Counseling psychology focuses on providing therapeutic treatments to clients who experience a wide variety of symptoms. It is also one of the largest specialty areas within psychology. The Society of Counseling Psychology describes the field as "a psychological specialty [that] facilitates personal and interpersonal functioning across the life span with a focus on emotional, social, vocational, educational, health-related, developmental and organizational concerns."
Counseling psychology as a psychological specialty facilitates personal and interpersonal functioning across the life span with a focus on emotional, social, vocational, educational, health-related, developmental, and organizational concerns. Through the integration of theory, research, and practice, and with a sensitivity to multicultural issues, this specialty encompasses a broad range of practices that help people improve their well-being, alleviate distress and maladjustment, resolve crises, and increase their ability to live more highly functioning lives. Counseling psychology is unique in its attention both to normal developmental issues and to problems associated with physical, emotional, and mental disorders.
The Counseling Psychologist (TCP) focuses on timely topics in such diverse areas as counseling HIV-infected clients, counseling lesbian and gay clients, the counseling relationship, cross-cultural counseling, delayed memory, debate ethics, multicultural training supervision, victimization, and white racial identity.This journal is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)
What Do Counseling Psychologists Do?:
Many counseling psychologists provide psychotherapy services, but other career paths are also available. Research, teaching and vocational counseling are just a few of the possible alternatives to psychotherapy. No matter what the job setting, individuals who choose to enter into a career in counseling psychology utilize psychological theories to help people overcome problems and realize their full-potential.
Counseling Psychology vs Clinical Psychology:
Out of all the graduate psychology degrees awarded each year, more than half are in the subfields of clinical or counseling psychology (Mayne, Norcross, & Sayette, 2000). Counseling psychology shares many commonalities with clinical psychology, but it is also unique in several different ways.
While both clinical and counseling psychologists perform psychotherapy, those working as clinicians typically deal with clients suffering from more severe mental illnesses. Counseling psychologists often work with people who are experiencing less severe symptoms (Brems & Johnson, 1997). The treatment outlook can also differ between clinical and counseling psychology.
Clinicians often approach mental illness from a medical perspective, while counseling psychologists often take a more general approach that encompasses a range of psychotherapeutic techniques. Of course, the individual approach a therapist takes depends on a wide range of factors including his or her educational background, training and theoretical perspective.
Required Education and Training for Counseling Psychology:
In order to become a counseling psychologist, a Ph.D. , Psy.D. or Ed.D. degree is required. A Doctor of Philosophy or Doctor of Psychology degree will typically be offered through a university's psychology department, while the Doctor of Education in counseling psychology can be found at a school's college of education. Most of these programs receive accreditation through the American Psychological Association (APA).
If you are looking for a program in counseling psychology, start by checking out the list of accredited programs in professional psychology maintained by the APA.