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A professional counselor is a professional who is trained to counselor people or help normalize the lives of people who have experienced various occurrences that have a negative psychological bearing on there minds.
Licensed professional Counselor (LPC) is a mental health professionals’ licensure. In America issuing the LPC license to professional is done at state level. For a professional to be issued with this license he or she must be a master’s degree holder in counseling or any related field. Also, they must obtain supervised clinical experience and pass state licensing test. There are various licensing examinations: The National certified mental health counselor examination and the national counselor examination for licensure and certification (Cochran,1997).
There are several counseling careers that can be pursued by those who intent to become professional counselors. These careers have different requirements and expose the professional to varied counseling environments.
Community counselors work with communities. They asses the community needs in critical areas such as housing needs, crime elimination, and food sources improvement among other. Community counselors can be instrumental in propagating intervention to improve the resources that a community owns and as such facilitate growth beyond the present state. For instance the counseling can lead to establishment of centers that help reduce the number of children on the streets. Certainly community counselors can help ion handling the numerous and complex problems that face the community (Cochran, 1997). To become a community counselor an academic degree is necessary preferable a masters or doctorial degree as well as certification by a respectable body after taking a certification profession exam.
Child Abuse Counselor
Child abuse counselor a career in child abuse counseling entails working in varied private or clinical settings. The counselor employs a set of interventions aimed at improving the condition of the patients. The most commonly used therapy is play therapy. This is because play is a zone of comfort that is familiar to children and enables the child abuse to approach their patients in a non threatening environment. The counselor deals with all maladaptive behaviours that could expose the child to the risk of further abuse as well as mental health issues that may appear in future.
Group session’s can also be used as they are particularly helpful to children who have been sexually abused since they realize that they are not alone. The counselor thus eliminates the feeling of guilt from the children. Abused children counselors also employ psychotherapy, trauma-focused play therapy, and trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy. Others include eye movement desensitization, biofeedback and relaxation (All Psychology Schools, 2010).
To pursue a career in child abuse counseling, a strong background in psychology and additional experience of working with abuse victims are important. The career requires maturity, patience, empathy, and acceptance. Those who intend to pursue this career need to have a masters or PhD in psychology, counseling or social work.
Marriage and family counselor
Marriage counselor s help couples to work out various issues facing their relationships. The most common problems in relationships are misunderstanding over finances and luck of poor or inadequate communication. Marriage and family counselors are very instrumental in identifying such problems and leading a couple or a family on the best way to overcome their differences. The problems facing couples end up affecting their children as well. A marriage counselor helps such children to come up with various copping techniques to deal with the psychological effects of the break up or loss of their parents. The counselor responsibility is to maintain the short term and long term mental health of the victims as well as keeping the relationship of the children intact. To pursue this career, one must have relevant academic degrees, masters or doctorial and specialized professional training (All Psychology Schools, 2010).
Domestic violence counseling career
In many cases marital counseling does not work if domestic violence is involved. A domestic counselor can help the couple to overcome the short term and long mental health effects of domestic violence. Domestic violence counselors require proper training in order to deal with various complex cases of domestic violence. Specialized training to facilitate counselors to work in domestic violence counseling is important. Such specialized training can be achieved through certified programs for domestic violence counseling (Cochran, 1997). Each state has it own certified programs that the would-be domestic counselors are supposed to take before being licensed tom pursues this career. Undergraduate and graduate degrees are also mandatory. Degrees in psychology, counseling and social work are the most relevant although some states may accept degrees such as criminal justice.
Substance Abuse Counselor
A substance abuse counselor becomes very instrumental in the rehabilitation and recovery processes of addicts. The counsel can help the addict figure out the path to recovery and help them thought out the recovery process. The process of helping a drug addict to recover is length and tiresome. The counselors can employ out patient or inpatient basis for the treatment of their clients depending on the severity of the patients addiction. Alcoholic Anonymous provides a suitable out patient resource that substance abuse can use to help alcoholics to recover. Under inpatient kind o treatment, the patients are completely removed from their environment and the treatment done in a controlled environment. The length of time that the patient says under this environment is normally stipulated although it may also depend on the patient’s recovery. To take this career, undergraduate and graduate degrees are mandatory. The practitioners must also obtain a license to practices (All Psychology Schools, 2010).
Counselors have their needs cratered for through associations. The associations stipulates the conditions that are to be met by anyone who intends to become a counselor as well as administering professional examination to ensure that only those who qualify to serve as counselors are licensed to conduct the practice. The associations are varied in terms of membership and area of jurisdiction (Counseling Arena, 2010).
Pennsylvania Counseling Association
To join this association, one has to meet various credentials. The credentials include a graduate level academic degree, which earns the member recognition as a professional counselor. Providing counseling services with less than a master’s degree is considered paraprofessional. To be certified to serve in Pennsylvania therefore requires one to have a master’s degree, while those with doctorial degree are allowed to perform clinical supervision. Accreditation is accepted from two credentialing board; the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP) and the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE). These two boards accredit masters and doctorial degrees throughout the U.S (Pennsylvania Counseling Association, 2010). The Pennsylvania Department of Education certifies school counselors for elementary and secondary schools. Community counselors dealing with clients of any age are licensed by the Pennsylvania State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors to become LPCs
American mental health counselors association
This is a growing community with a membership of about 6, 000 mental health counselors. The organization aims at making a critical impact on every ones life through out the country. The organization is 25 years old and has satisfactorily served the needs of professional counselors since its inauguration. The association provides various membership categories which depend on various factors or credentials. Students can join as members if they are taking degrees related to counseling such as psychology, social work etc. The membership is dependent on the level of education. Those who poses doctorial degrees or master degree are at the highest rank of membership and have voting rights for example they can take part making decisions. The ability to make decision decreases with decrease in the academic qualifications and year of clinical practice. Members have to pay membership fee as well ranging from $40-$ 159.
The members are guaranteed various benefits among them, protection and reduced expenses such as malpractice insurance costs, membership programs such as such as health insurance, access to learning and growth opportunities. Access to news and relevant information necessary for career advancement and build a solid reputation as a counselor. It also helps students to make informed career path choices.
American counseling association
This is yet another counseling professional association with membership from students to seasoned professionals aimed at enhancing its member’s performance at each level of their career development. The association provides free ethics consultations to its members, inform members on the careers in counseling, provide accessories such as books as well as online courses fro specific private practices courses, in provides insurance trust whereby the members livelihood is protected by the associations liability policy, the associations foundation also support the counselors through counselors’ care fund, publications among other programs (American Counseling Association, 2010). Other benefits include advocacy, credibility, networking, and affordable resources and services. Members pay membership depending on their category of membership which may be professional, regular $155 in each case and, new professional, student or retired $89 in each case. Just like the other associations the credential for membership includes possession of academic degrees in psychology counseling and other related disciplines. Members also pose training in specified professional course. Student pursuing these courses can also get student membership.
Clinical Social work association
This association is populated by clinical social workers and counselors who provide mental health treatment in clinics, mental institutions, and other treatment agencies. This association supports its members by providing professional practices support, legislative advocacy concerning mental health matters and clinical training. Membership categories and the fee payable are as follows: general member, $135; new professional, $ 85; student $ 35 and emeritus $ 65. A general member poses a master degree from a program accredited by the organization and is presently in practice, a new professional is a member who has just graduated from a masters program that is accredited by the association, this kind of membership lasts for only four years since the graduation date. Student member are students who have enrolled into a masters program that is accredited by them association while emeritus consists of members who has a masters degree or doctorial degree and is no longer involved in practice.
The National Rehabilitation counseling association (NRCA)
This association was formed in 1958 to represent and cater for the unique needs of the rehabilitation counselors. The association is populated by federal vocational rehabilitation counselors. Currently it is the largest association providing numerous services and benefits to its members working in varied working environments or settings. Such setting includes state agencies, private agencies or unions, non profit agencies, hospital settings among others. Membership category is determined by the level of academic qualification as well as practice experience.