What is counseling psychology? Counseling psychology and clinical psychology are closely related disciplines; professionals in both fields help people through crises and maladjustment. They work to prevent, diagnose, and treat psychological problems. How do the two disciplines differ? Broadly speaking, counseling psychologists tend to counsel people who have less severe problems such as academic performance, a career change, or marital strife. Clinical psychologists are more likely to work with clients suffering from more debilitating disorders such as schizophrenia and obsessive compulsive disorder. Counseling psychologists are also more likely to embrace a humanistic theoretical approach to their work. Despite these trends, many people view clinical and counseling psychology as interchangeable. Some schools have merged their programs. Which degrees lead to careers? Counseling psychologists receive training through psychology departments and colleges of education. They usually earn Ph.D.s, Psy.D.s, and Ed.D.s over the course of 4+ years. Some states license counseling psychologists at the master’s level but may require oversight by a doctoral-level psychologist. See the list of counseling psychology schools below for additional training options. What employment is open? Counseling psychologists work as therapists throughout communities. They work with everyone from preschoolers to the aged and with individuals, couples, families, and larger groups. Some common work settings include private counseling offices, corporations, community mental health centers, and K-12 schools and colleges. Those who specialize in health counseling may also find employment at physical rehabilitation clinics. At universities, counseling psychologists also work as professors and researchers. Which schools offer training? Descriptions of various counseling psychology programs are provided below. Prospective students are advised that the American Psychologist publishes an annual print edition of accredited counseling programs and also posts a list on the APA website.
- Loyola College in Maryland offers a two-year master’s program in counseling psychology. Thesis and non-thesis tracks are available. Loyola’s Master’s Plus program, which may be completed after the master’s is awarded, furthers career options by preparing non-doctoral students for licensure in Maryland.
- The University of Missouri offers counseling psychology programs that lead to the M.Ed. (master’s of education), the Ed.S. (education specialist), and the Ph.D. The school also provides graduate education in career counseling, community/agency counseling, and school counseling.
- The University at Albany features a master’s program in mental health counseling, a doctoral program in counseling psychology, and an advanced certificate program in school-based counseling.
- The University of California at Santa Barbara presents a range of degree options: the Ph.D. in Counseling, Clinical, or School Psychology; the M.Ed. with Pupil Personnel Services Credential in School Psychology; and the M.A. in Counseling Psychology (offered en route to the Ph.D.). Students have the option of additionally focusing on human development or women’s studies.
- The University of Maryland at College Park has a Ph.D. program in counseling psychology. The university is among the top-ranked schools in research productivity, and the counseling program has a strong research emphasis.