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How to Prepare for a Career in Counselling

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As we step out of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is looking to be a higher demand for counsellors and therapists than ever before, and so getting into this field might be something you’re increasingly more interested in. 

You will already know that counsellors do a fantastic job at helping people deal with the stresses of their day-to-day lives as well as other more complicated and longer-term issues, and so, you are likely interested in knowing a little more about how to do this. 

Here are some of the skills that you require to be a great counsellor as well as how to get ready for a successful career in counselling:

Work on listening and attentive skills

One of the first things that you will want to look into is the development and dexterity of your existing listening skills. 

It isn’t a secret that a lot of counselling workflows do depend on a practitioner’s ability to listen, understand and work to assist in patient issues, and so this is a skill you really want to be sure that you have on lock.

For a lot of those in the field, or interested in the field, these skills have come naturally over time, though it is good to know that these listening skills can also be developed and strengthened with practice. 

It is also a good idea to work on understanding when to interject in conversations as well as when to simply listen and absorb. There is a lot of back and forth in the counselling industry between client and counsellor, and so you want to strike up a good balance of listening and talking skills. 

Build resilience

Another point to keep in mind about working in the field of counselling is that you want to ensure you have a level of mental resilience that enables you to work effectively even when things get a little tough. 

You may have already guessed this tip, though we will highlight it anyway. 

There is a lot of heavy and sometimes jarring conversation points that occur in counselling sessions and because of this, you want to make sure you’re able to listen, absorb, understand and move on from client to client. If you are unable to do this, you could suffer from burnout and be unable to assist a myriad of your other clients with a high level of effectiveness. 

All of that noted, building your mental resilience is imperative to preparing for your career in counselling. 

Undertake the required formal education

In most states across the country, you will find that there is a level of formal education required by counsellors, and so you will need to make sure you have this under your belt before you begin. 

Of course, as we step into the online-only age post-Covid, you’re able to undertake a number of counselling and psychology-based courses online that ensure you’re upskilling and getting taught everything you need to know. 

Platforms online such as Train Smart are a great example of this, and you’re able to capitalise on these courses to better prepare for a career in counselling. 

Build an interest in learning about others

Given that you’re looking to launch into a counselling career, you likely already have this skill down pat, though if you don’t – it’s worth building it up. 

It isn’t a secret that counsellors dive into the field to help others, and so you will want to make sure you have some sort of interest in others and learning about how best to help them. 

Generally speaking, it is human nature to want to help those in need, or who need care and attention, though when you’re in the field of counselling, this ‘nature’ needs to be amplified.

Again, we’re happy to say that you’re able to work on building this empathy skill and working to better respect and yearn to help others. 

Work on removing judgement 

Another key point to mindful of is the fact you need to work on cutting back on any and all judgment when it comes to helping out your clients. 

Though you may have a good ability not to show your judgment, if it is still rearing its head, then you will be less able to work effectively and develop plans for your clients that work to solve their problems. 

With this in mind, it is good to work on developing a mental note or a mental process of your own where you simply listen, engage and understand someone for who they are, rather than wondering or judging them on why they’ve made a particular decision. 


With all of those points in mind, it is clear to see that preparing for a career in counselling is rather straightforward given that you have the base attributes for the career path. 

You want to make sure you hone your skills in understanding others and always work on keeping personal judgment to a minimum. 

One final thing to note is that you will want to ensure you have the required formal education. Counselling fields are often regulated, and so you will want to make sure that you have all of the correct qualifications to succeed.

Dennis Relojo-Howell is the managing director of Psychreg.


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