What makes a good counsellor?
As a caring and empathic person, you may have found that people gravitate to you and open up when they need to talk. As a “people person”, you might be wondering if you’d make a good counsellor. And you may be right! But what exactly does a counsellor do?
Every life has its ups and downs, and sometimes we need extra help to cope with the challenges that arise. A counsellor is a trained professional who works with people to help them understand and resolve the issues and problems they are facing. The kinds of problems counsellors help people deal with are diverse and may include:
- Family and relationship issues
- Mental health issues
- Anxiety and depression
- Grief and loss
- Alcohol and drug problems
- Dealing with violence and abuse
- Life direction and workplace issues
Empathy, care, patience and strong communications skills are just some of the qualities needed by a counsellor. But what exactly does a counsellor do?
A day in the life of a counsellor
There are many different aspects to the job of a counsellor, and many different settings in which they work. In a nutshell, here are some of the things that counsellors do each day:
- Meet with people (in person, over the phone and even via the web)
- Listen to people (with an attitude of genuine care)
- Talk with people (not at them)
- Relate and respond to people (wherever they are at)
- Work with people (to encourage, support and empower them)
Most importantly, counsellors don’t give people advice or solve their problems for them. Instead, by developing a safe and trusting relationship with clients, counsellors help them explore and clarify their problems and identify strategies for making positive life changes, finding effective solutions to the problems they face.
Counsellors learn how to do this effectively by studying evidence-based approaches and putting them into practice under supervision. This expert knowledge and practical experience, combined with personal qualities such as caring, listening and empathising, is what makes a good counsellor.
Where do counsellors find work?
The process of journeying with people to explore, clarify and resolve their problems makes counselling a highly rewarding career. What’s more, the important role played by counsellors can take place in a wide range of settings. Here are just some of the places where you could play a crucial role as a qualified counsellor:
- Family and Youth Services
- Social Support Networks
- Not-for-profit agencies
- Correctional Services
- Phone and web-based counselling services
- Private practice
Want to learn more?
A career in counselling is all about people, and with so much uncertainty in our world the need for skilled and qualified counsellors is on the rise. If you think journeying alongside others to find solutions to the problems they’re facing might be for you.