Counseling PhD programs lead to careers in counseling psychology, teaching in higher education, research and more. The program in counseling psychology prepares graduates to apply developmental, psychological, and mental health principles to effect cognitive, affective, behavioral, and systemic change. These counseling psychology skills are used in many settings for example colleges and universities, hospitals, schools, rehabilitation centers, juvenile centers, social work settings, mental health centers, and private practice.
While specializations do vary, many counseling careers deal with helping patients and clients in dealing with depression anxiety, mental health and mental disorders, emotional disorders, relationship issues, marriage and family difficulties, substance abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence, eating disorders, career changes, job stress, athletic pressures, aging issues, family loss, depression, eating disorders, self-esteem issues, adolescent issues, career decisions, college applications.
Counseling Education and Training
A PhD in Counseling can take anywhere from four to eight years to complete, past the master’s degree level. This depends on whether one is pursing the degree on a part-time or full-time basis. In addition, PhD candidates are required to write an original dissertation. Doctoral degrees in counseling and psychology are very specialized. PhD candidates can focus on areas such as counseling psychology, clinical psychology, and counselor education.
In most cases, counseling PhD programs, counseling psychology degrees, and clinical psychology degree programs are listed as PhD degree programs or Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degree programs. On the other hand, counselor education programs are offered as Doctor of Education (Ed.D) or Ph.D. programs. These categorizations depend on the specific university or degree program. As with most doctoral programs, research and a dissertation is required.
Courses in Counseling
The difference between Ph.D. and Psy.D. degree programs is based on how much research the doctoral degree candidates are required to engage in. In either case, conducting research is a very important component of the degree program. Also, most states have requirements for counseling certification or licensure programs.
Counseling and psychology courses in a counseling doctorate program might include: Abnormal Psychology, Counseling Theory and Practice, Mental Health Counseling, Psychopharmacology, Assessment, Psychological testing, Interventions, Psychology Measurement and Tests, Theories of Personality to mention a few.
Careers in Counseling
A Ph.D. in counseling leads to specializations in various areas that may include:
- Community Counseling
- College Student Development
- Marriage and Family Therapy
- School Counseling
- Clinical Counseling
- Christian Counseling
- Professional School Counseling
- Multi-Cultural Counseling
- Psychological Assessment
- Educational Assessment
- Psychometric Assessment
A doctorate in counseling also prepares professionals for non-clinical positions in the field of psychology counseling. Some career options are:
- College and University Teaching
- Case Management
- Community Relations
- Mental Health Services
- Social Work
There are many areas with a need for counselors and counseling psychologists. These areas include health and human services, research facilities, hospitals, colleges and schools, rehabilitation centers, private practice, etc.
Psychology and Counseling Programs
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- Doctor of Education: Community Care & Counseling: Marriage & Family
- Doctor of Philosophy: Counselor Education and Supervision
- Doctor of Education: Community Care & Counseling: Pastoral Counseling
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- Ed.D. Educational Psychology and Technology
- Ph.D. Applied Behavior Analysis
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- Mental Health Policy and Practice - Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology
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