Professional Psychology: Obtaining a Counselor License

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Abstract

The present paper is dedicated to the analysis of the profession of a psychologist. The critical aim of the paper is to create an algorithm, adherence to which will help obtain a license of a counselor. The algorithm consists of five steps: masters degree, Ph.D., 2000 supervision hours, the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology, and the approval of Minnesotas licensing board. However, professional development does not end with the obtaining a license and will continue until retirement. The current article also discusses what knowledge and skills one should possess to become a psychologist. For example, one should be a critical thinker who is capable of independent decision-making and conflict regulation. In addition to that, a psychology practitioner-scholar should have outstanding communication skills and a desire to help people. Most essentially, while writing this paper, I comprehended that I am going in the right direction, and all efforts, resources, and energy that will be spent in the process of becoming a licensed psychology practitioner-scholar will pay off with the gratitude of the patients.

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Introduction

Some scientists believe that people’s brains resembles the Universe. The famous French-German romantic comedy “The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain” ends with the phrase «the number of possible connections in a human brain is superior to the number of atoms in the Universe» (Jeunet, 2001). I do not know whether this quote has any scientific evidence, but the fact that a person has similarities with the eternal and unfathomable cosmos has always astounded me. Clearly, psychologists do not research the brain as neuroscientists do. Nonetheless, psychology is about investigating the person’s inner self and analyzing the processes that happen in one’s psyche that is closely related to the brain.

As it has been noted in the preceding paper, I have experience of working as a customer service manager. Talking to the clients, I have always wondered why they act, react, and make decisions as they do. It was interesting to know whether they have some fears, emotional blocks, or biases that make them talk to the manager in the way they do. Thus, psychology is a way to lift the veil of mental processes secrecy. This paper is dedicated to discussing the plan for building a career as a psychologist and includes the discussion of professional competencies and requirements.

Application and Research Vision

The primary goal of a multicultural psychology practitioner-scholar is to help people either through personal consultations or through the conduction of academic research. As it has been described in the literature review, I would like to focus on investigating methods of non-clinical depression treatment. However, the scientific interest is not limited to depression only because there are so many psychological problems, such as eating disorders, phobias, and lack of self-confidence, that degrade the quality of life and make people suffer.

Undoubtedly, people of all ages might need a help of a psychology practitioner-scholar. Nonetheless, most of all, I wish to impact young adults, more precisely, college and university students. That is why a desirable setting to practice psychology is colleges and universities. As a university student, I am sure that young people sometimes are in dire need of psychological help because of the enormous stress, workload, and uncertainty of what will happen with them after graduation. The study conducted by Alsubaie et al. (2019) proves that the number of university students with mental health problems is gradually increasing. If a student has no one to share his or her emotions, this could significantly undermine productivity and motivation and become the reason for depression and even mental disturbances.

To become a professional psychology practitioner-scholar, it is necessary to complete a master’s degree and get a Ph.D. in psychology. Work experience is also essential. Therefore, I should apply for an internship in a hospital or a private clinic. To maximize the efficiency, practice should be combined with the educational process. It is rather challenging, but the game is worth the candle. In this context, one of my life goals is to pay more attention to personal mental health and develop self-confidence. Another life goal is to expand my social circle because communication is a way to train the ability to listen to what others say and understand them.

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The literature review dedicated to the role of family involvement in depression treatment taught me that one of the most effective methods of depression treatment is cognitive behavior therapy (Paradise and Kirby, 2005). Therefore, in my future professional practice in psychology, I will necessarily employ cognitive behavior therapy because it helps patients substitute the disruptive way of thinking with a more optimistic one. Furthermore, while writing the literature review, I discovered how important it is to involve the family members of a patient in the therapy. In the words of Manczak et al. (2018), their support is a “buffer” against “disruptive events” (p. 926). Still, even though knowledge derived from the academic literature is immensely valuable, it is more important to gain practical experience.

In addition to education and practical experience, strict adherence to ethical principles and awareness of professional responsibilities is an indispensable part of a qualified psychology practitioner-scholar. Therefore, during this quarter, I am going to study the ethical aspects of psychologists practice. Besides, I am going to learn more about the responsibilities and tasks of psychology practitioner-scholars from the communication with the representatives of this profession and attendance of therapies as an observer.

Professional Competencies

First of all, no matter what specialization a psychologist has, he is obliged not only to be well-educated but also possess skills of critical thinking, stress resistance, independent decision-making, and problem-solving. A psychologist should be able to employ theoretical knowledge in practice, be aware of how to resolve conflicts with colleagues and clients and employ evidence-based practice. By the way, these competencies are universal regardless of a specialist’s field of employment. More specific skills of a psychologist include ones of cultural competency. Waugh et al. (2016) emphasize that intercultural communication skills are essential in maximizing patient outcomes.

In addition to that, a psychologist should maintain high ethical standards, be honest, fair, and respectful of the patients, their problems, and privacy of everything that is discussed during the therapy (American Psychological Association, 2017). A psychologist is expected to have “the capacity for emotional intelligence” (McClintock, 2004, p. 396). Finally, according to Wise et al. (2010), not to lose skills and competencies, a counselor should be a lifelong learner. Overall, the skills necessary for building a successful career of a counselor do not differ from the skills described above. The only specific thing that should be added is that as a scholar, an individual should respect intellectual property rights and contribute to the development of the field.

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There are several responsibilities that are associated with the position of a psychology practitioner-scholar. As a scholar, the specialist should contribute to the academic community and the development of psychology as a field of study through educational or research activities. As a counselor, the specialist has responsibilities of talking to the clients, understanding them, evaluating their needs and problems, and developing effective treatment plans.

Professional Requirements

To become a counselor in the US, I should have at least a master’s degree in psychology, but it would be better to have a doctoral-level degree because it enhances expert knowledge and, consequently, the ability to help patients. Afterward, according to the rules of the state of Minnesota, I need to accrue 2000 supervised hours of work. Then, I should take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology. If I pass this exam, I could apply to the licensing board of Minnesota to approve my proficiency in the field of psychological help. At the end of this long road, I will become a licensed psychology practitioner-scholar. I plan to obtain the license within the following five years. In the preceding subsection of the paper, it was written that a psychologist should be a lifelong learner. Therefore, even after becoming a licensed counselor, it would be beneficial for me to attend advanced training courses, scientific conferences, and expert seminars.

Action Plan

The process of becoming a knowledgeable and experienced psychology practitioner-scholar requires several years of tough work. Nonetheless, this goal is achievable, and the analysis conducted above and in the previous papers makes me understand how to do it. The action plan consists of five steps. The first step is to complete the master’s degree in psychology that I am currently doing now. When the first step is completed, I will apply for the Ph.D. in Psychology Program at Capella University. In the process of studying at this program, I will apply for the internship in one of the private clinics or hospitals because experience is never superfluous. The third step towards the goal is to accrue 2000 supervised hours of work with patients. It is possible to complete this step in two years. The fourth step is preparation for the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology and the subsequent passing it. The final fifth step is the obtaining the license from Minnesota’s licensing board.

Conclusion

I believe that life is not lived in vain if you could actually help at least one person. This belief motivates me to study hard to become a psychologist. Counselors are doing a great job by helping people who suffer from depression, eating disorders, excessive shyness, bullying, or grieve over the death of a loved one. An experienced and professional counselor is capable of putting light in the hearts and minds of these people. While thinking of the qualities, competencies, and professional requirements of psychologists, I came to the conclusion that my choice to become a counselor after working in the field of customer service management was the right one. Finally, before making an action plan, my understanding of how to become a counselor was blurry. The present paper enables me to realize how to achieve the goal and make a dream of helping people come true.

References

Alsubaie, M. M., Stain, H. J., Webster, L. A., & Wadman, R. (2019). The role of sources of social support on depression and quality of life for university students. International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, 24(4), 484-496.

American Psychological Association (2017). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct. Web.

Jeunet, J.-P. (2001) The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain [Film]. Claudie Ossard Productions.

Manczak, E. M., Skerrett, K. A., Gabriel, L. B., Ryan, K. A., & Langenecker, S. A. (2018). Family support: A possible buffer against disruptive events for individuals with and without remitted depression. Journal of Family Psychology, 32(7), 926–935.

McClintock, C. (2004). Scholar practitioner model. In A. DiStefano, K. E. Rudestam, & R.J. Silverman (Eds.), Encyclopedia of distributed learning (pp. 394–397). Sage.

Paradise, L. V., & Kirby, P. C. (2005). The treatment and prevention of depression: Implications for counseling and counselor training. Journal of Counseling & Development, 83(1), 116-119.

Waugh, E., Szafran, O., Triscott, J. A., & Parent, R. (2016). Cultural competency skills for psychologists, psychotherapists, and counselling professionals: A workbook for caring across cultures. Brush Education.

Wise, E. H., Sturm, C. A., Nutt, R. L., Rodolfa, E., Schaffer, J. B., & Webb, C. (2010). Life-long learning for psychologists: Current status and a vision for the future. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 41(4), 288–297.

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PsychologyWriting. (2022) 'Professional Psychology: Obtaining a Counselor License'. 4 August.

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PsychologyWriting. 2022. "Professional Psychology: Obtaining a Counselor License." August 4, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/professional-psychology-obtaining-a-counselor-license/.

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PsychologyWriting. "Professional Psychology: Obtaining a Counselor License." August 4, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/professional-psychology-obtaining-a-counselor-license/.