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A counseling psychologist is a psychologist who focuses on aspects such as social, vocational, educational, health-related, developmental, and organizational issues in an effort to assist the patient with personal and interpersonal concerns. Counseling degree programs will typically include the pursuit of a doctoral degree such as a PhD or a PsyD and will likely include base courses such as counseling theory, multi-cultural psychology, life span development, research methods, group dynamics and counseling ethics and law.
In addition to these core classes, students in counseling degree programs are encouraged to take a series of courses which relate specifically to their intended career focus. This may include specializing in areas such as community psychology, substance abuse and trauma, adolescent psychology or spirituality. These specialized courses help to prepare the student for real life counseling sessions with future patients.