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Billy always listens to his mother. He always does what she says. If his mother says, “Brush your teeth” , Billy brushes his teeth. If his mother says, “Go to bed”, Billy goes to bed. Billy is a very good boy. A good boy listens to his mother. His mother doesn’t have to ask him again. She asks him to do something one time, and she doesn’t ask again. Billy is a good boy. He does what his mother asks the first time. She doesn’t have to ask again. She tells Billy, “You are my best child.” Of course Billy is her best child. Billy is her only child.

Counseling psychologists pay attention to how problems and people differ across the lifespan, and they have great respect for the influence of different human traits, such as race, gender, sexual orientation, religion and disability status, on psychological well-being. They conduct counseling/psychotherapy, teach and perform scientific research with individuals of all ages, families and organizations (e.g., schools, hospitals and businesses). They believe that behavior is affected by many things, including qualities of the individual (e.g., psychological, physical or spiritual factors) and factors in the person’s environment (e.g., family, society and cultural groups).

The practice of counseling psychology encompasses a broad range of culturally sensitive practices that help people improve their well-being, alleviate distress and maladjustment, resolve crises and increase their ability to function better in their lives. With its attention both to normal developmental issues and problems associated with physical, emotional and mental disorders, the specialization holds a unique perspective in the broader practice-based areas of psychology. While both counseling and clinical psychologists practice psychotherapy, counseling psychology differs from clinical in that its practitioners tend to focus on overall well-being across the lifespan, compared to clinical clients who often are experiencing more severe symptoms of mental illness.