Are you wondering How to become a counselor? Here’s the lowdown on what you need to know.
‘Counsellor’ is a very vague term. It’s a field in which there are many, many specialties, all of them richly fulfilling, and you will need to decide which the one for you is. Here are only some of the fields you could find yourself working in:
• Mental Health Counsellor- Mental health counsellors are there to help people cope with various life traumas, such as stress, abuse and addiction.
• Rehabilitation Counsellors- are there to support and guide those with disabilities through the personal, social and vocational effects they bring.
• School Counsellors- are responsible for guiding children from primary school right through to college in their personal, social and developmental goals as well as their academic ones.
Are Counsellors psychologists?
Although the fields overlap, and both guide people through emotional stress, license psychologists must have a doctorate in the field, whereas counsellors generally hold Master’s degrees.
What do Counsellors do?
Obviously, counsellors counsel patients, but there’s a lot more to their work then just that. You will be required to research mental health issues, and further educational work is generally required to keep licensing up to date. Patient conditions need to be analysed, and you’ll develop a host of therapeutic techniques to treat patients. Counsellors generally assist with the modification of poor or damaging behaviours and require excellent communication skills. You may even have to refer a patient to a licensed psychologist or other professionals. Counsellors can also be an instrumental part of finding recommendations for peer support groups and more.
What do you need in order to become a counsellor?
As you will have noticed, it’s a field with a high higher education component. After all, counsellors have a profound influence on people’s lives, and the correct training is essential. Most counselling position requires at least a Master’s degree, if not a PHD. The stringent conditions don’t stop there, however, as it’s generally essential that the counsellor hold state or national licensing and certification. This will generally require at least 2 years of clinical experience, and the passing of a certification board exam.
Should I become a counsellor?
It’s an intensely rewarding field, but it’s not for unstable personality types. You require excellent communication skills, and it’s vital that you communicate clearly and well. It’s a job with extraordinarily high stress components, and you must be capable of effectively dealing with this without facing burnout or other major problems. Generally you will be handling large caseloads and once, and must be prepared for this. You patients will require considerable empathy, but it’s important that you can keep an adequate emotional distance from them at the same time. Your patients will come to rely on your guidance, and it’s essential that you’re prepared to put in the hard work, time and educational requirements for this demanding field. In turn, you will be rewarded with a chance to profoundly alter people’s lives for the better.