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The Societal Responsibilities of Earning an MA in Counseling Psychology

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Mental health professionals take on numerous responsibilities as they work to help individuals overcome their challenges. They are trained to provide therapy, counseling and guidance to individuals in need. Continue reading to learn more.

What is Counseling Psychology?

Counseling Psychology is a practice that focuses on understanding the mental wellbeing of individuals and provides guidance for life’s challenges. Some of the challenges that individuals face are: post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, alcoholism, trauma, addiction and depression.

Mental health professionals work to help individuals identify and address underlying issues that may be contributing to their challenges. They may use a variety of techniques and approaches, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy and humanistic therapy.

Explore: The Societal Responsibilities of Careers in Mental Health

All jobs have a level of responsibility, and whether the responsibility is educating students, ensuring machinery is working properly, and everything in between, we put our trust in those who fulfill jobs around us. 

However, this responsibility increases when dealing with real-life patients, especially those who are seeking help. Clients look for guidance, and it is up to those who work in mental health to provide the assistance needed. This may involve helping individuals understand and manage their emotions, thoughts and behaviors, and to develop coping skills and strategies for dealing with life's challenges.

Mental health professionals, including counselors, face several societal responsibilities as they work to help individuals overcome their mental and physical challenges. Some of these responsibilities include:

  • Effective and supportive listening: Mental health professionals are to create a safe and supportive environment where individuals can explore their thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment or criticism.

  • Providing sensitive and compassionate care: Mental health professionals must provide care that takes into account the individual's cultural background, beliefs and values. They should also work to provide care that is compassionate, respectful and appropriate for each individual.

  • Guidance: Mental health professionals are to provide guidance through meaningful and thoughtful dialogue to assist their clients with well-thought-out solutions and care.

  • Maintaining ethical standards and trust: Mental health professionals have a responsibility to maintain ethical standards in their practice. They must follow the proper guidelines and standards and regulations set by professional organizations.

  • Continuous learning: Mental health professionals need to engage in continuous learning to stay up-to-date with the latest research and developments in the field. This includes ongoing training and education to improve their skills and knowledge.

How Can I Earn My Master's in Counseling Psychology?

If you have a passion for helping others and are interested in pursuing a career as a mental health professional, there are several steps you can take to achieve your goal.

First, you need to obtain your bachelor's degree, possibly in a related field, such as psychology, sociology, or social work. This will provide you with a solid foundation of knowledge in the field of mental health. At Bastyr University, we offer two bachelor psychology degree programs.

While most schools require a related-field bachelor degree, Bastyr University offers counseling psychology graduate programs that do not require a previous related field background.

Second, if you want to become a holistic and integrative mental health professional, consider earning your master’s degree from Bastyr University, as one of our main focuses as a university is whole-person wellbeing. You’ll be able to acquire the intrapersonal skills needed to pursue your counseling career in a holistic manner.

Our MA in Counseling Psychology emphasizes a whole-person approach to mental health, focusing on the mind, body and spirit. It also incorporates Eastern and Western healing traditions and emphasizes the importance of cultural sensitivity in counseling.

The program requires students to complete 93 quarter credits, which includes coursework in counseling theory and practice, human development, research methods, psychopathology, group counseling, and multicultural counseling.

Third, complete supervised, clinical training experiences by putting your skills to the test. At Bastyr, you will experience this in a real-world, supervised setting at one of our two clinics, during your very first year of the program – a rare find among others. In addition, you will complete a 10 month supervised practicum clinical training experience in your second year of the program.

Guided by experienced mental health professionals, you will gain hands-on experience and excellent practice in basic counseling and assessment skills in clinical settings with patients, providing a foundation for a career.

Finally, pass all required licensing exams to become a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) or a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC). These vary by state, and it’s best to ask and learn from your institution what to expect once enrolling in your program of choice.


Begin Your Mental Health Professional Pathway at Bastyr

Those in the field of mental health face significant societal responsibilities. Counseling psychology is a valuable practice that plays a vital role in helping individuals to overcome their life challenges.

At Bastyr, we recognize the importance of this vital role. That’s why our graduate program in counseling psychology fosters a deep understanding with a holistic, integrative approach to individual and societal mental health.

Together, we can work to create a safe and supportive environment in which individuals can explore their thoughts and feelings and develop strategies for achieving their goals, and to provide comprehensive care that promotes mental health and well-being.

Begin your journey in wellness to help others today!

Interested in learning more about earning your Master’s in Counseling Psychology at Bastyr?

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Written by Bastyr

Bastyr University's academic and research programs have received international recognition for pioneering work in science-based natural medicine. We offer a learning environment that fosters serious inquiry, professional dedication and lifelong relationships. Your career begins here, where comprehensive training makes the difference.