Health and Behavioral Medicine Area of Emphasis

Health and Behavioral Medicine

Bring Your Behavioral Health Training to Medical Settings

This area of emphasis prepares graduates to work as clinical mental health counselors in behavioral health, primary care, and medical specialty settings. Massachusetts has quickly become the cutting-edge state in the country to lead the implementation of healthcare reform and maximize integration of services. Specifically, there is a movement toward using integrated behavioral health models within primary care and other medical settings. Many hospitals now have embedded behavioral health clinicians in their primary care settings.

Through a series of several courses, our graduates will gain a solid background in the biopsychosocial model, stress response, working with interdisciplinary teams, social determinants and disparities in health and healthcare, and appreciating diversity and multicultural perspectives around health and illness. Students will also become familiar with behavioral health integration in primary and medical specialty care as well as gain knowledge and experience in behavioral medicine interventions. Students will learn to function as members of interdisciplinary teams and the necessary skills to help those living with acute and chronic illnesses, mental health issues, as well as illness prevention and health promotion.

This program, and specifically this area of emphasis, utilizes the biopsychosocial frame to understand health and human behavior. With the understanding of the mind/body connection, the mental health professional will be exposed to behavioral medicine interventions including evidence-based approaches to care, motivational interviewing, brief treatment models, CBT, biofeedback, hypnosis, and other relaxation techniques. Graduates of this program will have developed basic competencies in being a key member of a team; be ready to conduct brief assessments and consult with colleagues from other health care disciplines; and treat patients and families in both brief and extended models of care.


Counseling Program

Offered as part of our on-campus Clinical Mental Health Counseling program

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Employment Opportunities for MA Clinical Mental Health Counseling in Health and Behavioral Medicine Graduates and LMHCs

Our graduates are among the first group of professional counselors trained to specifically work effectively in both behavioral health and medical settings. Graduates  from this concentration have been quite competitive in landing good jobs in this emerging area with their background in behavioral health integration, behavioral medicince and public health. Our graduates are also well-trained generalists as mental health counselors.

Mental health counselors work in a wide range of settings. Among these are community mental health centers; hospitals and clinics; residential treatment centers; substance abuse treatment facilities; college and university counseling centers; employee assistance programs; managed behavioral health care organizations; government agencies; elder care facilities; and faith communities. There are many employment opportunities in the Boston area and throughout the United States for qualified master's level clinicians. Once they have completed their post-master's work experience requirements and have passed the national licensing examination (known as the NCMHE), mental health counselors can also pursue independent practice. In Massachusetts, licensed mental health counselors are known as LMHCs.

Advantages of a Graduate School Education at William James College

Job Outlook: Percent (%) Change in Employment for 2019-2029 Bureau of Labor Statistics
Marriage and Family Therapist Up 22%
Mental Health Counselor Up 25%
Substance Abuse & Behavioral Disorder Counselor Up 25%

Concentration Faculty

If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Allyson Cherkasky.

Allyson Cherkasky, PhDAllyson Cherkasky, PhD

Director, Health and Behavioral Medicine area of emphasis