For this Forum, in your Initial Post you will share with your classmates your observations from your research on Biopsychology and Perception Psychology as subspecialties and career options. . post a 300 word minimum length “Initial Post” in response to the topic requirements
Please be sure to address BOTH subspecialties in your response to each question. Points will be deducted if both subspecialties are not clearly and separately addressed.
1) After researching these areas, do you find them to be career possibilities you are interested in or careers that don’t capture your interest? Why or why not?
2) What is at least one thing you learned about each of the two subspecialties that you did not previously know?
3) Describe a “real-world” application for each of the two subspecialties. How could knowledge gained through the pursuit of each subspecialty help us to understand everyday problems, dilemmas, or situations? Note: your answer does not have to be specific to psychology as a field. Think broadly; psychological principles can apply to many different fields.
Week 3 is packed full with information about two popular career paths in Psychology. This week we will be discussing clinical and counseling psychology. Our discussion is designed to help students understand why clinical psychology and counseling psychology (along with school psychology) comprise the largest percent of psychology doctoral graduates. According to the American Psychological Association Center for Workforce Studies (2008), 61 percent of students obtaining doctorate degrees in Psychology are in the subfields of clinical, counseling, and school psychology.
The motivating factor for pursuing training and education in these subfields is a desire to help individuals. Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychology are fields, which provide the specialized skills and training needed to help individuals who are coping with mental illness, emotional or behavioral challenges, and a host of psychological issues. Let’s review what a Clinical and Counseling Psychologist do. We will discuss the areas of employment and opportunities available to both and how they differ in training and specialized skills.
Clinical Psychology is a broader branch of psychology, than Counseling Psychology. The focus of a Clinical Psychologist is the diagnosis and treatment of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. They assist individuals with dealing with some of the most common disorders, such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and eating disorders. You may be wondering if clinical and counseling psychologists perform the same tasks? Let’s examine this question together.
Clinical psychology combines science, theory, along with practice to provide explanations and understanding to predict and address psychological problems and the accompanying distress. The main objective is to promote healthy human development and well-being. Counseling psychologists have a similar objective of working to alleviate or reduce distress associated with emotional or behavioral difficulties caused by psychological problems. A major difference between clinical and counseling psychologists is that counseling psychology’s focus is on assisting individuals improve their well-being throughout their lifespan. Their attention is centered on emotional, social, vocational, developmental, organizational, and health concerns.
The ways Clinical psychologists endeavor to assist people is by attempting to reduce distress and provide assistance to improve their emotional and psychological functioning. The assistance is provided in a by variety of activities, such as assessment, diagnosis, and treatment. Additionally, clinical psychologists participate in consultations and conduct research, with the objective of better understanding human behavior.
When we consider Counseling psychologists, they are also concerned and involved in reducing distress and providing assistance to improve individuals emotional and psychological functioning. However; their focus encompasses the entire lifespan, which includes emotional, social, vocational, health-related, developmental, and organizational matters. They are more interested in the following: (a)normal functioning and not severely disturbed functioning, (b) positive mental health, involving the individual’s strengths and assets, (c) limited or brief counseling interventions, (d) emphasizes personal and environmental interactions together and not as separate entities, and (e) highlights educational/career development, along with vocational environments. environments.
Clinical and Counseling Psychologists work in a variety of settings. Many of the employment environments overlap and shared by both. The majority of clinical psychologists are in private practice (39%). The next largest employment area is the academic /university setting, which comprises 22%. The remaining areas and their percentages include: hospitals (7%), outpatient and community mental health clinics (6%), medical schools (8%), Veterans Administrative (VA facilities) comprise 3%. A cluster of additional settings, making up 15%, includes correctional/prison facilities, family services, and rehabilitation centers (Norcross, Karpiak, &Santoro, 2005).
The settings which many counseling psychologists work in include the following: university and academic settings (15%), private practice (14%), mental health centers/community-based (15%), medical/hospital settings (10%), and 5% in VA facilities (Neimeyer, Bowman, and Steward, 2001). Many counseling clinicians are employed in family services, health maintenance organizations(HMO’s), penal/corrections environments, business firms, and rehabilitation centers.
We would be remiss if we did not note that some mental health training does not have psychology as the disciplinary root. There are programs for marriage and family therapy (MFT), rehabilitation, social work, and addiction counseling, which are pursued by students. Students may decide to pursue a doctoral degree; however, a terminal master’s degree (M.S. or M.A.) is the most common. Many states require licensure as a mental health professional, in order to provide counseling or clinical services. Two examples of licensure as a mental health professional are Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).
Let’s look at service opportunities for bachelor’s degree holders in psychology. Human services workers occupy a range of positions, not limited to but including social service worker, case management aide, social work assistant, community support worker, mental health aide, community outreach worker, life skills counselor, youth worker, psychological aide, client advocate, and gerontology aide. These positions can be categorized as paraprofessional positions because they are supportive of the roles and responsibilities of a psychologist.
Services provided by human services workers are both direct and indirect to clients. Their responsibilities include reviewing and assessing clients’ needs and their eligibility for services. Then they assist clients obtain the needed services, such as food stamps, Medicaid, housing, etc. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010). When working in a community setting, the human service worker helps clients by providing counseling, assisting with daily living skills, and organization of group activities. Human services workers, in clinical settings, such as psychiatric hospitals or outpatient clinics, support patients’ participation in their treatment plans, help with daily living skills, effective communication, and promote social functioning. The median salary of human services workers in 2008 was $27,280 with a peak salary of approximately $43,510 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010).
Entry –level social worker positions often can be obtained with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Social workers’ objective is to assist people improve their lives through counseling and identifying needed resources. Social workers work in multiple settings, such as hospitals, schools, community mental health centers, social service agencies, and courts and correctional institutions. Salaries for social workers tend to be moderate, with a median yearly salary in the upper-thirties, about $39,530 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010).
The majority of counseling professions require graduate degrees for employment, substance abuse counselors are an exception. Substance abuse counselors often are the primary therapist assisting a client with alcohol or drug dependence and abuse. The median salary in 2008 for a substance abuse counselor was $37,030 per year, with half being paid between $29,410 and $47,290 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010).
Career options and financial prospects in clinical-and counseling –related careers expand dramatically with a graduate degree in psychology. Regarding training, results of empirical research suggest that there are few differences in clinical psychology PH. D, Psy.D, and counseling psychology Ph.D. programs. To understand the difference and opportunities for graduate programs, doctoral degrees, and the time that must be invested, please read pages 28-32 of our textbook. A primary benefit of a graduate degree in clinical or counseling psychology is the flexibility to pursue career opportunities that match one’s own interests, skills and abilities. In 2008, the median salary of all clinical and counseling psychologists was $64,140, with half earning between $48,700 and $82,800 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010).
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