Introduction to Employee Assistance Programs (EAP)

Introduction

Does your organization have an Employee Assistance Programs (EAP)? Have you ever considered being part of one or using the one available at your organization? Read on to learn more about these common workplace benefits and how they can be helpful to you as a social services worker or a practicing counsellor.

EAP are fairly common in larger organizations, according to the International Employee Assistance Professionals Association (EAPA, n.d.):

In the US, over 97% of companies with more than 5,000 employees have EAPs. 80% of companies with 1,001 – 5,000 employees have EAPs. 75% of companies with 251 – 1,000 employees have EAPs

Despite their commonness, there are a number of articles out there discussing the notion that many employees actually fail to take advantage of the services provided by these supports. For example, Barrett (n.d.) says that only 3-5% of UK employees with access to an EAP actually use one. A Psychology Today article discussing the US landscape (Albrecht, 2014) titled “Why Don’t Employees Use EAP Services?” the author notes four barriers to employees utilizing EAP supports:

  1. They (mistakenly) don’t think it’s confidential
  2. They feel there is a stigma for accessing supports
  3. They think (mistakenly) that they need permission
  4. They don’t know the EAP exists

These barriers will need to be overcome if an organization is to see their EAP become a successful part of their benefits program.

Services Offered by EAP

There are numerous services offered by different EAP providers. For example, some of the services offered by LifeWorks by Morneau Shepell include:

  • Counselling
  • Financial Consultation
  • Legal Consultation
  • Life Coaching
  • Research

I’ll discuss some of these benefits below.

Counselling

Counselling is the resource we think of most commonly when we think of an EAP. Telephone counselling is the most popular model of delivery for this support but some EAP providers have moved to video counselling or even providing in-person counselling at a contracted rate.

This counselling support is short-term and solution-focused so that clients are given a handful of sessions in order to work on a defined goal with that counsellor. This can be especially helpful for situational events (grief, trauma, life transitions) where some extra support can help you bridge the gap.

This can be one of the most useful benefits offered by an EAP given that there is often no charge for those sessions when compared to health insurance – if your needs fit within the short-term model.

Financial Consultation

Financial consultation can be very useful for employees who are struggling with debt, bankruptcy, credit issues or even seeking investment advice. While a financial counsellor or financial planner can’t tell you what to do with your money they can help you understand the range of options available to you and give you some knowledge to help you make decisions more effectively.

Legal Consultation

Lawyers can be expensive, and although some offer free consultation you often don’t even know where to begin to locate one. Some EAPs offer legal consultation services that help you understand the gist of a legal issue and give you some awareness of things to keep in mind.

Because of conflict of interest rules, legal supports may not be able to help you with employment-related matters or if you’ve already retained an attorney – but it’s worth a shot.

Life Coaching

Life coaching is a service to help you make a plan for handling a future event. It’s a forward-looking, goal-oriented process that focuses more on behavior and less on the emotional content of a situation like in counselling.

Health Coaching is an example of specialized Life Coaching that might help you deal with weight management, stress management or quitting smoking by acting as a “cheerleader” and helping you on your road to accomplishing these goals.

Research

Research is a benefit offered by some EAPs where if you’re looking for resources like childcare they can help you locate providers in your community that are able to provide this support to you. This can help you navigate the web of services around you and better prepare yourself.

Advantages of Using an EAP

EAP services are designed to help reduce absenteeism and improve employee performance by helping you deal with personal problems (or sometimes work-related problems) through a confidential service separate from your employer.

By receiving some short-term counselling or other support you can improve your productivity and prevent yourself from needing leave or other time off. This helps both you and the company save money, save time and better enjoy your work.

A literature review discussing the benefits of EAP services in the burgeoning Indian corporate world noted “It is seen that such programs offer benefits in preventing distress among employees and also help them become more resilient to adverse situations.” (Betti, Jutta & Gujral, 2018)

Another study exploring the changes experienced by employees in South Africa who received substance abuse treatment through the EAP found that they appreciated it as a “vehicle for change.” (Soeker, et. al., 2016)

The participants shared a sense of accomplishment and they also valued the tools they acquired in the program and how it positively changed their lives. EAP changed the participants’ lives. EAP improved their work performance as well as behavior at the workplace. Participants felt empowered after attending the EAP. The different categories expressed how EAP brought about a positive change in the participants’ lives.

 

Working for an EAP

If you’re a social worker, counsellor or therapist you may have considered working for an EAP as well. Generally counselling provided by an EAP is provided over the phone. The pace is fast but the work is exciting and varied and you can learn a lot about different clients. This is especially useful if you’re in the early part of your career and would like to get your licensure.

Conclusion

The EAP Industry continues to expand. There is an opportunity for researchers to learn more about EAPs and how to make them effective. There are opportunities for individuals to access EAPs in order to improve their wellness and of helping professionals of all stripes to consider joining an EAP as a counsellor in order to increase their skills in providing crisis intervention, telephone support and brief solution-focused counselling.

Bibliography

Albrecht, S. (2014) Why Don’t Employees Use EAP Services? Psychology Today.

Barrett, P. (n.d.) The EAP gap. The Wellbeing Pulse. Retrieved on Feb 6 2019 from https://thewellbeingpulse.com/the-eap-gap/

International Employee Assistance Professionals Association. (n.d.) “International Employee Assistance Professionals Association Publications / Resources > FAQs” Retrieved on Feb 6 2019 from http://www.eapassn.org/FAQs

Soeker, S., Matimba, T., Machingura, L., Msimango, H., Moswaane, B., & Tom, S. (2016). The challenges that employees who abuse substances experience when returning to work after completion of employee assistance programme (EAP). Work53(3), 569–584. https://0-doi-org.aupac.lib.athabascau.ca/10.3233/WOR-152230

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Introduction to Life Coaching

Introduction

Life Coaching is a field that has been expanding since the 1970s with the growth of the Human Potential Movement. Life Coaching is “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential” (International Coach Federation, n.d.)

Life coaching is frequently performed by counsellors and therapists but also by trained paraprofessionals. Although Life Coaching is an unregulated field there is accreditation through organizations like the International Coach Federation (ICF) or the International Association of Coaching (IAC).

Life Coaching vs Counselling/Psychotherapy

Life Coaching is often confused with counselling or psychotherapy. As coaching is unregulated and counselling/therapy are, coaches must proceed carefully to ensure their work does not cross over into the regulated activities of counselling or therapy with clients.

Life coaching focuses on achieving specific, concrete changes in someone’s life that are skill-based. Counselling and therapy are based around the idea of achieving normalcy or recovery from a mental health issue, while coaching clients are seeking superior performance. (Nelson-Jones, 2007)

Goals of Life Coaching

The goals of life coaching are as varied as the goals of psychotherapy clients or any other situation. For example, mid-career executives seek out life coaching to help make them better public speakers. Some will get a Life Coach to help them achieve their educational goals. Basically any part of your life (academic/educational, relationships, money, career, or others) can be fertile ground for life coaching.

When you see a Life Coach, you will participate in an assessment process to help you better understand your goals.

Life Coaching Model

Life coaching books, like counselling books, teach phase models of intervention to help you structure your contact. The Nelson-Jones (2007) Model is a four-stage, several phase model

Stage 1: Relating

Phase 1 – Starting the Initial Session

The goal in the relating stage is to build a strong working relationship, and to identify what the client wants out of coaching. The first session is the opening conversation: why is the client here?

Phase 2 – Facilitating Client Disclosure

Open-ended questions and strong empathy and rapport-building will help facilitate client disclosure. This will help the coach get a sense of the client’s resources (strengths) and weaknesses, in order to make a plan.

Stage 2: Understanding

Phase 1 – Reconnaissance, Detecting and Deciding

This involves exploring the client’s issues, to understand where the root of the problems is. Skilled questioning, reflecting back at the client what they are saying and probing to find out how they really want their life to be different is key here. The Miracle Question can be useful here: if you woke up tomorrow, and all your problems were solved (but you didn’t know they were solved), how would you know? What would be different?

Phase 2 – Agreeing on a Shared Analysis of How to Achieve the Client’s Life Goals

In this phase, you have a shared understanding of what the causes of the client’s problems are, and you’ve developed goals together to fix their problems. Then you’ll move into the intervention stages.

Stage 3: Changing

Phase 1 – Intervening

In the Changing Stage, the clients will implement the plans you’ve developed together. For example, your client may begin a journal and using a planner to improve their organizational skills, or may start taking classes in college to improve their education. The client may complete “homework” between sessions or do other work to help them stay on track, while the coach keeps track of their progress towards their goals.

Phase 2 – Ending

In the Ending phase, the formal coaching wraps up. The client and coach look together at the progress they’ve made and begin the process of tying up loose ends.

Stage 4: Client Self-Coaching

Phase 1 – Maintenance and Improvement

The Maintenance part of Maintenance and Improvement involves the client and coach making plans for the future and discussing what the client will need to do in order to maintain the improvement they’ve made.

Phase 2 – Self-directed Growth

The final phase of the model involves the client taking the progress they’ve made until now, and without the need of the coach, continuing to develop themselves.

Conclusion

This is a very brief introduction into a field in which many books and other resources have been written. Do you have anything to add? Write in the comments.

References

International Coach Federation. (n.d.) “Coaching FAQs – Need Coaching – ICF”. Retrieved on June 14, 2017 from https://www.coachfederation.org/need/landing.cfm?ItemNumber=978&navItemNumber=567

Nelson-Jones, R. (2007) Life Coaching Skills: How to Develop Skilled Clients. SAGE Publications: Thousand Oaks, CA.

Cite this article as: MacDonald, D.K., (2018), "Introduction to Life Coaching," retrieved on July 23, 2019 from http://dustinkmacdonald.com/introduction-life-coaching/.
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Deliberate Practice in Social Work

Introduction

Every field has people who are clearly at the top of their game, people who are in the middle or average, and people who shouldn’t be in the profession or who perform very poorly. And everyone wants to be part of that star-performer, top 10% group. Do we know how to get there? Surprisingly, yes. There is a lot of research on “supershrinks” (those rated in the top 10%) and how they differ from other therapists. The outcome of that research applies equally well no matter what role you have.

What it boils down to is that the best therapists, social workers, and clinicians actively practice the basics, and try to get as good as they can. The worst rated therapists, spend far less time on their own professional development.

Chow et. al. (2015) examined a variety of elements to discover what were related to therapeutic outcome. Consistent with what we’re taught in school (that therapeutic modality is responsible for very little change), Chow and colleagues found no relationship between gender, caseload, age, degree, and other elements affected outcome.

What they did find is that the highest performing therapists spent the most amount of time working on their clinical skills. The top performers spent an average of 7 hours a week engaged in deliberate practice. The lowest performing therapists spent around 20 minutes a week engaged in this same kind of work.

Deliberate Practice

Deliberate practice (Ericsson, Krampe & Tesch-Romer, 1993) is a term coined by Psychologist K. Anders Ericsson. He has spent his career studying experts, and found deliberate practice capable of explaining prodigies in music, sports, and even medicine. Malcolm Gladwell’s pop-psych book Outliers: The Story of Success made the case that individuals we see as different simply get more opportunities to practice their skills. Unfortunately he missed the “practice” in deliberate practice, and what most people took away from the book was that you needed 10,000 hours of practice – no matter good or bad, and this is obviously not the case.

Applying Deliberate Practice to Social Work

As a social worker or other clinician, it’s important to make sure that you practice the basics:

  • Read books on basic counselling techniques like Intentional Interviewing and Counseling
  • Video or audiotape yourself (with client consent) and discuss clips in supervision
  • Complete training courses in your chosen therapeutic modality and continue to expand

In addition to engaging in this practice, you must perform outcome based measurement. This involves empirical tools to assess your client’s progress throughout counselling or therapy. By doing this kind of assessment, you can begin to understand what elements are working in your sessions and which ones are not.

Scott D. Miller, the expert in supershrinks, has developed the Outcome Rating Scale (ORS) and the Session Rating Scale (SRS). These are standardized rating scales that clinicians can use to track their client’s outcome over time. You can read more by Scott D. Miller in this presentation.

Daryl Chow (who co-authored that study above about supershrinks spending 7 hours a week on deliberate practice) also authored his thesis (Chow, 2014) on the same topic. During that thesis, he wrote that “compared with their peers, therapists’ self assessment of effectiveness was not correlated with actual outcomes, in spite of the use of outcome measures in their clinical practice.” Essentially, we don’t know when we’re doing well or not doing well, and it’s important to use rating scales and continuing to take feedback in order to improve.

References

Chow, D.L., Miller, S.D., Seidel, J.A., Kane, R.T., Thornton, J.A. & Andrews, W.P. (2015)  The role of deliberate practice in the development of highly effective psychotherapists. Psychotherapy. 52(3):337-45. doi: 10.1037/pst0000015

Ericsson, K.A., Krampe, R.T., & Tesch-Romer, C. (1993) The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance. Psychological Review. 100(3). 363-406.
Cite this article as: MacDonald, D.K., (2018), "Deliberate Practice in Social Work," retrieved on July 23, 2019 from http://dustinkmacdonald.com/deliberate-practice-social-work/.
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Building Counselling Relationships

Introduction

The most important element in a counselling relationship, whether a single session or long-term counselling, is the quality of the relationship between the counsellor and the client. For this reason, basic counselling courses spend a large amount of time on how to effectively build relationships.

There are five factors influencing the counselling process:

  1. Seriousness of the presenting problem (the more distressed a client is, the greater improvement they will experience)
  2. Structure (helping clients understand what counselling will involve, setting time limits and expectations, etc.)
  3. Client initiative or motivation
  4. The physical setting in which counselling occurs
  5. Client and counsellor qualities

Seriousness of Presenting Problem

The more distressed a client is when they first come in for counselling, the greater the reduction in distress they will experience during counselling. (Leibert, 2004)

Edwin Schneidman once said that the more intense the crisis, the less trained an individual needs to be to respond. This is why many individuals are talked down from bridges by totally untrained individuals while the management of low-level suicidal ideation requires extensive clinical training.

Structure

The structure of counselling helps build relationships by providing expectations. This involves setting practical limits like an understanding of the length of sessions, explaining what will happen during each session, letting clients know what they can do in emergencies or high-risk crisis situations, and other elements that impact the procedure of counselling.

Most clients experience anxiety before the counselling session so the more expectations will help.

Client Initiative

Clients may be reluctant to enter counselling or even mandated to attend because of the legal system, mental health treatment or other situations. Gladding and Alderson (2012) give several suggestions for how clients can help provide initiative to clients:

  • Anticipate the feelings a client may display
  • Demonstrate understanding, acceptance and a non-judgemental attitude
  • Try to persuade clients of the benefits of proceeding through counselling
  • Use of gentle confrontation (point out how client behaviours are moving them away from their goals)

Physical Setting

Pressly and Heesacker (2001) noted that physical elements in a counselling office can contribute to the development of the counselling relationship. For instance, brighter colours were associated with more positive emotions, while softer light was associated with more positive feelings than more intense light.

As well, physical barriers between client and counsellor (like a desk) has been associated with reduced perception of empathy.

 

Empathy

Empathy is the ability to enter a client’s world and understand their perspective. (Rogers, 2007) Empathy may be separated into two categories: primary empathy and advanced empathy. Primary empathy is the ability for a counsellor to respond in a way that shows they’ve understood the situation a client is experiencing. (Singh, 2015) This is the level of empathy that crisis line workers aim for. On the Carkhuff and Truax Scale this is level 3 or Interchangeable or Reciprocal Level of Responding.

Advanced empathy is a more indepth procedure, helping to bring elements the client was holding subconsciously or below their awareness. (Veach, LeRoy & Bartels, 2003)

Building an Effective Working Alliance

While a counsellor can use empathy during their conversation during a client to begin building the relationship they need to continue establishing the 3 components required for an effective working alliance identified by Horvath (2001). Working Alliance consists of three components:

  1. Agreement about what goals to be accomplished in therapy
  2. Agreement about tasks (how will those goals be accomplished)
  3. Bond between counsellor and client

Attending Behaviour

Attending behaviour is the physical and behavioural choices a counsellor makes in order to show a client that they are paying attention. The acronym SOLER (Egan, 2007) is one acronym to remember how to show attending in person. The SOLER elements apply only to those in Western (North American or other British cultures) – it is important to modify your approach for other cultural backgrounds.

  • S – Sit Squarely
  • O – Open Posture
  • L – Learn Towards the Client
  • E – Eye Contact
  • R – Relax

References

Egan, G. (2007) The Skilled Helper: A Problem Management Approach to Helping. 8th ed. Thomson Brooks/Cole: Belmont, CA.

Gladding, S. T., & Alderson, K. G. (2012). Building counselling relationships. In B. Brandes (Ed.) (2016), Introduction to counselling (2nd Custom Edition) (pp. 113–140). Toronto, ON: Athabasca University/Pearson Education Canada.

Horvath, A.O. (2001) The Therapeutic Alliance: Concepts, Research and Training. The Australian Psychologist. 36(1). 170-176. doi: 10.1080/00050060108259650

Leibert, T.W. (2006) Making Change Visible: The Possibilities in Assessing Mental Health Counseling Outcomes. Journal of Counseling and Development. 84(1). 108-113. doi: 10.1002/j.1556-6678.2006.tb00384.x

Pressly, P.K. & Heesacker, M. (2001) The Physical Environment and Counseling: A Review of Theory and Research. Journal of Counseling and Development. 79(2). 148-160. doi: 10.1002/j.1556-6676.2001.tb01954.x

Rogers, C. (2007). The necessary and sufficient conditions of therapeutic personality change. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training. 44(3), 240-248

Singh, K. (2003) Counselling Skills for Managers. Prentice-Hall: Delhi, India.

Veach, P.M., LeRoy, B.S. & Bartels, D.M. (2003) Responding to Client Cues: Advanced Empathy and Confrontation. In: Facilitating the Genetic Counseling Process. Springer, New York, NY

Cite this article as: MacDonald, D.K., (2017), "Building Counselling Relationships," retrieved on July 23, 2019 from http://dustinkmacdonald.com/building-counselling-relationships/.
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Counselling and Therapy Credentials

Introduction

I’m about a year (8 courses in fact) away from wrapping up my Bachelor of Professional Arts in Human Services from Athabasca University. This has led me to explore potential graduate schools on my path to becoming a therapist in the future. One thing I’ve discovered is that there’s a lot of confusion around different credentials and what they entitle one to do.

This post is focused on Social Work, Psychology, and Counselling, with an added bonus of identifying distance learning schools where individuals may take these programs.

College Diplomas

College diplomas include 2-year Associates degrees in the United States and Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology CAAT) diplomas in Canada. Examples include:

  • Associates in Human Services
  • Associates in Social Work
  • Social Service Worker, an online version is available through Durham College
  • Community Service Worker

These are entry-level credentials to give you the basic skills to work in the social services. Some of these credentials, such as the Social Service Worker diploma, allow you registration into a professional college (e.g. the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers) but most do not.

These programs provide training and experience in assessment (such as suicide risk assessment) and provide training in basic counselling skills but do not prepare students to diagnose or provide therapy.

Job titles for college diploma holders may be:

  • Intake Worker
  • Case Manager
  • Program Manager
  • Shelter Worker

Bachelor’s Degrees

Bachelor’s degrees are the 4-year degree most common in the US and Canada. A 4-year degree may be in Human Services, Psychology, or another discipline. If you earn a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) you are usually eligible for registration with the appropriate Board of Social Work or College of Social Work. On the other hand, a credential in Psychology or Human Services will not entitle one to registration.

Job titles for Bachelor’s degree holders will be similar to college diploma holders, with the added component that Bachelor of Social Work holders are entitled to the protected job title “Social Worker.” Bachelor’s holders with training may perform assessments and other tasks.

Online programs include Athabasca University’s Bachelor of Professional Arts in Human Services, or Liberty University’s Bachelor of Science in Social Work program.

Bachelor of Professional Arts in Human Services

This is the program I’m completing at the moment. Because I completed a Social Service Worker (SSW) diploma from Durham College (see above), I received 2 years/20 courses of transfer credit towards the 4 year degree, requiring 20 courses to finish.

These courses can be completed online, with no specific semester start and end dates. Instead, if you pay your courses yourself you have 6 months in which to complete them; if you are receiving financial aid (such as through the Ontario Student Assistance Program) you have 13 weeks in which to complete each course.

The fee (approximately $600 CAD for a student in Alberta, $800 CAD for a student elsewhere in Canada and $1000 CAD for a student outside Canada) includes all the course materials including textbooks shipped to you to complete the course. This makes it a very economical option for a Bachelor’s degree.

Examples of courses in the BPA Human Services that are required:

  • Social Work and Human Services
  • Ideology and Policy Evolution
  • Critical Reflection for Practice
  • Professional Ethics
  • Practice and Policy in the Human Services

Master’s Degrees

Here’s where it starts to get complicated. There are a number of Master’s degrees that one may use to enter the counselling or therapy professions. These include a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology, Master of Counselling, Master of Education in Counselling Psychology, Master of Education in School Psychology, Master of Social Work.

Master of Arts (MA) in Counselling Psychology

The MA in Counselling Psychology may be a practice degree, allowing one to register as a Licensed Mental Health Counsellor (LMHC) or it may be a step on to a PhD or PsyD in Clinical Psychology. Individuals may qualify for registration as Psychological Associates or in Alberta as Psychologists.

Examples of online programs includes Yorkville University‘s program, which is based out of New Brunswick.

Master of Counselling (MC)

The Master of Counselling degree is offered by Athabasca and provides similar training as other counselling degrees such as degrees in Counselling Psychology or other. Athabasca offers specializations in Art Therapy, Counselling Psychology and School Counselling.

Examples of courses taken in the MC degree include:

  • Models of Counselling and Client Change
  • Intervening to Faciliate Client Change
  • Devleoping a Working Alliance
  • Professional Ethics
  • Assessment Processes

This program qualifies for registration with the Alberta College of Psychologists.

Master of Education (MEd) in Counselling Psychology

The Master of Education (MEd) degree in Counselling Psychology is offered through a school’s Faculty of Education rather than a Faculty of Social Work or Faculty of Psychology. One example is University of Toronto’s MEd. This program is designed as a terminal degree to train counsellors and therapists. Courses in this program include:

  • Theories and Techniques of Counselling
  • Critical Multicultural Practice: Diversity Issues in Counselling
  • Group Work in Counselling
  • Ethical Issues in Professional Practice in Psychology
  • Career Counselling and Development: Transitions in Adulthood

Because these programs are in the Faculty of Education they are more likely to cover school counselling and be designed to train counsellors or therapists that work with students and young adults. One example of an online program is the University of Massachusetts–Boston’s MEd in School Counselling.

Master of Social Work (MSW)

The Master of Social Work is the terminal degree for Social Work practice in Canada and the United States. These programs are either one year (for individuals who have already completed a BSW) or two year (for individuals who have not completed a BSW.) These programs qualify for registration with organizations like the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW) in Canada or a State’s Board of Social Work in the US.

MSW degrees can be focused on macro (community) social work, or micro (individual) social work. Macro social workers are employed in community development, program design, administration and other areas while micro, individual or clinical social workers are employed as counsellors, therapists and other clinical mental health professionals.

An example 2-year online MSW program is that available from the University of North Dakota. Courses in that program include:

  • Human Behavior in the Social Environment I
  • Generalist Practice with Individuals and Families
  • Generalist Practice with Communities and Organizations
  • Social Policy
  • Generalist Research Methods and Analysis

Doctorate Degrees

Doctoral degrees prepare individuals for advanced clinical practice in the fields of Psychology and Social Work. Doctorares usually involve a component of research and practice. Some degrees not listed here (such as the PhD in Social Work) have no practice component and are designed chiefly to train researchers.

Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) in Clinical / Counselling Psychology

The PhD in Clinical Psychology or PhD in Counselling Psychology are designed to train professional Psychologists. These programs are usually 5-7 years in duration and involve the completion of a PhD dissertation, a book-length research project. In addition to learning these fundamental research skills, Psychologists also learn how to administer and interpret psychological assessments like IQ tests and how to deliver therapy.

These programs are among the most competitive to get into, often admitting 5-10 candidates among the 100+ that apply for admission.

The differences between Clinical Psychology and Counselling Psychology are minor, but Clinical Psychology tends to focus on individuals with more psychopathology than Counselling Psychology.

Examples of courses in the PhD in Clinical Psychology at Ryerson University:

  • Ethical Professional Issues in Clinical Psychology
  • Systems of Psychotherapy
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Community Psychology
  • Mood Disorders

Doctorate of Psychology (PsyD)

The PsyD is a newer program than the PhD, emerging to meet needs of individuals who primarily want to practice therapy and assessment rather than work as scientists or researchers. PsyD programs are offered by a larger variety of educational venues, such as by professional schools of Psychology (like the Chicago School of Professional Psychology) rather than a university.

The PsyD involves learning to utilize research rather than produce it. Because students in a PhD program are creating researcher, they are “paid” to do so, by having their tuition subsidized (often free), and by being given a living stipend, while PsyD students more commonly have to “pay their way” through their program, upwards of $100,000.

Otherwise, PsyD and PhD graduates learn the same skills and are eligible for licensure in the same way – as long as their programs are accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). Although there are online PsyD programs such as those offered by Walden University and Capella University these are not eligible for APA accreditation and therefore are unlikely to result in licensure.

Examples of courses available in the Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s PsyD program:

  • Biological Bases of Behavior
  • Health and Dysfunction
  • Cognitive Assessment
  • Cognitive Behavioral Theory and Therapy
  • Personality Assessment

Doctorate of Social Work (DSW)

The Doctorate of Social Work is the newest doctorate program. This program is similar to the PsyD in that it is a practice degree rather than a research degree. One example of a DSW is that offered by Tulane University in Louisiana. This program is available online but has significant tuition attached to it, up to $70,000.

Reflecting the existing education of their students (all of whom have an MSW or similar degree accredited by the CSWE) these programs are shorter than a PhD would be, often running 3 years versus the 5-7 years for a PhD or the 5 years for a PsyD.

Examples of courses in the Tulane DSW:

  • Historical Approaches to Social Welfare
  • Social Work Theory, Practice Models & Methods
  • Applied Social Statistics
  • Measuring Social Phenomena: Social and Economic Problems
  • Advanced Clinical Project Seminar

The goal of the DSW program is to train practitioners who are experts in policy analysis, program design and development or implementation of specific therapies.

Cite this article as: MacDonald, D.K., (2017), "Counselling and Therapy Credentials," retrieved on July 23, 2019 from http://dustinkmacdonald.com/counselling-therapy-credentials/.
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