- LAST REVIEWED: 09 May 2017
- LAST MODIFIED: 13 January 2014
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199828340-0146
- LAST REVIEWED: 09 May 2017
- LAST MODIFIED: 13 January 2014
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199828340-0146
Counseling psychology is a specialty within psychology that focuses on counseling, research, and assessment in which close attention is paid to individual’s assets and psychological strengths. Counseling psychologists have three primary roles: remedial (e.g., working to help correct problems), preventative (e.g., interventions focused on forestalling problems), and developmental (e.g., skills training and psychoeducational approaches). The primary interventions of the specialty tend to be brief and cover a variety of settings (e.g., counseling, training, consultation, outreach). Gelso, et al. 2014, Counseling Psychology (cited under Reference Works), summarizes the enduring central values of counseling psychology, noting it has (1) an emphasis on a person’s strengths and optimal functioning; (2) a focus on the whole person, with particular emphasis on life-span development and vocational growth; (3) a commitment to advocacy and social justice, maintaining an ongoing awareness of the importance of environmental context and culture; (4) a concentration on brief, educational, and preventive counseling interventions; and (5) a dedication to the scientist-practitioner model. While counseling psychology’s abiding interest in vocational guidance began in 1908 with the establishment of a vocations bureau by Frank Parsons, most view the field of counseling psychology as beginning with the role of psychologists (in assessment of military personnel) in the 1940s during World War II. The Division of Counseling and Guidance (Division 17) of the American Psychological Association was formally established in 1946. Division 17 changed its name in 1951 to the Division of Counseling Psychology, and again in 2003 to the Society of Counseling Psychology. The major journals in counseling psychology were founded in 1954 (the Journal of Counseling Psychology, cited under Journals) and 1969 (The Counseling Psychologist, cited under Journals).The field’s history can also be marked by its major conferences. The first conference for counseling psychology was held in 1951 at Northwestern University. It was at this conference that the scientist-practitioner model of training was formally endorsed. The field has held a major conference approximately every dozen years since then (1964, Greyston Conference; 1973, Vail Conference; 1987, Georgia Conference; 2001, Houston Conference). At each conference, the field strengthened its identity and debated issues of importance to the field, such as social justice initiatives and multicultural competencies. In 1999, Division 17 was one of the founding divisions (along with divisions 35, 44, and 45) of the National Multicultural Conference and Summit (NMCS). In 2008 the Society of Counseling Psychology held its first international conference in Chicago, acknowledging the global nature of counseling psychology. In fact, there has been a growing emphasis in the field on ensuring transnational and global perspectives in science and practice (see Gerstein, et al. 2009, cited under Reference Works).
Whiteley 1980 provided an early perspective on the history of the field. The primary textbook in the field, Gelso, et al. 2014, extends the history of the field into the present. Altmaier and Hansen 2012, Brown and Lent 2008, and Fouad, et al. 2012 are comprehensive handbooks in the field that give excellent overviews of counseling psychology at large, as does Walsh 2008, a biennial review of the field. Other handbooks on more specific foundational topics in counseling psychology, such as multiculturalism, social justice, vocational psychology, prevention, positive psychology, and psychotherapy research, are discussed in following sections.
Altmaier, E. M., and J. C. Hansen, eds. 2012. The Oxford handbook of counseling psychology. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.
Altmaier and Hansen provide an overview of the life span of counseling psychology, from its foundations and contextual perspectives to its applications in counseling and intersections with related fields, such as health psychology, sports psychology, and trauma psychology.
Brown, S. D., and R. W. Lent, eds. 2008. Handbook of counseling psychology. 4th ed. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
In the fourth edition of their groundbreaking handbook, Brown and Lent offer perspectives on professional and scientific issues in counseling psychology, as well as overviews of the field’s emphasis on counseling, multiculturalism, vocational psychology, and prevention.
Fouad, N. A., J. A. Carter, and L. M. Subich, eds. 2012. APA handbook of counseling psychology. 2 vols. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
In a two-volume work (Volume 1, Theories, Research, and Methods; Volume 2, Practice, Interventions, and Applications), Fouad, Carter, and Subich provide a rich detailing of the theories, methodologies, research, and interventions in the field, including new directions into forensics, immigration, and aging.
Gelso, C. J., and B. R. Fretz. 2014. Counseling psychology. 2d ed. Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt.
As the only text on the specialty of counseling psychology, Gelso, Williams, and Fretz, in the third edition of this textbook, emphasize the historical and scientific foundations of the field, with particular attention to career psychology, health and wellness, social justice, and psychotherapy research. The second part of the book is dedicated to the practice of counseling psychology, including a focus on individuals, families, and groups.
Gerstein, L. H., P. P. Heppner, S. Ægisdóttir, A. L. Seung-Ming, and K. L. Norsworthy. 2009. International handbook of cross-cultural counseling: Cultural assumptions and practice worldwide. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
This handbook covers a wide-range of transnational issues relevant to counseling psychology, including a focus on the counseling profession (including cultural considerations in research as well as opportunities and challenges in cross-cultural counseling). In addition, a long list of countries are directly included (e.g., Iceland, United Arab Emirates, Ecuador, Nigeria, Malaysia, and Kyrgyzstan), providing an overview of the cultural values in those countries that shape counselor and clients attitudes and practices.
Walsh, W. B., ed. 2008. Biennial review of counseling psychology. New York: Routledge.
Topics covered in this biennial review include those related to historical developments in counseling psychology, issues around practice, health and strengths-based development, social identities, vocational psychology, and professional roles in a changing world.
Whiteley, J. M. 1980. The history of counseling psychology. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
In this work, Whiteley provided the first history of the field, examining the founding of the field, its development from vocational guidance to counseling psychology, and the establishment of its primary journals, training standards, and first national conferences.
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- Abnormal Psychology
- Action Research
- Addictive Behavior
- Affective Forecasting
- Allport, Gordon
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Animal Behavior
- Animal Learning
- Anxiety Disorders
- Art and Aesthetics, Psychology of
- Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) In Adults
- Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Childre...
- Attraction in Close Relationships
- Attribution Theory
- Authoritarian Personality
- Behavior Therapy, Rational Emotive
- Behavioral Economics
- Behavioral Genetics
- Bereavement and Grief
- Biological Psychology
- Birth Order
- Body Image in Men and Women
- Bystander Effect
- Clinical Neuropsychology
- Clinical Psychology
- Cognitive Consistency Theories
- Cognitive Dissonance Theory
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Communication, Nonverbal Cues and
- Comparative Psychology
- Conformity, Compliance, and Obedience
- Coping Processes
- Counseling Psychology
- Critical Thinking
- Cross-Cultural Psychology
- Cultural Psychology
- Death and Dying
- Deceiving and Detecting Deceit
- Defensive Processes
- Depressive Disorders
- Development, Prenatal
- Developmental Psychology (Cognitive)
- Developmental Psychology (Social)
- Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM...
- Dissociative Disorders
- Drugs and Behavior
- Eating Disorders
- Ecological Psychology
- Educational Settings, Assessment of Thinking in
- Embodiment and Embodied Cognition
- Emerging Adulthood
- Emotional Intelligence
- Environmental Neuroscience and Environmental Psychology
- Ethics in Psychological Practice
- Evolutionary Psychology
- Eyewitness Testimony
- Factor Analysis
- Festinger, Leon
- Five-Factor Model of Personality
- Flynn Effect, The
- Friendships, Children's
- Fundamental Attribution Error/Correspondence Bias
- Gambler's Fallacy
- Game Theory and Psychology
- Health Psychology
- Heuristics and Biases
- History of Psychology
- Human Factors
- Implicit Association Test (IAT)
- Industrial and Organizational Psychology
- Intercultural Psychology
- Intergroup Conflict
- International Classification of Diseases and Related Healt...
- International Psychology
- Interviewing in Forensic Settings
- Intimate Partner Violence, Psychological Perspectives on
- Item Response Theory
- Law, Psychology and
- Learned Helplessness
- Learning versus Performance
- LGBTQ+ Romantic Relationships
- Lie Detection in a Forensic Context
- Life-Span Development
- Locus of Control
- Meaning in Life
- Mechanisms and Processes of Peer Contagion
- Memories, Autobiographical
- Memories, Flashbulb
- Memories, Repressed and Recovered
- Memory, Human
- Memory, Implicit versus Explicit
- Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)
- Moral Development
- Moral Psychology
- Moral Reasoning
- Neuroscience of Associative Learning
- Obsessive-Complusive Disorder (OCD)
- Operant Conditioning
- Optimism and Pessimism
- Organizational Justice
- Parenting Stress
- Path Models
- Peace Psychology
- Perception, Person
- Personality Disorders
- Personality Psychology
- Placebo Effects in Psychology
- Positive Psychology
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Prejudice and Stereotyping
- Prisoner's Dilemma
- Prosocial Behavior
- Prosocial Spending and Well-Being
- Psychology, Political
- Psychophysics, Visual
- Psychotic Disorders
- Reasoning, Counterfactual
- Rehabilitation Psychology
- Religion, Psychology and
- Research Methods
- Risk Taking
- Schizophrenic Disorders
- School Psychology
- Self, Gender and
- Self, Psychology of the
- Self-Regulation in Educational Settings
- Sensation Seeking
- Sex and Gender
- Sexual Minority Parenting
- Sexual Orientation
- Single People
- Skinner, B.F.
- Sleep and Dreaming
- Small Groups
- Social Class and Social Status
- Social Cognition
- Social Neuroscience
- Social Touch and Massage Therapy Research
- Somatoform Disorders
- Sports Psychology
- Stereotype Threat
- Subjective Wellbeing Homeostasis
- Teaching of Psychology
- Terror Management Theory
- Testing and Assessment
- Theory of Mind
- Therapies, Person-Centered
- Therapy, Cognitive-Behavioral
- Thinking Skills in Educational Settings
- Time Perception
- Trait Perspective
- Twin Studies
- Type A Behavior Pattern (Coronary Prone Personality)
- Women and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM...
- Women, Psychology of