Clinical Versus Counseling Psychology Essay

2171 Words Dec 23rd, 2011 9 Pages
Clinical Versus Counseling Psychology: What's the Diff? by John C. Norcross - University of Scranton, Fields of Psychology Graduate School The majority of psychology students applying to graduate school are interested in clinical work, and approximately half of all graduate degrees in psychology are awarded in the subfields of clinical and counseling psychology (Mayne, Norcross, & Sayette, 2000). But deciding on a health care specialization in psychology gets complicated. The urgent question facing each student--and the question frequently posed to academic advisors--is "What are the differences between clinical psychology and counseling psychology?" Or, as I am asked in graduate school workshops, "What's the diff?" This article seeks to …show more content…
Theoretical Orientations In one of our recent studies (Bechtoldt et al., 2000), we compared the theoretical orientations and employment settings of APA's Division 12 (Clinical) and 17 (Counseling) psychologists (N = 1,389). These results are summarized in Table 1. Again, the convergence was more impressive than the divergence: 29% of both divisions embraced the eclectic/integrative orientation and 26% endorsed the cognitive orientation. However, clinical psychologists more frequently favored the behavioral and psychoanalytic (but not psychodynamic) persuasions, and counseling psychologists the client-centered and humanistic traditions. The same pattern holds true for the theoretical orientations of faculty members. In one of our studies (Norcross et al., 1998) examining the theoretical orientations of faculty in doctoral clinical and counseling psychology programs, we found a higher percentage of psychodynamic faculty in clinical PsyD programs, a higher percentage of humanistic faculty in counseling PhD programs, and a higher percentage of cognitive-behavioral faculty in clinical PhD programs. Employment Settings Previous research has consistently found that clinical and counseling psychologists are employed in similar settings, with private practice and universities leading the way. But here, too, we find salient differences. Counseling psychologists are more

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