Clinical Psychology versus Counseling Psychology

For many people, the difference between a clinical psychologists and a counseling psychologist is confusing, but with some explanation, it’s very easy to discern the two. If you’re interested in studying psychology though, then it’s important to know the difference between the two.

Typically the two professions perform similar work as both researchers and practitioners. Additionally, individuals from both sides often work together in a number of settings, such as academic institutions, hospitals, mental health centers, community centers, independent practices, college counseling centers, or more. Yet the two professions do perform slightly different tasks in the psychology field, all of which are worth noting:

Clinical Psychologists

Clinical practice usually refers to the care, diagnosis, and treatment of someone who has mental illness, abnormal behavior, emotional or behavioral disorders, or psychiatric problems. Many clinical psychologists use a variety of psychology approaches depending on the person’s issue. Clinical psychology can be used in individual, family, or group therapy sessions. Clinical psychologists also design behavior modification programs and help patients implement their particular program towards their desired goals.

Counseling Psychologists

Counselors consult, advise, or deliberate with patients. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, a counseling psychologists helps “patients understand their problems, including issues in the home, workplace, or community.” As a counselor you would hold a session with a patient and help identify their strengths and resources they can use to manage their unique issues. Counseling psychologists are integral to helping individuals work through problems in a variety of settings and the position requires an ability to adapt quickly scenarios that can present themselves when bringing individuals together. Counseling psychologists many times possess a much more innate ability to get other comfortable and create an environment intuitive to opening up and work through issues. It’s a skill that can’t be overstated in its importance because of how hesitant people can be to discussing issues with others not directly involved.

Education for Clinical and Counseling Psychologists

Both clinical and counseling psychologists usually need a doctoral degree in order to practice professionally. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics says that psychologists can complete a Ph.D. or Psy.D. degree, depending on what type of education they prefer and what field they wish to pursue.

A Ph.D. requires research, a comprehensive exam, and a dissertation based on the research. Often counselors get a Ph.D. in psychology, as it requires a 1-year internship of practical experience within a counseling setting. By no means is this an easy feat. Many people who attain a Ph.D. in psychology regard it as a crowning achievement in their life, not because it’s the most important accomplishment they’ll ever make, but because it enables them to engage in the most important accomplishments they’ll ever make- helping others. If this is something that sounds appealing and you truly think you have the capacity to commit yourself to the large undertaking of it, you’ll be well on the path to touching countless lives through your work.

The Psy.D. degree is usually what clinical psychologists obtain. It’s based on practical work and examinations rather than a final dissertation. The real-life experience attained is what solidifies credentials needed to aptly address the concerns and needs of others.

Licensure of Counseling and Clinical Psychologists

In most states, practicing psychology or using the title of “psychologist” requires licensure or certification. Therefore, as both a counselor and clinical psychologist, you must look into becoming certified.

Information on specific requirements by state can be found from the Association of State and Provincial Licensing Board. In many states, licensed psychologists must complete continuing education courses to keep their licenses.

NASP also awards the Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) designation, which is a nationally recognized certification.

Online Graduate Programs in Counseling Psychology

Walden University PhD: Counseling Psych PhD: Edu Psychology PhD: Social Psychology Walden University › Walden University is one of the most popular schools for students pursuing online graduate degrees. Walden was founded in 1970 in Minneapolis, Minnesota and is now one of the largest online schools in the country. Walden has PhD programs in Counseling, Educational, and Social Psychology available online that can help you further your career.
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Northcentral University PhD: Health Psych MA: Health Psych MA: Health Psych MA: Health Psych Northcentral University › While Northcentral University offers programs from the bachelor education level on up, its online graduate degrees are what distinguish it from many other schools. NCU is an accredited school in Prescott Valley, Arizona and was founded in 1996. It offers online degrees like the PhD and MA in Health Psychology.
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Grand Canyon University PhD in Psychology: Cognition and Instruction PhD in Psychology: Performance Psychology Grand Canyon University › Grand Canyon University is one of the few accredited schools offering PhD programs for Cognition and Instruction Psychology and Performance Psychology online. While this program can be taken by anyone who has met the enrollment criteria, it is ideal for someone looking to cut down on commuting or childcare expenses or balance their education with busy work schedules and responsibilities.
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Chicago School of Professional Psychology PhD in Business Psychology: Consulting PhD in Organizational Leadership PhD in International Psychology Chicago School of Professional Psychology › Chicago School of Professional Psychology has helped prepare students for jobs by taking a practical, hands-on approach to learning. This accredited school was founded in 1979 in Chicago, Illinois and now serves over 4,300 students with campus and online programs like the PhD in Business Psychology Consulting and Organizational Leadership degrees.
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Kaplan University MS: Psych - Addictions MS: Psych - Applied Behavioral Analysis Kaplan University › When you enroll at Kaplan University, you are gaining access to one of the country’s largest educational networks - over 70 campuses, almost 200 programs to choose from, and a student body of more than 50,000. Kaplan was established in 1937 and now offers several programs online like the MS in Addiction Psychology or Applied Behavioral Analysis.
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