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Counseling Psychology

Last updated on May 10, 2019

Counseling Psychology is a sector of professional psychological practice that focuses on the personal and interpersonal functioning of clients. Its concerns in regard to client situations and circumstances may include therapeutic analysis and work in any or all of the areas of personal emotional health, interpersonal relationships, social functioning, vocational functioning, health behavior, emotional development problems, and problems in functioning in organizations.

Counseling psychology functions in the realm of culturally sensitive practices to encounter and deal with a variety of personal problems. While it seeks to improve the individual’s sense of well-being, it does so by addressing personal challenges and conflicts giving rise to distress and maladjustment, crisis resolution, and improving functioning in client’s personal lives. In addition to dealing with developmental problems that may be normal, counseling psychology helps people with problems in regard to physical and mental functioning.

Counseling psychology is applicable to people of all ages and cultural origins, and it may take place as individual counseling or in group counseling sessions. While counseling psychology services may be established through the regular counselor-client relationship, it can also be established through organizational associations.

Counseling psychologists may also facilitate interventions for individuals needing some kind of immediate attention. Counseling psychological are often focused on particular behavioral problems and in this and other approaches, it is usually directed toward the achievement of general or particular goals.

Client variables are important to counseling psychology. Clients may bring particular help-seeking attitudes to the counseling situation and process which have an effect on both the expectations and outcomes of the counseling process. An important initial element in the counseling psychology process is overcoming the stigma that may be associated with psychological counseling within the client which may limit the client’s willingness to admit to the existence of problems and acceptance of help from the psychologist. Public stigma may be transferred into sigma experienced by the client which must be addressed and overcome for positive progress to take place.

Aside from popular and personal stigma associated with psychological counseling, client may experience avoidance in regard to the personalization of the process. They may perceive risks in pursuing psychological help and develop various forms of resistance to treatment. For these people, the imagined risks outweigh the benefits of counseling. These attitudes must be overcome for the therapy to be most effective as the client must be oriented towards acceptance rather than resistance. Attachment styles also have an effect on the counseling situation. Anxious attachment styles tend to have higher levels of acceptance in regard to the effects of the counseling situation and process. These higher levels of acceptance are also associated with the self-perception of improvement, the perception of benefits derived from the process, the duration of treatment, client recognition of outcomes, and client satisfaction. This is the ideal situation for positive results from the counseling psychological process.

Cultural variables in counseling psychology:

The client’s background and cultural orientation may have important significance for the approach to and success of psychological counseling. Some personal and cultural backgrounds are oriented towards the acceptance of help-seeking, but others are resistant to it. Additionally, there may be effects in regard to acceptance and resistance in circumstances of differences in racial and cultural backgrounds between the client and the counselor, and this must be considered to be a factor in the counseling relationship. Clients with distinctive circumstances in regard to gender and sexuality may encounter acceptance or resistance problems based on the personality of the counselor. For this reason, increasingly there are psychological counselors available with similar distinctive circumstances, alleviating many problems or questions about understanding and relevance of counseling perspectives. All counselors in psychological counseling must be aware and account for a variety of cultural circumstances potentially affecting the counseling process. Counseling psychology is an effective process to encounter, cope with, and ameliorate a wide variety of personal, interpersonal, social, and emotional problems. In initiating such counseling, the client must understand and accept the seemingly intrusive character of such counseling, but with the expectation of improvement in personal well-being and functioning. Counseling psychology is effective and a positive approach to dealing with a variety of personal problems.

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