Difference Between Clinical and Counseling Psychology

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Clinical psychology and counseling psychology are the most popular and applied disciplines of psychology. Clinical psychology and counseling psychology are two fields that are difficult to separate by one line because there is much overlapping among them in many areas. It is very unlikely that one of these disciplines survive alone.

What is Clinical Psychology?

Clinical psychology is the specialty which includes clinical aspects of psychology. The main concern of clinical psychology is to treat people who are suffering from mental illnesses, conditions like addictions, and health risk behaviors, which can only be addressed by medical treatment or can only be initiated to cure by medical treatment. Clinical psychologists always handle serious cases like schizophrenia, manic disorders etc. Most of these illnesses require special treatments (e.g. shock treatment), which are only performed by a licensed doctor or an expert in the field.

The client base of a clinical psychologist mainly comprises of mentally ill people. His/her work is mostly limited to hospitals, clinics, and rehabilitation centers. When it comes to research areas, work of a clinical psychologist goes hand in hand with medicine. Development of new drugs for psychotic disorders and finding explanations to certain behaviors through neuropsychology are some key areas of research in clinical psychology. In certain situations, a clinical psychologist may direct a patient to a counseling psychologist at a later stage of the treatment process provided that it can be dealt with behavioral therapy and personality development.

What is Counseling Psychology?

Counseling psychology has a much general approach towards the community and is applied in a broad range. Be it issues at work place, family issues, stressful relationships, child development, teenage challenges, anger management, personality development and any problematic situation, a counseling psychologist has a role to play. Counseling psychology is found everywhere, in schools, in communities, in government and private organizations etc. It is very clear that the approach counseling psychology uses is prevention while clinical psychology focuses on cure.

Unlike clinical psychology, counseling psychology handles cases which can be solved by discussion, talk, and therapy, without using drugs. The motive is to help people adjust, and improve their lives to a healthy living. Sometimes a person who seeks help from a counselor may be routed to a psychiatrist if it is a clinical condition.

What is the difference between Clinical Psychology and Counseling Psychology?

• Clinical psychology is involved with serious cases like psychotic disorders and deals with mentally ill populations while counseling psychology is involved with personality issues and less severe mental conditions and deals with relatively healthy populations.

• Clinical psychology involves medical assessments, diagnoses, medical treatments, prescription of drugs etc. while counseling psychology involves advice, discussion sessions, exercises and even training.

• Clinical psychology applications are carried out by highly qualified psychiatrists and doctors while counseling psychology applications are carried out by trained counselors.

• Clinical psychology has a close connection with the field of medicine while counseling psychology has a close connection with sociology and humanities.

• Clinical psychology focuses on cure while counseling psychology focuses on preventive action.