Counsellors spend time listening and talking to people with issues and problems which could be caused by a relationship breakdown, the death of a loved one or difficulties dealing with everyday life. They will build a trusting, respectful and confidential relationship with their client and encourage them to talk about their feelings which will enable them to see things more clearly or from a different perspective. Counselling is not about giving advice or opinions nor is it a friendly chat with a friend. The therapist will help their client to understand themselves better in order to find their own solutions and cope with their situation.
Therapists may work with individuals, couples, families or other groups of people and sessions could be provided face-to-face or over the telephone. Counsellors are required in a variety of settings such as schools/colleges/universities, hospitals, addiction agencies, support groups, GP surgeries and in the workplace.
For further information go to BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy)
There are no set requirements but most employers would expect you to have membership of a body on the Professional Standards Authority's counselling register.
You may need to do further study or placement work to gain membership. For professional accreditation you'll have to meet strict rules on training, practice, ethics and length of experience.
You may be able to get into this job through volunteering.
You'll need background checks by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)if you work with people under 18, or with vulnerable adults.
Career Path and Progression
Competition for full-time paid work is strong and many counsellors do a mixture of part-time, voluntary and private work.
You may be able to move into management, administration, supervision or training.
Related careers you may be interested in:
- Clinical psychologist
- Family support worker
- Life coach
- Cognitive behavioural therapist
- Primary care graduate mental health worker
- Excellent communication and listening skills
- The ability to inspire trust and make people feel relaxed,
- Patience, tolerance and sensitivity
- A non-judgemental attitude
- Awareness of confidentiality issues
- Able to deal with people from all backgrounds
£19,000 to £47,000