ProspectivPsych

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Hi,
I am considering entering the field of counseling psychology but I have a few concerns. My mentors are saying that I will have "more options" by going into counseling psychology even if I don't want to be a therapist or teach psych courses. I do have research experience and don't mind doing some projects but I do NOT want this to be my main emphasis. Im more into practice. My ideal is not doing "therapy" but advice giving, motivation.. more in the lines of coaching college students.

Do you think with a degree of Counseling Psychology I could do these things or would entering a counseling program be a waste of time? If it is a waste of time, what areas deal with more of the advice giving counseling role with college students?

Also, do counseling psychologists give advice to students as the counseling is "short term" or is it only listening therapy and allowing the student to derive at their own answers?

I hope you all understand what Im asking. I appreciate your help for me on this.
 
Jan 22, 2010
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Yes, if you want to be a mentor or guide for college students, you could definitely get a degree in counseling psychology.

However, you could also just get a master's in it or get a degree in counseling or a degree in higher education.

I would have to say to that advice giving is primarily NOT what counseling psychologists do. However, that doesn't mean that you cannot get an advanced degree in counseling psychology and then go into a career in student life or something like that.
 

ProspectivPsych

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Yes, if you want to be a mentor or guide for college students, you could definitely get a degree in counseling psychology.

However, you could also just get a master's in it or get a degree in counseling or a degree in higher education.

I would have to say to that advice giving is primarily NOT what counseling psychologists do. However, that doesn't mean that you cannot get an advanced degree in counseling psychology and then go into a career in student life or something like that.


Thanks ILGirl for your response. I did consider going into student affairs/higher ed but found those areas to be quite limiting, especially if I wanted to be in a leadership role and be more marketable. Plus I know it is experience that counts and hope to gain this while in a doctoral program aside from research I hope to conduct in the area of first generation students transition to college, academic motivation and career development. Something tells me I can do this but the question is, would obtaining the doctorate be "worth it." I think it is because this is a personal accomplishment I hope to pursue.
 
Jan 22, 2010
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Thanks ILGirl for your response. I did consider going into student affairs/higher ed but found those areas to be quite limiting, especially if I wanted to be in a leadership role and be more marketable. Plus I know it is experience that counts and hope to gain this while in a doctoral program aside from research I hope to conduct in the area of first generation students transition to college, academic motivation and career development. Something tells me I can do this but the question is, would obtaining the doctorate be "worth it." I think it is because this is a personal accomplishment I hope to pursue.
A lot of people who have gotten higher ed. degrees have gone on to leadership roles in universities and colleges. Now, if you are thinking that you may not want to work in a university or college, you probably would not want to go that route.

But, yes, I think counseling psychology offers you more options. You will have to do counseling/therapy to get through the program. But, people with counseling psychology degrees often do wind up in student affairs and student life in mentoring type positions. However, they usually are doing some administrative work as well.

For many jobs at universities, you will only need a master's degree. But, if you have aspirations of being a top administrator one day, you may want to go the PhD route.

Counseling psychology offers a lot of options. You don't have to just go into straight counseling. If you have an interest in motivation and career development, make sure you go to a school with that emphasis, such as the University of Missouri or Florida State, etc.
 

ProspectivPsych

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A lot of people who have gotten higher ed. degrees have gone on to leadership roles in universities and colleges. Now, if you are thinking that you may not want to work in a university or college, you probably would not want to go that route.

But, yes, I think counseling psychology offers you more options. You will have to do counseling/therapy to get through the program. But, people with counseling psychology degrees often do wind up in student affairs and student life in mentoring type positions. However, they usually are doing some administrative work as well.

For many jobs at universities, you will only need a master's degree. But, if you have aspirations of being a top administrator one day, you may want to go the PhD route.

Counseling psychology offers a lot of options. You don't have to just go into straight counseling. If you have an interest in motivation and career development, make sure you go to a school with that emphasis, such as the University of Missouri or Florida State, etc.

Wow thanks. And yes, I want to work at a university/college. This is my passion. And I actually AM interested in administrative work, I enjoy the variety.
 

Therapist4Chnge

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A counseling psychology program could be a good fit for you, though as mentioned previously, you'll have to do more direct therapy and other things to have that flexibility in the end. There are far few differences between Counseling and Clinical psychology now, compared to 20-30 years ago, though you'd probably find a better fit at a Counseling program.

(The "advice" thing is a pet peeve of mine, so bear with me)

As for "advice giving", I always like to mention that therapy and "advicing giving" are two wholey seperate areas. There are opportunities to do both, though it is very important to clearly define which you are doing, with whom, and in what context. Many times people will look at "life coaching" or other vague areas of semi-related work, though they tend to lack the level of training and licensure really required to practice ethically. One of the common pitfalls is the "advice giving" turns into therapy, and the provider is not properly trained to handle that, and then that can open up the provider and the client to some dangerous territory.

I think you will be best prepared if you complete doctoral training, as you will receive training in therapy, and you'll be taught the difference between therapy and giving advice. Additionally, the assessment training you will receive can blend well with the various pre-existing metrics out there that look specifically at career planning, goal setting, etc...though you'll need to find mentorship in this area. Many psychologists fall into this area, though it is important to receive specific training because it can be ethically problematic to blend therapy and advice giving.

Lastly, I think there can be a nice niche for people who practice in this area, though it is important to define your services. Since many people practice outside of licensed areas ("motivational speaker", "life coach", "executive coach", "career mentor", etc), it is important to differentiate yourself. The advantage a person has at the doctoral level is not only rigorous training, but also the ability to conduct research in the area as well as publish books and teach on various topics. You essentially can become an expert in the area by the time you are working independantly.

As for administration jobs....you definitely in a doctoral level degree. It is definitely the expectation that administrators at the university level have doctoral degrees. There will always be exceptions, but you'll be much better off having one than not.
 

FadedC

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May 17, 2009
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I know of at least one school near me that only hires doctoral level people for their academic advisement. Not sure how common this is though, they suggested to me that it was unusual.
 
Jan 22, 2010
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I know of at least one school near me that only hires doctoral level people for their academic advisement. Not sure how common this is though, they suggested to me that it was unusual.
It's fairly unusual. Most academic advising jobs require master's. Some only require bachelors or PhDs. However, the director of an academic advising department is more likely to have a PhD.

But, I am only speaking about large public universities. I don't know anything about private schools.

One good thing to do: Check out available jobs at universities that interest you and see what educational requirements exist. Talk to university employees who are doing jobs that interest you and ask them what route they took to get into those jobs.
 
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