Counseling psychology involves much of the same principles and activities as clinical psychology, however, counseling psychologists deal less with abnormal behaviour and more with everyday problems and situations people may need support in. A counseling psychologist counsels people about their problems, conflicts and choices in their lives. They may work in a school, office, hospital or clinic. A counseling psychologist requires a master’s degree, an EdD or a PhD.
There are principles that underlie the counseling profession. Counseling psychologists strive to benefit others, respect others autonomy, be just, be fair and be faithful. As well, counselors follow ethical codes that educate them about their responsibilities, protect their clients and improve professional practice.
Counselors may address issues such as drug or alcohol abuse, sexual/physical abuse, career/vocational training, marriage, depression, self-esteem issues, educational suggestions, fulfillment in life, relationship problems, family issues, stress management and coping, coping with illness, coping with death, and parenting techniques. Counselors are trained to help people to get through an issue or problem that is bothering them and provide them with the information and guidance they need to make informed decisions about their lives.
If you are hurting inside, or your life just doesn’t seem to be working, talking with friends or family members can sometimes help you feel a little better for a while. But even the most well-meaning friend can’t provide therapy. Therapy is a treatment process that uses specialized techniques of caring that have been designed to offer effective, long-lasting help for people suffering from a wide range of difficulties.
One of the biggest misconceptions about therapy is that seeing a therapist is a sign of weakness. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Recognizing the need for help and seeking professional therapy is a sign of both strength and your determination to live a productive and meaningful life. Working together, a person and their therapist will identify goals (what one wants to have happen) and agree on how one will know when they are making progress. Therapy has one clear and definite purpose: that something of positive value and constructive usefulness will come out of it for the client.
Therapy has often been called the “talking cure,” since the exchange of words between the client and therapist can appear to be the most obvious form of communication that is going on. In reality, therapy can offer a much richer experience than the simple exchange of words and advice. The thoughts and feelings one shares and the professional techniques the therapist uses are not nearly as important as the relationship that they build together. Because the relationship with the therapist is so essential to the effectiveness of the process, it is very important that a client finds someone with whom they feel a comfortable connection, a therapist who makes them feel understood.
As therapy progresses and the clients trust in the therapist’s non-judgmental acceptance of their thoughts and feelings is established, they will actually use the relationship as an opportunity to reshape significant emotional experiences and work through problems in their life. In therapy, one intentionally makes themselves vulnerable to another human being and one may talk about some things that are very painful for them. However, it is the very process of trusting that it’s safe to release ones feelings–the good and the bad–and knowing that the therapeutic relationship permits one to safely explore deeply felt sources of conflict and dissatisfaction that will finally allow one to make lasting, positive changes in their life.
Some types of therapies employed include adlerian therapy, existential therapy, person centre therapy, gestalt therapy, reality therapy, behavioural therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, feminist therapy, and family systems therapy. These topics can be found in the below related links.
Person Centre Therapy
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Family Systems Therapy