Modern life can be very stressful. Many people struggle to cope properly with stress, career problems, depression, anxiety, and relationship problems, so they seek the services of counseling psychologists. These specialists meet with individuals and groups to help people cope with problems during various life stages.
In addition to listening to patients’ concerns, counseling psychologists instruct them on techniques they can utilize to solve problems, manage stress, adjust to life changes, live normal lives, and improve relationships. Before this can be done, counseling psychologists conduct evaluations by administering various tests and asking numerous questions. Many people meet with counseling psychologists for just a few months or many years. Counseling psychologists frequently implement new concepts developed from recent research into patient treatment. In addition to patient care, counseling psychologists are also interested in recognizing and preventing major social, physical, and mental disorders before they’re unmanageable. Counseling psychologists are employed at private and group practices, substance abuse rehab facilities, hospitals and other medical clinics, community centers, and colleges and universities.
Counseling psychology can be described as follows:
- Unconscious functioning and consciousness are highly emphasized
- Current life experiences are focused upon, rather than past ones
- Counseling psychologists emphasize role functioning and accountability
- Counseling psychologists typically work with patients struggling to cope with normal life stress, rather than severe mental health disorders
Duties and Responsibilities of a Counseling Psychologist
Counseling psychologists evaluate their patients’ current situations and problems and then offer advice. Since they typically do not work with people struggling with severe mental health disorders, their patients usually consult with them to discuss relationship, substance abuse, career, and other problems. To help patients make life changes, counseling psychologists often recommend behavior modification strategies. Children, adolescents, and adults consult with counseling psychologists.
What is the difference between counseling and clinical psychology?
Clinical and counseling psychologists undergo different training and address different problems. Counseling psychologists typically meet with patients struggling to cope with everyday stresses, while clinical psychologists work with patients diagnosed with severe psychological disorders, such as schizophrenia. In other words, counseling psychologists teach people how to manage stress properly; whereas, clinical psychologists specialize in disease treatment.
Most counseling psychologists are generalists, and clinical psychologists usually specialize. It’s possible for a counseling psychologist to specialize; however, they usually work with people struggling with general types of problems. Although clinical and counseling psychologists differ in many ways, they do occasionally work with similar types of patients, such as people overcoming or recovering from substance abuse.
Education and Training
To begin a counseling psychology career, you should earn a master’s degree or PhD in counseling psychology. You’ll probably work under the supervision of a psychologist holding a PhD if you obtain a master’s degree. Graduate students earning PhD’s typically acquire more clinical experience, which better prepares them for private practice. The American Psychological Association (APA) typically recognizes counseling psychology PhD programs offered by universities that sponsor internships.
Every state requires counseling psychologists providing patient care or running private practices to satisfy licensing requirements, which vary in each state. Most states require counseling psychologists to obtain a PhD, complete an internship, and acquire 1-2 years of applicable work experience before they can practice professionally.