The Institute for Clinical Social Work

What does it mean to be a counselor? Counselors are part of one of several professions (such as clinical social workers, clinical psychologists, marriage and family therapists, and psychiatrists) whose members work as psychotherapists. At ICSW, that’s what we do: with our master’s program in clinical counseling and psychotherapy, we train graduate students to become clinicians/psychotherapists and work in a variety of mental health settings; and with our doctoral programs, we help psychotherapists further their skills so they can become advanced clinicians and educators.

Our MA program uniquely prepares our students to apply psychodynamic principles in working with our patients to help them understand themselves and their complex lives more broadly and more deeply. It means not just listening to what our patients tell us, but also trying to understand what they tell us, within the whole context of who they are. It means understanding how they have become the people who come to our offices, agencies, or clinics asking for services. It means helping patients learn how all of their past experiences and relationships contribute to shaping who they are, what they do, how they feel, how they relate to others, and the decisions they make. Counselors help their patients make sense of and tell the story of who they are, and understand that the story is always more complicated than it seems at first. This kind of self-awareness allows people to live happier, healthier, and richer lives and to change patterns of behaviors and relationships that may have been previously unfulfilling.

ICSW’s two-year master’s program in clinical counseling and psychotherapy is a non-resident, full- or part-time course of study designed to prepare students for careers in the mental health field doing counseling, psychotherapy, and community work, with a specific emphasis on the integration of modern psychodynamic perspectives. After students complete the degree, they are eligible to apply for state licensure (LPC). The program’s flexible framework consists primarily of weekend courses that allow working students to conveniently accommodate their schedules. Completion of the master’s requirements results in the acquisition of the master’s degree in clinical counseling and psychotherapy.

Upon completion of the master’s, students are prepared to seek employment in a variety of mental-health settings, including:

  • community-based mental-health services
  • the court system
  • child welfare
  • medical settings
  • schools
  • agencies serving marginalized populations
  • substance abuse treatment settings
  • private mental-health agencies