Do you find that you really enjoy helping family and friends with their problems? Are you always happy to lend a listening ear and offer some kind words?
Counsellors work with individuals, couples, or families – offering them a safe place to speak and get things off their chest whilst helping them work towards resolving certain issues in their lives. People seek counselling for many reasons; some are looking to fix problems in their relationships, while others may be trying to overcome feelings related to a particularly traumatic experience.
Although counselling can be an incredibly rewarding career path, it can also be very challenging trying not to get caught up in others’ circumstances, which is where having those extra years of life experience under your belt can be a real bonus. Experienced individuals who have lived through life’s ups and downs can often find it easier to empathise with others who are going through similar circumstances.
You don’t need a degree to become a Counsellor, but the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) tend to set their own standards for people wanting to enter the profession, which are widely recognised by many employers.
If you’re interested in becoming a Counsellor, it’s recommended that you undertake a three-stage course. This can take about three years, but it ensures that you have plenty of opportunities to put your counselling skills into real-life practise and get feedback from supervisors and tutors.
Stage 1 – Introduction to Counselling – a course designed to introduce you to the basics of counselling and help decide whether it’s for you before you fully commit. It usually takes eight to twelve weeks and is run by adult education centres or local colleges.
Stage 2 – Certificate in Counselling – a course designed to help you develop your counselling skills and give you a deeper understanding of counselling theories, ethics, and self-awareness. It’s usually run by adult education colleges or local colleges and is run on a part-time basis for a year.
For these first two stages, it’s best to check with your local colleges, universities, and adult education centres to see which courses are running, when, and what the associated costs are.
And for the final stage…
Stage 3 – Core Practitioner Training – at this stage, many people take a Diploma in counselling which consists of in-depth training based on internationally recognised standards. This stage of training usually takes one year full-time or 2-3 years part-time and will involve classroom and placement-based learning.
BACP have a list of accredited diplomas on their website which you can view here: