A Call for Greater Collaboration between the Counseling Psychology and School Counseling Professions

Article excerpt

As a profession in the 21st century, counseling psychology, like many other helping professions (e.g., school counseling), is confronted with several harsh realities that undermine its professional well-being. In many of these cases, the profession is forced to redefine itself and renew its focus. With the rapid changes in health care, it is clear that counseling psychology has endured many challenges (Heppner, Cases, Carter, & Stone, 2000). For example, since 1994, the number of counseling psychology graduates who begin their first job in private practice has declined dramatically (Neimeyer, Bowman, & Stewart, 2001). These decreases have often been attributed to health care cutbacks and changes with third-party insurance payments (Romano & Kachgal, 2004).

Another significant change is the number of counseling psychology programs housed in colleges of education (Hoffman & Carter, 2004; Romano & Kachgal, 2004). Although the number of counseling psychology programs almost tripled from 1970 to 1995 (Heppner et al., 2000), nearly half of them were housed in psychology departments (Hoffman & Carter, 2004). Today, counseling psychology programs are increasingly found in colleges of education (Hoffman & Carter, 2004; Pope, 2004). According to the American Psychological Association (APA; 2002), less than 20% of these programs are still located in or affiliated with psychology departments. Hoffman and Carter reported that, at least in the last 20 years, 3 out of the 40 counseling psychology programs that received APA accreditation were located in psychology departments. Furthermore, these authors insinuated that the "majority" of the newly accredited counseling psychology programs are located in colleges of education.

Because counseling psychology has a long-standing history of distancing itself from educational issues (Lichtenberg & Goodyear, 2004; Sprinthall, 1990; Whiteley, 1984; Worthington & Juntunen, 1997), the change from psychology to education often puts it at a disadvantage when competing for resources in colleges of education. In regard to counseling psychology graduate programs, the students and faculty in these programs are often seen as outsiders in colleges of education because their programs lack connection with school-related activities (Pope, 2004). Moreover, they are often perceived as liabilities by other programs' faculty because counseling psychology programs require substantial resources to operate (Galassi & Akos, 2004; Pope, 2004). It is also important to note that these programs primarily involve doctoral students. After conducting basic cost--benefit analyses, deans and other program faculty often raise questions about the relevance of counseling psychology programs in colleges of education (Pope, 2004; Romano & Kachgal, 2004). Such questions not only affect counseling psychology programs but also present difficulty for other graduate programs (e.g., exercise physiology and rehabilitation counseling) that are costly to maintain and/or struggle to connect with the larger mission of colleges of education.

* At a Crossroad: Prospects for Change

As Hoffman and Carter (2004) discussed in their editorial for a special issue of The Counseling Psychologist, "Counseling Psychology and School Counseling," counseling psychology is at a major crossroads. Even with the aforementioned issues, there are still numerous opportunities for counseling psychology to positively influence society at-large (e.g., schools, communities, and workplaces; Carter, 2001; Fouad, 2002). As a way to explore these possibilities, Hoffman and Carter (2004) assembled a cadre of counseling leaders to participate in a "candid" dialogue on ways in which counseling psychology can establish collaborations outside of its traditional scope of practice. Using the Romano and Kachgal (2004) article as the focal point, Hoffman and Carter (2004) invited these counseling leaders (i. …