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Counselling psychologist: Job description

Counselling psychologists utilise psychological theory and research in their therapeutic work with clients. Clients may present with a variety of problems ranging from anxiety and depression arising from difficult life issues to more serious mental health problems. Life issues could include bereavement, relationship difficulties, domestic violence or the aftereffects of childhood sexual abuse, while mental health problems could include eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD) or psychosis.

Practising as a counselling psychologist requires a high level of training and self-awareness, achieved through personal therapy, as well as the ability to work collaboratively with the client in a holistic, insightful and facilitative way to enable them to consider change.

Typical work activities

Counselling psychologists work with diverse client groups, including children, adults, students and young people, families and couples, and older people. They work in many different settings, such as health and care services, hospitals, prisons, probation services, consultancy, and in private or public organisations.

Typical tasks include:

  • undertaking assessments, including assessment of mental health need, risk assessment and psychometric testing;
  • formulating a psychological explanation of the client’s issues;
  • planning and implementing therapy;
  • evaluating the outcome of therapy;
  • establishing a collaborative working relationship with the client based on trust and respect;
  • writing reports and record-keeping;
  • training and supervision of other psychologists;
  • management, audit and development of services and organisation;
  • multidisciplinary teamworking;
  • continuing personal and professional development (CPD);
  • undertaking research, either individually or as part of a team.
 
 
AGCAS
Written by Paula Summerhayes, University of Roehampton
Date: 
May 2012
 

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