What Type of Counseling is Right for You?

No matter what type of counseling degree you pursue, there are multiple concentrations you can choose in order to become a specific type of counselor.

Some counselors deal with a certain type of patient. Others deal with a specific situation. Let’s take a look at the job options you have in the counseling field so you can figure out which is right for you.

Types of Counseling

Working with a five-year-old autistic child is much different from working with a 50-year-old dealing with a meth addiction! Your education can help you prepare for specific situations surrounding these patients if you choose a specialty. Some of your options include:

  • Mental Health: Working with patients who deal with mental diseases and health problems, such as paranoia, schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, and anxiety
  • Marriage: Helping married couples work through relationship problems or amicably facilitate a divorce
  • School/Guidance: In an elementary or secondary school, helping students get the most out of their education
  • Addiction: Working with addicts of drugs, alcohol, gambling, and other vices
  • Grief: Teaching people to deal with major losses
  • Career: Helping people understand their career options and make career decisions
  • Rehabilitation: Working with patients dealing with physical disabilities or injury
  • Family: Often in combination with marriage counseling, dealing with entire families (parents and kids) to help with difficult situations
  • Religious: Guiding patients according to religious teachings (most common in Christianity)

In addition, you can serve simply as an individual life guidance counselor, working with people who need to talk about problems they face or deal with situations in the past.

Counseling Environments

You can further specialize by deciding to work in a certain environment with patients. There are three main options, and most counselors transition between these, though some prefer to specialize.

  • Individual: Most commonly, counselors will simply work one-on-one with individuals (or couples in the case of marriage counseling)
  • Individuals Under Doctor Care: In the case of mental health patients, you might work as part of a complete care plan with a doctor or other health care professional
  • Groups: Group counseling allows you to see multiple patients in a short time, and those dealing with grief, a specific mental illness, addiction, or another common bond can benefit from the social aspect of group counseling

Top Counseling Degree Programs

University of the Rockies . The University of the Rockies offers an MA in Psychology - Health and Wellness Psychology that tackles the complex issues regarding alcohol and drug addiction, mental health, and external factors on a micro and macro level. Students study how to assess, diagnosis, and treat those afflicted with addiction. Alternatively, the MA in Psychology - Career Management and Counseling teaches students how to assess, diagnosis, motivate, and treat individuals and organizations coming at a crossroads with career and management structures.
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Grand Canyon University . Grand Canyon University provides both bachelor and master's program in counseling and addiction. The BS in Counseling - Addiction/Dependency program teaches the skills required for addiction counseling, chemical dependency, and substance abuse treatment. The M.S. in Professional Counseling program prepares graduates for a career in various counseling fields. An M.S. in Addiction Counseling is for those pursuing a career as addiction counseling professionals.
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Liberty University . Liberty University Online offers several unique counseling degree programs. The MA in Professional Counseling prepares enrollees to develop specific skills and strategies relevant for work with patients or research. The MA in Marriage and Family Therapy helps students better understand the development and influence of families, relationships, and their impact on children. An MA in Human Services with a specialization in Marriage and Families is also available.
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Kaplan University . Kaplan University offers several psychology and human services degrees, including an MS in Addiction Psychology, BS in Addictions, and a BS in Applied Behavior Analysis. Each program is designed to prepare its students work as professional counselors in a variety of community settings and institutions in respect to their chosen field of study or emphasis.
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