How to Become a Counselling Psychologist

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Counselling Psychologists are rigorously approached for their expertise on managing complex mental health and relationship issues along with finding resources to cope with everyday problems and adversity. This profession aims at helping people to lead a healthy life by developing different strategies. 

As different statistics claim, the demand for counselling psychologists is gradually increasing. According to the recruiter, Demand for Counseling Psychologists is expected to go up, with an expected 65,380 new jobs filled by 2029.”  With the right qualification and enthusiasm to help people, a counselling psychologist can thrive in their respective field. 

Learn from this blog about the educational and licensing requirements, the daily duties and skills required for this role to help you decide if this is the profession you would like to pursue.

Table of Contents

Counselling Psychologist

Who is a Counselling Psychologist?

A counselling psychologist is a mental health professional who provides diagnosis and psychotherapy for a wide range of mental health problems such as stress, anxiety, depression, behavioural disorders and so on. 

The job of counselling psychologists is to work with individuals, couples, families, and groups to give them adequate support, consultations, and treatment so that they can live a much better and healthier life. 

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What are the Issues that Counselling Psychologists deal with?

A counselling psychologist is responsible for assisting their clients dealing with different issues which may include:

What does a Counselling Psychologist do?

Counselling psychologists aids their patients to maintain a healthy personal and interpersonal relationship by providing individualised care. Some specific job duties of a counselling psychologist are-

Assessment

After meeting a client, counselling psychologists typically assess the client to identify potential issues. During this process, counselling psychologists take case histories to understand and identify the client’s reason for seeking treatment. All the biological, psychological, physical and social issues are taken into consideration while assessing a patient. 

Treatment Planning

A counselling psychologist formulates a treatment plan based on the results of the assessment. The psychologist tries to come up with the best method of treatment to address the client’s issues and then discuss it with the client. They then decide on specific information related to treatment like scheduling and other concrete concerns.

Providing Psychotherapy

Providing psychotherapy is one of the main responsibilities of a counselling psychologist. Psychotherapy is basically a broad term used to describe different methods of talk therapy. Some common types of psychotherapies include cognitive therapy, behaviour therapy, couple and family therapy and group therapy.  The psychologists provide the therapies according to the client’s needs.

Consulting

Sometimes counselling psychologists need to consult with other physicians, psychiatrists and social service provider organisations to gain a broader understanding of a particular problem. They might discuss their treatment recommendations and client’s progress in therapy with other physicians.

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Where do Counselling Psychologists Work?

The counselling psychologists have the opportunity of working in a number of fields ranging from healthcare to academic sector. Below is a list of where the psychologists can work.

What are the Skills Required to be a Counselling Psychologist?

Some common skills for a counselling psychologist may include:

Counselling Psychologist

How to Become a Counselling Psychologist

You need to complete an accredited doctoral program in the field of psychology to become a counselling psychologist. However, you should first complete a related bachelor’s and master’s degree. Follow the steps below to kickstart your journey of becoming a counselling psychologist. 

1.  Complete your Bachelor’s Degree:

The first step to becoming a counselling psychologist is to earn a bachelor’s degree in the relevant field. This degree will build the foundational knowledge that you will need for a successful graduate experience.

The potential areas of study to be a counselling psychologist are Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Sociology or Anthropology. Other possibilities include studying education or counselling.

2.  Earn a Master’s Degree: 

Earning a master’s degree would qualify you to work as a licensed counselling psychologist. This would enable you to spend time working in the field and gaining experience interacting with actual patients, which would be further helpful in a doctoral program.

3.  Enrol in a Doctoral Program:

You will need to achieve a doctoral degree in Counselling Psychology that has been approved by HCPC, if you are living in the UK. Some students receive a master’s degree before entering a doctorate program but students can also bypass the master’s program and go straight from their undergraduate degree to a doctoral degree program.

4.  Complete Internship:

Candidates typically need to complete an internship as well as one or two years of post-degree experience before applying for a psychologist license. Candidates for licensure should plan to complete an internship during their graduate study. 

5.  Obtain License: 

You need to obtain a license otherwise, most states will not allow you to practice or accept health insurance from clients. A valid state license proves that you have met the qualification standards to be a counselling psychologist.

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What is the Salary Range of a Counselling Psychologist?

As per prospects, The salary of a counselling psychologist typically ranges from £37,570 to £43,772  Senior psychologist roles can rise to between £44,606 and £50,819.”

“Counselling psychologists with significant experience and responsibility in the roles of principal or consultant psychologist can reach salaries of £61,777 to £86,687.”

Employment Opportunities for Counselling Psychologists:

Counselling psychologists, in addition to working at mental health centres, psychiatric hospitals, counselling centres and medical schools work in academic settings and in private practice as well. According to careersinpsychology, “About 21% of counseling psychologists work in private practices while 34% of counseling psychologists work in academia.” 

Along with providing psychotherapy, there are other available career paths in various settings that a counselling psychologist may follow, such as:

How to Increase Desirability as a Job Candidate?

Apart from your academic qualifications and experiences, you should work on some other aspects to be an eligible candidate which are-

Update your Curriculum Vitae: Updating your CV would demonstrate your desire and effort to a potential employer. Your CV should contain educational background, work experience, research experience, published works, and any other relevant experience.

Attend Educational Events: Educational events are the key sources for networking with professionals and to present your potential. You can also visit relevant conferences and actively take part in discussions. Furthermore, attending and pursuing additional online training would add experience and enrich your CV.

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Clinical Psychology Vs Counselling Psychology:

While both are advocates of the wellbeing of mental health, there remains a slight difference between a clinical and counselling psychologist.

Clinical psychology typically focuses on patients having severe mental health disorders or displaying severe psychopathologies such as anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, or personality disorders. They work to diagnose and treat these disorders and often conduct research as a part of their practice. Clinical psychologists tend to approach mental illness from a medical perspective and often coordinate with psychiatrists or other healthcare providers to prescribe medications as appropriate.

Counselling psychology, on the other hand, focuses on less severe symptoms like everyday stresses related to work, education, family or interpersonal relationships. Counselling psychologists tend to take a general approach that encompasses a range of psychotherapeutic techniques. 

The major difference is that while clinical psychologists mostly rely on providing medication, counselling psychologists treat their patients through talk therapy. Counselling psychology places a greater emphasis on overall well-being of patients, that is, the tools and frameworks necessary to lead happier and more fulfilling lives.

Conclusion

A counselling psychologist’s job is a rewarding one. What can be more satisfying than being able to alleviate distress from someone suffering miserably? If your career goals include making a difference in the lives of people by assisting them in leading a meaningful life, then becoming a counselling psychologist is an excellent option for you. Though it takes hard work and significant educational achievements, you can achieve it through the right mindset and dedication.

Kickstart your future by gaining the required skills and knowledge needed to accelerate your counselling psychology career. Join Lead Academy today!

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