Counseling and clinical psychology can be easily confused, mainly due to the overlapping qualities they share.
Also, psychologists often find themselves doing both types of psychological work for their patients.
But what’s the distinction anyways? Let’s find out.
History of the Specialties
Clinical psychologists deliver their services at a patient’s bedside, whereas counseling today happens in an office setting.
The history behind these two specializations has shaped their development and perceptions.
For instance, people perceive clinical as more hands-on, and counseling psychology as a field that can suit anyone with some training.
First and foremost, let’s talk about how both types of psychology focus on psychotherapy and counseling (both historically come from different roots).
Clinical comes from a Greek word meaning bed, while counseling stems from Latin for advising or consulting with others for guidance in determination or decision making.
Traditionally, clinical psychologists have been concerned with mental health disorders, while counseling psychologists focused on giving advice and guidance.
This distinction has become increasingly difficult to pinpoint as the lines between these two fields are blurring tremendously, making it hard to distinguish which area is best for you.
The overlap between these two fields remains to date, with psychiatrists continuing to practice both areas exclusively. Also, some specialists choose one over the other based on their interests and specialties.
What is Clinical Psychology?
Clinical psychology is the branch of psychology that applies psychological principles to relationships, behavior, and mental processes.
Clinical psychologists work in various settings such as universities, community mental health centers, or private practice.
However, they usually focus on psychopathologies like schizophrenia. They are trained extensively in theoretical orientations, like psychoanalytic, behavioral, and cognitive-behavioral foundations.
Clinical psychologists work with diverse populations, from university students to hospital patients.
What is Counseling Psychology?
Counseling psychologists focus on emotional, social, and physical issues that arise from typical life stresses or more grave problems associated with school, work, or family settings.
These professionals often work at university counseling centers and in human service settings like family services or mental health centers, where they see patients with less severe psychological disorders.
Discuss the Difference Between Counseling and Clinical Psychology
A long-standing distinction between counseling and clinical psychology is the scope of their work with patients.
Counseling psychologists focus more on individuals in a healthier place or who have less severe mental health issues. On the other hand, clinical psychologists generally treat people with psychosis and other psychological illnesses such as schizophrenia.
However, this distinction has become increasingly blurry in recent years as both sides have been focusing more on each other’s needs and training techniques for a vast range of patients.
You’ll often find people thinking that counseling psychologists are less qualified than clinical psychologists. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
If you’ve decided to become a counseling psychologist, you’re in for a rewarding experience. Feed your curiosity and check out the various online courses offered in the field. That might be an excellent starting point.