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Cosmo 23

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Does anyone have any concerns about the counseling phd being perceived as less prestigious than the clinical phd?

I posted this in another thread but am suprised people don't seem to have many strong opinions on the topic. I'm interested to hear other people's thoughts as I go to interviews and weigh acceptance offers for both types of programs.


02-11-2007,

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counseling vs. clinical
Hi, I know and appreciate that they are the same license. My question is more nuanced.

My experience is that if they (clinical and counseling psychologists) have negative perceptions of the other, it tends to be as follows.... that clinical psychologists think counseling psychs aren't properly trained in diagnosis, assessment and efficacious treatment techniques while counseling psychs believe that clinical psychs are all too eager to pathologize normal behavior that occurs as part of human development. I don't necessarily agree with these perceptions, so please don't inundate the board with notes to the contrary. I simply wonder how these stereotypes play out in a marketplace where there are still more clinical psychologists but where the ranks of counseling psychologists are growing rapidly. Especially when it comes to competing for prestigious jobs in hospitals and govt agencies.

Have others experienced these opinions from the psychologists they know and work with or maybe I am parsing this too finely?
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docjohng

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These things, as all things in psychology graduate study, depends on the specific program. Some counseling programs are good in giving their students a background and training in diagnosis and assessment, but of course counseling programs generally are more focused on treating more mild mental health issues and problems in living (and school).

At my intership at a CMHC, we had 2 or 3 counseling students in the program with the rest being clinical. The counseling students had less experience and training in diagnosis and serious mental disorder assessment, so they spent a lot of time reading and studying up on diagnostic criteria (and spending a lot of supervisions discussing differentials).

YMMV,
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Cosmo 23

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Thanks for the feedback. I am realizing that both counseling and clinical PhDs apply for the same apa accredited internships and have the same licensure in all 50 states. I just cringe when I hear people say (some in various parts of this message board) that it's a phd in counseling...rather than counseling psychology. I think a counseling psych program is the right fit for me, with a masters under my belt already, so will probably pursue that route.

Given all the heated debate about PhD vs PsyD, I have to say I am suprised more people don't strong have opinions about the counseling vs clinical debate in psychology.
 
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Therapist4Chnge

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I was talking to someone in a MA counseling program, and they were talking about the ACA code of ethics. This got me thinking...with a PhD in Counseling.....are there different standards? How do things like these vary from the APA? Are there other differences between the two? Any noticeable differences on internship?

I don't know much about counseling programs, so bear with my questions. :laugh:

-t
 

Cosmo 23

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I was hoping to hear from experienced clinicians who might be able to speak to the nuanced differences in perceptions of the degrees, at senior levels within hospitals and other treatment settings.

But I am happy to answer your questions...
The APA accredited programs in Counseling Psychology (not counseling, which is a masters level field affiliated with the ACA) are just that, so they adhere to the APA in terms of training and curriculum requirements, codes of conducts, regulations, requirements for accredidation. Approximately 25 years ago there used to be 2 lists published by APA and APPIC of approved internships, one for counseling psych students, one for clinical psych students. Now students apply to the same internships. Where they actually go, as you know, depends on the students and placement sites. But I know counseling psych students who have interned at VA hospitals, public hospitals, university counseling centers (eg Pace), and mental health clinics. There is one license in all 50 states for psychologists that does not differentiate between counseling psychologists and clinical psychologists.

The differences have more to do with philosphies about diagnosis, typical populations, theoretical orientations, research areas, and a focus (counseling) on healthy development, as well as disorders. This link provides a good overview of the fundamental differences between the fields of counseling psychology and clinical psychology: http://www.psichi.org/pubs/articles/article_73.asp

take care!
cosmo23
 
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