counselling psychology career path?

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counselling psychology career path?

Postby Yiannis_K » Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:38 am

While there seems to be quite a lot of discussion and iformationn about the differences between clinical and counsellinng psychology training and focus, I have not been able to ascertain the differences from a 'career path' perspective. I remember coming across a few comments in the past stressing that while the career path for clinical psychology graduates is clear and established, this is not the case for counselling psychology. Is this still the case? I would value any insight / opinion you may have.

Best
Yiannis
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Postby RzrbldeSuitcase » Fri Jan 14, 2011 6:40 pm

This would probably be better suited in the career advice forum [good point moved - admin] but......


Boom
http://ww2.prospects.ac.uk/p/types_of_job/clinical_psychologist_entry_requirements.jsp

and Boom
http://ww2.prospects.ac.uk/p/types_of_job/counselling_psychologist_entry_requirements.jsp[/url]
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Postby Yiannis_K » Sat Jan 15, 2011 3:29 pm

Thank you for the links RzrbldeSuitcase :). They are indeed very helpful but I am looking a bit further beyond at the moment... More specifically, after speaking with a clinical health psychologist and a counselling psychologist I was made aware that things are changing (career wise) and there seems to be a certain 'worry' about career paths and opportunities among psychologists. To me it felt more so for counselling psychologists. I have no concrete data to back this up so please consider it as a personal working hypothesis that I would hope to back or reject (hopefully the latter).

From what I heard from my counselling psychology friend, there seem to be much less advertised positions for counselling psychologists at the NHS (as compared to clinical psychologists).

Psychotherapy training in various modalities seems to be more extensive in counselling psychology training as compared to clinical. As a result, most counselling psychology doctoral programs lead to training in 3 modalities with an emphasis on integration. Political / economic / scientific trends seem to be pushing for evidence based practice and that brings the usuall challenges... CBT easy to back using Randomised Clinical Trials as opposed to other modalities... etc etc etc. Bottom line, there 'feels' to be a push towards manualised psychotherapy approaches based the medical model. This is very much the case in the USA but I get the feeling that NHS funding cuts may lead to similar 'restrictions' over here in the UK. (CBT solely favoured by NHS trusts)
Counselling psychologists' training in integration of various modalities (some of them less compatible to the 'medical' model / less backed by quantified evidence) and their humanistic underpinnings may render them more open to exclusion from the NHS.

I really hope I have got this wrong and that things are not as I describe.

Finally, I was just reading the Special Edition of the 'Counselling Psychology Review' journal which presents a prediction for the future of Counselling psychology (Counselling Psychology Review, Volume 24 Number 1, March 2009)
It is a really interesting read but the main conclusion is that Counselling psychology is struggling to find its own identity. There are predictions in the special issue that Counselling Psychology might even become extinct as a special division and that it migh be brought under clinicial psychology.

My general feeling is that there is an overall push towards medicalisation of clinical and counselling psychology (again this is a personal impression and I do hope it will be proven wrong). More specifically, psychotherapy seems to be pushed towards manualisation and streamlining. Counselling psychologists may suffer more as a result... unless if I am missing something important (I hope).

Any thoughts will be greatly appreciated

Best
Yiannis
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Postby lexi81 » Sat Jan 15, 2011 4:47 pm

Having studied a counselling postgraduate course recently from what I am aware there are actually becoming an increasing number of NHS posts which advertise for either clinical/counselling psychologists. From my perception counselling psychology is a relatively new area of psychology which yes is still trying to generate its own identity although with many similarities to clinical. Like clinical psychology, counselling psychology is still largely centred around evidence-based practice and as such CBT is in large use in the field... with other perspectives such as a humanistic way of working being less widely used mainly because of its qualitative stance and difficulty to provide evidence for its effectiveness.

As far as I am aware there is currently much debate going on with regards to counselling as a whole can go forward, given that different modalities have different therapeutic benefits for different individuals with different issues, for example the usefulness of CBT with issues such as phobias and humanistic for abuse, for example. Therefore it seems possible that the future will involve counselling psychologists becoming more integrative in order that they can best work with diverse issues with which they may face and can obtain the best outcomes for clients.

Sorry to ramble on, lexi
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Postby Enigma » Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:57 pm

Interesting thread. I'm not ready to become extinct :shock:

To be honest, it gets my goat all of this. I have had no problems getting jobs that weren't advertised for counselling psychologists. I apply anyway. I struggle to see the difference sometimes and so do my clinical psychology colleagues. Its all down to where you train and making the right choices. One thing I do know,is that there is very little support to counselling psychology trainees for placement chioces. They sometimes take what they can get and that cannot be helpful in the long run. You've got to put your foot down and be confident, know what you want out of training. Set yourself up with an assistant psychologist post, get a couple/few years in, get to know people. This helped me get what I wanted whilst training. I have no idea how trainees do this when going on doctorate courses having only just been in charity organisations etc. They do struggle and I know many trainees who never managed to get out of charity organisations and use different therapeutic interventions. Anyway, thats my rant. I have lots to say about the current state of training courses. I feel sorry for counselling psychology trainees at the minute.
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Postby Yiannis_K » Mon Jan 17, 2011 12:10 pm

Enigma, I feel the same way :-(

My personal opinion based on what I know from comparing clinical and counselling psychology training is that the content of training is very similar for the two. This is especially the case when considering established programs in counselling psychology at well known unis. In terms of training content there seems to be some difference and again from a personal perspective this difference seems to be a stronger emphasis on assessmet and testing training in clinical psychology vs. a stronger emphasis on psychotherapy training in counselling psychology. I am not sure if this difference is significant. As you say and as many people in this forum have shared, clinical psychologists seem to consider counselling psychologists as very similar indeed and many jobs are open to both. There seem to be some silos though... the example of neuropsychology is a good one. This seems to be (formally) open only to clinical psychologists even though there may be counselling psychology programs that cover all the prerequisites necessary for this post registration MSc.

Counselling psychology training is also different from clinical because it does not place so much emphasis on AP posts as a prerequisite. Most Counselling psychology programs in the UK require a few months to a year of face to face, supervised counselling experience, a certificate in counselling skills and a psychology degree / coversion diploma granting GBC. These prerequisites are certainly easier to achieve as compared to the endless quest for assistant psychology posts which is the case with clinical psychology doctoral programs. The latter is of course funded and that makes a big difference. Supply of AP posts vs Demand is a defining feature of this path and I am sure lots will agree that supply of AP posts has declined in the last 3-5 years making it even harder for those who dream of gaining access to clin psych training.

Counselling psycholoyg is self funded and that seems to alter the traing path considerably. Even though the content of doctoral programs are similar, a person who graduates with the doctorate has not necessarily worked in the NHS to the extent that a clinical psychologist has. This difference is significant I guess. In my opinion, an employer (NHS in this case) views more favourably an applicant who has already worked for roughly 3 years in the organisation vs an applicant who has experience in charities, etc. I don't like this and I don't think it should be that way but I have a feeling that this is what happens (again i would like to be proven wrong please :-) )

My feeling is that as the NHS undergoes cost cutting, AP posts will become less available and that will further increase competition. This is evident already ... if you look at AP post adverts you will notice that prerequisites for applying are more. Most notably the experience required prior to applying. This may make NHS psychology jobs less open to non clinical doctorate graduates.

All in all, I feel the counselling psychologist has a very tough deal. Can counselling psychologists guide their training and experience in such a way that they can become competent to do what a clinical psychologist does? I am not sure but I like to believe that yes. Should the system (NHS) open its doors more to counselling psychologists? Again I believe that yes.

In my opinion, the above is actually not that evident from the outset. In other words, a person who aspires to become a counselling psychologist will not easily find out about those difficulties and career path restrictions as compared to the clinical psychologist. I think this understanding is crucial of course, especially considering that in order to complete counselling psychology training today, one needs about £80.000 (including certificate in counselling skills, 3 year full time doctorate, psychology conversion, 4 years living expenses).

I would again like to emphasise that the above is a personal opinion (based on my own experience and research). I welcome any new information that will show me a different reality.

best wishes
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Postby Enigma » Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:50 pm

Yannis

I too agree with just about all that you say. But just a note on the Counselling Psychology Trainee coming from Charity organisations for most of their training. I really do feel (well I know) that these trainees are working within a purely counselling model for the most part, which means that they are not gaining experience in psychological formulation and assessment . This is an absolute must in NHS. I can't talk for ALL of the charity organisations, but I know that some of them refuse to carry out formulation during supervision. I can completely see why a Clinical psychologist would be likely to get the post when this is the case.

The advantages of choosing this route for me was that there were only 10 trainees per year as oppose to 30 per year now. I could be really autonomous. I'd been through the assistant psychology route for years and I was 33 at the time. Assistants were taking medication for anxiety for most part of the year because of the stress of the course application process and some good friends fell out because they wouldn't share experiences of interviews (too long in the tooth for that malarky :? ). I saw enough to pretty much get me the hell out of that route so it suited me down to the ground. I was at an advantage because I'd 'done the rounds' and they were happy to take me on. I wouldn't have gone through all the charity stuff (Im not a counsellor and dont know that much about it). Its not psychology as far as Im concerned. Trainees are being short changed in some places.

This is my professional and personal opinion having taught on one of the doctorate courses for a number of years. Its all very different now. Tripple the trainees and less posts!
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Postby mixty » Tue Jan 25, 2011 3:01 pm

The question I would like to ask is whether recently qualified Counselling Psychologists get appropriate work or is it a struggle for them?
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Postby Enigma » Sun Jan 30, 2011 2:10 pm

depends what you mean by 'appropriate work'.
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Postby hettie » Sun Jan 30, 2011 2:54 pm

Opportunites after graduation vary depending on the counselling psychology training (diff courses diff emphasis) and how the trainee has made use of those opportunities. In a way as trainess we have more autonomy as we (within certain boundaries) can choose our placemtn settings. So for example, although over all I have to have so many hours of client time (which must consist of x hours of CBT, x hours with individuals, x hours with couples/groups and x hours within the nhs) non one cares where I do this (as long as it meets the above requirements). Nearly everyone I know in my training is working with (or has worked in) the nhs- now this may just be my particular course but....So lots of developing of skills that are similar to clin psychs... You could if you wanted to practice a more counselling model with charity work making up most of your placements (as long as you ticked the x hours of CBT and x hours of nhs work) – your choice (but it strikes me as strange- why not do the counselling training instead) and yeah you would be unlikely to get nhs work....
As far as getting suitable work, well I have been told by senior nhs psychologists (clin and couns) that counselling psychology grads are often valued as they tend to accrue a lot of therapeutic hours on their training and the emphasis on learning at least two modalities is also valued.... we’ll see (I have a while before I’m in that position!)
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Postby mixty » Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:00 pm

Enigma wrote:depends what you mean by 'appropriate work'.


I apologise for my lack of clarity. I meant roles that required a fully qualified counselling (or clinical) psychologist, as opposed to ending up having to find work in another field, e.g. hospitality, telemarketing, serving hamburgers, whatever)
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