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Areas of psychology

Counselling psychology

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For Better Mental Health and Relationships

Counselling psychologists use their expertise in psychology, psychotherapy and mental health to treat a wide range of psychological issues, problems and mental health disorders. 

They provide assessment, diagnosis and psychotherapy for individuals, couples, families and groups. They use evidence-based therapy to assist clients to resolve mental health disorders and psychological problems. They research, evaluate, and develop new methods for improving psychological health and therapy for psychological problems and disorders. 

Counselling psychologists have a distinct philosophical stance, recognising the strengths and resources of people at all levels of psychological functioning, working collaboratively with people in a therapeutic relationship to bring about meaningful change.

Consumers of the services of counselling psychologists are persons, groups, and organisations, including:

  • Members of the public, couples, families and carers
  • Medical specialists and health practitioners
  • Health departments, hospitals and community practices
  • Community groups
  • National, state and local government or non-government organisations
  • Welfare agencies, educational institutions, justice services, victims of crime
  • Community services

Areas of expertise

Specific services of counselling psychologists include assessment and provision of psychological therapy for a range of issues and disorders including (but not limited to) anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress.

Counselling and psychotherapy

Provision of a wide variety of evidence-based techniques and therapeutic approaches tailored to meet the specific needs and circumstances of the client. This includes areas such as grief and loss, significant life transitions, developmental issues, relationship difficulties, domestic violence, sexual abuse/assault, trauma, maintaining healthy lifestyles, vocational assessment and career development.

Mental health disorders

Prevention, assessment, diagnosis and treatment of clients with mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, substance abuse and more complex presentations such as posttraumatic stress disorder and personality disorders.

Program development and evaluation

Use of research skills to analyse problems, design intervention strategies and monitor and evaluate program outcomes. This includes treatment programs for addictions and mood disorders.

Mediation

Resolution of conflict in interpersonal, work or community contexts.

Assessment and reports

Provision of cognitive, personality and vocational assessments. Reports may be provided to individuals, health and legal professionals, and government departments.

Skills of counselling psychologists

Counselling psychologists have knowledge and skills in the following areas

Assisting individuals to:

  • Manage stress and conflict at home and work
  • Deal with grief, loss and trauma
  • Overcome feelings of depression, anxiety and fear
  • Increase self-esteem and confidence
  • Enhance personal relationships
  • Deal with problems related to alcohol and drug use
  • Manage chronic pain related to somatization
  • Manage depression
  • Recover from eating disorders
  • Manage obsessions and compulsions
  • Deal with sexual concerns
  • Manage anger or violence

Assisting couples to:

  • Build satisfying relationships
  • Improve their communication
  • Manage conflict or disagreement
  • Resolve thoughts on separation or divorce
  • Improve parenting skills

 Assisting families to:

  • Improve difficult relationships
  • Handle problematic situations
  • Work together on issues or problems
  • Cope with separation, divorce or re-marriage
  • Deal with problems often experienced in blended families

Assisting organisations to:

  • Evaluate current programs
  • Facilitate staff relationships
  • Resolve interpersonal work conflicts
  • Find an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) consultant
  • Manage staff with behavioural problems
  • Provide expert advice and supervision in complex casework

Standards

The APS college of Counselling Psychologists promotes the highest standards for counselling practice in Australia. These standards are also consistent with international standards for counselling psychology practice. Members of the Australian Psychological Society College of Counselling Psychologists will also have the following post-nominal after their name:

  • MCCOUNP (Member of the College Counselling of Psychologists)