Counselling could be an exciting career path, especially if you revel in helping people deal with their challenges. Do you have a strong sense of compassion and commitment? These are two essential qualities for you to succeed as a counsellor. This article will detail everything you need to know about a career in counselling.
Your duties and responsibilities as a counsellor
Counsellors help people improve their mental health and well-being. This includes groups, couples, and families. Human beings are unique, and there’s no generalized solution to everyone’s problems. You will have to listen, understand, investigate, and propose a way forward. The following are things you’ll be expected to do.
- Assess your client’s wellness, mental and physical health
- Interview your clients about their experiences, feelings, and challenges
- Reach out to your client’s family, and gather your client’s background information
- Assist the client in setting their goals and help them get there
- Give referrals to clients who need assistance from other professionals
- Keep all records safe and confidential
- Write reports and evaluations of the client, and send them to relevant authorities if need be
Ultimately, you will have to come up with a treatment plan and follow through with your client to make sure that they get better or learn to cope with what was troubling them.
Counselling is a wide discipline. As a counselling graduate, you can choose from several career paths. Here are some of them in detail:
- Marital and family counsellor. Here you will offer guidance and support to families and married couples experiencing emotional and psychological stress. As a family and marital counsellor, you will have sessions with all the members involved or each member at a time.
- School counsellor. As a school counsellor, you will mainly assist students with different issues. These may include career choices, academic performance, peer pressure, and relationship advice. You can work at any level of education, from elementary all the way to college.
- Mental health counsellor. As a mental health counsellor, you will work with individuals who experience anxiety, grief, low self-esteem, phobias, etc. Usually, you will work as a part of a treatment team. The team includes social workers and other health professionals.
- Career counsellor. These career coaching professionals are sometimes known as vocational counsellors. They assist individuals in making career choices. As a career counsellor, you will mainly assess people and determine which career best suits them, depending on their skills and interests. You may also sometimes find yourself helping individuals deal with work-related stress.
- Substance abuse counsellor. Substance abuse counsellors, work with individuals suffering from drug addiction. If you decide to jump on the bandwagon, you will be required to help these people recover by developing a suitable treatment plan for them. This may entail daily exercises, therapy sessions, and a change in their diet.
You can lay the foundation of your counselling career by enrolling in a bachelor’s degree in psychology, sociology, or any other related field. If you want to be a licensed practitioner, you need at least a master’s degree.
You may also choose to continue to doctorate level, which will enable you to grab managerial and researcher positions. If you have an undergraduate in a different field, it might be possible to enrol for a masters in psychology, but it is not always a guarantee.
Getting a licence
Like other careers in allied health, counselling requires licensing. If you want to become a counsellor, start by researching the certifications and licensing requirements for different specialties in your region. Most jurisdictions require at least a master’s degree for you to be licensed.
Becoming a counsellor is a huge responsibility because you will be entrusted with the mental well-being of your patients. You will be expected to be empathetic, patient, and caring and understanding. However, it is an immensely fulfilling job.
Dennis Relojo-Howell is the managing director of Psychreg.