A Specialized Calling
Christian counseling is a highly specialized calling that requires careful training. In the Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) program at Reformed Theological Seminary, we prepare Christians to work with God’s Word and God’s world as they apply God’s truth to the fabric of people’s lives. Under the authority of Scripture and with the foundation of a biblical worldview, our students learn to see the people they help both as individuals living before the face of God and as active members of family relationships.
Integrating the study of God and the study of those who bear his image.
For centuries, Reformed theology has recognized the importance of both knowing the Lord and knowing ourselves. Theology focuses attention on God’s revelation of himself, primarily through the Scriptures; counseling focuses on the human mind, heart, and experience. Our 78-hour MAC program includes 61 hours of professional counseling courses while also emphasizing the discipline of theology in the required biblical theology, systematic theology, and integration of theology and counseling courses. Students will learn to use Scripture to discern God’s truth in the use of secular texts and research.
Program directed clinical experience.
Many counseling programs fulfill practicum and internship requirements through unaffiliated off-site internships that students are responsible to secure. All RTS students, however, counsel people in practicum and internship sites closely affiliated and secured by the program. At these sites, students acquire at least 400 face-to-face clinical hours. Students receive supervision as individuals and in groups from professors and other licensed mental health counselors who work in coordination with the program. Students find the clinical experience to be deeply challenging and rewarding, as they work collaboratively with their professors, supervisors and other students.
Cohort-based clinical experience.
MAC students enter the clinical practicum and internship experience together at the same time in the same clinic. By going through this experience together, students have the opportunity to counsel together and consult or pray with each other before and after sessions. Students can also view their counseling sessions via video-recording or live observation and provide input about clients or constructive feedback to help each other develop. Since the MAC program lasts two years, second-year students mentor first-year students during their practicum.
The MAC program currently meets the academic and clinical requirements outlined by the Mississippi Board of Licensed Professional Counselors, the Florida Board of Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy, and Mental Health Counselors as well as most states’ professional licensure boards. RTS has designed its program to meet CACREP standards and has entered into the multi-year CACREP accreditation process. There is no guarantee that we will be granted CACREP accreditation though it is our goal to do so. Students graduating from the RTS MAC program within eighteen months prior to our accreditation approval will be considered graduates of a CACREP accredited program.
Graduates of the RTS MAC program have become clinical mental health counselors, pastors, missionaries, consultants, doctoral students, and professors. Clinical experience is the heart of the MAC program, even in the classroom. Professors seek to apply all theoretical material directly to the practice of counseling. RTS requires that all counseling professors maintain active private counseling practices, so their clinical skills and insight remain sharp. These clinical skills combined with the professors’ academic knowledge keep our students at the forefront of the field of counseling as Christian professionals.
Full-time, cohort-based program.
All students admitted to the program must maintain full-time status for the duration of the core counseling curriculum. Students progress through all counseling courses as a group, or “cohort.” Many of the courses have interactive and small-group discussion components that enhance class cohesion. The program is not designed for students looking to complete a degree by taking classes online or on an extended part-time basis.
Limited and selective enrollment.
MAC enrollment is limited to 24 students per class. Classes are kept small in order to facilitate relationships among the students, enhance the classroom experience and provide intensive supervision once students enter the clinical component of the program. For more information, visit our application process page.
Students find that their own hearts grow increasingly alive in relationship with others and greater intimacy with God. Through classroom activities, clinical experiences, personal self-care, group activities and more, students are challenged to become more of who they were created to be in Christ. Students experience the joys and challenges of the MAC program together and support one another emotionally and spiritually.