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Exploring the World of Counseling Psychology: A Comprehensive Guide

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Mental illness is about more than just feeling bad. Poor mental health claims relationships, jobs and lives. Worldwide, more than 700,000 people die by suicide annually, and in the United States, the rate has risen sharply. Mental illness often plays a role in relationship troubles and increases the risk of divorce by up to 80%. Overdoses have increased dramatically, and most people live with some degree of chronic stress.

If you want to make a difference, improve mental health in your corner of the world and support people through life’s many ups and downs, a career in counseling psychology could empower you to do so. 

SNU’s Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology caters to busy adults who want to graduate quickly and become effective, empathetic counselors. 

Adults sitting in a circle speaking to a mental health conselor

What You Need to Know About the Mental Health Shortage

Rates of mental illness are rising, but many people wait months or even years to access care. There just aren’t enough counselors available to meet the growing need. This mental health shortage is catastrophic for public health. 

The good news is that people who enter this profession enjoy many employment opportunities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 22% growth in the mental health field over the next decade — a significantly higher rate than average. When a profession is in high demand, the benefits include: 

  • Better negotiating power for higher wages and improved benefits. 
  • More job opportunities. 
  • A low chance of unemployment. 

You’ll also be making a real difference in the world. Families who have been unable to receive care may finally access it because of you. You will ease children’s anxious minds, mend relationships, help people recover from trauma and support people who are leaving abusive relationships. People work for pay, but in mental health services, that is just one part of the story. Making a difference in people’s lives matters, helping you shape a legacy that can extend into the next generation and beyond. 

Oklahoma needs counselors. SNU helps our graduates chart a course from application to graduation to licensure. We can help you fill gaps in the mental health system and work with you to ensure you become licensed to practice. 

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What Makes a Good Counselor?

If you have the attributes that make a good counselor, the odds are good that many people in your life already treat you like a counselor. Do folks routinely come to you with their problems? Are you more interested in learning about others than talking about yourself? Are you able to accept a range of viewpoints and lifestyles? Do you have deep empathy? Do you want to make the world a better place? 

Paul Jones, Director of SNU’s Graduate Programs in Psychology, argues that the best counselors share these characteristics

  1. Sense of humor
  2. Intelligence
  3. Humility and open-mindedness
  4. Responsibility
  5. Authenticity
  6. Empathy
  7. Insight and self-awareness
  8. Imagination
  9. Curiosity
  10. Courage

The right training helps you hone these skills and provide the greatest possible support to your clients.

Counselor writing on a notebook while treating a patient

What to Expect from a Master’s in Counseling Psychology Program

The right master's degree in counseling is rigorous enough to expand your mind and challenge your worldview, but supportive enough to help you graduate.

At SNU, we balance rigor with support, ensuring we graduate compassionate and empathetic people who are well-prepared to improve the world. Our program offers several different concentrations, including: 

  • Licensed professional counselor
  • Marriage and family therapist 
  • Play therapist
  • Drug and alcohol counseling 
  • Research 

At just $575 per credit hour, you’ll complete 60 credit hours, with the ability to graduate in as few as 28 months. Some courses you’ll take include: 

  • Lifespan Development
  • Theories and Techniques of Counseling 
  • Introduction to Counseling Techniques
  • Professional Orientation
  • Psychopathology 
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What Can You Do With a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology?

A Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology prepares you for a range of potential careers. They include:

  • Starting a private practice as a clinician and working with children, families, couples or individuals. 

  • Working in a nonprofit setting. 

  • Working for a government. 

  • Working in the criminal justice system as an advocate, consultant or treatment provider. 

  • Becoming an entrepreneur. You might start your own counseling practice, consulting business or political psychology firm. 

  • Writing. Many people with a background in psychology become authors or mental health writers. 

  • Sharing thought leadership. Some counselors become sought-after speakers and mental health experts. 

  • Becoming a school counselor, consultant or administrator. 

Even if you ultimately enter another field, your psychology degree can serve you well. Teachers can use their training to better serve their students. Business executives can harness their knowledge of human psychology to relate to colleagues and employees. No matter where you go, your training goes with you, making your life easier and relationships better. 

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From Graduation to Licensure

The next step on the road to your counseling psychology career is becoming licensed. You’ll need to meet state licensure requirements, which usually includes accumulating hours as an apprentice counselor. You may also need to pass a licensing exam and meet eligibility requirements. So before you enroll, it’s a good idea to ensure you meet these requirements and that there are no issues that could undermine your ability to become licensed.

SNU prepares students for licensure in Oklahoma. Our fully accredited program also ensures you can meet the licensure requirements for whatever state in which you hope to practice. 

SNU is committed to helping future counselors graduate with the skills they need to make the world a better place. We believe in eliminating barriers to entry, including application tests, long applications and lengthy application periods. Our rolling admissions ensure that you can start when you’re ready. 

Isn’t it time to get started shaping the future you deserve? Apply now!


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