Have you ever wondered about counseling? Is it something you are considering but are not sure what it is or if it’s right for you? You’re in the right place! Contrary to popular belief, counseling is not just something that is provided for those with extreme mental health issues, the term Counseling refers to a psychological concept that covers both the research and the actual hands on work in several domains, including process and outcome, training, personal and professional development and prevention and health.
The term ‘Counseling’ actually originated in the US by professionals who were, due to lack of adequate medical qualifications, prevented from using the title of Psychotherapist. Counseling was a product of post war time heroes, survivors, families and all those impacted. Counseling was used to help with vocational training and veteran assistance. The profession then gained traction and has since expanded to exist across the world, with new theories having been developed and researched, new concepts, practices and standards. The profession continues to evolve as research continues and we continue to learn about people, theories, practice and history.
Because counseling psychology is considered a profession, there are different professional associations in different countries, regions and areas that govern and facilitate the profession and the professionals. These associations outline the criteria and requirements to become a counseling professional and maintain the designation and status. For example, the American Psychological Association is the national body that governs and regulates the profession in the United States while the Australia Psychological Society is the chosen body in Australia (APS). The APS requires a bachelor’s degree, a 4th year Honours degree (or Postgraduate Diploma) in Psychology and two years of practice/hands on work in addition to professional development hours, in order to become a licensed psychologist. These requirements are very different than what is asked of in the US and other countries differ as well.