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The practice of counseling psychology encompasses a broad range of culturally sensitive practices that help people improve their well-being, alleviate distress and maladjustment, resolve crises and increase their ability to function better in their lives. With its attention both to normal developmental issues and problems associated with physical, emotional and mental disorders, the specialization holds a unique perspective in the broader practice-based areas of psychology. While both counseling and clinical psychologists practice psychotherapy, counseling psychology differs from clinical in that its practitioners tend to focus on overall well-being across the lifespan, compared to clinical clients who often are experiencing more severe symptoms of mental illness.

You will work with individuals, (children, young people, adults and older adults), couples, families, with groups and at an organisational and community level.

You may work as part of multi-professional teams including doctors, nurses and allied health professionals and a range of other psychological professionals.

In a management or leadership role, you could contribute to the design and implementation of services for patients.

To enter a counselling psychology training programme, you will need either an undergraduate or Master’s degree that is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) and leads to graduate membership. As well as this, you will need some experience working with adults or children. 

To qualify, counselling psychologists complete a Health and Care Professions Council-accredited practitioner doctoral degree, which require at least 450 hours of supervised counselling practice over three or more years. These hours should be undertaken in a variety of settings. Trainees are also required to receive personal therapy during training.