Mar 17, 2016
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Hi,

I am an undergrad psych student trying to figure out which direction to go in my studies. I want to have the option to do counseling/therapy, and I may want to work in a university setting. I am not very interested in serious disorders. I'm pretty sure I want to work with grief and depression. So based on that, should I still go for a clinical psych degree, or is MHC fine?

I am naturally a thinker and enjoy the philosophical aspects of life/psychology. So I am not interested in neuro- or bio- psych. I am also interested in personal growth and finding meaning in life. Based on what I said I would guess that the Humanistic/existential orientation would be a good fit. I'm not sure, however, if I necessarily want to use the therapy techniques from these areas. I want to have training in something which has empirical support. At the same time, I believe that therapy is an art, and there needs to be a consideration of existential issues, etc.

I guess I'm looking for an intersection of philosophical questioning and empirical research.

What different types of degrees or areas of study would you recommend?

Thanks to all who take the time to answer this.
 
Mar 24, 2014
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Yes, an MHC would be fine for your career goals. Existential and humanistic thinking can be very integral to the practice of all psychotherapy, in my opinion. I don't really see them as a separate modality of treatment. Most psychotherapists will use Rogerian techniques to varying extents, especially when it comes to reflective listening and a non-judgmental and empathic stance. Also, I let the patients dictate the significance of existential issues in their treatment. For some it is central, especially with regard to grieving, as you mentioned. For others, they just want you to help them cope, alleviate symptoms, improve relationships, and don't want to think about anything esoteric.
 
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MamaPhD

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I guess I'm looking for an intersection of philosophical questioning and empirical research.

What different types of degrees or areas of study would you recommend?

Since several forms of counseling and psychotherapy are linked with philosophical traditions, you'd be well justified in exploring those linkages more closely. There are even a few small groups that represent "professional philosophers," and though I would strongly discourage pursuing this as a career choice, the idea of philosophical counseling or consultation can be applied to practice within a licensed profession such as counseling, psychology, etc.
 
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