Are you a good listener who is known for giving good, sound advice? Do your friends and family members always seem to come to you when they need a reliable source who will steer them in an appropriate direction? If this sounds like you then you should consider pursuing a career in counseling psychology. It just may be the perfect career fit for you.
As a counseling psychologist you will spend much of your time working with clients who need help dealing with their personal issues and problems. In your capacity as a counseling psychologist you may help your patients work through issues related to any number of things, such as their health, their relationships, or their careers. You will be working with a goal of improving your patient's quality of life, encouraging them to deal with their issues head on, and relieving their anxieties that stem from the issues they deal with. Although in your profession you will be able to choose; your knowledge and training will make it possible for you to work with individuals who are mentally normal as well as patients who deal with any number of mental disorders.
It will be completely feasible for you to seek employment through university counseling centers, group psychology practices, private psychology practices, crisis counseling centers, schools at any level, governmental agencies or departments, or rehabilitation centers. It would also be possible for you to use your degree and knowledge to teach counseling psychology related classes at the post-secondary level. In this job capacity, you would likely be responsible for conducting relevant research, participating in committees related to your profession, attending departmental meetings, and teaching your assigned classes.
As you begin completing the educational requirements to become a counseling psychologist, you should be prepared to obtain your doctor of psychology degree. Typically speaking, you will complete a few years of classroom based instruction before moving on to complete your clinical practice hours, your research requirements, and your internship. You should expect to be required to complete course work such as the foundations of psychology, group counseling, drama therapy, the legal aspects of psychology practice, abnormal psychology, group dynamics, parenting, the ethical factors of the psychology world, basic researching skills and associated theories, child development, how to apply your knowledge and skills in your psychology practice, and how to successfully counsel in multi-cultural settings.
While there are a few feasible options that you can choose in order to become a counseling psychologist, you must ultimately obtain your doctorate degree. For example, you may decide to obtain your master's degree in counseling psychology, which will prepare you to work with a supervising psychologist to obtain your doctor of psychology degree. Should you choose this educational path, it may take you longer than a traditional doctor of psychology degree program. However, the end result will basically be the same. Of course, today's technological advances also make it possible for you to obtain a lower degree level, begin gaining relevant work experience, and pursue your higher level degree programs through online instruction.
After you have completed your educational requirements you will have to obtain licensure before you can actively practice counseling psychology. While the specific requirements will vary slightly from one state to another, you can expect to need your doctorate degree, an approved internship that you have successfully completed, and a minimum number of years of relative experience. In addition, it is common for counseling psychologists to become certified by the American Board of Counseling Psychology, which will show your patients that you have successfully met all of your requirements and applicable professional standards.