How to Start a Career In Psychology

free essayThe basis of choosing this specific profession was geared on the premises of the active role played by this job and its contribution to the field of psychology. Similar occupations to counselling psychology that I can work in include educational psychologist, developmental psychologist, and sports psychologist. If I fail to work within my area of jurisdiction, I would prefer to work as a teacher, lab technician, clinician, or General Practitioner (GP). The sub-fields found under this job include health psychology and clinical neuropsychology. By definition, counseling psychology is an applied psychology that enables human beings to acquire control over their feelings (Mayne, Norcross, & Sayette, 2000). It primarily focuses on treating people with multiple social, behavioral and emotional disorders or problems. Counselling psychology is known to be one of the most widespread and common psychological specialties.

Though there are common similarities between a clinical psychologist and a counseling psychologist, the latter treats people whose symptoms are less severe. A counselling psychologist uses research in therapeutic work and psychological theory to treat patients suffering from various problems. Such problems range from depression and anxiety arising from difficult life issues to individuals suffering from mental health conditions. According to Mayne, Norcross, & Sayette (2000), the common life issues that individuals struggle to deal with include sexual abuse, domestic violence, relationship difficulties, and bereavement. Further, under mental health conditions, the common issues entail post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), eating disorders, and psychoses. The job of a counselling psychologist needs a high level of self-awareness and training that can only be accomplished through personal therapy. In addition, such a professional ought to work collaboratively with a patient in an insightful and holistic way to enable his/her patient to consider change.

While being an undergraduate, I put a lot of emphasis on courses that one must score high in order to be considered for employment. I put a lot of care and concentration in such courses as human physiology, brain co-ordination, human anatomy, and human body behaviors. During my internship, I cooperated with my supervisors to the extent that I was recommended as one of the best interns ever. Never did I fail in any of the anticipations knowing that it could have cost me my career.

Ideal Workplace

A counselling psychologist works best in such environments as consultancy, education and research, private practice, probation and prison services, health and care services, and hospitals. I would prefer working individually in my chosen area office. Making travel arrangements would only depend upon a need, specifically while going to attend to my services. According to Mayne, Norcross, & Sayette (2000), as a counselling psychologist, I am supposed to work for an average duration of 60 hours per week. Notably, this time allowance can vary and is not rigid. A counseling psychologist should be allowed to take days off or vacation as deemed necessary.

Typical Work Activities

A counselling psychologist is positioned to work with different clients, such as children, families, adults, couples, and groups. The work a counselling psychologist undertakes is dictated by the kind of setting and the type of clients, such as supervision and training of other psychologists; report writing and record keeping; evaluating the outcome of therapy; planning and executing therapy; making assessments of risk assessment, mental health needs, and psychometric testing; and undertaking research as an individual or as a group. Among the potential places of employment for this job could be non-profit organizations, small businesses, large corporations, private practice, hospitals, schools, universities, as well as research centers.

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Ideal Location

The charges for the provision of counselling services are a bit high. This means that I should be based in a high-class community of people who are comfortable with paying the needed fees without complaining. Based on this, I shall be forced to look for a residence that is within my area of jurisdiction.

Job Trends

A counselling psychologist career keeps on evolving in terms of requirements and information updates. To keep in line with the current job trends, I shall have to depend on reliable websites. Such trusted sites can be beneficial since professionals of high standing within the health/psychology fraternity edit and contribute to them.

Preferred Organizations

In my introspective, I feel I would be at ease if I got the opportunity to work for such organizations as Johns Hopkins Hospital (in Maryland), Medunsa Hospital in South African, and renowned institutions, such as University of Michigan. By working in such top organizations, I will be guaranteed to have my skills respected and trusted.

Expected Fulfilment

Through this job, I hope to accomplish the highest achievement, independence, recognition, relationships, support, working conditions that I could never get from any other job. This should act as the fruits of this job.

Areas of Specialty

Counselling and Psychotherapy

The following specialty provides numerous therapeutic approaches and evidence-based techniques that are geared towards meeting specified circumstances and needs of various clients. It comprises such areas as relationship difficulties, developmental issues, as well as significant life transitions.

Program development and evaluation

This field involves using research skills to design intervention strategies, analyze problems, and evaluate and monitor program disorders. This deals with such areas as treatment programs for mood disorders and addictions.

Assessment and reports

It includes the provision of personality, cognitive, and vocational assessments. The kind of reports may be given to individuals, legal and health professionals, as well as government departments.

Skills of a Counselling Psychologist

A trained, experienced and knowledgeable counselling psychologist helps individuals to manage anger or violence; cope with stress and home-and-work related conflicts; deal with sexual concerns, trauma, loss, and grief; manage compulsions and obsessions; overcome feelings of fear, anxiety, and depression; recover from eating disorders; increase confidence and self-esteem; manage chronic pain related to somatization; deal with alcohol-and-drug related problems; and enrich individual relationships (Mayne, Norcross, & Sayette, 2000).

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Moreover, a counselling psychologist can use his/her skills to assist couples in improving their parenting skills; resolving thoughts about divorce or separation; enhancing sexual adjustment; managing disagreements or conflicts, boosting their communication flows; and building satisfying relationships.

As to the families, a counselling psychologist can enable them to deal with challenges frequently experienced in the blended families; cope with divorce, separation, and re-marriage; work together on problems or issues; handle problematic circumstances; and improve difficult relationships.

To sum up, a counselling psychologist can assist corporate organizations in giving expert advice and supervision in complex casework; resolving interpersonal work conflicts; facilitating staff relationships; and evaluating present programs.

Regarding these required skills and personality traits, I feel I am competent enough to meet all of them. Due to my interest in counselling psychology, I am confident that I would match all the career values listed as part of the requirements of this job.

Education Requirements

Anyone interested in counseling psychology should acquire a Bachelor’s degree in psychology. For him/her to commence the career, the acquirement of an advanced degree is quite beneficial. Certified universities offer both Master’s and Doctoral degrees in counseling psychology. It should be noted that curriculum requirements of becoming a counselling psychologist are more or less similar from one university to another. Besides learning fundamentals of psychology together with research methods, future and potential counselling psychologists are expected to learn different counselling and therapy techniques.

Types of Therapy Provided by Counselling Psychologists

The most widely known therapy is called a person-centered therapy. This is kind of therapy is built upon a person’s life experiences. It is still an applicable, effective and popular form of treatment in the field of counselling psychology. Here, the psychologist listens and tries to understand the inner mind of his/her patients. In the process, the psychologist can embark on assisting in steering his/her patients towards a transformative platform of life (Mayne, Norcross, & Sayette, 2000). Another type is a cognitive behavioral therapy, which is is mostly preferred by counselling psychologists, is applied to identify and understand the negative beliefs of patients. It is assumed that these negative beliefs can affect an individual’s emotions and moods, thus enabling both the psychologist and the client to work towards transforming them.

Professional Goals of a Counseling Psychologist

The goal of a counselling psychologist is to assist hid / her patients in overcoming their negative emotions and thoughts. This implies that a psychologist treats patients with various problems, for instance, anxiety and depression. In the course of specializing in their careers, counselling psychologists are compelled to specialize in related areas such as vocational stress and grief counselling. The figure of clients that a counselling psychologist interacts with at a single time can considerably vary. Some will work with patients on a one-on-one situation whilst others may work with small groups of individuals.

Median Salary for a Counseling Psychologist

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics given in a research done by Mayne, Norcross, & Sayette (2000), the average annual salary of a counselling psychologist is $72,540. Interestingly, the salary scale is highly dependent on the counselling psychologist’s area of specialization, which may significantly increase or lower their salary. The same research establishes that those specialists that worked in health practice offices earned an average salary of $86,700, whereas those working in employment services earned an annual salary of $96,700. A counselling psychologist working in the educational support services got a $66,420 salary; which is the low-end of salaries for any counselling psychologist. This salary information is drawn from the U.S. payment report of health personnel, and can considerably vary from one nation to another.

Unanswered Questions Regarding My Research

i. How can the government, through the Ministry of Health, ensure quality and competent work output by counselling psychologists?

ii. Does this job need any equipment/device/machine for operations? If any, who should pay for the same?


A counselling psychologist is frequently presented with diverse emotional and mental problems that individuals face daily. For an effective treatment of patients, a counselling psychologist must strive to create an inviting and comfortable environment. He or she should be non-judgmental and understanding, enable his / her patients to open up to him / her. A counselling psychologist can then proceed to encourage his/ her patients to talk about their behavior and feelings by occasionally asking them leading questions. The capacity to know his /her patients is a sure way of enabling them to deal with and remedy all clients’ problems.

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