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Should you become a counsellor?

posted by Hannah on Friday, 5 May 2017

Do you have an interest in helping other people? If so, you may wish to follow a career as a counsellor. Counselling is a job that will always be in high demand. 

If you are interested in helping children grow in confidence, are keen to assist adults in strengthening their mental health and relationships or are eager to work with families to aid conflict resolution, a career as a counsellor might be for you. 

What is counselling?

Counselling is a term often used to refer to therapy in general. However, it is a type of treatment in its own right. Based on talking therapy, this is often a one-on-one form of treatment where a trained therapist helps individuals cope with:

  • Difficult physical health diagnoses
  • Mental health conditions
  • Exploring sexual identity
  • Navigating difficult life events
  • Working through complicated emotions
  • Plus many more complex experiences and issues.

What does a counsellor do?

After developing a basis of trust, a counsellor works with clients to explore a specific problem, with the result often including mental healing of some kind. Whether it be overcoming a current challenging situation, or working through past hurts, a counsellor’s day-to-day schedule will rarely be the same. 

Desirable traits of a counsellor

Counselling is a career path that many people are drawn to. Often, people who find themselves helping their friends or advising family feel they may suit this job role. However, there are several vital traits and personal qualities that you need to possess to be successful in this field:

Effective communication

One essential trait required to be a successful counsellor is the ability to communicate effectively. This includes being able to implement excellent listening skills to understand the needs of clients properly. 

Additionally, developing proper questioning techniques is required to build a productive, trusting, open and honest client-counsellor relationship. 

Trust-building skills

Helping clients feel at ease, and establishing a good rapport during the initial stages of counselling is crucial. People who wish to access counselling will usually do so due to having issues or concerns they need to work through. As this may be difficult for them, it is essential that they feel they can trust their counsellor. When they feel safe, they will be more likely to express themselves freely. 

Expressing empathy

To be effective, a counsellor must have an overall empathetic desire to help others improve their situation. Empathy refers to the ability to understand and relate to other people’s feelings. 

Great patience

Counsellors work with people with a diverse range of needs. Therefore, patience is crucial. Some clients will be more challenging than others, either due to non-engagement or being purposefully obstructive. 

Behaviours like these need to be responded to positively and in a tolerant manner. Efficient management of these behaviours can prevent barriers from being built and help to maintain positive relationships.

Lack of judgement

People from all walks of life, with a wide range of past experiences, may benefit from counselling. Even if a client has made decisions or acted in a way their counsellor cannot relate to or agree with, it is the counsellor’s responsibility to treat them the same as they would treat anyone else and remain non-judgemental. 

Sensitivity

A counsellor’s job role requires them to explore potentially difficult aspects of a client’s past. Therefore, sensitivity is essential. This includes being mindful of the questioning techniques they choose to utilise. In this role, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach. 

Counsellor training

If you feel you possess these traits and are willing to develop your skills and knowledge through training, a career in counselling is undoubtedly worth considering. You may wish to invest in one of our accredited counselling courses online. These include courses in Counselling for Children, Life Coaching and our Advanced Counselling Diploma. Better yet, as a distance learning provider, all of our courses can be completed from the comfort of home.