Presidents Message



National Mental Health Counseling Week to be Held May 7-13, 2017


The American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) is excited to announce that National Mental Health Counseling Week will be observed May 7-13, 2017 and will focus on Excellence in Practice. Each year AMHCA sponsors this week to shine light on the field of mental health counseling, what it is and how it helps the public.

 What makes a great counselor? How do you know that the tools you are using with your clients are effective? What is counseling and how can a counselor help me? Through a set group of standards and ethics for mental health counselors, AMHCA is dedicated to training and cultivating excellent practitioners. This year we want to break through walls of stigma and show how excellent mental health counselors change lives and improve mental health.

 This national event increases mental health awareness, promotes recognition of state chapters and AMHCA, and supports the mental health counseling profession as a whole. Increasing and promoting mental health education, prevention, and intervention, into our communities and daily life activities, will positively impact personal well-being as well as benefit society.   

 Mental health counseling is provided along a continuum of care from educational and preventative services to diagnosis and treatment, to long term care. Mental health counselors help individuals and families with problem solving; personal, social and career development; decision making; and self-understanding

As part of this campaign to increase Mental Health Awareness, the NHMHCA is partnering with the AMHCA in a Twitter Campaign to Say Thanks to Counselors!

Hashtag #thankstoacounselor.

If you don’t already have a twitter account, sign up and type in the above hashtag to see the many people who will write in and say thank you to a counselor that has changed their life.

I am placing a challenge to all Clinical Mental Health Counselors!!

Below I have copied a few letters from AMHCA Regional Directors and the Past President.  I would encourage whoever is willing, to write a similar story.

Why I Chose Mental Health Counseling As My Profession”

Tell your story and submit it to me, for publication both on our website and the national blog so we can continue to create awareness of Mental Health Counseling and the clients we serve.

Why I Chose Mental Health Counseling As My Profession”


“Clinical Mental Health Counselors (CMHCs) are an important and crucial profession within the behavioral health workforce in the US and abroad. This profession teaches us to visualize those we help through a lens of whole health, life span development and through the use of holistic treatments. CMHCs are unique in their history and development and as such bring a creative style in how they practice. I’ve found through meeting many CMHC’s across the country that many in this profession are multifaceted and talented in their outlooks, approaches and education. We as a profession tend to be creative as much as we are trained to articulate and convey empathy. I found my path to becoming a Clinical Mental Health Counselor by meeting fascinating helping professionals each who emulated these qualities and others and each of them attended the same school in my area. I have found that these qualities exist well beyond the walls of my graduate studies and I’m truly proud to be a part of this professional discipline that seeks to help people in many areas across diverse settings.” – Joshua Maldonado, AMHCA North Atlantic Region Director

 “I got the idea to go into the field of mental health counseling when I was a RA (residential assistant) on my dorm floor when I was in my first 2 years of college.  Being an RA came with several responsibilities, and one was being available for those college students on your dorm floor.  Students would come and sit to talk about their difficulties.  I grew up in a rather sheltered small community.  For the most part, I was naive in some of the things that did occur in this world.  My eyes were opened.  I did everything I could to learn about ways to help others struggling with mental health concerns and trauma.  I earned my BA degree in psychology and human services and then went on to earn my Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling.  I am a strong advocate for the mental health profession, and am in the position of Past President for the Iowa Mental Health Counselors Association (IMHCA) and am on the national board with AMHCA in the position of Midwest Region Director.  My current credentials are licensed mental health counselor, certified alcohol and drug counselor, and national certified counselor.  My current job title is a Behavioral Health Specialist, working with a special population of clientele in the state of Iowa with the highest need of complex concerns.” – Kristy Brown, AMHCA Midwest Region Director

 “For this post for Mental Health Counselors Week, I was asked why I personally chose to be a mental health counselor for my profession. Although there is much to that story, many

years of experience have helped me to take a long view and see two simplified reasons. First, one of my most meaningful experiences as a young adult was being a client with a mental health counselor. His techniques and skills were critical to my personal healing and understanding of myself, but the therapeutic relationship with another person was perhaps the most profound. In fact many studies have suggested that up to 15% of positive client outcomes can be attributed to the therapeutic relationship itself – having a trusting relationship without judgment, someone’s full attention to bear witness and understand empathically - can be corrective and healing experience along. Second, hindsight tells me that I needed some skills to assist me over a tumultuous, but critical time in my own development. So for me, mental health counselors are not only effective with interventions and techniques, but take a very humanist and developmental perspective that is unique among the helping professions. We can all benefit from this perspective across our lifespan, regardless of the reason.” – A. Keith Mobley, AMHCA Past President

Respectfully Submitted,

Ellen V.A. Papanikolaou, LCMHC



I hope everyone is enjoying a wonderful summer!  As your new President of the NHMHCA, I have to say I am eager to get started on what is shaping up to be a very exciting year for LCMHC’s.  Having just returned from the Leadership Conference in New Orleans I have much to share regarding the future of our profession.  I cannot stress enough that as a profession we are going to have to band together like never before to accomplish our goals.  To that end I encourage you, if you are not already, to become a member not only of our state chapter but of the national organization, AMHCA so our voice will be heard on Capitol Hill.

This year presents itself as a time for change.  A new president is soon to be elected to the White House as we are voting for a NH Senator and State Governor.  We, as a profession, are faced with an opportunity to advocate for ourselves; to have our scope of practice known and respected nationwide which in turn will impact our ability to provide services to clients, and to have a voice with legislators and with success, increase our income.

As a start to what I believe will be an amazing year, I am asking each of you to get involved locally as well as at a national level.   “Medicare provider eligibility for mental health counselors is long overdue.”   A statement we have been making for years!  Follow this link to see how you can make a difference at the national level:

I have found that many clinicians have concerns regarding certain changes that are occurring in our state as well as our profession nationwide.  CACREP, new Supervisory Rules, Medicare inclusion and insurance reimbursement to name a few.  These concerns are not isolated to New Hampshire.  As a profession we need to raise our voices in Concord and have it be heard in Washington D.C.  Please visit the NHMHCA website often.  The CALL TO ACTION is louder than it has ever been and it is one of my goals as president to have your voices be heard.  I am going to do my best to make this as easy as possible by sharing information, providing links for easy access to legislators and guiding you through a step by step process on how to participate in these very important issues that impact all of us.  Please keep in mind, only as a unified presence can we make changes that benefit us all.

I am excited to start this year off strong!  LCMHC’s should be very proud of all we do.  We have a vision, we have a mission and we will be heard.  Thank you in advance for all of your support.  I am happy to hear from you and will welcome any thoughts you have on how to increase our presence and make a change.


Respectfully Submitted,

Ellen V.A. Papanikolaou, LCMHC





As of January 31st 2016 supervisors for candidates for licensure must meet the new requirements for Mhp302.01 (c) (9) which states:

Supervisors for candidates for licensure must successfully complete one of the following before January 31, 2016: 1) a graduate level course in clinical supervision; 2) a clinical supervision certificate approved by AAPC, NASW, AMHCA or AAMFT or 3) 12 CEU's in clinical supervision.

This a one-time requirement and all candidate agreements approved by the Board prior to June 18, 2015 will not be effected by the new rule.  In order to be approved as a supervisor, all documentation should be submitted to:

                                                                                                     The Board of Mental Health Practice

                                                                                                                 121 South Fruit Street

                                                                                                                    Concord, NH 03301


A copy of the current rules can be found at -


The past year has been an exciting time of growth and change for New Hampshire's Mental Health Counselors Association. With a continued focus on growing our membership, I am pleased to report that our membership has increased by 105 members in the past fiscal year.

As we continue to develop and expand our technological capabilities, we have continued to build and streamline our membership database and have successfully launched our new dynamic website, which has allowed us to keep our members better informed about all of the important news and events happening within the organization, as well as legislation updates occurring on the state and federal government level. 

In addition to increased membership and advances in technology, we further focused our efforts over that past year in expanding our reach to other areas of the state. Starting with the Seacoast area, NHMHCA successfully held mentoring events, board meetings and professional development workshops in the Portsmouth, NH area throughout the course of the year. It is our vision to expand over the next several years to other areas of the state in order to increase the organization's visibility statewide.

As we enter a new fiscal year, we look forward to continuing to increase our membership and statewide presence, and are excited about the many events we have planned toward these goals for fiscal year 2015-2016.


Christine Lavoie, Psy.D, LCMHC, NCC


Fall 2014 President's Letter

Welcome to the New Hampshire Mental Health Counselors Association (NHMHCA) website.  I am both honored and excited to have the opportunity to serve as President and continue to represent the interests of mental health counselors in New Hampshire.   As a state chapter of the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) and in accordance with our vision and mission, NHMHCA’S board of directors is committed to continuing to provide a voice for our profession and to advocate for consumers of mental health services. 

I am pleased to announce that we have made great progress on our goals over the past years and I am looking forward to collaborating with the many volunteers who work tirelessly to promote and support the professionalism of and collaboration among mental health counselors in New Hampshire. 

During our annual leadership retreat in August 2014, in an effort to better serve and represent mental health counselors in New Hampshire, several goals were identified for the upcoming year.  These goals included pursuing and hiring an Executive Director in order to expand NHMHCA’s presence and leadership beyond the capacity of the volunteer board, as well as increasing our overall membership and enhancing membership benefits.  

As we head into a new year, we are hopeful that others will consider increasing their involvement with the organization, as serving on the board is both a positive and rewarding experience.

Christine Lavoie Psy.D, LCMHC, NCC


New Hampshire Mental Health Counselors’ Association