Where do Counselors Work? - Settings & Their Similarities & Differences

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  • 0:06 Role of Counselor
  • 0:48 Different Settings
  • 2:58 Similarities & Differences
  • 3:53 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Lisa Roundy

Lisa has taught at all levels from kindergarten to college and has a master's degree in human relations.

What are some of the various settings in which counselors work? How are they similar to one another? What are some differences? Explore the answers to these questions in this lesson.

The Role of the Counselor

If you are interested in this course, you are most likely a student of counseling, psychology, or social work. These are the three main areas of the counseling profession.

These three areas of counseling have a lot in common. Each of the three professions is backed by empirical research. All of these professions require graduate training. All of these professions require some type of licensure. Also, all three types of professionals work in abnormal psychology, human development, diagnostics, and different types of therapy settings. They are also all trained in multicultural competence and held to a high level of ethical standards.

Different Settings

Let's discuss some of the different settings in which people in these professions may work.

One of the most obvious settings is a private practice. This is a popular choice among counseling professionals. In a private practice, the professional would hold appointment-based counseling sessions. They could specialize in many different fields, such as family therapy, substance abuse counseling, or individual psychotherapy.

You can also find all three working in community settings, such as a hospital or the health department. Often professionals in these settings would assist individuals with diagnostics and referrals for further treatment.

Another setting for these professionals is the legal system, where they may consult or work within the prison system. You could see these professionals providing expert opinions at a trial, working to rehabilitate an inmate so they can integrate back into society, or helping an inmate adjust to incarceration.

Group homes, long-term care facilities, and short-term care facilities are also settings in which professional counseling services are needed. Individuals are typically placed in these types of care facilities because they lack the ability to care for themselves on either a permanent or temporary basis. Professionals in these settings would assist individuals with managing life skills.

Counseling professionals may also work in advocacy. Although it is possible for a counseling professional to act solely as an advocate, advocacy roles often overlap within other counseling settings. For example, a counseling professional who works in a group home for adults with mental illness may act as a community advocate for these adults along with providing direct counseling services.

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