RIC’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program is First in Rhode Island to Achieve Accreditation

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Rhode Island College now holds the distinction of being the only institution in the state to earn accreditation for its clinical mental health counseling program by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). There are only two schools in the Northeast (Boston University and Bridgewater State University) that have this distinction.

RIC’s program achieved the full eight-year accreditation by CACREP, an agency that evaluates counseling programs at the master’s and doctoral levels in the United States and around the globe. CACREP President and CEO Carol Bobby explained in a letter to RIC administrators that RIC’s program deserves to be commended. “This is indeed a worthy achievement,’’ she said.

“It is a distinction of which we are very proud,’’ said Don Halquist, dean of RIC’s Feinstein School of Education and Human Development. “CACREP has recognized the overall quality and integrity of the program’s design, confirmed the vitality and commitment of the faculty, and honored the rich and authentic learning opportunities our students experience throughout the program.’’

RIC Associate Professor and Counseling Program Director Monica Darcy oversees the 60-credit program that requires students to take a variety of advanced counseling courses to gain training in clinical practices. Students investigate evidence, apply it in the field and measure their outcomes. Additionally, students obtain internship placements in various clinical settings, working with diverse student populations. Examples of internship settings include community mental health centers, adoption agencies, family service agencies, alternative education programs, psychiatric hospitals, children and adolescent residential programs, and other related social service agencies.

CACREP’s accreditation decision was based on an “extensive review of self-study documents, the visiting team’s report and the program’s response to the visiting team’s report.’’ The report concluded that RIC met CACREP’s 2009 Standards, which require students to “understand the history, philosophy and trends in clinical mental health counseling; demonstrate the ability to apply ethical and legal standards in clinical mental health counseling; and possess a sense of understanding on how living in a multicultural society affects clients who are seeking clinical mental health services.’’ These standards also measure students’ skills in conducting intake interviews, mental status evaluations and psychological assessments for treatment planning and caseload management.

Established in 1854, Rhode Island College serves approximately 9,000 undergraduate and graduate students through its five schools: the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Feinstein School of Education and Human Development, the School of Social Work, the School of Management and the School of Nursing. For more information, visit www.ric.edu.