What Is Counseling Psychology?
Psychology is the study of the mind and behaviour. Psychologists explore concepts such as perception, cognition, attention, emotion, motivation, brain functioning, personality, behavior, and interpersonal relationships, including psychological resilience, family resilience, and other areas. Psychology as a practice, involves various disciplines like clinical psychology, behavioural psychology, environmental psychology, criminal psychology, consumer psychology etc.
Each of the disciplines of psychology has its own set of processes, techniques, standards and accepted methodologies to be learnt and followed. It is an applied science, so the quantitative measurement of progress is possible.
Among the many types of psychology, the one we are most aware of is counseling psychology. The plain reason for its familiarity being, counseling psychology encompasses a variety of functions across our lives.
Counseling Psychology is a specialty within professional psychology that maintains a focus on facilitating personal and interpersonal functioning across the life span. The specialty pays particular attention to emotional, social, vocational, educational, health-related, developmental, and organizational concerns.
Some unifying themes among counseling psychologists include a focus on assets and strengths, person-environment interactions, educational and career development, brief interactions, and a focus on intact personalities
You go to a school or college, there will be counsellor there for students and teachers as well, or if you go to any organization (business and non-business alike), you will find a psychologist there.These are people who may not form a part of the workings of the entire institution, but they are important to help maintain the stability of the foundation, on which the institution is built, i.e. the PEOPLE.
The human mind, from time to time needs caring of its own. There may not be any major concern (or there maybe one!) but even then, the burden of daily life gets to the mind and it loses its path. The job of counseling psychologists involves helping people deal with these problems, big and small, so that people can go about their lives with ease.
In recent decades, counseling psychology as a profession has expanded and is now represented in numerous countries around the world. A counseling psychologist, like any other psychologist is a trained professional with a license to practice. There are rules and guidelines in counseling psychology that need to be adhered to and violations can be punishable.
Process and Outcome of Counseling Psychology
1. Counselling process refers to the start and continuation of a counselling. It answers the questions How and Why.
2. The two important questions asked are, “Why is counselling happening?” and “How is it being done?”
3. The first question is important since it gives us a cause for action. Once the first question is answered, the psychologist is in a position to determine, how exactly he/she should move forward in the give scenario.
4. The second question, allows charting a proper course to carry out the counselling. Always remember, no two people and hence no two minds are ever the same. Both need to be seen and treated differently.
5. Counselling Outcome talks about understanding, whether or not counselling is effective.
6. If the counselling proves to be effective, then there is the need to understand under which conditions it proved to be effective and whether the effect was lasting or not.
7. If the counselling proves ineffective, then there is a need to understand why that is so and what could be done to make it effective.
8. Outcomes are easy to measure through symptom reduction, behavior change, or quality of life improvement. Topics commonly explored in the study of counseling process and outcome include therapist variables, client variables, relationships, etc.
9. The client-therapist relationship plays a vital role in ensuring that the counseling is effective. If the relationship is compromised or not satisfactory for any reason, the result changes drastically.
We must bear in mind that we are talking about two individuals here. There are not one, but two minds involved in the entire discussion. One of the client and the other of the psychologist. While the client may be the one subjected to the process, a psychologist is also bound by various guidelines and standards that need to be followed strictly.Very often this creates an invisible boundary between the two and the client may unintentionally end up hiding things.
A counseling psychologist, thus has to be highly aware and receptive of the client’s words and emotions.
Benefits of Counseling (to the client)
• Helps you feel better about yourself
• Brings out a side of you, which you may not have been aware of.
• Gives you a sense of security and comfort
• Helps you disclose facts about yourself that you may not be able to tell others
• Gives you direction and clarity of thought
• Reduces stress and give peace of mind
Benefits of Counseling (to the psychologist)
• Enhances observation skills
• Develops a sense of empathy
• Helps to understand human behavior
• Helps self-development through others
• Gives a sense of being resourceful
To be honest with you, I personally had no clue that psychologists experienced any benefit from listening to people talk about their own problems! But I stand corrected.
Counseling Psychology allows free flow of thought which is highly liberating.
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