Counseling Psychology in Veterans Affairs Medical Centers: Perceptions of Chiefs of Psychology

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Abstract

Counseling psychology has attempted to define itself in ways that accurately reflect the specialty, that do not limit its practitioners from working in their domains of competence, and that set it apart from clinical psycholgy. Cleveland (1980) considered the success of this self-definition in a survey on the perception of counseling psychologists by chiefs of psychology services in the Veterans Administration medical centers (VA). He suggested that counseling psychologists were “defecting” to clinical positions in the VA and that some negative bias existed toward counseling psychology by some VA chiefs. This survey attempts to determine whether the chiefs' attitudes have shifted as counseling psychology redefines itself. Results were similar to those found by Cleveland: Negative bias exists but has decreased. In addition, counseling psychologists in the VA have found a variety of positions, expanding their role beyond previous narrow definitions.

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