(mostly all) Counseling related Acronyms and Abbreviations

(Plus Acronyms related to client mental or physical problems)



MA = Master of Arts
A university graduate degree requiring one or two years of additional study above the requirements for a bachelors degree (BA or BS).


This should be just an MA, but in the past, graduates of Bastyr University's LIOS Leadership Institute of Seattle often added these extra initials (meaning Applied Behavioral Science) after their names, as in John Smith, MA, ABS. This added "ABS" does not indicate any additional licensure or certification beyond the masters degree and tends to be confusing and misleading to members of the public. October 20, 2006, Jacqueline Hooper, Vice President for Academic Affairs, announced that Bastyr University completed a review of degree acronym designations and determined that the MA designation should be used for the Master of Arts in Applied Behavioral Science degree. Some counselor alumni continue to use the "ABS" acronym despite repeated requests from Bastyr LIOS to discontinue the practice.] [Go to CWA article: Ethical Counselors vs. Unethical Counselors.]

MAC = Master Addictions Counselor
A speciality certification for addictions counselors offered by the National Board for Certified Counselors, Inc.  The MAC credential is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. The MAC certification is also offered through the NAADAC.


MACP = Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology 
Degree Program offered only at Bastyr University.


MAID = Medical Aid In Dying V 
One of two end-of-life options available in Washington State, but not commonly understood. Medical Aid in Dying was made legal in Washington over 12 years ago through the Death with Dignity (DwD) Act and is available to individuals in Washington with 6 months or less life expectancy due to terminal illness.   Also see, VSED. 


MAHS = Master of Arts in Human Services (degree)

MAN = Master of Arts in Nursing
Masters in Nursing website that lists and discusses the various graduate degrees in nursing (and their acronyms) explains the differences, the colleges and universities that offer the degree programs, indexed by state, and the accrediting agencies for the programs.


MAOP = Master of Arts in Organizational Psychology (degree)


MBRP = Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention
A program for post-treatment relapse prevention of AOD problems--based on Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression (Segal, Teasdale & Williams, 2002) and incorporating cognitive-behavioral relapse prevention strategies.


MBSR= Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction is a clinically standardized meditation that has shown consistent efficacy for many mental and physical disorders. Less attention has been given to the possible benefits that it may have in healthy subjects.


MC = Master of Counseling (degree)


MCO = Managed Care Organization 


MD = Doctor of Medicine (degree)


MDiv = Masters in Divinity (degree)

MECD = Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development
A professional journal of the Association for Assessment in Counseling and Education.

MEd = Master of Education (degree)


MHAP = The Mental Health Access Program
A community-based program developed to improve access to basic mental health services in Thurston County. Uninsured and under-insured adults, 18 years and older, are accepted after being screened by a referring medical professional. Volunteer therapists provide counseling (4 sessions), targeting clients who are troubled by anxiety or depressed mood and who will be successful with a brief intervention model.

MHC = Mental Health Counselor or Mental Health Counseling
These are generic initials, in that they are used as a rationalization by some counselors to indicate, "this is what I do." In some cases the person may have a degree with a major in mental health counseling but often this is not the case. I do not know of any jurisdiction in which these initials have any legal or official standing. MHC does not indicate licensure nor certification by a professional organization. So far as we can tell, MHC could be used by anyone--without regard for experience, education, or training standards. The use of these initials as part of the practitioner's credentials is misleading to the general public and therefore unprofessional and unethical under the ACA or AMHCA guidelines. [Go to CWA article: Ethical Counselors vs. Unethical Counselors.]

MHCA =  Mental Health Counselor Associate
NOTE: This is not an official acronym in Washington State and means nothing after a counselor's name. Do not be misled.


MHDL = Master of Human Development & Learning (degree)

MHF = Mental Health Facilitator
A curriculum project under NCBB, intended to bring a basic level of mental health education to parts of the world lacking knowledge and services. [Thanks to The NCC, Volume 23, Number 2, page 15, Spring 2007, a publication of the National Board for Certified Counselors, Inc.]

MHLG = Mental Health Liaison Group
A coalition of "National organizations representing consumer, family members, advocates, professionals and providers."


MHP = Mental Health Professional - See new designation DCR, Designated Crisis Responders
MHPs are qualified mental health providers who have been designated by an agency or hospital to meet contractual requirements with the county to perform duties in accordance with Washington State law. It appears that the terminology was CDMHP or County Designated Mental Health Professional (CDMHP)--but since a 2005 revision, it is simply "Designated Mental Health Professional" (DMHP). Legal definition: "Mental health professional means a psychiatrist, psychologist, psychiatric nurse, or social worker, and such other mental health professionals as may be defined by rules adopted by the secretary pursuant to the provisions of this chapter." [Washington State RCW 71.05.020 Definitions] Most of the job postings for an MHP require a minimum qualification of "Masters degree or further advanced degree in counseling or one of the social sciences from an accredited college or university, and having, in addition, at least two years' experience in direct treatment of persons with mental illness or emotional disturbance, such experience gained under the supervision of a mental health professional."  While counselors in private practice may report experience gained as a designated MHP for an identified agency, the acronym should not be used in private practice counselor credentials.


MI =3D Motivational Interviewing
A collaborative, goal-oriented=  style of communication with particular attention to the language of change= . It is designed to strengthen personal motivation for and commitment to a = specific goal by eliciting and exploring the person=E2=80=99s own reasons f= or change within an atmosphere of acceptance and compassion. (Mil= ler & Rollnick, 2013, p. 29)


MIS or MIS-C = Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome
When linked to coronavirus (MIS-C), the condition triggers symptoms including fever, inflammation, and severe illness and requires hospitalization, says a press release from the Washington Department of Health,  August 7, 2020.


MOMI = Mothers of the Mentally Ill
A Washington State grassroots group founded by Jerri Clark advocating for improved treatment access for family members suffering from Serious Mental Illness (SMI).  See on Facebook. MOMI is hosted on the Spirit UW Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences website.


MOUD = Medication for Opioid Use Disorder Locator
Medications for Opioid Use Disorder, (formerly Medication Assisted Treatment) Find treatment services nearest you.


MPH = Master of Public Health (degree)


MPI = Migration Policy Institute
"Few forces have shaped the modern world more than migration. Today, in an era of enhanced mobility and increased economic interconnectedness, well thought-out, pragmatic immigration and integration policies are critical in building a secure and prosperous future in countries around the world."


MPS = Master of Professional Studies (degree)


MRT = Moral Reconation Therapy
A systematic treatment strategy that seeks to decrease recidivism among juvenile and adult criminal and substance abuse offenders by increasing moral reasoning. Its cognitive-behavioral approach combines elements from a variety of psychological traditions to progressively address ego, social, moral and positive behavioral growth. Traditionally, Moral Reconation Therapy takes the form of group and individual counseling using structured group exercises and prescribed homework assignments. [Reconation is an archaic word that was used before the word "ego" replaced it. In this use the word reconation refers to learning a strategy for consciously making moral decisions--thus helping offenders learn to reevaluate their situation and avoid new offenses.]


MS = Master of Science (degree)


MSc = Master of Science (degree)


MSEd = Master of Science in Education (degree)


MSN = Master of Science in Nursing (degree)


MSNCHP = Master of Science in Nutrition & Clinical Health Psychology
Degree Program offered only at Bastyr University.


MSS = Master of Social Science (degree)


MSSW = Master of Science in Social Work (degree)


MSW = Master of Social Work (degree)


MT-BC = Music Therapist--Board Certified
A credential awarded by the Certification Board for Music Therapists. 


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