How to Become a Counsellor: A Step By Step Guide
Mental health is finally getting the recognition and respect that it deserves. People are becoming more honest with their mental health, and in doing so, encouraging others to seek out help for their own problems. It is not weakness to be depressed. It is not a failure if you have anxiety, or if you are dealing with trauma.
As the stigma surrounding mental health deteriorates, the need for therapeutic counsellors and therapists will grow. This means you could benefit from becoming a counsellor and making it your life’s mission to help people help themselves.
Know Why You Want to Become a Counsellor
The first step to deciding on any new career is to determine why you want to get into it. Switching careers, in particular, can be a huge move. You have already spent a lot of time in a different industry, gaining the necessary skills, meeting the right people, and building up qualifiable experience you can show when job hunting. Starting over in a new industry means starting from scratch. You, therefore, want to be very certain that your decision is because counselling is your passion, and you want nothing more than to dedicate the rest of your life to it.
Of course, there are a variety of different ways you can become qualified. If you work in HR or a managerial position, for example, getting a certificate in counselling can help propel your career further by giving you a skillset your competition simply doesn’t have. You don’t need to get a full degree to gain these benefits.
Get the Right Qualifications
Once you know your goals, it is far easier to choose the right qualifications and counsellor training courses that will help you achieve said goals. Visit Chrysalis Courses, there are a few to choose from:
- Course 2: Chrysalis Diploma in Counselling Skills and Theory
Time: 2 years (300 practical hours)
Ideal Candidate: Those who wish to learn counselling skills or work towards a higher qualification.
- Course 3: Chrysalis Level 5 Professional Diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling Practice
Time: 3 Years
Ideal Candidate: Those who wish to become a recognised therapist or counsellor. If you have completed Course 2 already, the time to complete is reduced.
- Course 4: The Chrysalis Higher Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling Training (Research)
Time: 6 Months
For: Those who wish to gain a higher diploma in Therapeutic Counselling. Only available to those who have a Level 5 Professional Diploma (offered through Course 3) and usually by invitation only.
There Are Different Steps for Each Goal
There are a variety of ways that you can acquire your goal. For example, you could take the Course 2, which will provide you with the level 4 Diploma in Counselling skills. If your goal is initially to gain this skill to further your current career progression, then this option is ideal. You can then later use it towards Course 3, meaning you can complete Course 3 in 2 years instead of 3 should you want to become more specialised in the future.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Education
To get the most out of your education, you need to go above and beyond the course requirements. This means committing to both what is taught in class as well as committing to reading. Only refer to papers and books published within the academic sphere, however, to ensure that the information you absorb during your training has real-world application.
How to Search for Jobs
The best way to search for jobs is to try to use your current skills in conjunction with your new counsellor training qualifications. It will give you an edge over your competition in the field. For example, if you were an accountant before taking acquiring your Level 5 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling Practice, you could sell your skills as an all-in-one package. You would be able to counsel and provide better accounting and bookkeeping to the practice you are applying to.
When to Open Your Own Clinic
You should wait to open your own clinic until after a few years working as a therapist in another practice. Though you might have the necessary qualification, you still need to gain the practical experience. Mental health is very complex, and dealing with those who feel lost or helpless can take its toll on your own wellbeing. You should hold off on opening your own practice until you are seasoned enough to handle every problem and case that comes your way. A few years perfecting your craft and your bedside manner can mean all the difference between success and failure.
Another reason you should wait is that operating and owning your own clinic is vastly different than simply operating in one. Having a practice of your own means that you need to run both a therapy service and a business, and if you cannot successfully handle both simultaneously, you will have problems succeeding.
A good way to avoid these challenges is to take your time and plan accordingly. Take notes on how your practice is run, what they can do better, and so on. Then research how best to run a company, how to advertise, how to gain and keep clients – all of this is imperative to a company’s success. You need to know all the answers and skills necessary to own and operate a business before you start one, otherwise you will face many challenging and expensive problems.
It is best to only become a counsellor when you know that it is what you want to do. If you only want to be better at problem-solving and team management, then there is a qualification for you, but it is not necessary to reach Level 5 credentials. Be honest with yourself, why you want to become a therapist, and your overall goals so that you can choose the right strategy for your own personal success. Therapists are needed in society, but it is still a very hard job, so only commit to it if you have a passion for helping others.