Working professionals and current students interested in furthering their expertise in the field of clinical mental health counseling are invited to a virtual open house for the College’s graduate program in that specialty this Thursday evening. The online session is scheduled from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. Registration is available here.

Q & A Format

Hosted on the Zoom platform, the online session will consist of a question/answer session with two faculty members, Bobesky and Mary Handley, Ph.D., LMHC, CRC. In addition, Associate Director of Graduate Programs Charles Harcourt will facilitate digital questions, and two current grad program students, Brianna Wolf and Kelly Clookey, will share their experiences.

The two-year graduate program leads to a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling. It is designed to provide students with the competencies, ethical background and practical experience for the educational requirements to meet eligibility for New York State licensure as a clinical mental health counselor (CMHC).

The program started two years ago and now the first cohort of nine students is due to graduate in August. A second cohort of 14 students is underway, said Christine Bobesky, Ph.D., program director.

Two Years, 60 Credits

There are advantages to how Cazenovia’s program is structured, according to Dr. Bobesky.

  • Coursework can be completed in two years (versus the three years that many other programs require.
  • The 60-credit program fulfills 12 credits each semester and 12 credits over each of two summers.
  • A practicum of 100 hours of supervised counseling experience is included.
  • An internship of 600 hours of supervised counseling experience also is involved.
  • Applicants are not required to have a GRE or GMAT entrance exam, though the College does take into account academic standing and “professional fitness” — factors such as life, work, and family experiences that may create the benefit of an additional level of empathy that naturally enhances the ability to succeed in counseling work.
  • Each applicant must also complete an essay and have a personal interview.

Core Faculty and Cohort

In line with the College’s student-focused approach to education, two core faculty members remain with the student cohort throughout the program. That close-knit culture is much more conducive to a

mentoring relationship between faculty and students, and classes are purposefully small and are limited to a maximum of 15 students, Dr. Bobesky said. In addition, the program is structured to allow students to explore various career options and the variety of professional paths that are possible, she added.

Sean Decker enrolled in the program because he wants to work with early to late adolescents, possibly in a school setting, and perhaps eventually have his own clinical mental health counseling practice. The experience is one Decker truly has enjoyed; he says.

“It has been great, especially with a small cohort. You are able to connect with one another and hear about everyone’s experience. We also rely on one another, which is really amazing because we’ve spent almost two years in classes together.”

Obtaining a master’s degree will help his career path, too, he believes.

“I think in today’s world you definitely need to further your education to have more opportunities. Also, being able to gain more experience and making more connections out here in the field is very important,” he adds.

Classmate Heather Colvin obtained a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and English Arts and has been working for seven years in a 1:1 human services role. She always envisioned attending graduate school and had been researching options for a year when she learned about the CMHC program.

“I applied immediately,” Colvin said. “It was exactly what I wanted. It was only 30 minutes away. I could keep working and still be a good, attentive mother. The timing was perfect, and since I started, I couldn’t be more thankful for the journey.”

That decision turned out to be a great fit for her busy life as a full-time working mom and wife, she added.

“I could not have asked for a better group to be doing this with. The nine of us [students] get along so well. We’re like a little family. And [Professors] Mary [Handley] and Christina [Bobesky] are amazing. They are incredibly supportive and encouraging. I stepped into graduate school expecting to be drilled and full of homework, and scared, really. This is nothing like that. I love that I took the leap.”

Students of all ages and interests are welcome to apply, from those who recently graduated from baccalaureate programs in human services, social services, and psychology, to working professionals who have in counseling-type roles in those fields. Sometimes, students are already working in somewhat of a counseling capacity at their jobs and decide to improve their professional standing by obtaining the master’s degree and eligibility for licensing, Dr. Bobesky noted.