About the Job Title "Counselling Psychologist"

Counselling Psychologist Job Description

A counselling psychologist uses psychological theory and research during therapy to help clients with a range of difficult life issues or mental health conditions. Counselling psychologists must have supervised experience and a bachelors and masters degree.

Counselling Psychologist Job Profiles: This is a general writeup based on our research into Counselling Psychologist positions in the Clinical Psychologist career area. For individual, real-life job profiles of actual people with this type of job, check out our job profiles page.

What's it like to be a Counselling Psychologist?

Duties and responsibilities

A counselling psychologist uses psychological theory and research during therapy to help clients with a range of difficult life issues or mental health conditions. Such issues/conditions may include: bereavement, domestic violence, traumas, anxiety, depressions or eating disorders. They can work with children, adults, families, couples and groups.  Their typical duties and responsibilities include:

  • Undertaking assessments, including assessment of mental health needs, risk assessment and psychometric testing
  • Formulating an explanation of the client’s issues, based on psychological theory
  • Establishing collaborative working relationship with the client, based on trust and respect
  • Planning and implementing specialist psychological treatments to help clients to understand their feelings/behaviour
  • Empowering clients to address their issues, take control of them and make positive changes to their behaviour
  • Monitoring and evaluating the outcome of treatments
  • Communicating complex, technical and/or clinically sensitive information clearly to clients, their families and carers
  • Contributing to research, service evaluation and audit, either individually or as part of a team


Typically, counselling psychologist will need a bachelors degree in psychology. To become licenses, they will then need a masters degree in counselling psychology. Licensing requirements vary by state, but counselling psychologists are likely to need several thousand hours working under a licensed counselor.

Skills and relevant work experience

As well as enough supervised hours, counselling psychologists will need skills such as:

  • Interpersonal skills, as part of the counselling process is building a trusting relationship with clients
  • Analytical skills, as counselling psychologists will need to evaluate their patient to discover their issues
  • Written communication skills, as counselling psychologists will need to keep detailed reports of their clients progress. They will also contribute to research papers and must be able to write well
  • Empathy and compassion, as counselling psychologists will have to work with clients with lots of issues
  • Verbal communication skills, as counselling psychologist will need to communicate effectively with their clients and with other healthcare professionals (e.g., psychologists, psychiatrists, physicians)
  • A non-judgemental approach, as counselling psychologists must not pass judgement or advice onto a clients actions or feelings


Many counselling will work full-time, but they can also work part time if they choose. They may set up their own private practice or become self-employed and will therefore often set their own hours. However, they may have to work evenings or weekends to accommodate clients.


According to salary.com the median annual salary for a counselling psychologist in the United States was $70,277 in 2020. The lowest 10% earned less than $54,094 and the highest 10% earned more than $88,069 per year.


The importance of mental health will always be recognized, and therefore, there will always be a demand for experienced counselling psychologists. Counselling psychologists can further progress their knowledge and skills by taking doctorate degrees. They may even decide to specialize in a certain part of counselling psychology, such as domestic abuse or post-natal depression. Furthermore, psychotherapists can easily become self-employed or set up their own practice.

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