Mental healthcare is one of the fastest-growing disciplines in modern medicine. Not only are more people becoming aware of mental illnesses, but there are more active clinicians, counselors, and other kinds of mental health professionals in medicine than ever before. Schools and universities have also noticed the importance of mental health awareness. They do everything to promote awareness and ensure that the student body has access to whatever emotional care they need. In the last few decades, schools have cracked down on bullying and strived towards making their campuses less toxic and promoting positive learning environments for all.
With diversity, equity, and inclusions protocols now being enforced around the country, more people have the opportunity to play their part in society and join the careers they think suit them best. With that said, more people feel comfortable in their environments when their differences are embraced.
On the note of diverse career options, the field of psychology itself holds a vast array of possibilities for Psychology graduates. Moreover, as the discipline gains popularity and society further promotes mental health awareness, the job opportunities within counseling see exponential growth. This article aims to explore some of the top counseling careers you can pursue if you have a passion for psychology and the academic credentials to match.
Mental Health Counseling
Mental Health Counseling is the general form of counseling that most of us think of when the word ‘therapist’ comes to mind. Counselors deal with emotional fluctuations and mood instabilities. They also work towards creating a more rounded individual who performs better in society. However, they usually don’t deal with patients with clinically significant impairments.
There has traditionally been a shortage of counselors in healthcare for the past few decades. Firstly, because of the lack of mental health awareness, and secondly, because of inadequate educational programs. However, with an online masters counseling, you stand a chance to earn a valued degree and save time for Licensure. In addition, the online aspect of the degree gives aspiring counselors the freedom to attend online classes at their convenience and intern part-time.
Gaining prior experience before you sit in a counselor’s chair is crucial. Therefore, rather than gaining experience after your degree ends, you can do so alongside and cut short the time it would take to start practicing.
As we touched upon earlier, schools have traditionally been highly hostile environments that cause various emotional and mental issues. If left untreated, many of these can become clinically significant and cause impairments in social, educational, and eventually professional lives. Therefore, the need for school counselors is greater now than ever before.
With academic pressure, social challenges, bullying, and several other things going on at once, middle and high school become hazardous environments. As a result, millions of students have a hard time coping with stress and either develop mental illnesses or turn to illicit substances as a way to take the edge off.
The role of a school counselor is such that they see the issues that these students face and provide on-campus counseling. The students have a safe individual to confide in whenever the need arises. They can also come forward with issues that they traditionally wouldn’t have discussed before. Domestic violence, academic challenges, and bullying are just some of the common problems students bring forth to a school counselor.
College counselors help students navigate the university application process and aid them in finding the college that suits them best. The process is somewhat complicated; therefore, asking for a college counselor’s help is relatively common in young adults when applying for college admissions. However, one must understand that this is a highly stressful time for college students as their future depends on these decisions. Not only do they have to keep their subject choices in mind, but factors like finances, distance, environment, reputation, and timelines also need to be considered.
This is where students often begin to struggle and where college and career counselors come into play by helping students manage their applications and generally provide them with solutions. For example, many students don’t know where to start applying for college. Not knowing where to apply, what they want to do, or if they’re even going to attend college at all is more common than we realize. Counselors talk students through the process, help them clear their thoughts, and reduce some of the stress related to the application process.
Dealing with drug abuse is exceptionally tricky. Bringing a person to the point where they decide to quit their substance takes a lot from a counselor. However, keeping them off the substance is even more challenging. Especially when the withdrawal sets in and the body craves the substance, things can become complicated to manage. Rehab facilities have several addiction counselors on their panel to help addicts recover. However, even when individuals achieve sobriety, they need follow-up sessions to bring counselors back into the picture.
Counselors equip the individual with trigger markers and impulse control strategies to prevent relapse after making so much progress. Moreover, daily counseling sessions during the withdrawal period are critical because there can be a rush of negative thoughts/ emotions in the individual that is difficult to deal with. Hence the reason why expressing those ideas through catharsis is so essential. In addition, it gives the counselor a fair idea about where this person stands and what direction they are heading in
Marriage and Family Counseling
Divorce rates in the west are some of the highest in the world. Though sociological research suggests that this is a good thing. It has instilled a sense of freedom in couples, it doesn’t change that marital disagreements are widespread. We need to understand that divorce should always be the last option rather than the first solution that people opt for.
A marriage counselor talks to couples and tries to bring positive communication into the conversation. There are far too many couples that lack communication, and things become considerably easier with a moderator in between. The goal isn’t to save a marriage but to ensure that each person in the relationship feels heard and has their opinions considered. Of course, if they still want to opt for a divorce, that’s entirely their prerogative.
Family counselors are few and far between but slowly rising in number. With more counseling graduates coming into the market, you can expect to see this type of therapy increase in the coming few years.
A child counselor practices the same way an adult counselor does outside of a school setting. Unfortunately, children are incredibly prone to neurodegenerative disorders that cause issues in their social functioning. Moreover, a school counselor often has to externally recommend the child to a professional because they can’t handle the situation on campus.
A child counselor deals with children who have learning issues and behavioral issues. They also help establish an accurate diagnosis to ensure that the child is effectively and accurately treated in the future.
They help to equip the child with whatever potential life skills they could need and assist them in their journey to become normally functioning individuals. From behavioral modification to offering them the space to engage in cathartic relief, a child psychologist plays a crucial role in personality formation and ensuring the individual overcomes their issues at a young age rather than letting them remain later in their lives.
The corporate business environment may be the last place you expect to find a counselor. However, as we change our perception about personality and mental health, we are much more likely to see more corporate counselors in the next few years. Counselors play a key role in recruitment as it helps them narrow down the right candidate for particular positions. Not only do they look at their credentials, understanding the holistic person is a key factor in filling roles and ensuring low turnover rates. Moreover, HR departments need people with high EQ to manage the staff. Personal issues within the office, demotivated workforce, and problems at home all fall under the ambit of Corporate Counseling.
These needs show how critical EQ-driven individuals are in corporate environments. Once you understand human beings and appreciate their differences and strengths, you have a recipe for a well-functioning company where the employees act as assets.
The career options discussed above are ripe for the picking in 2022 and onwards. And this would be the best time to jump headfirst into the idea. However, with that said, it’s important to gauge which one suits you best. They each have their benefits, some pay more, and others require more dedication.
We have gone over several careers that we think you can succeed in with a counseling degree, from traditional mental health counseling to HR and recruitment. If you struggle with time management or are too busy to take on a traditional in-class program, online education has made things more accessible. This is the time to go for it.