Counseling psychology is defined as a particular branch of psychology which focuses on the counseling process, both mental and wellness counseling as well as career and professional counseling. Counseling psychology encompasses a wide range of different psychological beliefs, theories and practices. A sample of one hundred different counseling psychologists’ beliefs and opinions on counseling psychology practices, for example, is likely to result in a wide variety of different responses. Counseling psychology is primarily known for its personal and mental health practices, such as peer counseling, mental disorder counseling, divorce counseling, personal counseling, and so on. These types of personal counseling are usually focused on improving the mental wellness of an individual or a group, sometimes by addressing particular problems such as mental disorders, relationship troubles, etc. Another well-known aspect of counseling psychology is career and business counseling, which is focused on improving factors related to careers, employment, and business. For example, a career counselor might help someone figure out what type of career they would like to pursue; they could also help resolve inter-employee conflicts in a business environment. Counseling psychology is not limited to these two branches. Other types of counseling psychology include educational counseling, supervision and training using counseling, etc.
What is a counselor?
A counselor is the casual name commonly used to refer to someone who practices counseling psychology. However, this phrase can be a bit misleading. Technically, someone who has a degree in counseling psychology is referred to as a counseling psychologist, not a counselor. In order to become a professional counseling psychologist, an individual must complete a counseling psychology program which is accredited by the American Psychology Association. A counseling psychologist must also meet the criteria for being licensed as a regular psychologist in order to be licensed as a counseling psychologist. This criterion includes a doctoral degree, at least one full-time internship, and 3,000 hours of supervised experienced. In order to become a professional counseling, on the other hand, an individual must complete a counseling program which is accredited by the Counsel of Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.
Counseling ethics refer to the ethics held as true in the principles of counseling psychology. Counseling ethics may vary wildly from person to person, place to place, and especially from country to country where different cultural norms may dictate different ethics. However, there are certain counseling ethics which are almost universally held by counseling psychologists in the United States and the United Kingdom. These ethical standards include the basic principles of any individual involved in the well-being and care of another individual: do no harm and prevent harm. Counseling psychologists and counselors alike are ethically motivated to do no harm to their clients or patients and to prevent harm when they can.
The most prominent of counseling ethics, however, is to remain discrete and professional. This includes a vow to never share information received during a counseling session without specific, and usually written, consent with the patient or client; it also includes avoiding inappropriate relationships with clients, by abstaining from any romantic or sexual encounters, and to not accept gifts and favors in exchange for their services.