Natural Health Counselor Degree Program Information
Aspiring counselors who are interested in specializing on natural health approaches can enroll in a Master of Arts in Holistic Counseling degree program. Graduate degree programs in natural health, or holistic, counseling are designed to produce mental health practitioners who have an understanding of the natural healing arts.
Students enrolled in a natural health counseling program learn how to work with individuals using methods that combine mental, spiritual and emotional wholeness. Those who are interested in applying to such a program should first make sure that the curriculum included meets the national standards for licensure as a mental health counselor. Most states require that counselors be licensed, but standards vary. Students enrolled in a master's degree program in holistic counseling learn about the foundations of counseling theory from a holistic perspective, and learn to recognize how the mind/body connection can have an effect on mental health. They also study systems of therapy, group and individual counseling practices, and research methods.
- Prerequisites: Must have a baccalaureate degree to enroll in a master's degree program in holistic counseling; undergraduate degree programs that might be appropriate precursors to a master's degree in holistic counseling include those in psychology, counseling, social work or similar fields.
- Other Requirements: Most programs require 60 credit hours of coursework, as well as the completion of an internship.
- Program Length: Two years
Many of the seminar courses included within a master's degree program in natural health counseling combine methods of counseling with specific theories relating to holistic health. Students are also required to complete clinical internship experiences before graduating. Some examples of required courses might include:
- Theories of holistic counseling
- Mind/body connection
- Family therapy practices
- Group counseling process
- Assessment and treatment
- Human behavior
- Research methods
- Counseling through creative arts
- Counseling practicum
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that individuals in the mental health counseling and marriage and family therapy field held about 166,000 positions in the U.S. in 2012. Mental health counselors earned a median annual salary of $40,080 as of May 2014. Holistic counselors can work in the fields of marriage and family counseling, mental health counseling and behavioral disorder counseling (www.bls.gov).
Certification and Continuing Education
All 50 U.S. states have licensure requirements for counselors, although requirements vary by state. Most do require the completion of a master's degree, and many states will accept a master's degree in holistic counseling as an adequate prerequisite.