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Counseling Psychology in Applied Research or Academia

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by Psychadelic2012, May 4, 2012.

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  1. Psychadelic2012

    Psychadelic2012 PhD Student 2+ Year Member

    Sep 17, 2011
    I have an interdisciplinary background, part of which includes an integration of health psychology research and counseling (not necessarily together, except that I am involved in both). I have learned that I do NOT want to be a therapist, but I'm older and a career-changer, so my best match ended up in a counseling psychology PhD program. I hope to continue to integrate my interdisciplinary interests.

    The question of research in counseling psychology has been brought up before, mostly in response to pursuing internship placements, but I want to delve deeper. I really see my future therapy career as a very part-time adjunct private practice (at most). Therapy largely bores me, although I do enjoy it with some clients (as anyone probably would). I'd like my clinical focus to me more on diagnostics, actually. Knowing that my therapy practica in my doctoral program will be to give me a basis for how to approach future teaching and research (and possibly supervision), with a goal of attaining either a T-T faculty position or an applied research position, what goals should I reach for in grad school? For example, what do counseling psychology programs value in their faculty members? What opportunities are available for counseling psych researchers outside of academia?

    I'm already continuing some active research projects as I begin. I just want to know how this may be different than clinical psychology or experimental psychology and what I should expect that employers/consultees are looking for.
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  3. wigflip

    wigflip 2+ Year Member

    Oct 18, 2010
    Hi Psychadelic,

    Congrats again on your acceptance. This is rather general advice re: academia, but for folks who are just starting out, I'd be tracking any disciplinary academic job searching wikis, as well as The Chronicle of Higher Education and any other places where Counseling psych departments (or other departments which you feel might be a good fit) would advertise job openings. Ideally, one would track the job openings, see who gets the jobs and what their attributes are (where they're publishing and when, grants, Dr. Big Name Adviser, etc.). Folks I know who didn't pay attention to the concrete details of the market until they were on it were mostly in for a big shock (obviously not what you're doing since you're on the ball, but worth noting). I don't know how the clinical/counseling psych market has been, but a colleague in social psych with pretty terrific credentials had a rough go of it recently.

    Again this is general, and not psych-specific, but talking to folks who were on the market even just several years back isn't as useful as getting a sense of what it's like now. Also: go to websites of departments you could see yourself working at, look for recent hires and study their CVs.
  4. Psychadelic2012

    Psychadelic2012 PhD Student 2+ Year Member

    Sep 17, 2011
    That's good advice, thanks! I'm going to do that, for sure. You're right that I can't necessarily count on current (long-term) faculty or even students to tell me what is expected. And, of course, all of this is likely to change a bit in 4-5 years depending on the market.

    One thing I'm hoping to capitalize on (so to speak) is the interdisciplinary model in health/mental health care, especially since it is where my interest and experience lies. This seems to be an upcoming model of care.
  5. docma

    docma 7+ Year Member

    Oct 27, 2007
    You might also study what is published in the divisional APA journal, Counseling Psychology. These will of course be a few years "behind" the most current new research interests as it probably takes that long to get into the journal--but it will give you a good sense of populations studied and range of methods.
  6. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Oct 6, 2006
    The Beach
    You should check out the posters/talks abstracts at the various counseling conferences (typically a downloadable PDF on the conference's website), as often the initial data is talked about there, and then a year or two later it'll get published.
  7. Psychadelic2012

    Psychadelic2012 PhD Student 2+ Year Member

    Sep 17, 2011
    Thanks for the additional input. I'm going to play dumb here for a second. What, exactly, am I then looking for when I peruse the literature and/or conference abstracts? I've looked at literature with an eye on potential schools and mentors, as well as background for my own research of course. I've never looked at it for future employment or work, though. Am I just looking for what research is 'trending' in the field (so to speak)? Am I looking for where the research is done, to scope out future locations where I can seek to be employed? And, if the latter, am I looking for those things so that I can shape my upcoming doctoral program research to 'fit' my future career goals?
  8. sockit

    sockit 2+ Year Member

    Feb 13, 2012
    would you be at all interested in maybe going in an epidemiological/social determinants of health/mental health policy direction? (dunno if there'd even be scope for that, in your program...) where i am, nodes of research exist at hospitals/big community health centres (eg, here), independent research institutes/agencies, & gov't. another thought (again, more social/infrastructural stuff; same potential employers/clients): knowledge transfer/exchange (within or across organizations & gov't; translating research for policy-makers, eg through a consultancy) and/or health informatics < (not just for managerial/bean counting types; also, can imagine industry applications - apps; mobile tech)

    but, difficult to guess the direction of political/economic winds, and prob a bad idea to lean your research too heavily on projected demand, without a genuine interest in it.

    *nb: i am an NPH (non profit hack) just beginning a career change, still clueless myself

    edit: if you'd go to the dark side: there are also, as i'm sure you're aware, monstrous, mystical super-organizations that have coopted traditionally public functions (eg serco). and the similarly shaped global management consultancies that serve them. can't see any of them dying. am sure there is room for health stuff in there.
    Last edited: May 8, 2012

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