November 11 2020 - Whether it is your first step into the professional world or a career change from a role in which you weren’t suited, becoming a counsellor can be an interesting and rewarding career. The opportunity to work with people in a way that necessitates both measured approaches and social empathy - either in the pursuit of knowledge or solely to help others - is an uncommon one amongst many professions.
With this being said, a career in counselling is one that has both advantages and disadvantages. Having a comprehensive understanding of what is involved in practicing as a counsellor, as well as what is required in becoming one in the first place is crucial in deciding on a career.
The Path to Becoming a Counsellor
In determining whether or not counselling is the right career path for you, the first aspect to consider is the studying process that will provide you with the relevant accreditations and knowledge necessary.
In comparison to other professions, the path to becoming a counsellor allows for flexibility, with a number of options available to aspiring counsellors - this flexibility is one significant differentiating factor when compared to careers in a similar vein, such as psychology, which has a more defined and lengthy studying process.
Generally, the path to becoming a counsellor begins with a diploma course, where essential aspects of counselling are explored in a more general sense. Following this, aspiring counsellors have the opportunity to complete an undergraduate degree - whether this is purely for further knowledge, or for the purpose of specialisation, it will also open the door to more senior counselling opportunities and higher changes of finding work.
Finally, as a counsellor you will want to gain membership within the relevant regulatory body - doing so will ensure that you adhere to counselling standards, have access to important information, and can make use of professional development opportunities.
Before anything, the most important step in becoming a counsellor is to get an idea of the fundamentals - Upskilled lists the basic counselling skills for a good foundation going into it as a career.
The Characteristics of a Successful Counsellor
When becoming a counsellor, it is a good idea to have an understanding of the characteristics commonly found in successful people within the role. Whilst these characteristics are not necessary when it comes to counselling, having them, or otherwise working on developing them, will improve your quality of work.
One of the most important qualities within a successful counsellor is the ability to empathise with clients - this involves being open minded, seeing things from different perspectives, and exhibiting patience. Given the focus on communication and helping others, empathy and understanding are crucial. Another key aspect of counselling is the ability to work in a manner that is organised and ethical. This means taking the responsibility to remain educated on best-practice, respecting the responsibility you hold, and managing patients in a respectful and appropriate manner.
The Benefits That Come From a Career in Counselling
If you are considering a career in counselling, there are a range of benefits that will come as a result - both for you and the community as a whole.
In terms of the advantages that you will receive yourself, there are various - firstly, the average salary earned by a counsellor is above the national average. Secondly, the skills gained in a counselling position are transferable to a vast range of industries and positions. Whether it is human resources, management, teaching or healthcare - any position that involves communication and dealing with others will benefit. Furthermore, these skills will also come in handy in your personal life, whether it is in terms of managing relationships, making friends, or just improving upon the way you exhibit empathy in general.
On top of the benefits that you will see in a career in counselling, you will also be helping the wider community. Helping other people in terms of their mental health is something that can be rewarding and life changing, for both the counsellor and the patient. This can be true whether tin terms of assisting with relationship problems, helping people to discover their self worth, or approaching any other task that a counsellor may encounter.
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