What is Counseling Psychology?

Counseling psychology is a specialty type of psychology that is comprised of both clinical work as well as research.  Clinical settings and graduate counseling psychology programs can focus on career development and counseling, training and supervision, health and prevention, and counseling process and outcome.

Counseling psychology graduate students and counseling psychologists can center on person and environment interactions, brief interactions, assets and strengths, career and educational development, and intact personalities.  There are two main scholarly journals dealing with the profession and education of counseling psychology in the United States:  The Counseling Psychologist and the Journal of Counseling Psychology.

Counseling psychology, along with subsequent graduate counseling psychology programs, began at the same time as many other modern forms of psychology, which was a direct result of World War II.  It was during the war that the United States military found itself with a desperate need for vocational training and placement.

In the 1940s and 1950s, the Veterans Administration met this need by creating a new specialty know as “counseling psychology”, followed by Division 17 of the American Psychological Association (APA), which is now known as the Society for Counseling Psychology. These developments brought about new interests in counselor training, and therefore bore the first counseling psychology graduate programs.

Counseling psychologists can be employed in a variety of settings, which can vary somewhat depending on the exact services they wish to provide, as well as the client demographic they work in. Some counselors are employed as educators at the university and college level, some are supervisors, some are researchers, and some provide general counseling services.

Other licensed counselors work in independent practices offering therapy, assessments, and consultations to groups, families, couples, individuals, and organizations. A counseling psychology degree truly offers a wide range of options for anyone interested in the field.