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Media Advisory/Press Release

MSPP Launches New Master’s Degree Program in Global Mental Health to Help Meet Mental Health Needs around the World

Program is first in New England to Prepare Students for Licensure

September 19, 2012–Newton, MA–This fall, the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP) will begin enrolling students in its new master’s degree program on global mental health. The program is the first of its kind in New England and one of only a few in the country that prepares students for mental health licensure.

The Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology and Global Mental Health will provide training to health and mental health practitioners and other humanitarian and human rights workers that will allow them to care for traumatized persons and communities worldwide. The program will address questions such as how to work with an immigrant from a war torn country who has experienced the horrors of civil war, or the brutality of ethnic oppression or terrorism. It also will address trauma experienced in the United States.

According to Dr. Richard F. Mollica, who is the senior faculty member of the new program and MSPP’s initiative in Global Mental Health, “This degree will be a license to do idealistic work and get paid for it. I call it ‘employable idealism’.” Mollica, who has spent the last 30 years pioneering psychiatric care for people who have lived through extreme violence, also directs The Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma.

While other master’s programs focus on global mental health, MSPP is one of only a handful that provide the training necessary for students to become Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHC). Students will be prepared for positions in community health clinics, NGOs, the United Nations, and U.S. government agencies.

Just 30 years ago, Mollica had to convince skeptical colleagues and policy makers that traumatized individuals have psychological problems that need to be addressed. “We have come a long way since then, which is why this Global Mental Health program is so important.”

Faculty for the program will include professionals who also have spent decades providing clinical care to severely traumatized populations, including Jean Bellows, PsyD, an MSPP alumna and faculty member who has worked with trauma sufferers for 35 years in North Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, and the Middle East. Jodie Kliman, PhD, also a part of the Global Mental Health team, recently returned from the West Bank and parts of Israel where she is exploring partnerships between MSPP and Israeli and Palestinian Universities. Jill Bloom, a member of the planning committee that created the new master’s program, has trained Haitian psychology students in the treatment of trauma and PTSD at the University of Haiti, and is, along with others at MSPP, working with the Haitian Mental Health Network and University of Haiti in developing a partnership among the three organizations. Bloom has also spent many years researching, and is considered an expert in the psychological impact of Sex Trafficking and psychology’s role in prevention and treatment.

MSPP’s program will include public health, medicine, psychology, ethics, human rights, economic development, and community service. “We must not privilege any one discipline,” says Mollica. “Graduates of this program will learn how to build and manage a team, how to integrate local people into their teams and how to build strong partnerships.” MSPP’s master’s degree in Global Mental Health is a two year, 60-credit program.

About MSPP—Founded in 1974 as an independent graduate school of psychology, MSPP provides unique training programs for mental health professionals at the doctoral, master’s and certificate level, each designed to immerse students in both academic study and real-life clinical experience. Constantly assessing and evolving to meet the needs of a rapidly changing and increasingly diverse society, MSPP currently offers programs to train highly skilled professionals to care for Latinos, veterans, children and adolescents and families in a variety of settings, including the schools, the courts, the community and the workplace, among others.

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