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> LOM Q&A - Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is Counseling Psychology a general term for Counseling and Psychology?
2. How many types of registered psychologists are there in Hong Kong?
    What is the specialization of each type?

3. What are the similarities and differences between “Counseling” and
    “Psychotherapy”?

4. What kind of people needs counseling?
5. What is the specialization of a Counseling Psychologist about?
6. What kind of professional help should I seek when I encounter emotional, mental,
    psychological distress or when I need social services support?

7. Are the qualifications legitimate when I see a professional with multiple
    qualificatioins?

8. How do you differentiate the qualifications between a Counselor and Social 
    
Worker?
 

1. Is Counseling Psychology a general term for Counseling and Psychology?

Answer:
No, counseling psychology, counseling and psychology are three independent disciplines.

  1. Professional Branch of Psychology: Counseling Psychology is a specialty in Applied Psychology, which integrate psychological theories into counseling. It is not a general term for the two independent disciplines of psychology and counseling combined or each disciple itself. In other words, based on the differences in the fundamentals and theoretical assumptions, trainings in both disciplines, counseling and psychology, are not equivalent to that of Counseling Psychology. 
     
  2. Scientific-Practitioner Approach: Counseling Psychology adopts the Scientific-Practitioner Approach. Psycho-education, interventions, therapies and theories of this discipline integrate clinical practices, scientific research, theories of counseling and theories of psychology. Therefore, it is a professional discipline integrating clinical practices, therapeutic skills, psychological theories and research analysis. 
     
  3. Preventive Approach for Emotional and/ or Mental Symptoms: Counseling Psychology is a discipline applying theories of psychology into counseling; therefore, the theoretical approach of this discipline is a preventive one, focusing on the promotion of psychological/ mental health of individuals. From point of view, all emotional, mental and psychological disturbances are considered as the excavation of resources and transition point of psychological health enhancement (not a pathological and treatment approach). Moreover, it emphasizes the promotion of efficacy in various areas, including emotional, social, life, work, psychological and mental, of an individual to become more competent in dealing with the challenges in life.


2. How many types of registered psychologists are there in Hong Kong? What is the specialization of each type?

Answer:
Four types.

Although Hong Kong currently has no legal regulations, registered psychologists practicing in Hong Kong are regulated by The Hong Kong Psychological Society (HKPS), a professional assoication of psychology authorized by the government of Hong Kong. There is a code of practice by the Hong Kong Psychological Society (HKPS) with a registration system. The recruitment of psychologists by the government, social services organizations, and other education institutes usually take the standards and guidelines of the HKPS. 

According to the categorization of registered psychologists by the HKPS, registered psychologists in Hong Kong are divided into four divisions with different professional qualifications and specializations. 

Divisions              Education Requirements of
Professional  Qualificaitons
   
(degrees and quality of programs must be approved by the HKPS)
 Specializations  
Counselling  Psychology  Undergraduate degree  in  psychology with  Honors  and a  postgraduate  (master's  and/ or doctor's)  degree in counseling  psychology

Apply theories of counseling psychology in psycho-education, counseling, and therapy with the theoretical foundation basis in prevention and personal development. 

Specializes in various psychological assessments, allowing individuals to analyze their personal strengths and weaknesses, for example, potentials and special education needs, and assist in setting appropriate Career and Life Planning. Moreover, enhance individuals capability to deal with life challenges by enhancing various aspects of life, including emotional, cognitive, behavioural, social, psychological, etc... through psycho-education, counseling, therapies, and etc. 


Different Counseling Psychologists use different preventive approaches in therapies according to individual's backgound, qualities, and problems.

Clinical  Psychology  Undergraduate degree  in  psychology with  Honors  and a  postgraduate  (master's  and/ or doctor's)  degree in clinical  psychology

Apply psychology and psychopathology to clinical diagnosis and therapeutic work with the theoretical foundation on psychology and psychopathology. 

Specializes in using various psychological assessments to diagnose and treat individuals displaying emotional, cognitive, behavioural, social and mental symptoms. Moreover, clinical psychologists provide mental health resources and information to the public through psycho-education. 

Clinical Psychologists use different approaches in psychotherapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapies, solution-focused brief therapies, etc., according to individual's trining, diagnostic symptoms and reference cases. 

 Educational  Psychology  Undergraduate degree  in  psychology with  Honors  and a  postgraduate  (master's  and/ or  doctor's)  degree in  educational  psychology  

Apply psychology into education. Specializes in using psychology to achieve practical results, assisting in enhancing the education system and promoting the holistic development and interrelations of students, teachers and parents. In addition, understanding the challenges and special learning needs of students through psychological assessments to design and implement appropriate learning programs, enhancing students’ motivation to learn, and ability to deal with learning difficulties. 

 Industrial-  Organizational  Psychology  Undergraduate degree  in  psychology with  Honors  and  postgraduate (master's  and or doctor’s)  degree  in  industrial-  organizational  psychology

Apply theories of industrial-organizational psychology and research into the work environment. Specializes in enhancing the productivity and efficiency in corporations and companies at varying levels including organizational, departmental, team, and employees, and promoting the mental health of employees. 

** Reference to Information: The Hong Kong Psychological Society website
    at http://www.hkps.org.hk.
** Individuals who have not attained an undergraduate degree in psychology
    must first attain a postgraduate diploma in psychology before applying to any
    postgraduate programs in psychology.

3. What are the similarities and differences between “Counseling” and “Psychotherapy”?

Answer: 

 

Counseling

Psychotherapy

Similarities

  • The goal is to assist the client to deal with difficulties arising mental, emotional, behavioural, cognitive and psychological problems.
  • Values the relationship between the client and the helping professional.
  • Results are highly based on the input of client with no particular timeline.

Differences

Clients are people with emotional, social, mental and psychological distresses.

Clients are people with emotional, social, mental and psychological difficulties, emotional disorders and mental disorders.

Deal with people with mild emotional or mental disturbances, e.g. mild symptoms of anxiety.

Deal with people with moderate to severe emotional and or mental disturbances and symptoms, e.g. emotional disorders.

Main focus on exploration and personal development and assist client in dealing with challenges in life and achieving psychological growth.

Psychotherapy not only promotes personal development, but also therapeutic effects, assisting the client in identifying core problems, designing treatment plan to treat symptoms and core problems.

Provided by Counselors or Clinical/ Counseling Psychologists with training in counseling.

Must be provided by professionally qualified Clinical/ Counseling/ Educational Psychologists or Psychiatrists with training in psychotherapy. Psychological assessments may also be used to assist in diagnosis and conceptualization of cases.

Remarks:

Different types of specialized therapies, such as family, linguistics, game, or occupational therapies etc, are also available in Hong Kong; however, not all have the same effects/ results of psychotherapies.

Since there are no comprehensive regulations in Hong Kong, some people with professional qualifications who do not have the necessary training, may feign certain professional qualifications. It is suggested to verify the professional qualifications and past working experiences of the service provider; for example, the professional qualifications in family therapy of a family therapist.

 

4. What kind of people needs counseling?

Answer: 
Anyone who desires personal growth and hopes to know more about himself/ herself.

It is commonly misunderstood that counseling services are only for individuals with psychological, emotional and mental disorders but psychotherapy is what they shall seek when problems are developed into disorders. Counseling is a process in which individuals are assisted in getting to know more about themselves. Counseling is provided in individual or group setting under the confidentiality agreement between the counseling service provider and the client. 
 

5. What is the specialization of a Counseling Psychologist about?

Answer: 
Counseling Psychologists specialize in different areas than that of other psychologists and social services providers, which can be categorized into four main areas of specializations as follow:

a. Comprehensive Assessment and Intervention Approach: Counseling Psychologists put an emphasis on the “Psychological Development of Life and Career,” with the belief that the problems encountered in life are not isolated, but interrelated at different levels, affecting each other. Therefore, the approach to inventions is to promote the quality of mental health and life holistically by taking into considerations and balancing the various elements in life, including individual, family, school (/work) and community. 

b. Emphasis on Preventive Approach: In contrast to the medical and clinical approach, Counseling Psychologist adopts counseling psychology which considers the mental and emotional distresses encountered at different life stages as emotional, social and mental performances that are imbalanced or yet to excel. Hence, psychotherapies, assessments and psycho-educations equip individuals to endure the inevitable challenges in life with their abilities and resources by promoting the performances of various elements, developing potentials and effective planning of life and career.

c. Life Psychology and Career Counseling: “Life Psychology and Counseling” has been traditionally a specialization of Counseling Psychologists. It is an integration of theories, life and career assessments and counseling skills etc., with the goal to assist individuals to live a fulfilling life and prevent preventable symptoms and problems by making thorough and appropriate plans and equipping themselves for the changes in life, for example, identifying psychological needs and the roles and goals at work, in family and in the society at different stages of life.

d. Effective Identification of Core Problems: Counseling Psychologists believe effective identification and analysis of core problems that cause distresses in life with appropriate interventions are essential to effectively cure and enhance personal growth. A solid and in depth theoretical knowledge foundation (a discipline of humam analysis) and comprehensive assessments of various dimensions (e.g. psychological assessment) are required to achieve the aforementioned. Counseling Psychologists not only have extensive psychological knowledge, they also have the necessary skills to apply such knowledge on various assessments comprehensively. This is the very reason why Counseling Psychologists can work through presenting issues of clients and help them identify and deal with their core problems. 
 

 

6. What kind of professional help should I seek when I encounter emotional, mental, psychological distress or when I need social services support?

Answer: 
Depending on the type of distress, the intensity of distress, and the suspected cause. 

Due to the differences in the professional training and specializations, different professional social services assist clients with their problems from varying angles. In general, below are the specializations of various types of professionals: 

 

Psychiatrist

Psychologist

Counselor

Social Worker

Therapist

Emotional Counseling

 

☆☆o

☆☆o

  o

  o

Personal Growth Counseling

 

☆☆o ☆☆o

 

 

Premarital and Marriage Counseling

 

☆☆o

☆☆o

  o

  o

Parenting Counseling

 

☆☆o

☆☆o

☆ o

☆ o

Family and  Relationship Counseling

 

☆☆o

☆☆o

☆ o

☆ o

Love and Interpersonal Relationship Counseling

 

☆☆o

☆☆o

  o

 

Career (job seeker) Counseling

 

☆☆o

☆☆o

  o

 

Addiction Counseling

 

☆☆o

☆☆o

  o

 

Career and Life Planning Education and Counseling

 

☆☆o

 

 

 

Games / Arts Therapy

 

☆ o

☆ o

  o

  o

Occupation Therapy

  X

  X

  X

  X

  o

Therapies targeting Emotional Disorders (from the psychological level)

 

☆☆

 

 

 

Therapies targeting Mental Disorders (from the psychological level)

 

☆☆

 

 

 

Therapies targeting Mental and / or Emotional Disorders (medical treatment level)

☆☆

  X

  X

  X

  X

Psychological / Mental Assessment

☆☆

☆☆

  X

  X

  X

Career and Life Planning Assessment

 

☆☆

  X

  X

  X

Personality Assessment

 

☆☆

  X

  X

  X


Legal Professionals Assessment

☆☆ ☆☆   X   X   X

Children / Adult Intelligence Quotient Assessment

 

☆☆  

  X

  X

  X

Autism Assessment

☆☆

☆☆

(assessment from the psychologist must be referred to a psychiatrist for another assessment to be effective)

  X

  X

  X   

Special Education Needs Assessment

 

☆☆

  X

  X

  X   

Government Subsidies Application (e.g. comprehensive social security assistance or Disability Allowance)

 

  X

  X

☆☆

  X

☆☆  = Specialization of the profession
☆      = Work area of the profession, depending on training of the service provider
o       = not a specialization of the profession, depends on the training background of
             the professional
X       = not a specialization area approved by the association or government

*  The assessments mentioned above require a standardized assessment system, and acquired by
    an assessment handbook purchased from a globally approved psychological society. They are
    not “assessment” acquired from the internet.
** Reference to Information:
         -  The Hong Kong Psychological Society
               http://www.hkps.org.hk 

         -  Asian Professional Counselling Association (Hong Kong)
               http://www.apca-counselling.com/index-cn.htm

         -  The Hong Kong Professional Counselling Association
               http://hkpca.org.hk/


7. Are the qualifications legitimate when I see a professional with multiple qualificatioins?

Answer: 
It depnds on the recognition of the educational qualifications, professional associations and professional qualificaitons. 

Any professionals with related educational qualifications can attain more than one professional qualifications. For example, a Social Worker who attained a master's degree in clinical/ educational/ counseling / industrial-organizational psychology approved by the HKPS, he/ she is a Registered Social Worker and a Registered (Clinical/ Educational/ Counseling/ Industrial-organizational) Psychologist.


8. How do you differentiate the qualifications between a Counselor and Social Worker?

Answer: 
It is required to attain approved professional certification or above in the respective field (counseling or social work). 

Both Counselors and Social Workers must attain a certification, associate degree, bachelor's degree, master's degree or above in counseling and social work, respectively. The remuneration may vary depending on educational qualifications and past experiences, but anyone with the aforementioned respective educational qualifications that are recognized can be professionally qualified as a Counselor or Social Worker. 
 

 

 

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