Online Class: Counseling Psychology 101

If you are seeking a program to enhance your skills, or just want to learn more about the career, this Introduction to Counseling course will give you great insight toward reaching your educational goals.

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Course Description

Professional counselors need a strong foundation to prepare them for entering the profession of counseling.  If you are seeking a program to enhance your skills, or just want to learn more about the career, this Introduction to Counseling course will give you great insight toward reaching your educational goals.

The course will focus on counselor's work as well as a counselor's typical day, provide understanding into how personal and professional ethics play a major role in the dynamics between counselor and client, and the challenges of various abnormal behaviors and mental disorders a professional counselor must face in helping people to live their own life rather than be lived by it. 

This self-paced course incorporates a vast variety of areas that apply to many different environments and circumstances including addiction, marital problems, eating disorders, bereavement, educational and career counseling.  You'll learn the top ten basic counseling skills to create a positive relationship between client and therapist and how these skills can help the client to make positive changes.

Introduction to Counseling offers an inside view of core counseling techniques and approaches, and opportunities for counseling professionals to understand the complex role client diversity plays in their work. When the ailment can't be measured by numbers on the thermometer, that's when a counselor's work begins.

Course Motivation

History and Current Trends in Counseling

If you are currently exploring the idea of becoming a counselor, good for you. The many myths about counseling are rooted in some outdated ideas. It is not a place where people visit aged men with beards who determine whether they are sane or insane. It is not a place where you recline on a sofa, babble about what is troubling you, and hear only uh huh from the person sitting in the chair. Counseling is a place to get support with indecision, stress, job opportunities, marital problems, learning disabilities, and the list goes on and on.

The history of counseling dates back to the early 20th century when Frank Parsons coined the term vocational guidance to describe a method for the selection of an occupation for Boston Public Schools.

The ravages of two world wars necessitated helping students and veterans with more than just choosing jobs. Clinical services were introduced while WWII was still in progress. It was not until the 1940s that Carl Roger's writings underscored the value of counseling students in schools.

The 1960s focused primarily on school counseling, dedicated to young children who had learning disabilities until it was made available for all students. Before the 1900s, most counseling was in the form of advice or information until Clifford Beers influenced the field of psychiatry and psychology by writing books related to his own mental illness.

By the 1990s, the American School Counseling Association recognized the need to change from reactive services to proactive and preventative programs.

Since then, the counseling professional interacts in institutional, community, business, and educational environments. Today, as a profession, counseling is characterized by codes of ethics, competency standards, accreditation guidelines, licenses, certification, and other standards of education. Nowadays, there seems to be a counselor to help a person with just about anything, from childbirth to setting up college and retirement funds.

Counseling is not only professional help for people with major problems or a crutch for people who are too weak to handle life. Counseling is many things to different people.

  • A place where client and counselor team up to make positive changes in the client's dealings with life.
  • A vehicle for people who decide to face their challenges directly.
  • A way to maintain relationships by working on the difficulties that threaten them.
  • Counseling helps people overcome grief, anger, confusion, and rejection.

The Nature of a Counselor's Work

Counselors assist people with family, personal, educational, mental health, and career problems. Depending on a counselor's occupational specialty, the nature of the work can vary. 

The most standard definition of counselor as a therapist refers to professionally addressing the issues of those with emotional difficulties or mental health concerns. The role of counselor is to act as a guide, giving advice mostly in an academic way. Most therapists believe that the client should be the one who attains self-realization through guidance and personal choices. You might know the old saying about those who ask for advice and when given, the advice tends to be ignored. Therapists or counselors usually nudge the client to conclusions about any problems they may have. Once this occurs, suggestions may be made to help with certain issues.

Of course, there are exceptions to the rule and a counselor must urge the patient who is threatening to do harm to themselves or others to take a certain action. In most states, a counselor is empowered to report cases of abuse. These troubled clients are then referred to a counselor specifically trained in assisting in a particular area.

Other types of counselors are academic advisors or school counselors. For elementary and secondary schools, counselors are usually licensed therapists. College counselors function more as academic or career counselors, advising students on courses necessary to obtain a degree. School counselors at all levels help students to understand and deal with social, behavioral, and personal problems. The student is provided with the life skills needed to deal with problems before they worsen and then provided personal, social, and academic growth counseling.

Not all counselors are licensed as therapists. Ministers, priests, and rabbis have some training in psychology and may be licensed therapists as well; however, most states do not require licensing. Clergymen or clergywomen may do premarital counseling, individual counseling, or marriage counseling. In addition, they may advise individuals on spiritual matters and perform grief counseling.

If a counselor is licensed to practice in California and decides to move to Nevada, he or she may be required to be certified by the Nevada Board (possibly retake an exam or complete a certain number of credit hours). Being a counselor in any field is not a "slam dunk," but it can be a lasting and rewarding career.

Job Outlook and Growth Prospects

Counseling organizations also offer certification in certain counseling specialties. Having certification may enhance job prospects. Check with national associations or local and state governments for counseling associations within your particular state. Education and training prerequisites for counselors are often very detailed and vary by state and specialty. 

Prospects for advancement vary by counseling fields. For example, if you were doing substance abuse counseling in a small clinic with only one director or manager, the chances for advancement are slim. School counselors can become directors, or supervisors of counseling, guidance, or pupil personnel services. With additional graduate education, school counselors can become counseling psychologists, counselor educators, or even school administrators. 

Aside from working in educational fields, counselors work in a wide variety of private and public establishments, including healthcare facilities, job training, career development, social agencies, vocational rehabilitation, and correctional institutions; counselors work in residential care facilities such as halfway houses for criminal offenders and group homes for children, the elderly, and physically and mentally disabled. Some work in substance abuse centers such as The Betty Ford Clinic, assisting those undergoing treatment.

Many counselors are going the self-employed route by working in group practices or private practice. New laws allow counselors to be paid for their services by health insurance companies due to the growing recognition that counselors are well trained, effective professionals.

Growth prospects in the field of counseling are expected to be much faster than average. Attractive subfields are surfacing as well. The reasons for such positive growth are varied; counselors are a less costly alternative to psychiatrists and psychologists, there is an increased recognition that counselors are there to help, and it is much more common today for people to seek help for marriage and family problems than they did in the past.

Self-employed counselors who have well established practices, and counselors employed in group practices, usually have higher earnings.

  • Completely Online
  • Self-Paced
  • 6 Months to Complete
  • 24/7 Availability
  • Start Anytime
  • PC & Mac Compatible
  • Android & iOS Friendly
  • Accredited CEUs
Universal Class is an IACET Accredited Provider

Course Lessons

Average Lesson Rating:
4.4 / 5 Stars (Average Rating)
"Extraordinarily Helpful"
(2,116 votes)

Lesson 1. What is a Counselor?

Counseling is a place to get support with indecision, stress, job opportunities, marital problems, learning disabilities and the list goes on and on. 12 Total Points
  • Lesson 1 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Counseling Course; Reasons for Taking this Course
  • Complete: Lesson 1 Assignment
  • Complete Assignment: An Introduction
  • Assessment: Lesson 1 What is a Counselor

Lesson 2. Developing Basic Counseling Skills

Studies are increasingly finding that the type of specialty therapy used is not as important to actual outcomes as the specific counselor behavior such as confidence, enthusiasm, and the belief in the ability of the client/patient to change. 12 Total Points
  • Lesson 2 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 2 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 2 Developing Basic Counseling Skills

Lesson 3. Are You a Candidate for a Counseling Career?

By now, you are probably asking yourself, "How do I get ready? Where do I start?" Education and training requirements for counselors are detailed, and vary by state and specialty. 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 3 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Counselor Characteristic
  • Assessment: Lesson 3 Are You A Candidate For A Counseling Career?

Lesson 4. Counseling in Private Sector

It is no secret the squeeze is on to promote better physical and mental health through the workplace. Individual counseling in the workplace shows great potential for helping employees with poor health to become more physically active and fit. 8 Total Points
  • Lesson 4 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 4 Counseling In Private Sector

Lesson 5. Mastering Counseling Techniques

Role playing is an effective tool in any group counseling setting. Acting out scenarios may be used for training professionals or in a classroom setting for the understanding of certain curriculum. 7 Total Points
  • Lesson 5 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 5 Mastering Counseling Techniques

Lesson 6. Legal and Ethical Issues

Have you ever found yourself involved in an ethical dilemma? Chances are good that you have. 9 Total Points
  • Lesson 6 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 6 Legal and Ethical Issues

Lesson 7. Popular Counseling Specialties

It is not necessary to choose a specialty before you begin your master's program in counseling, although many students enter into counseling programs with one in mind. Choose a counseling degree that offers a range of options. 7 Total Points
  • Lesson 7 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 7 Popular Counseling Specialties

Lesson 8. Counseling Arrangements

One-on-one counseling or individual counseling generally focuses on the concerns the client has raised. The counselor and client work together to develop strategies to address client goals and decide the length of time needed to resolve client concerns. 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 8 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 8 Counseling Arrangements

Lesson 9. Counselor Self Care Strategies

Self care is an intrinsic, ongoing, and highly important responsibility that should be practiced by everyone, particularly those in health care. Its goal is to ensure that the professional's mental and physical wellbeing is in good shape. 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 9 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 9 Counselor Self-Care Strategies

Lesson 10. The Social Worker

Social work is a profession for those with a strong desire to help improve people's lives. They assist people by helping them cope with everyday issues, deal with their relationships and solve personal and family problems. 8 Total Points
  • Lesson 10 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 10 The Social Worker

Lesson 11. Counseling In Diverse Environments

For the counselor, information is power. In recent years, the work of counselors and psychologists has expanded beyond traditional environments from classrooms to courtrooms and from public safety offices to prisons. 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 11 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Counseling Sites
  • Assessment: Lesson 11 Counseling In Diverse Environments

Lesson 12. Business Aspects of Counseling

Many beginning counselors and therapists thirst for realistic instruction, training, and specific guidelines to help them to meet the challenge of counseling in group settings. 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 12 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 12 Business Aspects of Counseling

Lesson 13. Record Keeping and Ethical Guidelines

"Licensed counselor" means a licensed marriage and family therapist, licensed mental health counselor, licensed advanced social worker, or regulated licensed independent social worker. 8 Total Points
  • Lesson 13 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 13 Record Keeping And Ethical Guidelines

Lesson 14. Counseling Based Communication Skills

Counseling incorporates a vast variety of areas that apply to many different environments and circumstances. Understanding human behavior and improving communication are essential when interacting positively with others. 75 Total Points
  • Lesson 14 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Course Completion Poll: Your Thoughts; Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course); Course Comments
  • Assessment: Lesson 14 Counseling Based Communication Skills
  • Assessment: The Final Exam
Total Course Points

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Define what a counselor is.
  • Summarize the basic skills needed to be a successful counselor.
  • Evaluate whether or not you could be a counselor.
  • Describe career options for counseling in the private sector.
  • Summarize the major counseling techniques.
  • Describe the law and legal issues behind counseling.
  • Summarize counselor self-care strategies.
  • Summarize what counseling skills a social worker needs.
  • Compare and contrast counseling techniques in diverse environments.
  • Summarize ethical guidelines a counselor needs to follow.
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Additional Course Information

Online CEU Certificate
  • Document Your Lifelong Learning Achievements
  • Earn an Official Certificate Documenting Course Hours and CEUs
  • Verify Your Certificate with a Unique Serial Number Online
  • View and Share Your Certificate Online or Download/Print as PDF
  • Display Your Certificate on Your Resume and Promote Your Achievements Using Social Media
Document Your CEUs on Your Resume
Course Title: Counseling Psychology 101
Course Number: 7550089
Lessons Rating: 4.4 / 5 Stars (2,116 votes)
Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
Availability: This course is online and available in all 50 states including: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Texas.
Last Updated: March 2023
Course Type: Self-Paced, Online Class
CEU Value: 0.9 IACET CEUs (Continuing Education Units)
CE Accreditation: Universal Class, Inc. has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
Grading Policy: Earn a final grade of 70% or higher to receive an online/downloadable CEU Certification documenting CEUs earned.
Assessment Method: Lesson assignments and review exams
Instructor: Dr. Dennis Mithaug
Syllabus: View Syllabus
Course Fee: $95.00 U.S. dollars

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Student Testimonials

  • "I found this course was really good and helpful. I found the lesson on ethics to be helpful as I didn't know some of this stuff before. I didn't know how closely related social work and counselling psychology is. It was interesting learning about that." -- Daniel D.
  • "I have completed courses with this Instructor previously and would happily undertake his future courses." -- Mary M.
  • "This Course was excellent learning experience for me, THANKS." -- Krishan A.

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