As a pupil, you have probably heard of counsellors – those in and outside of school. But have you thought about counselling as a career?
Counsellors work in lots of places and support people who are dealing with different issues.
School counsellors help young people in education by building a strong, trusting relationship and encouraging them to explore their feelings, reflect on what they are going through and think about ways to manage pressures. If necessary, they will also refer their clients to other sources of help.
So, what does it take to be a counsellor? The most important skills for a career in counselling are the ability to listen to what others are saying and to support them without judging. To be a good counsellor you need to be very calm, patient, tolerant and sensitive to the feelings of others. You also need to be discreet because people are sharing very personal information with you.
You could choose to study for a degree in something like psychology before going into a career as a counsellor. This isn’t necessary though, although it could open up other career options within a similar field.
Most employers will ask that you are trained in counselling though and that you are a member of a professional body, which shows that you are qualified to do the job.
Training pathway to become a counsellor:
- Complete an introductory counselling course. These typically last about 10 weeks.
- Progress to studying for a certificate in counselling, which will give you a good theoretical understanding of counselling.
- Complete a diploma in counselling. This will normally take you a year if you study full time or two years if you study part time. When you do this you will normally do approximately 100 hours in a supervised placement. This enables you to become a member of The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).
It’s important to remember that it’s not just the qualifications that count, proving that you have the skills and personal qualities to be a counsellor are just as important!
There are lots of different approaches to therapy. To find out more about these you could visit the student pages of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy website – www.bacp.co.uk