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A Christian psychologist is a licensed mental health professional who provides counseling services to individuals. He or she is well-versed in the the principles of psychology in addition to having strong spiritual values, and applies his or her broad knowledge to help people overcome their mental issues and substance abuse problems. To become a Christian psychologist, a person must typically obtain a doctoral degree in psychology and become licensed in his or her locality.
A high school student who wants to become a Christian psychologist can prepare for his or her future career by taking advanced science, math, and psychology classes. He or she can become active in church services and Sunday school to better understand the principles of Christianity and how they can be utilized in helping others. Graduates often apply to four-year universities that have strong psychology departments.
As an undergraduate, a student usually takes many different courses related to the field, including cognitive, social, and abnormal psychology classes. Statistics, anthropology, and sociology classes are important to learn about different research methodologies and human nature. In order to gain an academic perspective on Christianity, a student who wants to become a Christian psychologist often enrolls in religious studies courses. Upon completion of a bachelor's program, a student usually applies for psychology doctoral programs and takes a written graduate exam.
Gaining admission into an accredited graduate psychology school depends on a student's educational records, success on the graduate exam, references, and personal essays. Once admitted, a student usually meets with faculty members and guidance counselors to outline a plan for his or her doctoral program. A person might pursue a PhD or PsyD, both of which require five to seven years of classroom studies and practical training in a clinical psychology setting.
After receiving a degree, a person who wants to become a Christian psychologist is usually required to assume a one to two year internship in a hospital or other clinical setting. As an intern, a person spends a great deal of time observing experienced professionals and assisting with evaluations. He or she might be allowed to provide counseling services under the supervision of licensed psychologists.
Passing a licensing test offered by a person's state or country is usually necessary to become a Christian psychologist. Additional certification is offered by certain organizations, such as the American Board of Professional Psychology, which can improve a person's credentials and create more job opportunities. The majority of new psychologists work in individual or group private practices, where their special knowledge of Christian tenets is sought by individuals.