Psychologists and counselors know that support systems are important. This is as true for your personal life as it is for your professional life. That’s why so many psychologists and counselors choose to join professional groups. With benefits such as continuing education opportunities, networking events, and publications delving into the latest ideas and research, professional groups can provide you with support and knowledge throughout your career. These groups can also help you connect with others in the psychology or counseling field and are often even beneficial to students earning their counseling or psychology degree.
What do psychology and counseling professional groups do?
The primary purpose of psychology and counseling professional groups is to help advance their professions by giving members the resources they need to succeed. The resources you can find through a professional group may include:
Every year, new ideas and research change the fields of psychology and counseling. Professional groups can help keep you up-to-date. Many groups publish newsletters and/or peer-reviewed journals, and many maintain online databases of research studies and articles. A number of groups also provide educational materials and host seminars that can help you earn continuing education credits.
Research is integral to the advancement of psychology and counseling. That’s why a number of professional groups devote themselves to funding, publishing, and/or promoting research. The journals and conferences of professional groups are the primary ways research is shared and discussed.
By hosting online forums, conferences, and conventions, psychology and counseling professional groups give you opportunities to meet with colleagues and leaders in your field. Annual gatherings often draw professionals from all over the world and are a great place to network and share ideas.
Not only do many psychology and counseling groups for professionals keep you updated on the laws and regulations affecting your field, these groups also conduct important advocacy. Many groups work with policy-makers to ensure policy decisions support the needs of psychologists, counselors, and their patients.
How do professional groups benefit students?
A number of psychology and counseling groups for professionals offer resources specifically for students. These resources include advice on obtaining letters of recommendation, tips on determining authorship, help with crisis management, opportunities for mentorship, and listings of internships and jobs.
If you are currently enrolled in an online psychology degree program or an online counseling degree program, you have the advantage of already being well versed in the kinds of online platforms typically used by professional groups. Plus, earning a psychology or counseling degree online means you are learning in a flexible format. You can use that flexibility to participate in all the opportunities offered by the professional groups of your choice.
What are some of the best psychology and counseling groups for professionals?
There are a large number of psychology and counseling groups for professionals serving nearly every specialty and locality. You should look into which groups serve your specific area of interest as well as which groups are active in your area. Joining these groups can help advance your career. You may also want to consider joining one of the larger psychology or counseling organizations. These include:
American Psychological Association
The APA is the world’s largest organization representing psychologists. Members include researchers, educators, clinicians, students, and consultants. The organization offers a broad range of resources encompassing educational opportunities, career services, and networking events.
Association for Psychological Science
Specifically devoted to the advancement of scientific psychology studies, the APS supports more than 25,000 members worldwide. The organization publishes research, hosts an annual conference, and works to increase support for research.
National Alliance of Professional Psychology Providers
The NAPPP supports the clinical practice of psychology by advocating for an effective mental health system, and by providing members with resources such as free continuing education courses, practice tools, malpractice insurance, electronic health records, and networking opportunities.
Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology
SIOP is dedicated to advancing the field of industrial and organizational psychology and has more than 8,000 members worldwide. They offer industry information through publications and conferences, and also offer networking opportunities for members.
Society for Police and Criminal Psychology
SPCP membership is open to anyone interested in the field of criminal justice or related areas and there are no educational requirements. They promote the scientific study of police and criminal psychology and the application of scientific knowledge to problems in criminal justice.
The Association for Addiction Professionals
Specifically for those working as addiction professionals or training to do so, the NAADAC is focused on education, advocacy, standards of practice, ethics, professional development, and research.
American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
The AAMFT provides career services, educational materials, and networking opportunities to marriage and family counselors across the world.
American Counseling Association
With more than 56,000 members, the ACA is the world’s largest organization representing professional counselors. The organization provides resources and continuing education to counselors in all varieties of practice settings. The ACA also has a government affairs division to advance the policy needs of counselors and their patients.
Mental Health Counselors Association
As the leading organization for licensed clinical mental health counselors, the AMHCA provides the continuing education, publications, advocacy, and networking opportunities that mental health counselors need to thrive in their careers.
American School Counselor Association
The ASCA provides the support that school counselors need to help their students. The organization offers professional development, important periodicals, professional liability insurance, and networking opportunities.
National Organization for Human Services
The NOHS developed the widely-used Ethical Standards for Human Service Professionals. They also offer certification for human services professionals, advocates and helps implement a social policy and agenda, and much more.
How else can I help my career?
A great way to begin or advance your psychology or counseling career is to earn an online psychology degree or an online counseling degree. By earning your degree online, you can take advantage of the convenience and flexibility of online learning. This can save you both time and money while allowing you to continue working in your current job. With an online psychology degree program, you can earn such psychology degrees as a BS in Psychology, MS in Psychology, MS or PhD in Developmental Psychology, MS or PhD in Industrial and Organizational Psychology, MS or PhD in Forensic Psychology, or PhD in Psychology. Online counseling degrees include MS in School Counseling, MS in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling, MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and MS in Addiction Counseling.
Earning the right online degree and joining a strong professional group can help lead you to a fulfilling career as a psychologist or counselor.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering counseling and psychology degrees in a blended model and online. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.