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Which professional is the best to major in as a counseling psychology student?

Hi I am 16 years old student doing counseling psychology. I would love to major in depth in psychology.i have a passion in giving back to the community. Thank you

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Meghan’s Answer

Hi David!

It's amazing that you are passionate about giving back to your community. People like you change the world! For an undergraduate student interested in counseling, some majors I would recommend looking into are psychology, human development, community health, and education (just to name a few). Becoming a counselor varies from state to state. Below I will attach the requirements for obtaining your licensed professional counselor (LPC) in the state of Texas.

During college, I'm sure you will figure out where exactly your interests align. The field of psychology is amazing because there are so many specialties. Specialties like mental health, marriage/family, substance abuse, grief, adolescence, and many more. During your undergraduate program, you can reach out to your advisors and they can help guide you towards graduate programs. You can eventually pursue a Master's in Mental Health Counseling. Other graduate programs you can look into are Master's in Social Work and Master's in School Counseling.

In order to become a counselor, you will need to go to graduate school. Don't let this overwhelm you! For now, focus on finding undergraduate programs that involve psychology. These programs will prepare you for graduate school. Again, it's amazing that you are looking into this now. You will be well-prepared to take on these requirements.

You got this!


LPC TEXAS

Counselor Education in Texas
The completion of a master’s or doctoral degree (GRADUATE SCHOOL) in counseling or a counseling-related field from an accredited college or university. Counseling-related fields include psychology, psychiatry, social work, and marriage and family therapy.

Appropriate degree programs will be at least 60 graduate semester hours long and include coursework in each of the following areas:

Normal human growth and development
Abnormal human behavior
Appraisal or assessment techniques
Counseling theories
Counseling methods or techniques
Research
Lifestyle and career development
Social, cultural, and family issues
Professional orientation
Practicum
Addictions counseling
Counselor ethics
Couples, marriage, or families
Psyhcopathology
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Chinyere’s Answer

Hello David,

As a counseling psychology student with a passion for giving back to the community, there are several professional paths you can consider. Here are a few options:

1. Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC): LPCs provide therapy and counseling services to individuals, groups, and families. They work in various settings such as community mental health centers, schools, private practices, or non-profit organizations.

2. Clinical Psychologist: Clinical psychologists assess and treat individuals with various mental health disorders through therapy and psychological testing. They often work in hospitals, clinics, or private practices.

3. School Psychologist: School psychologists focus on addressing students' academic and emotional needs within an educational setting. They provide counseling services to students, collaborate with teachers and parents to develop intervention plans, and conduct assessments.

4. Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT): MFTs specialize in working with couples and families to address relationship issues or family dynamics that may impact their well-being.

5. Social Worker: Social workers help individuals overcome social challenges by providing counseling services as well as connecting them with necessary resources such as housing assistance or healthcare options.

Remember that each profession has its unique requirements for education and licensing/certification processes, which you'll need to fulfill after completing your undergraduate degree in psychology by pursuing advanced degrees (e.g., Master's or Doctoral). Additionally, it might be helpful for you to gain experience through internships/volunteer opportunities within community-based organizations focused on mental health support or advocacy efforts while studying toward your degree in counseling psychology.

Best wishes.
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Michelle’s Answer

Hello, David !

You have a very exciting and wonderful career interest ! I was your age when I first had the same interest, too and I think I could give you some advice although I went into a different career transitioning from one career to social service than back to my original field of work. I will speak from experience and hands on observations to lead you in a direction to consider.

The best profession to strive for with what you have described here would be to become a Certified Mental Health professional. You already are experiencing a good base in high school for further studies later on. In order to know what you'll need to do for this career, you can read about it at
https://www.nbcc.org/certification/ccmhc

It will be intense and maybe not at the low key level you may be doing as a volunteer now, and you should be well informed before deciding and evaluate if the study path is something you would like.

You could also think about becoming a Social Worker, but you won't be doing counseling, rather clinical therapy and it's a big difference. If you want to do counseling only and assist people with their social needs you can become a social service Case Manager. The title of Case Manager is changing and sometimes you may see the jobs listed as Independent Living Skills staff, Direct Services staff, and many other terms that are used for careers that you would incorporate counseling in, but not therapy. Learn more about what all the positions are and choose which one you'd like to study for. A strong foundation in psychology will be an overall benefit for any of the careers.

The term counseling psychology is new to me because a Psychologist doesn't do counseling. They do testing, evaluation, treat and diagnose patients. If anything, they are able to do clinical therapy such as Social Workers do. So it may be very important for you to become assured as to what each mental health professional does by reading about it on various websites and books. There are so very many choices and the best thing you can do right now would be to explore the different careers and see which one you fit into and would love doing in the future.

You've mentioned that you're "doing counseling psychology" and I am not sure if that means you are studying psychology in high school or doing volunteer work already. I would suggest doing volunteer work now at a local community social service office and getting a feel for the atmosphere. Even if it's as a reception person or data entry, go around and ask about volunteering. Go to some teen centers, too and inquire about doing Peer Counseling - offer your services. This will give you excellent experience and put you into the swing of being a counselor on an entry level. Peer Counseling is basically talking with people your own age and discussing their situations, not mental health therapy.

So my advice is to follow through with your passion and desire to give back to the community as it will be very beneficial and your contribution will mean much to many people !

Best wishes to you in all you do !

Michelle recommends the following next steps:

AMERICAN COUNSELING SOCIETY - CHOOSING A CAREER IN COUNSELING https://www.counseling.org/resources/career-center/choosing-a-career-in-counseling
COUNSELING CAREERS https://onlinecounselingprograms.com/become-a-counselor/counseling-careers/
ABOUT CAREERS IN COUNSELING https://www.counselingdegreeguide.org/careers/
TYPES OF MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS AND WHAT THEY DO https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Treatments/Types-of-Mental-Health-Professionals
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