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Jobs in Counseling
(REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION - SEE BELOW FOR MORE INFORMATION)

Counseling is found in many fields, such health, law, finance, and religion (Byrne 3). A counselor is a “trained professional who is committed to providing counseling assistance full-time” (Byrne 5). Counselors can conduct group therapy and/or individual therapy. An example of group therapy is a ten-week assertiveness training group (Sternberg 72-73).

Counselors may specialize in working with particular populations and clinical problems. Some of these areas include (Sternberg 73-76):

Behavioral medicine
Health psychology
Substance abuse
Divorce medication
Wellness therapy
Sports psychology
Sexual dysfunction
Career and education consulting
Forensic work
Workshops and lectures

In all of these different examples of possible areas of work, counselors have an affect on their clients’ lives. Clients come to talk about their concerns, and the counselor must respond thoughtfully and carefully to these concerns. Counselors must be aware of non-verbal communication as well, such as facial expressions and body language (Byrne 192-193). Counseling is successful or unsuccessful based on the quality of the relationship between the client and the counselor. This relationship ends when both parties agree (Byrne 206).

Clinical Counseling
Some counselors are in private practice, which is a form of self-employment. Because of the financial responsibilities of self-employment, some counselors combine part-time private practice with part-time salaried employment. An example is a counselor who is employed by a hospital but also sees clients in a part-time private practice. Thirty-five percent of PhD clinical psychologists are in private practice (Sternberg 72-73).

School Counseling
The role of school counselors has been changing in recent years. They are now referred to as professional school counselors. After the Columbine tragedy, the role is no longer just scheduling and post-graduation duties. Counselors must also be able to do one-on-one counseling (Lipford Sanders interview 19 Nov. 2003). The professional school counselor works with the youths and their families. They look at how the children respond to and are accepted by their teacher, other students, their family, and the community. They are part of a team of school professionals, all of which are involved in helping the children. This team of professionals will then act according to the recommendations of the counselor (Sternberg 171-173).

Skills
To be a successful counselor, you must have a certain range of skills. As a clinical counselor, you must show warmth, express empathy, listen to the clients, and show respect for the clients and their confidentiality (Sternberg 84). As a professional school counselor, you must be passionately interested in children and their families.

Both areas require you to be a life-long learner who can turn to recent literature and research for new methods in the psychology field. You should also be able to work in a diverse group, be self-reflective, and be flexible. Your professional and ethical standards must be at the highest level (Sternberg 176).

Qualifications and Training
A master’s degree is the minimum training required to practice psychological counseling. A doctorate will make a psychological counselor into a counseling psychologist (Byrne 23).

The state requires a license for you to work as a psychologist. Most clinical psychologist programs require four or five years of graduate level work. All programs require must have supervised clinical experience, which may include a one-year internship but some states require 1,500 to 4,000 hours of supervised contact with clients. After the supervised clinical experience, you must pass a national licensure exam, Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). Following this exam, you must then take the state exam for the state in which you wish to practice. Some states require post-licensure training as well (Sternberg 82-84).

Works Cited
Byrne, Richard Hill. Becoming a Master Counselor: Introduction to the Profession. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company, 1995.

Sanders, Dr. Jo-Ann Lipford. Personal interview 19 November 2003.

Sternberg, Robert J. Career Paths in Psychology. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association, 1997.

Reprinted with permission:  Heidelberg College
The Graduate Studies in Counseling Program at Heidelberg offers a Master of Arts degree in three concentrations: school counseling, clinical mental health counseling, and dual clinical/school licensure. Complete information, including semester schedule, application requirements, and course requirements, is available at <Graduate Studies in Counseling> <
http://www.heidelberg.edu/graduate/counseling>.
(Author: Emily Lockhart)


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