibility to schedule clients such that I have time for friends and family. One challenge for me as a young counselor in my country is that I don’t have too many professional enrichment opportunities, however, towards that end, I try to be as active as possible with professional networks such as the ACA and I do attend ACA conferences every year or every other year.

How do you feel your experience at Steinhardt prepared you for your current role?

I think that Steinhardt prepared me very well across multiple domains. I chose my electives which opened a lot of other avenues for me. Likewise the opportunity to process my growth within supervision at Steinhardt helped me grow as a person and a counselor.

Anthony Freire
Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness, MA
Licensed Psychotherapist & EMDR Trauma Specialist
Manhattan, New York, United States

“I live for those moments when my clients revisit their goals from our initial session only to realize that they've not only attained those goals, but they have created new ones.”


How did your time at Steinhardt prepare you for your job best?

Steinhardt provided me with a great educational foundation, access to compassionate and helpful professors who continue to offer guidance and knowledge post-graduation, and access to a unique and wonderful internship experience. This was reflected in my first job as a counselor at a social service agency in Brooklyn. At that job, it was often said to me by the Director and Vice President of the organization (both social workers) that they were surprised at how well NYU trained me clinically. Subsequently, they have hired more LMHC's to function as social workers within their organizations and have offered opportunities for advancement to them as well.

What career guidance would you offer to prospective graduate students interested in this program?

My advice is to give 110% to your education at Steinhardt and to your profession. I think it's a mistake for students to just coast through two years of classes and to approach their internship as just a requirement. If a student does that and expects to just get hired after graduation, they're in for a big surprise. For a better chance at a successful career as a Mental Health Counselor, my suggestion is to use your internship wisely to figure out what you enjoy, where your skills excel, and what kind of population you would like to serve. Engage NYU professors outside of the classroom, volunteer to help them with research and/or other opportunities. Don't wait until after you graduate to earn a specialized certification in a particular mode of therapy. In some cases you can train outside of the university during your second year and get certified upon graduation. This will arm you with additional skills that employers will see as a benefit to their organization.

During my second year at Steinhardt, I sought additional training and certification in EMDR (Eye-Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) outside of NYU. By the time I graduated, I was only a month away from certification. I have found that having this additional certification has set me apart from other clinicians as it's a trauma-focused therapy aimed at decreasing recovery time . With the current trend geared toward trauma focused treatment, and with insurance companies wanting faster recovery times, it's a welcomed addition to my practice and to my identity as a Trauma specialist. 

Did you work closely with any faculty in the program?

As a student, I engaged several professors in allowing me to do work for them. Eventually this led to my co-authoring an article with Dr. Arnold Grossman (which was published in a Journal) and it led to my working closely with Dr. Mary McRae as Conference Administrator for NYU's "Leadership in a World of Difference" series. Since graduation, I continued working with Dr. McRae on the conference and hope to collaborate with her and our colleagues again in the future.

Ana Maria Gaviria
Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness, MA
Project Clinician at the ACS-NYU Children's Trauma Institute @ NYU School of Medicine
Manhattan, New York
LinkedIn Profile

“Being a part of Steinhardt's multicultural academic community has made me a better practitioner and a more sensitive human being.


What do you do in a typical work day?

The ACS-NYU Children´s Trauma Institute (CTI) is a collaborative effort between the New York City Administration for Children’s Services and the New York University School of Medicine. I work on a research study within the CTI called Safe Mothers, Safe Children Program (SMSC). The rationale of the program is that helping mothers process and cope with past trauma will improve their functioning and interpersonal relationships, especially parenting their children.

My typical workday is busy, both in terms of travel and clinical work. In order to facilitate client compliance, we provide SMSC services on-site at the clients’ child welfare preventive agencies. On a typical day, I meet with several clients, touch base with their case planners, and travel to different parts of the Bronx and Harlem. I deliver the manualized treatment in English and Spanish, conduct assessments, and coordinate service delivery with preventive agency staff. I also provide technical assistance and trauma-focused training to preventive agency staff. Once per week, the SMSC team meets to discuss clinical and administrative issues related both to the SMSC program and research framework.

What made you choose Steinhardt's Master's program?

I chose Steinhardt's Master’s program in Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness because I wanted to learn how to better people build lives of wellness, health and meaning. I also wanted to gain experience working with people from diverse ethnic, social, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds and to acquire the abilities to design and develop interventions that promote equity and social justice. The program’s curriculum allowed me to learn and integrate holistic counseling approaches, such as narrative therapy, positive psychology, multicultural counseling and trauma-focused therapy. Steinhardt is a multicultural academic community where professors and students work together to build knowledge and practice bases in counseling psychology.

What do you enjoy most about your job? What are some of the challenges you face in your current role?

My work as mental health counselor in the trauma field is very rewarding. I am able to witness the changes that my clients make in their therapeutic processes to transform their lives and the lives of their children. I am inspired by my clients’ resilience and the ways that they give new meanings to the experiences they have endured. The challenges of working in the trauma field include the emotional toll that trauma can take on helping professionals, both directly and indirectly, through listening to clients’ experiences. My goal is to “walk the talk” by practicing the self-care we encourage in our clients. We also have peer consultation and supervision to alleviate this potential stress. A sense of humor helps to engage clients and be more effective in this type of practice.

How do you feel your experience at Steinhardt prepared you for your current role?

My experience as an international student at Steinhardt made me a more sensitive, creative and resilient clinician able to work with individuals from different backgrounds and to have a better appreciation for their traumatic narratives and social contexts. As a student, I was able to exchange ideas with a wonderful network of professors, colleagues and leaders from all around the world. My cohort at Steinhardt was passionate about advancing in their careers and making innovative contributions in their communities. As part of my program curriculum, I held a one-year internship with survivors of sexual abuse at the St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Crime Victims Treatment Center. That experience complemented my work in Colombia and gave me greater professional credibility in NYC.

Do you have any advice for prospective students?

I highly recommend this program to prospective graduate students, especially international students. Steinhardt was a remarkable academic experience and the perfect complement for the work that I had done in Colombia. I suggest that prospective graduate students work closely with their career advisers to develop an individualized program to prepare them for their future professional development.

Samuel Kendakur
Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness, MA
Therapist, Institute of Human Identity & Private Practice
Manhattan, New York
LinkedIn Profile

"When I interned at Bellevue, though, I saw first hand the systemic injustices that had become inherent in the mental health system. I wanted to help people and working directly in the system seemed the best way to do that."


What do you do in a typical work day?

My workdays are pretty much all clinical work. I see clients for individual sessions and work from an existential perspective to try to make connections and create insights and through that process, facilitate change. Most of my clients are dealing with issues such as loneliness, anxiety, depression, relationship struggles, identity questions, experiences around gender and sexuality, or minority experiences. Whatever the issue, I find that it’s most important to be with the client and work to really hear them.

What made you choose Steinhardt's Master's program?

I ultimately chose Steinhardt because the program seemed to have the most emphasis on non-disease model conceptions of mental health and additionally, allowed more freedom to choose electives.

What do you enjoy most about your job? What are some of the challenges you face in your current role?

I really enjoy getting to be a part of my client’s intimate experiences of their lives. It is not often we get to hear each other’s perspectives and thoughts on what’s going on in such detail, and it is truly an honor to be trusted with such a personal account of one’s life. Most of my challenges with clinical work involve wanting to learn more so that I can help more! Psychotherapy can be slow work, so it is sometimes hard to be patient when we want to feel effective quickly.

Please describe your academic and/or professional background prior to attending Steinhardt for graduate school?

I went to NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study for undergrad where I concentrated in “Stigma and Social Control in Mental Health”. I led the NYU chapter of The Icarus Project, an alternative mental health activism and peer support network and interned at a SAGE Wellness, an acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine practice while I was finishing my BA. Between undergrad and my master’s program, I was a psychiatric social work intern at Bellevue Hospital on an inpatient unit for dual diagnosis, addiction and mental health clients.

Do you have any advice for prospective students?

Make sure you choose your internship wisely and do as much extra reading on clinical skills as you can! Classes and lab helps, but there is nothing like the experience of actually sitting in front of clients and learning to think on your feet. Even though there is no way to practice that beforehand, feeling prepared through clinical knowledge and literature can help give you extra confidence when you are actually in the room with clients.