Are you interested in Fitchburg State's counseling programs? As part of the GCE Blog's "Our Faculty" series, we introduce Dr. Robert Hynes, Director of Counseling Services/Assistant Dean for Student Support Services.
What is your background in mental health counseling and how does it apply to the Clinical Mental Health program? How did you become interested in this field?
I earned a doctorate in clinical and school psychology in 1996. Over the years, I’ve had opportunities to work in public schools, private colleges, and public universities. One of the nice things about a master's or doctoral degree in a mental health field is its flexibility; there are numerous contexts in which our skills and our training are relevant and sought after. Often, students in the Clinical Mental Health program here have been (and are) employed in a number of agencies, doing very diverse types of work. I always enjoy hearing about their experiences in contexts that I haven’t had direct work experience with, and classes often become a “laboratory” of sorts, where we’re able to discuss ideas regarding improving service provision to the individuals with whom we work. I hope students find these discussions as engaging as I do.
What courses do you teach in the counseling program(s)?
For the past few years, I’ve taught Psychopathology II in the fall semester, Counseling Techniques and Case Analysis in the spring semester, and Research Methods and Program Evaluation during summer semesters.
Why would someone want to become a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) or what career opportunities are available for a LMHC?
As I discussed above, an LMHC is a nice “generalist” education/license. A wide variety of schools and agencies typically seek out LMHCs to provide direct care to individuals.
What advice do you have for working adults looking to return to school for this program?
I’d recommend they prepare themselves for what will be a rigorous academic experience, with an awful lot of applied experiences (e.g., practicum, internship). The time commitment is significant, for sure, but the payoff (I hope) is worth it. Oh…and find a way to take care of oneself along the way…mental health providers often talk about the importance of the clinician’s psychological well-being in the provision of care to a client. A wise sentiment.
Want to learn more about our counseling programs? Speak to one of our advisors to help you get started.
Dr. Hynes earned a Ph.D. in Clinical and School Psychology in 1996 from Hofstra University. Since that time, he has served in various clinical and faculty roles at several colleges and universities, including Limestone College (South Carolina), Webster University, Keene State College, and Fitchburg State University. Dr. Hynes has served as the Director of Counseling Services/Assistant Dean for Support Services at Fitchburg State since 2001, and has taught coursework here, at the undergraduate and graduate levels, since 2006.
Thank you to Dr. Hynes for contributing this blog.