What is the Difference Between Counseling Psychology and School Psychology?

Last Updated: June 10, 2024

Counseling Psychology Vs. School Psychology

Counseling psychology focuses on how people function both as individuals and in their relationships at all ages. School psychology, on the other hand, focuses on the science of dealing with children, adolescents, families, learning process, and the educational process.

Counseling psychologists addresses the emotional, social, work, school, and physical health concerns of people, life stressors, and other severe issues. Counseling psychologists work with individuals of all ages, couples, families, and organizations. They also work with the client to properly diagnosis their condition and devise a proper treatment plan.

School psychologists assist individuals and educational systems, develop and implement educational programs, and conduct assessments for educational environments. School psychologists are educated and properly trained to intervene at the student and system level, and execute preventive programs as needed.

Problems Addressed in Counseling Psychology

Counseling psychology addresses the client’s developmental, cultural, and environmental issues. The following are some of the typical concerns clients present a counseling psychologist:

  • Career or school concerns
  • Marital and family relationships dynamics
  • Identity development
  • Managing stress
  • Mental disorders
  • Generalized life difficulties
  • Organizational problems

Techniques Used in Counseling Psychology

Counseling psychologists utilize many of the following techniques in their practice:

  • Individual, family, and group counseling sessions
  • Psychotherapy
  • Execute psychological assessments to diagnosis psychological disorders
  • Test construction and validation of assessment tool
  • Evaluate client progress and treatment goals
  • Facilitate workshops to educate the general public
  • Working as a consultant for an organization
  • Clinical supervision

Populations Served by Counseling Psychologists

Counseling psychologists serve a variety of clients ranging from individuals of all ages, couples, family groups, and professional organizations.

You can find a counseling psychologist working with young children referred because of a behavioral problem at home or school, adolescents seeking guidance on personal issues such as acting out, or working with an adult facing personal or career difficulties. They can also with families to help with problems threatening the group dynamic.

Organizations often use counseling psychologists as consultants to assist employers in providing employees the tools to be successful and effective in the work environment.

Problems Addressed in School Psychology

School psychologists address the client’s academic and developmental concerns. The following are some of the typical concerns clients present a school psychologist:

  • School based and developmental issues related to school performance and adjustment
  • Interpersonal problems stemming from learning or behavioral patterns
  • Learning disabilities
  • Mental disorders that arise in infancy, childhood, or adolescence
  • School related problems that affect the function of the client
  • Severe social problems such as juvenile delinquency, teenage sexuality and substance abuse

Techniques Used in School Psychology

School psychologists utilize many of the following techniques in their practice:

  • Collect and interpret student data
  • Conduct assessments of academic and of a psychological nature
  • Facilitate individual and group counseling
  • Assess emotional, learning and behavioral needs of students
  • Provide crisis prevention and trauma intervention services to students, teachers, and school staff
  • Utilize diagnostic assessments to find applicable educational accommodations
  • Employ the use of interviews and observations to understand client’s problems
  • Design prevention programs to decrease the number of academic failure, school violence substance abuse,
  • Crisis intervention for teachers and students following natural disasters or traumatic events
  • Consult with teachers and parents concerning student behavior and learning problems
  • Create and evaluate individual education plans for students with learning disabilities
  • Observe and measure behaviors
  • Consult with doctors and other professionals regarding learning and psychological disorders of students
  • Determine and analyze student achievement using standardized test data

Populations Served by School Psychologists

School psychologists are trained to work with a range of clients primarily in the school system:

  • Children and adolescents with a focus on their learning and social problems
  • Specific learning disabilities
  • Children and adolescents diagnosed with mental disorders
  • Families of students
  • Teachers, parents, and other school administrators
  • Consult with organizations and agencies that work with the school system or aid in the learning environment

Why are School Psychologists Needed?

All children and adolescents can face problems from time to time related to learning; social relationships; making difficult decisions; or managing emotions such as feeling depressed, anxious, worried, or isolated.

School psychologists assist students, families, educators, and members of the community understand and resolve both chronic problems and short-term issues that students may face. They are highly skilled and ready resources in the effort to ensure that all youth thrive in school, at home, and in life.

School psychologists play an important role in educational settings by providing specialized training in child psychology.

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