Why Choose Counseling as a Career Choice
Choosing Counseling as a Profession
Have you have ever thought about counseling for a career?
What is Counseling?
Definition of Counseling
'the provision of assistance and guidance in resolving personal, social, or psychological problems and difficulties, esp. by a professional.
People have many different reasons to choose counseling as a career such as:
- Having a strong desire to help or enjoying helping people
- A natural ability to understand and listen to people
- Enjoying an experience of volunteering in a welfare setting etc
- Personally receiving help from counseling and a desire to give back to others.
Professional counseling is a relationship between counselor and client that helps clients to become empowered to face and cope with life issues and to become better educated about mental health and well being.
Traditionally to become a qualified counselor most counselors had to go through the disciplines of psychology or social science at university. Consisting of four years of straight psychology and offering few counseling subjects a counselor in training was offered little practical experience to gain employment in the field of counseling. But with the introduction of specific counselor training colleges and universities realizing the need for students to become better prepared in the health industry there are increased opportunities for people to gain the qualifications they need with a specific undergraduate and post graduate counseling course; to gain experience that is so important with work placement in a counseling industry while training and the practical skills that are so needed with specific counseling subjects on offer.
A professional counselor must be prepared to:
- Complete an undergraduate degree and further graduate study
- Be registered with an accredited counseling body
- Meet the requirements of the organization to practice
- Attend regular clinical supervision sessions
- Be involved in continuing professional development and upgrading skills
Types of Counseling.
Counseling is needed for many reasons and may include;
- Counseling after illness
- Accident and Rehabilitation
- Depression and Anxiety
- Grief and loss counseling
- Trauma counseling
- Family Therapy
- Career counseling
- Marriage and Relationship
- School Counseling
- Weight Loss
- Premarital counseling
- Study skills
- Exam preparation
- Significant life changes
- Domestic violence
- Drug and alcohol
- Self harm and suicidality
- Learning and educational problems
- Health issues
Counseling can be a most satisfying and rewarding career choice for some of the following reasons:
- Making a difference in someones life - The ability to help someone become empowered to change their life is both satisfying and rewarding for a counselor. To be given the privilege of being involved in and helping someone get out of an abusive situation, overcome a life crippling mental health illness such as depression or to become free of addiction is such a valuable and worthwhile occupation.
- It is a career in a health profession that is growing - the opportunities to work as a counselor are endless as counselors can be self employed in private practice; employed in many areas of health services such as in medical centers, counseling centers and welfare organizations working as drug and alcohol counselors, gambling and financial help, crisis help lines, domestic violence support, marriage and relationship counseling therapists, teaching parenting skill training; in hospitals as social workers for bereavement, pastoral care and trauma counselors, post natal depression help; and schools, colleges and universities as school counselors for kids struggling with learning difficulties, bullying and friendship issues,mental health issues such as depression/anxiety/deliberate self harm/suicidality, family pressure & expectations, stress in coping with separation & divorce.
- Training - Trainee counselors learn much about themselves and also learn valuable life skills such as interpersonal and communication skills. Placing oneself in the vulnerable but useful position of role playing different scenarios a trainee counselor learns the valuable lesson of what it is like to be walking in the shoes of clients in the same situations
- The opportunity to make a difference to society as a whole - helping an individual to resolve personal, psychological or social issues will most likely impact on family and friends and in turn will benefit many people that the individual is involved with. For example a gambling counselor may help a gambling addict break his obsession to gamble, saving countless dollars being sucked into the black hole of debt, fear and poverty that is often associated with compulsive gambling.
To become a counselor one needs to have:
- a strong desire to interact with people
- be able to communicate with people
- make a commitment to complete an undergraduate degree and study further graduate work
- be willing to attend clinical supervision sessions with an accredited supervisor
Some basic skills are helpful if you are considering counseling as a career:
- a genuine like for people
- compassion for people who are hurting
- being a good listener
- being able to keep information about people confidential
- able to be non judge mental
Through the process of training you will learn to:
- Listen well
- To read body language
- To reflect feelings back
- Be empathetic
- Understand and follow specific theoretical models in counseling practice
Some of the more modern Therapies that counselors use in practice today are:
- Solution Focused Therapy or Brief Therapy focuses on what clients want to achieve through therapy, rather than on the problem that made them come for help and seeks to help clients find solutions.
- Strengths Based Counseling focuses on what is going right in a person’s life. The counselor and client work together to find past and present successes and use these to address the challenges.
- Client Centered counseling first developed by the well known Psychologist Carl Rogers in which the counselor provides unconditional positive regard for a client and sets up a warm, accepting climate where the client is able to develop and grow as he / she wants and needs to.
- Cognitive Behavior Therapy - Cognitive therapy focuses on the way people think, behave, and communicate instead of fousing on past experiences and problem solving. The premise is changing thinking changes behavior.
- Narrative Therapy takes both a collaborative and respectful approach and focuses on the stories of peoples lives and looks at what people have done or are doing that works for them.
If you have a heart for people and think you have what it takes then counseling may be the right career choice.