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Natural Health Counselor Degree Program Information

A natural health counselor focuses not just on mental health, but on physical, spiritual and emotional health as well. Aspiring counselors who are interested in specializing on natural health tactics can enroll in a Master of Arts in Holistic Counseling degree program. Read on for information on prerequisites, curriculum and licensing requirements for counselors.

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Essential Information

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 gaining 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. These programs have extensive internship requirements that allow students to gain real world experience in the field. Most programs require 60 credit hours of coursework.

Education Prerequisites

While students do need to have a baccalaureate degree to enroll in a master's degree program in holistic counseling, they do not need to be licensed counselors. Most accredited programs in the field will prepare students to meet the educational requirements necessary to earn state licensure. 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.

Program Coursework

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 156,000 positions in the U.S. in 2010. They earned a median annual salary of $46,670 as of May 2012. 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.

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