Do you enjoy listening to people and working out solutions to their problems? Do people find it easy to relate to you and open up? If you’ve answered yes to these questions then you could have the makings of a great counsellor. Counsellors help people to open up about their problems and emotions in a confidential setting.
To be a counsellor you will need to demonstrate the ability to build trust and have people feel relaxed in your company. You must have excellent communication and listening skills and a huge amount of patience, compassion, empathy and to be non-judgmental. You are there to help them reflect on what is happening to them and to consider alternative approaches to doing things. There will also be an element of understanding your own thoughts and opinions about things too in how you relate to others. There will be some training that you must undertake and you will normally need a counselling diploma from a recognised professional body. Further study and work placements may also take place for you to gain experience. To become a member of a professional body, there will be strict rules on training, ethics and how long you’ve been practicing. As you will be working with vulnerable individuals, you will also have to undergo a CRB Check. For more information, visit http://carecheck.co.uk/.
Working in this field means that you will build relationships of trust with your clients. You will makes a plan with your client about what will be covered in each session and encourage them to talk about how they are feeling. You must listen carefully and ask questions to make sure you understand what is being related to you. Counselling involves helping the person to see things more clearly or think about things in a different light and you will need to retain a strong ethical and confidential manner. You may also need to understand when a client might need a further referral to another healthcare professional.
You could be counselling an individual or could work with groups, families or couples, face-to-face or over the telephone or internet. You might work in a variety of locations such as schools, universities, GP surgeries, colleges or hospitals. Some corporations now employ the help of counsellors with things like work place stress for their employees.
There are many different options open for counsellors with voluntary work and either full or part time work in the NHS, youth education, charities and educational settings. You can specialise in a certain area of counselling such as working with couples whose relationship is suffering, working with people with addictions, sexual abuse victims or depression. Once you have established yourself in this field, there are also opportunities to go on to management, administration, training or supervision of counsellors. There is also scope for working as a freelance or self-employed counsellor and it’s a good idea to create a portfolio of your experience, be it voluntary, part-time or private work.