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career in psychology?

I'm doing BA in Psychology and want to pursue further studies in this field. I want proper guidance about the steps to become a counselor and a clinical psychologist. psychology clinical-psychology counseling child-psychology relationshipexpert psychologist

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David’s Answer

A BA in psychology can be a "gateway" degree and major, useful to pursue a graduate degree in psychology but also different kinds of counseling services. In the U.S., there's a significant difference between working as a counselor, which is a Masters level profession, and clinical psychology which, for most purposes is a doctoral-level profession. Many people who want to work directly helping other people choose not to invest the time and money it takes to get a doctorate-level education plus internship. You would learn a lot more about research and could teach at the university or college level with a doctorate, but if you want to provide mental health or related services you don't need a doctorate. Then you have to narrow down to the kind of people, ages, problems, you would like to work with: children, adolescents, adults, older adults, etc. Would you like to work with students in an educational setting, people in clinical settings or in hospital settings, etc. Outpatient services, school-based, inpatient, private practice, substance services, etc. Any of these specializations are available at a Masters level, although oftentimes some supervised fieldwork or internship training and government licensure may also be needed in some settings. These are different directions you could go, but specific requirements and also the kinds of job opportunities available no doubt are different in India than the U. S.
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Mary’s Answer

I worked for an MFT for a while when I was in college. He thought about continuing to get his PhD, but ultimately chose not to because he really did not need it because he loved doing what he was doing - therapy. Psychiatry is an MD level profession that requires medical school and residency. You treat people by analyzing and suggesting medication to help with their problems. They don't do as much actual therapy where they meeting with a client regularly to discuss what is bothering them. A master's level Marriage and Family Therapist is much less time in school and involves providing therapy without prescribing medication. If medication is needed, then a referral to a psychiatrist is required. But, the therapy continues with the MFT.

So you will need to determine if you have the drive/money to go to medical school. Or, would you be a better fit for doing more therapy with clients.

Good luck!

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Mariah’s Answer

Hello Eshmeet,

Great question. Happy to address the counseling aspect of your question. I am beginning a Master of Arts Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling in the US in a few weeks. (Can't wait!)

For the US to become a counselor you need a Masters Degree. Its important it has the correct accreditation. After completing the degree, I will then need to get supervised hours to earn my license.

I'm not familiar with the specific steps you'd need in India but based on my experience I'd recommend the following to get started:
1) Identify some potential career paths (what type of counseling you'd like to do, do you want to open a private practice? become a professor? etc)
2) Research the schools which will provide the right programs and any needed accreditation
3) Talk to graduate students from the schools you're interested in and ask questions about the program and their future career path
4) Talk to any counselors you know to get an idea of what their work days are like and the process they went through to become a counselor

I added a few resources to check through below. I'd recommend doing as much research as you can to discover the path that fits best with your career goals.


Good luck!

Mariah Blake