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How to Become a Counsellor

Job Description: Counsellors are persons who listen to others and guide them through difficult times. Counsellors are generally expected to be confident, caring, empathetic, pragmatic, helpful and friendly. The hours are usually 9 to 5 as most counselling is by appointment. Being a Counsellor is a good job for many people, but the key traits to have are a sociable personality, strong listening skills, excellent communication ability, ability to empathise with others and you must not be prejudiced towards others.


Entry Requirements

Many Counsellors start their career in training or by attending a counselling course at college or university, the entry requirements of which will vary depending on providers. If you have no previous experience or aren’t in training you can gain a ‘Year one certificate in Counselling and Organisational Dynamics’ or ‘ Certificate in Psychodynamic Counselling and Organisational Dynamics’ which will allow you direct access to the secondary training tier. Alternatively if you have a little experience or are working in a counselling environment you can opt for an MSc programme, foundation degree, or year two of the ‘Certificate in Counselling and Organisational Dynamics’

Responsibilities and Duties

Standard duties for a Counsellor include attending counselling sessions with patients, listening to them speaking about their issues or concerns and then discussing the root of the issues or possible ways to resolve the issue. You must make sure that all sessions are handled empathetically and confidentially. Keeping a good rapport with your client and assisting them as much as possible to ensure that they are kept safe and feeling secure and listened to be important. You have to be able to handle very emotional persons in a non-emotive but supportive manner. You may have to deal with hysterical or hostile persons, so a calm manner is essential. Keeping an accurate record of sessions is important so written communication skills are a must.

Working Hours

Most Counsellors work from an appointment basis so that hours tend to be 8 hour shifts during sociable hours. Some counsellors may be employed within schools, so the hours would be term time. Others may work in the community and so might have a Saturday surgery. Self-employed counsellors may set their own hours to suit. GP surgery counsellors may have to make home visits or meet at community settings so some travel may have to be factored into your working day rota.

Skills and Training Development

Counsellors can expect to progress through their careers by furthering their education by attaining more certification or more diverse therapies such as Cognitive behavioural therapy, dynamic behaviour therapy, relaxation techniques and breathing therapies. Specialising in minority care or the counselling of different cultures can be beneficial to those wishing to seek promotion as they tend to be under represented in the general counselling community.

Average Salary

The average salary for a Trainee Counsellor is £19,000 PA.
The average salary for a qualified Counsellor is £24,000 PA.
The average salary for a Senior Counsellor is £30,000 PA.

photo by: dc office

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