Clinical and Counseling Psychology

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Clinical and Counseling Psychology


General Information

Clinical psychology is an integrated science that aims to discover and understand the principles of psychological distress and dysfunction. This field utilizes the basic underlying fundamentals of psychology to prevent and treat disorders of the mind. Many of the methods used to both diagnose and treat such disorders include a series of assessments given to patients. These assessments range from the commonplace personality tests and intelligence/achievement tests to the more rigorous neuropsychological tests. Clinicians also utilize several methods of clinical observation and all reference either the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems in order to diagnose and treat patients accordingly. Both manuals act as a checklist and source for treatment options for each of the known disorders, and are used internationally by clinicians worldwide. Clinicians utilize several techniques for treatment ranging from medication to counseling psychology.

Counseling Psychology


Although forms of counseling have been around for ages, counseling psychology formally began as a result of World War II with the treatment of Post -Traumatic Stress Disorder. Counseling psychology shares many commonalities with its counterpart, clinical psychology, such as the utilization of psychotherapy as a therapeutic treatment option for a variety of disorders. However, counseling psychology is usually used for cases that are less severe within the broad spectrum of mental disorders. Because of the lack of severity of the disorders, counseling psychology is usually used in a social setting rather than a clinical one. Counseling psychology also differs in that it focuses on the conscious present instead of the past or unconscious. Rather than understanding abnormalities in the functioning of patients, counseling psychologists aim to help people with role functioning, making good choices, and helping to change specific behaviors associated with everyday life. Counseling psychology also focuses more on person- to- person and person-to-environment interactions rather than the intrapersonal turmoil.

Many research and applied focuses of counseling psychology include career development, health, educational development, supervision, training, and counseling processes and outcomes. One of the main attributes of counseling psychology is the importance of the therapeutic relationship, of the client/therapist relationship. There is a lot of research conducted on the importance, efficiency, and outcomes of the types of relationships between therapist and client as well as the various attachments that may or may not take place.

Common Issues Treated in Counseling Psychology:
Coping from a death, despair
Identity and Loneliness
Stress Management
Common Fears and Anxieties
Marriage Issues
Family Counseling




Historical Timeline

18th century: Earliest forms: phrenology, study of personality based on the shape of the skull- physiognomy, study of personality based on the shapes of the face-Mesmerism, the treatment by magnets

1879:Willhelm Wundt, known as the founder, opens first clinical psychological laboratory

1896: Lightner Witmer opens psychological clinic for children with learning disabilities

1907: first journal appears, The Psychological Clinic, by Witmer. coined the term "clinical psychology", defined as "the study of individuals, by observation or experimentation, with the intention of promoting change" (Compas & Gotlib, 2002).

1915: Psychological intelligence tests used during World War I: Army Alpha and Army Beta

1917: American Association of Clinical Psychology founded

1919: APA develops section of Clinical Psychology

Post World War I: Freud, post -traumatic stress, psychoanalysis, begins psychotherapy

World War II: soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder are treated in masses for “shell shock”

1945: female psychologists form the National Council of Women Psychologists

1950: Clinical Psychology becomes the most popular Ph.D. in the field

1951: Psychotherapy introduced as a Graduate study

1968: issues a pilot program for a doctor in psychology

1973: Doctor of Psychology, Psy. D., recognized as degree

1974- 1990: Number of practicing clinical psychologists triples in the U.S.


Reference: Compas, Bruce & Gotlib, Ian. (2002). Introduction to Clinical Psychology. New York, NY : McGraw-Hill Higher Education



Counseling between a psychotherapist and patient aimed to help increase the individual’s sense of well-being. Although counseling can be found in many forms throughout time (from literature dating back to the early Greeks to Catholic confession), psychotherapy involves a more formal setting with a certified therapist.

Most forms of psychotherapy come in spoken word and conversation, but there are now several different types. Some psychotherapists use narrative stories and role-playing for children, whereas others may utilize artwork or Freud’s free association as they see fit. Whatever the form, psychotherapy aims to help individuals reach their full potential and cope with the everyday problems of life.

Psychotherapy first became popular through Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis. Since then, psychotherapy has evolved and branched out into several different practices and disciplines including:


Types of psychotherapies include:

Cognitive behavioral therapy
Behavior therapy
Body-oriented psychotherapy
Expressive therapy
Interpersonal psychotherapy
Narrative therapy
Integrative therapy

Psychotherapy has also become a major discipline in many applied sciences. These include:

Industrial and Organizational
Occupational Health




Bachelor’s degree in psychology requires:- BS/BA
1. Graduation from an accredited school with the appropriate degree.
2. Completion of supervised clinical experience or internship.
3. Passing a written examination and, in some states, an oral examination.

Master’s degree in psychology:
Master of social work degree-MSW
1. Completion of 2 years of schooling
2. Completion of 2 years of field work

Marriage and Family Therapy- MFT
1. Completion of 2 years of schooling
2. Completion of internship
3. Pass licensing requirements

Doctorate degree in psychology:
Doctorate of Philosophy-PhD / Doctorate of Psychology- PsyD
1. Completion of schooling
2. Completion of internship
3. Propose, conduct, and write a reach dissertation on student’s choice of specialized area

Doctorate of Education- EeD
The same requirements are expected, except it is more focused on educational psychology.


There is a wide range of professions that clinical psychologists can offer. These include:

Psychological assessments and testing (Administer and interpret)
These tests include: Intelligence tests, achievement and aptitude tests, neuropsychological tests, occupational tests, personality tests, specific clinical tests.

Conduct psychological research:
For example: Clinical psychologists can work in a laboratory setting in order to conduct research for people based on statistics and experiments. These can be done through psychological tests that they can administer or a through a census.

Consult schools and businesses:
For example: Offer information based on prior research and aid schools and businesses to make proper decisions for the betterment of the students/employees.

Develop prevention and treatment programs:
For example: Clinical psychologists can develop treatment options for people suffering from addiction and other ailments. They can also help administer steps to prevent further ailments and issues.

Aid in forensic psychology:
For example: Provide expert testimony in legal cases either with testing/ assessments or professional opinion.

Provide psychotherapy:
For example: Clinical psychologists can work with individuals, children, couples, groups, etc. in a variety of settings to help people overcome personal/environmental issues.

For example: Clinical Psychologists can teach general psychology education at the undergrad and graduate levels as well as further train future clinical psychologists.

Counsel.jpg Exampe.jpg


Available Jobs

Bachelor's Degree:
The types of jobs that one could obtain with either a BA or BS in psychology are a wide variety of options. Jobs that are directly related to psychology are jobs like social work assistant, life skills councilor, counselor aid, and so on. The website below is for a job working with hospice patients.

Master’s Degree:
There are two master’s degrees one could obtain to work in the field of clinical and counseling psychology. A MFT, masters in marital and family therapist, provide psychotherapy to their particular specialized group. The other type of degree is masters of social work (MSW). In order to work in clinical or counseling they would need to take the clinical track that prepares students to work with clients in various types of clinical practice. The website below is for a job in Clayton County where one would be providing psychotherapy in a health care facility.

The next job is for a social worker in healthcare in Atlanta, GA.

Doctorate Degree:
Essentially any clinical or counseling psychology job is able to be obtained with a doctorate degree. The website below is for a job working with and assessing Georgia’s veterans.

The next job is based in Atlanta and has an opening for a psychologist to be used by the US Army.

Peer Reviewed Articles


Burck, A. M., (2011). Review of Evidence-Based Practice of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. The Family Journal, 19(1), 111-112.

Emmelkamp, P. M. G.,(1999). Clinical Psychology at the End of the Century.Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 6(5), 325-355.

Gelso, Charles J., and Carter, Jean A. (1985) The Relationship in Counseling and Psychotherapy: Components, Consequences, and Theoretical Antecedents.The Counseling Psychologist. 13, 2, 155-243.

"This two-part article suggests ingredients in the therapy relationship that are common to all interventions. It then examines similarities and differences in how the relationship works within the three dominant approaches to therapy. The overall aim of the article is to restimulate research and theory on the relationship. The first part defines the relationship and proposes three components to all therapeutic relationships: a working alliance, a transference configuration, and a real relationship. Five propositions are offered about the operation of each component within and across theoretical orientations. The second part examines how views of the relationship in perspectives broadly labeled psychoanalytic, humanistic, and learning vary according to three theoretical dimensions: the centrality, real-unreal, and means-end dimensions. Central research findings are reviewed for each theoretical perspective, the current state of research is examined for each, and suggestions are offered for future directions."

Sue, Derald Wing. (1977). Counseling the Culturally Different: A Conceptual Analysis. Personnel and Guidance Journal, 55, 7, 422-425.
"There is a need to systematically look at racial and ethnic differences as related to the counselor's own approach and values and the various schools of counseling. One way to do this is to analyze the actual counseling process and the goals the counselor holds as important for the client. "

Wang, L. f., Kwan, K. L. K., & Huang, S. F. (2011). Counseling Psychology Licensure in Taiwan: Development, Challenges, and Opportunities. International Journal for the Advancement of Counseling', 33(1), 37.

Magazine Articles


Clay, R., A. (2010, July). Treating traumatized children. Monitor on Psychology,41(7), 36. <>

"Treating traumatized children", focuses on Hurricane Katrina and how it affected children in the damage areas of New Orleans. The author explains how some children behaviors are disturbed from the trauma, which they are introduced to distress, are at risk for mental health problems, and etc. There are also steps mentioned in the article to protect the sensitivity of the emotional impact on a child after a severe trauma. The steps that are presented are: Acknowledge children's distress, keep developmental stages in mind, use schools as resources, be aware of ancillary consequences, and be sensitive to cultural differences. These children might of lost their parents, siblings, or friends. So this article provides information on how children were affected by this natural disaster and they should seek for professional help.

DeAngelis, T. (2010, November). Better understanding schizophrenia.Monitor on Psychology, 41(10), 76.<>

Monitor on Psychology presents "Better understanding schizophrenia", which explains the symptoms and difficulties a patient experiences with diagnoses of schizophrenia. Patients with schizophrenia have difficulties with social functioning and interacting with their peers. Psychologist Steven M. Silverstein, PhD, of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey studies his phenomenon called "perceptual organizational deficit". Collecting data on schizophrenic patients, he uses cognitive psychological tasks, recordings of the brain’s electrical activity and functional magnetic resonance imaging. Also Silverstein collected DNA sample of the schizophrenic patients to determine genetic alterations. Using the test and data was that collected, Silverstein concludes that Schizophrenic patients have visual-integration problems. As mentioned in the article, Silverstein research definitely appreciated and useful for future studies of schizophrenia.

Dingfelder, S., F.(2010, October). Freeing bad memories. "Monitor on Psychology",41(9), 38. <>

Price, M. (2010, October). Suicide among pre-adolscents. Monitor on Psychology, 41(9), 52. <>


Compas, Bruce & Gotlib, Ian. (2002). Introduction to Clinical Psychology. New York, NY : McGraw-Hill Higher Education

DSM-IV-TR Official Site - American Psychiatric Association

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