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Distinction between Counselling and Clinical Psychology in Canada

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I am looking into applying to this program at the University of Toronto: Master of Education in Counselling Psychology Counselling & Psychotherapy Field:https://www.oise.utoronto.ca/aphd/Home/Future_Students/Master_s_Degrees/Master_s_Degrees_for_Domestic_Students.html. Although I originally wanted to become a Clinical Psychologist, I am becoming increasingly disillusioned by the process, particularly the need for a thesis course or research experience (which I do not have either). Now, before someone does mention it, I know the Clinical Psychology program is heavily research focused so that is why they require it, but I cannot justify, financially or time wise, going back to university just for a thesis course. Also, I should mention as an aside that I am interested in research and know it propels the practice forward, but I just feel so behind in terms of my research experience. I have the practical experience though, which is what I want to do anyway. 

I am very practically minded and love my current job which is working directly with veterans in group and individual therapy with a variety of mental health challenges.  I have experience in the field working with different approaches (ACT, CBT, MBCT etc.) and in different populations (adults, teenagers, children). I love this type of work and can see myself doing it for a very long time. My main questions are: Can anyone clear up the distinction between Counselling and Clinical Psychology in Canada? What are the differences in terms of the people I can help/treat? Any differences in terms of salary and need in the market? Does anyone know any other programs in Counselling or Clinical Psychology in Ontario that don't require the research/thesis requirement? Lastly, even though it is not a requirement listed in this program on the website, will not having any research exposure harm my chances into this particular program?

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23 hours ago, logical_emotion said:

I am looking into applying to this program at the University of Toronto: Master of Education in Counselling Psychology Counselling & Psychotherapy Field:https://www.oise.utoronto.ca/aphd/Home/Future_Students/Master_s_Degrees/Master_s_Degrees_for_Domestic_Students.html. Although I originally wanted to become a Clinical Psychologist, I am becoming increasingly disillusioned by the process, particularly the need for a thesis course or research experience (which I do not have either). Now, before someone does mention it, I know the Clinical Psychology program is heavily research focused so that is why they require it, but I cannot justify, financially or time wise, going back to university just for a thesis course. Also, I should mention as an aside that I am interested in research and know it propels the practice forward, but I just feel so behind in terms of my research experience. I have the practical experience though, which is what I want to do anyway. 

I am very practically minded and love my current job which is working directly with veterans in group and individual therapy with a variety of mental health challenges.  I have experience in the field working with different approaches (ACT, CBT, MBCT etc.) and in different populations (adults, teenagers, children). I love this type of work and can see myself doing it for a very long time. My main questions are: Can anyone clear up the distinction between Counselling and Clinical Psychology in Canada? What are the differences in terms of the people I can help/treat? Any differences in terms of salary and need in the market? Does anyone know any other programs in Counselling or Clinical Psychology in Ontario that don't require the research/thesis requirement? Lastly, even though it is not a requirement listed in this program on the website, will not having any research exposure harm my chances into this particular program?

The distinction between clinical/ counselling is largely historical. In Canada, or at least where I live, You will see counselling psychologists working in clinical settings and vice versa. For example, I interned at a place where counselling psychologists worked with people with severe PTSD. That being said, in general clinical psychology is aimed at more severe problems, such as working with people in hospitals or who are in a residential treatment program. Counselling psychology might be more things like career counselling, mild to moderate mental health issues, or relationship problems. However, there is so much diversity within the field that it's hard to fit the two into neat little boxes. 

Generally research experience is still important for getting into counselling, but less so than for clinical. You may have a better shot at course-based (non-thesis) programs, though these will make it harder to get into a PhD if that is your goal. Alberta and Saskatchewan do not require a PhD to practice. 

Are you able to start volunteering in a lab where you live?

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On 7/30/2019 at 2:41 PM, springxsummer said:

The distinction between clinical/ counselling is largely historical. In Canada, or at least where I live, You will see counselling psychologists working in clinical settings and vice versa. For example, I interned at a place where counselling psychologists worked with people with severe PTSD. That being said, in general clinical psychology is aimed at more severe problems, such as working with people in hospitals or who are in a residential treatment program. Counselling psychology might be more things like career counselling, mild to moderate mental health issues, or relationship problems. However, there is so much diversity within the field that it's hard to fit the two into neat little boxes. 

Generally research experience is still important for getting into counselling, but less so than for clinical. You may have a better shot at course-based (non-thesis) programs, though these will make it harder to get into a PhD if that is your goal. Alberta and Saskatchewan do not require a PhD to practice. 

Are you able to start volunteering in a lab where you live?

Thanks for the reply, Springxsummer! That is a very good question. Unfortunately, I am back in my home city, which doesn't have any opportunities for psychological research. However, I am currently boosting my clinical experience.

Also, as I alluded to before, I am kind of concerned about moving to a new area where I could potentially get research experience and get my thesis course done,  as I am not sure where an appropriate amount of income would come from and the amount of time that would take. I am mostly worried about leaving my current job and trying to support myself.

My ultimate goal was to become a clinical psychologist; however, I have recently questioned this option due to the very small admittance rates and my lack of research experience. Now, I would be completely fine with being a psychotherapist that makes a comfortable living. Coming from a poor background, I do want to make sure I am able to support myself well.  Do you happen to know the difference in terms of salary between a psychotherapist and a clinical psychologist?

 

As a a side note, do you happen to know the admittance rates for counselling psychology?

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On 7/31/2019 at 5:38 PM, logical_emotion said:

Thanks for the reply, Springxsummer! That is a very good question. Unfortunately, I am back in my home city, which doesn't have any opportunities for psychological research. However, I am currently boosting my clinical experience.

Also, as I alluded to before, I am kind of concerned about moving to a new area where I could potentially get research experience and get my thesis course done,  as I am not sure where an appropriate amount of income would come from and the amount of time that would take. I am mostly worried about leaving my current job and trying to support myself.

My ultimate goal was to become a clinical psychologist; however, I have recently questioned this option due to the very small admittance rates and my lack of research experience. Now, I would be completely fine with being a psychotherapist that makes a comfortable living. Coming from a poor background, I do want to make sure I am able to support myself well.  Do you happen to know the difference in terms of salary between a psychotherapist and a clinical psychologist?

 

As a a side note, do you happen to know the admittance rates for counselling psychology?

I'm not sure what you mean by psychotherapist. Do you mean a counselling psychologist, who provides psychotherapy? Untrained therapist?  A Canadian Certified Counsellor (I believe this one requires a counselling masters, anyway)? I can only speak to counselling and clinical psychology, as those are my targeted programs.

 You might try googling job openings for each wherever your intended area of practice is. A lot of times job postings will give a starting salary.  If income is a large factor, there are definitely career paths with a greater payoff for amount of time invested in school than clinical or counselling psychology, such as medicine. 

The admission rate for counselling psychology is low. It does vary by school, and most programs will post their acceptance rates online. It is slightly less competitive than clinical psychology, but still highly competitive. I am on my second attempt at getting in, and it's quite normal to have to try more than once. I don't want to discourage you from pursuing this career path, but I think it's important to be prepared for what you're up against. If you're willing to put in the work into developing a strong application, and you want it badly enough and are willing to be persistent, it is certainly achievable. 

Edited by springxsummer

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On 7/30/2019 at 1:41 PM, springxsummer said:

That being said, in general clinical psychology is aimed at more severe problems, such as working with people in hospitals or who are in a residential treatment program. Counselling psychology might be more things like career counselling, mild to moderate mental health issues, or relationship problems. However, there is so much diversity within the field that it's hard to fit the two into neat little boxes. 

I would second this. And also add for OP that, within counselling, there are programs found in both psychology and education departments. Sometimes, the latter are seen as less rigorous (which is probably code for less research oriented). So if your eventual plan is a PhD it might be better to stay in a psych department (or in whichever area you eventually want to complete a PhD).

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Springxsummer, this is what I was referring to, and is the most important registration for a counselling professional program: https://www.crpo.ca/education-programs/ (i.e., a registered psychotherapist).

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On 8/3/2019 at 12:13 PM, logical_emotion said:

Springxsummer, this is what I was referring to, and is the most important registration for a counselling professional program: https://www.crpo.ca/education-programs/ (i.e., a registered psychotherapist).

On 7/29/2019 at 2:37 PM, logical_emotion said:

I am looking into applying to this program at the University of Toronto: Master of Education in Counselling Psychology Counselling & Psychotherapy Field:https://www.oise.utoronto.ca/aphd/Home/Future_Students/Master_s_Degrees/Master_s_Degrees_for_Domestic_Students.html. Although I originally wanted to become a Clinical Psychologist, I am becoming increasingly disillusioned by the process, particularly the need for a thesis course or research experience (which I do not have either). Now, before someone does mention it, I know the Clinical Psychology program is heavily research focused so that is why they require it, but I cannot justify, financially or time wise, going back to university just for a thesis course. Also, I should mention as an aside that I am interested in research and know it propels the practice forward, but I just feel so behind in terms of my research experience. I have the practical experience though, which is what I want to do anyway. 

I am very practically minded and love my current job which is working directly with veterans in group and individual therapy with a variety of mental health challenges.  I have experience in the field working with different approaches (ACT, CBT, MBCT etc.) and in different populations (adults, teenagers, children). I love this type of work and can see myself doing it for a very long time. My main questions are: Can anyone clear up the distinction between Counselling and Clinical Psychology in Canada? What are the differences in terms of the people I can help/treat? Any differences in terms of salary and need in the market? Does anyone know any other programs in Counselling or Clinical Psychology in Ontario that don't require the research/thesis requirement? Lastly, even though it is not a requirement listed in this program on the website, will not having any research exposure harm my chances into this particular program?

Hi logical_emotion, 

I think I might be able to clear this up a bit for you (at least in the context of practicing in Ontario). 

1. Can anyone clear up the distinction between Counselling and Clinical Psychology in Canada?

Psychologists are licensed at the doctoral level (PhD/PsyD) in Ontario and declare areas of competence (Clinical psychology, counselling psychology, etc.)

When you complete a program at the master's level (like the M.Ed. at OISE) you are eligible to register with the CRPO and are referred to as a Registered Psychotherapist (in Ontario).  So, the question becomes what is the difference between a registered psychologist and registered psychotherapist.  The main difference between these two professions is that psychologists are able to communicate a diagnosis (assessment) for mental disorders where psychotherapists cannot.  However, both are able to treat mental disorders/deliver psychotherapy (intervention).

2. What are the differences in terms of the people I can help/treat?

In private practice, generally, you will be able to treat whoever decides to book an appointment.  In general, psychologists (doctoral level) gain exposure through their training with more severe pathology than those trained at the master's level and may feel more comfortable taking on clients in this category. 

3.  Any differences in terms of salary and need in the market?

In general, psychologists (Recommended rate in Ontario = $225/hour) will earn more than psychotherapists (I don't think the CRPO has a recommended rate - I could be wrong.  generally in the range of $100-150/hour - you can look at individual website to get a better feel for this) in private practice.  In terms of "need" in the market, I believe there are more registered psychotherapists in Ontario than psychologists (as a result of limited spots for doctoral training).  Psychologists are usually covered by third party insurance where registered psychotherapists are less likely to be covered (however, I believe this is slowly changing).  I think that "need" generally comes down to location and someone choosing you over another psychotherapist may come down to marketing.

4. Does anyone know any other programs in Counselling or Clinical Psychology in Ontario that don't require the research/thesis requirement?

The two (in Ontario) that don't require a undergrad thesis (that I'm aware of) are the program at OISE and UOttawa also offers a M.Ed. degree in counselling psychology.

5. Lastly, even though it is not a requirement listed in this program on the website, will not having any research exposure harm my chances into this particular program?

If you're applying to a non-research-based program like the ones listed above I don't think a lack of research experience will reduce your chances.  I believe they look more for appropriate clinical experience when making their admission decisions.

Hope this helps!

 

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