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What is Counseling Psychology?

Counseling Psychology is a specialty within the professional discipline of psychology that has a major focus on an individual’s ability to function both personally and in relationships of sorts. Anyone who is planning to study for their doctorate in Psychology would need to review each of the options to see if a focus on this specialty area is ideal. Here’s what graduate student needs to know about counseling psychologists:

Specialized Knowledge

Anyone who practices as a counseling psychologist will need specialized knowledge in this branch of professional psychology which is obtained both in an academic and an occupational setting. Psychologists working in the counseling specialty will need to be skilled in the development of children, adolescents, adults, and seniors. According to the American Psychological Association, counseling psychologists particularly focus on:

  • How occupation and career can impact a person’s life
  • Strengths of the clients (personally, socially and professionally)
  • How gender, lifestyle, and environmental influences shape a person’s behavior and experiences
  • Issues that can arise out of social justice

Types of Problems Addressed

Every psychologist focuses on different types of issues and interventions. In terms of the counseling specialists, a psychologist in this practice-based area would work towards helping their patients improve their lives or resolve crises situations they have been in. It’s normal for a counseling psychologist to also address mental, physical and emotional developmental issues that could affect a person’s well-being. Some problems addressed by a specialist include:

  • Mental disorders
  • Deficits in learning or skill sets
  • Coping with adverse experiences
  • Stress management
  • Difficulties in interpersonal relationships
  • Long-term decision making
  • Adjusting to school or work
  • Organizational problems
  • Social adjustment
  • Problems relating to other people
  • Diversity and justice issues

Clients Served

Counseling psychologists may work with organizations that are trying to improve the lives of populations within the geographic region. They may also be employed by corporations looking for trends in issues that could affect their working professionals. Psychologists will serve groups and individuals of all ages and backgrounds as well.

Due to the general nature of the specialty area, psychologists in this practice area must be skilled and prepared to consult with workgroups and serve clients from various cultures with varying levels of issues. One client could be overcoming a disability while the other could be looking for intervention after suffering from a drug problem. Each case is unique.

Read: 10 Most Affordable Counseling Psychology Online Programs

Demand and Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the outlook for psychologists, in general, is projected to grow by 14% by the year 2026. Out of all of the specialty areas of the discipline, counseling and clinical professionals are expected to be in high demand. The need for psychological services in schools, health clinics, and government agencies is driving this growing demand.

All psychologists must pursue a doctoral degree and then complete postdoctoral work experience in a practical setting before practicing on their own. Anyone who wants to pursue their doctorate must research different doctoral-level programs to make the best choice. Compare accreditation, credentialing, cost, location, and program delivery before choosing a program to major in Counseling Psychology.

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