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BSocSci Psychology (UP) | BSocSci Psychology Honours (UP) | MA Counselling Psychology (UP)

What is a Counselling Psychologist?

Amongst South Africans, there are still a lot of people who do not completely understand what a counselling psychologist is, what role this practitioner fulfils, and how they fit into the greater scheme of things.

Common Misconceptions

Perhaps this may be because many South Africans were brought up in a society that had misconceptions about counselling and psychology. These factors have led people to rather bury and internalise their real, perceived or underlying issues that troubles and affects their daily, instead of seeking and accepting professional help from a counselling psychologist when they need it.

Consult the Appropriate Professional Practitioner

Fortunately, this negative inclination has slowly but surely changed over the past few decades. People know that if you have a toothache, you need to see a dentist. If you show symptoms of heart problems, you need to see a cardiologist. Likewise, when the training, skills and assistance of a counselling psychologist are required, you must book one or a series of consultations to help you sort out socio-psychologically and developmentally related issues in an effective, scientific, professional manner.

What a Counselling Psychologist Is and Does

Other than stating that counselling psychology is a division of social sciences, the answer to the question of what a counselling psychologist is, is best explained and most clearly understood by listing some of the qualification criteria, duties and responsibilities of counselling psychologists in South Africa.

  • A university degree in psychology forms the basis of a counselling psychologist’s qualifications and training. This is typically followed by an honours degree and, thereafter, a more specialised master’s degree, but only after the psychologist has decided in which branch of psychology they want to specialise and practice.
  • In South Africa, psychologists are required to register with an official regulatory body, such as the HPCSA (Health Professions Council of South Africa).
  • Counselling psychologists apply psychotherapeutic methods to assess, evaluate, diagnose and treat children, adolescents, and adults who face a broad spectrum of developmental and life challenges, and are struggling to cope with these issues on their own.
  • As the profession’s title indicates, the counselling function provides a safe, confidential and non-judgemental space for the individual to recognise, acknowledge, and share their challenges. Therapy takes place through counselling, which helps the person deal more effectively with challenges, rather than treating adverse symptoms of challenges with medication, wherever possible.
  • Counselling psychology assessments of children and adolescents are invaluable in assisting with a selection of subjects at and beyond school, and future career choices that best suit the individual and their natural inclinations and abilities

If you are still unsure what a counselling psychologist is and how they can help you, contact Marteleze van Graan. As a qualified counselling psychologist, Marteleze uses psychotherapy as a way to help individuals to cope more effectively with the challenges they face on a daily basis. Contact Marteleze today to book your session.