Counsellors work in confidential settings with individuals who are experiencing personal difficulties, to help them overcome their problems and to make appropriate changes to their life. If you’re a good listener with an interest in psychology and helping others, a career as a counsellor will suit you.
There is no clear distinction between the terms counselling and psychotherapy, and both can encompass a range of talking therapies.
Employers of Counselors
- schools, colleges, and universities
- statutory and voluntary sector care agencies, dealing with people with disabilities or specific issues such as substance abuse, eating disorders, sexual health, sexual assault and domestic violence, mental health, adoption, bereavement, rehabilitation of offenders, family relationships and homelessness
- health sector settings including hospitals, oncology, genetics, general practices, community healthcare, mental and occupational health teams
- youth services and agencies
- children’s centres
- human resource departments
- general counseling services
- specialized telephone helplines
- churches and other faith-based organizations.
- establish a relationship of trust and respect with clients
- agree a counseling contract to determine what will be covered in sessions (including confidentiality issues)
- encourage clients to talk about issues they feel they cannot normally share with others
- actively listen to client concerns and empathize with their position
- accept without bias the issues raised by clients
- help clients towards a deeper understanding of their concerns
- challenge any inconsistencies in what clients say or do
- help clients to make decisions and choices regarding possible ways forward
- refer clients to other sources of help, as appropriate
- attend supervision and training courses
- undertake personal therapy (mandatory for accreditation)
- liaise, as necessary, with other agencies and individuals to help make changes based on the issues raised by clients
- work to agreed targets in relation to client contact
- undertake group as well as individual therapy on occasions
- keep records and use reporting tools.
For graduates, it’s possible to enter the profession with a degree in any subject. A mature attitude and relevant experience is considered to be as important as degree subject you studied, although a psychology or social science degree can be advantageous. A 4 year degree in Pastoral Care & Counseling is preferable.
- Listening skills
- Sensitivity and empathy
- Patience and a calm manner
- Ability to cope with emotional situations
- Ability to relate to a wide range of people