The program, which is based on guidelines set by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), will train counselors, supervisors and counselor educators at the highest level.
In addition to advanced coursework in research, leadership, and advocacy, candidates will complete a series of hands-on internships, working alongside clients and supervising students in Hood’s counseling and clinical health M.S. program at the NeighborHood Counseling Training Center (NCTC), where Hood graduate students provide low-cost mental health services to underserved members of the Frederick community.
Shannon Shoemaker, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology and counseling, will serve as program director. A licensed counselor in both Massachusetts (LMHC) and Maryland (LCPC) as well as a Maryland Board Approved Supervisor and Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC), she has more than a decade’s worth of clinical counseling experience.
“In our program, faculty who are currently working clinically in the field, combined with the innovative NCTC, provide exceptional hands-on training in furthering clinical and supervision skills for our doctoral students,” said Shoemaker.
As part of The Ruth Whitaker School of Behavioral and Health Sciences, the new doctoral program will bolster the counseling master’s program by providing teaching assistants, clinical supervisors and research mentors. The counseling master’s, which offers concentrations in clinical mental health and school counseling, is the most popular and competitive graduate program at Hood. The addition of the counseling doctoral program will create a pipeline for master’s students to remain at their alma mater and seek terminal degrees in their field.
While mental health professionals remain in high demand, there is also an increasing need for both counselor supervisors and counselor educators, who are essential in training future counselors.
Counselor supervisors are responsible for overseeing staff in clinical settings. They serve as liaisons between administrators and counselors, while also upholding ethical standards, monitoring and evaluating clinical work, and supporting trainees. Counselor supervisors play a critical role in improving the effectiveness of treatment as well as retaining clients and staff.
Broadening accessibility for health education is a top priority for Hood College. The current counseling master’s program offers a grant funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). This grant is specifically geared toward students who plan to work in underserved communities as a means to foster diversity and equity in the counseling field. The doctoral counseling program will further advance this mission.