A Well-Kept Secret: What Counseling Psychology Can Offer Social Psychology1


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    Portions of this paper were presented as part of a symposium entitled, “Social Psychological Implications for Counseling Psychology's Future” (L.H. Gerstein, M.J. White, and C.R. Barké, Chairs) at the 1986 annual convention of the American Psychological Association, Washington, D.C.

Correspondence concerning this article should be sent to Lawrence H. Gerstein, Department of Counseling Psychology, Program in Social Psychology, Bell State University, Muncie, IN 47306.


Although social psychology has increasingly influenced counseling psychology, the impact that counseling psychology has had or could have on social psychology is less well developed. This paper considers factors that have limited counseling's influence on social psychology. In addition, contributions that counseling can make to social psychology are presented. It is argued that both disciplines have evolved to investigate the behavior of “normal” individuals in social contexts. It is concluded that there is much to be gained by both specialties in a fuller and more comprehensive integration and understanding of the findings and methods of the other.