Counselling psychology can be defined as the application of the knowledge of counselling in the area of counselling. It helps in facilitating personal and interpersonal functioning across one’s life span. It focuses on emotional, social, health-related, developmental, organizational and vocational spheres. It is one of the broad and diverse fields of psychology and mental health care.
A counselling psychologist is a trained professional who provides personal and professional guidance and psychological guidance too. They help people improve their sense of well-being, help them in coping with the feeling of distress and help them in resolving their crises.
History of Counselling Psychology
In the 1940s counselling psychologists emerged as a speciality as an applied field in the American Psychological Association. There are two organizations which are considered to be the stepping stones in the emergence and development of counselling psychology these include the society of counselling psychology and the council of counselling psychology training programs. John Wiley a renowned counselling psychologist of the past identifies that in earlier phases counselling psychology was working as an important tool in vocational training, mental hygiene and for accessing individual differences. In the 1950s there was eminent research that happened in the field of career development and counselling orientations. Various theories of human development and behaviour grew out of different spheres. The first major conference on the topic of counselling psychology was held in the year 1951.
In 1954 the journal of counselling psychology was published and then the continued review in the annual review of psychology helped further in establishing this field of psychology and providing it with an identity.
Difference between a counsellor and a counselling psychologist
1. A counsellor never uses different types of psychological tools for assessment and diagnostic tests of the clients whereas a counselling psychologist uses various types of psychological tests for assessment and diagnosis of the client.
2. A counsellor may not be as educated as compared to a counselling psychologist.
3. A counsellor mostly works in schools or career-related settings whereas a counselling psychologist works in medical and mental health-related settings.
Qualities of a counselling psychologist
1) Empathetic: A counselling psychologist should be empathetic in nature and instead of showing empathy towards the client he should be having empathy with the client.
2) Good Communication Skills: Good communication skill is very important for a counselling psychologist as it helps him in proper rapport building with his client and also helps in conveying in a better way.
3) Confidentiality: A counselling psychologist should keep the client’s information confidential and should not leak it to someone.
4) Open-mindedness: A counselling psychologist should be open-minded in nature and should be able to accept whatever information his client shares with him and should not judge his client on the basis of the personal information being provided.
5) Analytical Skills: A counselling psychologist should have good logical and analytical skills so that he is able to do a proper assessment of his client and know what to do and how to do and also when to do it.
6) Self Disclosure: Many clients feel awkward when they have to share information related to their personal being with the psychologist and this time it is the role of the counselling psychologist to make the client confident enough so that they can share their personal information with them.
Educational qualification for counselling psychologist
a) 10+2 in any stream with psychology as one of the subjects ( biology and arts stream is preferred)
b) Bachelor’s in Psychology or psychology as one of the subjects throughout the three years. Or, Bachelors’s in Applied Psychology.
c) Master’s in psychology or Applied Psychology or Master’s in Psychology as a subject for two years with a specialization in counselling psychology.
d) PG Diploma in Guidance and Counselling for one year.
e) Lastly, go for a PhD with your research work in counselling psychology.
Areas where a counselling psychologist can work
A counselling psychologist can work in a variety of settings which includes schools, colleges, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, mental health clinics, rehabilitation centres, addiction centres, education fields and also in private settings.
Misconceptions about Counselling
1) Counselling is only for people suffering from any mental disorder. But it’s not true in real anyone can go and take a counselling session it doesn’t matter whether one is suffering from any mental disorder or not.
2) Counselling is giving advice. Some people think that counselling is just giving advice to the person for their problem but in reality, both the counsellor and the counsellor together try to reach for a solution to a problem.
3) Counselling is only for rich people. Many believe that counselling is very expensive to afford and not everyone can go for counselling sessions this can true up to some extent because a counsellor has to go through a rigorous study and practical work for years before they can actually start to do counselling sessions and that’s why they may charge high to their client but there are various NGOs and other counselling centres that provide free counselling services or services at low cost to the clients.
4) Counselling is more like common sense. It is a wide belief in people that a counsellor just gives answers to the people related to their problems and this solution are just based on common sense but in reality, a counsellor doesn’t give any advice or solutions to one problem but the counsellor makes his/her client to reach to a solution by their own, they try to make the person self-dependent in reaching the solution.
5) Counselling is to sort out the client’s issues. However, in reality, counselling is more about making the client himself/herself realise the problems and the cause behind them and also helping them to think of the probable solutions to them.
Approaches in Counselling
1. Directive: In this type of counselling approach it is the counsellor who is playing an active role and leads the counselling process.
2. Non Directive: In the non-directive approach it is the client who is made to lead the process and not the counsellor. In this approach, the counsellor is acting passively.
3. Eclectic: This approach is a collection of both directive and non-directive approaches.
Advantages of counselling
There are various advantages of a counselling session first counselling helps in providing a non-judgemental space to open up and feel good. Second, it helps in solving our issues on our own hence making ourselves, self-independent and also helps in building self-confidence and confidence. It helps in setting realistic goals, and last it helps in better control of one’s lift
Disadvantages of counselling
With many advantages come some disadvantages too like in group counselling sessions the counsellor is not able to provide individual attention to every client and also there is no confidentiality in this type of session. On the other hand, individual counselling sessions can be expensive for many and the counsellor also won’t be able to know how others would react or how others would think at the very same condition as his client. And this type of counselling session is directly related to the comfort level of the client if the client is not comfortable with the counsellor then it may happen that the counselling session yields no benefits for the client.
Counselling psychology is one of the Major and useful fields of Psychology that holds a lot of importance in it. Counselling sessions can prove to be very much beneficial for a person and it’s true that counselling sessions can be expensive for many but there are organisations and professionals who can provide counselling at low or no cost so that everyone can get the benefit from the counselling sessions. And anyone who wants to make a career in this field should have a high interest and passion for the field as the field requires commitment for long years.