The title "counsellor" can apply to a number of different occupations such as Career Development Practitioner, Family Counsellor, Marriage Counsellor, Mediator. Each will have its own qualifications.
There are some personal qualities that one should possess before entering this field. These include:
* sympathetic and caring nature
* good communication skills
* good life-coping skills.
What career options are available in counselling?
Many counsellors are self-employed in their own counselling practices. Alternatively, they may be employed by community service organisations, hospitals, schools and universities, clinics and government departments. Large corporations often employ counsellors who specialise in workplace or organisational counselling.
Generally, if you seek employment as a counsellor, you should be able to demonstrate a capacity or qualification for providing counselling services.
Among the common areas of specialisation for counsellors are rehabilitation counselling (assisting people with disabilities to attain individual rehabilitation goals, including return to paid employment) and guidance counselling (providing advice to students in schools or universities with regard to their studies, career choices, or personal lives). In some areas of counselling, additional qualifications or experience may be necessary to equip you to be employed in this area. For example, school counsellors are required to gain teaching qualifications, while mental health counsellors require a psychology degree.
Professional counsellors are tertiary-qualified with a background in psychology, social work, or behavioural science. They are able to draw on research from a number of different areas (such as psychology or sociology), combined with the practical people skills required to use this knowledge in direct interaction with an individual client.
Additional areas of specialisation are emerging all the time, from traditional areas of focus such as marriage or family counselling to new areas like genetic counselling (providing advice to prospective parents or surrogates based on genetic science). The point is that as the world in which we live continues to throw forward new challenges to people, new demands will be placed on counsellors to provide guidance in different areas of life.
What Personal Attributes are Utilised by Counsellors?
In general terms, employment as a counsellor in any of the areas described here is suited to someone who is:
* A good problem solver;
* A strong communicator, with highly developed liaison and negotiation skills;
* Able to offer non-judgemental support;
* Able to relate to people from different backgrounds;
* Able to work both individually and as part of a team;
* Capable of demonstrating sound coping skills;
* Capable of taking a responsible approach to problems faced by other people;
* Empathetic, caring, mature and tactful;
* Respectful of others, with a legitimate concern for their personal welfare;
* Skilled at counselling and at providing assessments of people and their needs.