Tag Archive: psychology

Noble Nature of Counseling Psychology

Noble Nature of Counseling Psychology

Counseling psychology provides the opportunity to enjoy a rewarding career while improving people’s lives.  When choosing a career, a deep personal search is required in order to find out what it is that we like and match it with the career of our choice.  Counseling psychology as a career choice for me would match my caring personality and at the same time bring the opportunity to help fellow immigrants sort out the many challenges we go through when moving to America.  Many immigrants develop psychological illnesses such as depression and anxiety followed by suicidal behavior as a result of their struggle for survival and adaptation to a new community and language.  I personally developed depression which was promptly treated with counseling and medication.  I later recovered and learned the importance of counseling as a very effective method to prevent psychological disorders.  Moreover, anyone can benefit from counseling as a resource for maintaining emotional well-being.  Extensive educational requirements must be met in order to obtain any of the scarce counseling positions available; in some cases even specific graduate school education is required in order to be eligible for these positions.  Consequently, matching personality, career choice and an extensive education would give a counseling psychology student the opportunity to become a very successful marketable professional.

The benefits of receiving counseling can be greatly appreciated in the long-term.  Recognizing the role counseling plays in preventing psychological disorders, it has slowly been integrated into the basics of mental health.  However, preventive counseling is the least common resource available within our health system.  Besides just immigrants, everyone should have access to counseling not only as a treatment but as a preventive therapy.  The high incidence of suicidiality among immigrant youths is alarming.  Psychologists Cendrine Bursztein Lipsicas, MA and Ilkka Henrik Makinen, PhD, authors of the article “Immigration and Suicidality in the Young” say, “The relation between immigration status and suicidal behaviors in youth appears to vary by ethnicity and country of settlement … there is a clear and urgent need to further pursue the work in this field, to develop targeted public health interventions as well as psychosocial treatment for preventing suicide in these youth”.  Specific background information and diagnostic criteria is required when working with adolescents.  Up to the year 2000, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (American Psychiatric Association 2000) did not specify diagnostic criteria for depression in adolescents.  According to Riddhi Sandil in the article “Cognitive behavioral therapy for adolescent depression: implications for Asian immigrants in the United States of America”, diagnostic criteria for diagnosing depression in adults are often used when working with adolescents.  Consequently, counseling psychologists working with immigrants must learn and understand their specific needs based on their age, sex, background, their lack of sense of community, their lack of quality time spent with family or parents and the development of negative emotions and thoughts as a result of all these conditions.  At the same time, the counseling psychologist must be aware that these needs and emotions are felt by younger people as well as older people adjusting to a new community and language.  Furthermore, learning about cultures other than his own would give the counselor a wider range of possibilities in the field.  New York State and specifically the culturally diverse New York City are great places to develop this career.

 In an interview with Doctor Ira Gerald, counselor of the Coop Department in LaGuardia Community College, he says, “Find out what are you good at and become very good at it.”  Matching the nature of the personality with the nature of the career we choose should be priority number one.  We can become effective professionals if we choose correctly.  In the book “Designing careers”, Carl Mc Daniels writes about the necessity to implement new standards for the inclusion of leisure in career guidance.  By matching personality and career we would be adding pleasure to our jobs.  Furthermore, according to Dr. Gerald, an easy way to find out our type of personality is by taking personality tests such as the Holland Personality Test or the Myers and Briggs Personality Test.  These tests can easily be taken online and their results will give the student a list of suggested careers to choose from and to learn about.  For a counseling psychology student, he or she should have a caring personality and be capable of making decisions and connections between things and situations.   Furthermore, by following his type of personality, a counseling psychologist can become an expert in counseling specific types of needs, such as the needs of immigrants from one or more ethnicities; mastering the cultural and religious background patterns.  Indeed, a first or second-generation immigrant could help people from his own ethnic background.

In the book “Career Paths in Psychology Where your degree can take you”, from the American Psychological Association, psychologist Kathleen L. Davis describes the average day for a counseling psychologist in the counseling center of a large state university.  She also describes very precisely the differences between a heterosexual couple, who are also students, and a depressed 22-year-old woman.  Doctor Davis has been trained to analyze and understand student needs and the resulting behavior according to their sex, age, marital status, etc.  In the same way, counselors working with immigrants should learn about their backgrounds, sex, age, and should be able to understand their needs and advise promptly and precisely.

The educational requirements in the field of psychology are extensive, and specifically so in counseling psychology.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job prospects will be better for people holding a doctorate degree from a leading university and in an applied specialty.  In New York State, bachelor’s degree is required in order to qualify for any position available as a psychologist’s assistant.  According to the New York State Department of Labor in their career zone website, graduate degree is required in order to qualify for any counseling position available.  In other words, two-year degree students are required to complete a bachelor’s degree in order to be eligible for a psychology-related job.  A doctoral degree is usually required for private practice as a psychologist.  Furthermore, psychologists with a Ph.D. or Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D) qualify for a wider range of teaching, clinical and counseling positions in schools and universities.  LaGuardia Community College as part of the CUNY system (City University of New York System), offers an associates degree in psychology.  The CUNY system also offers a bachelor’s degree in psychology in twelve other colleges.  Among the best options are City College of New York and Brooklyn College which, unlike the other ten CUNY colleges, offer not only a bachelors degree but also offer graduate degrees in psychology.  After graduating from LaGuardia, I plan to transfer to a senior college to complete a bachelors degree and later complete a master’s degree in clinical psychology at Brooklyn College or City College.  Staying in the same school would give a student the opportunity to develop a social and professional network among students and scholars.  Affordability would be another benefit of staying in CUNY, since the City University of New York is a public school.  According to the CUNY website, the average tuition cost in CUNY for 2-year colleges is $3,200 per year, compared with a private school such as St. John’s University which offers the same degree at a yearly tuition of $33,000.

Job availability for a counseling psychologist in the U.S. can also vary depending on  his experience and education.  According to the New York State Career Zone Agency and based on the total number of openings and its growth rate, the employment prospects for counseling psychologists are described as favorable.  During 2006, there were approximately 14,200 counseling psychologists employed in NY.  They estimate that by 2016 there will be 15, 300, reflecting an increase of 220 job openings each year.  Furthermore, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics the average wage for clinical, counseling and school psychologists was $ 64,140 in May 2008.  The middle 50% earned between $48,700 and $82,800, while the lowest 10 percent earned $37,900 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $106,840.
Projections Data by the U.S Department of Labor Statistics

Projections data from the National Employment Matrix
Occupational Title

SOC Code

Employment, 2008

Employment, 2018


Detailed Statistics











Clinical, counseling, and school psychologists








Industrial-organizational psychologists








Psychologists, all other








    NOTE: Data in this table are rounded. See the discussion of the employment projections table in the Handbook introductory chapter on Occupational Information Included in the Handbook.


Finally, a career in counseling psychology can help improve a student’s quality of life by providing a rewarding career while improving the lives of others.  Immigrants in counseling psychology would have the chance to help fellow immigrants during the adjustment period and during any other time of crisis. Counseling psychologists can improve the quality of life in their community by introducing the idea of preventive counseling and contributing to the achievement of a healthier community in our country and in the world

Luis Natal