If you enjoy helping people with their problems, and want a career where you make a positive impact on the lives of others, counselling could be the perfect career option for you. Your work as a counsellor would involve spending time with people, helping them talk about what they are going through, and helping them find healthy ways to look at and deal with their issues. A successful counsellor requires a variety of skills; you will need to make people feel relaxed and be able to build a trusting relationship with them. And, you’ll need a good helping of empathy, sensitivity, and patience as you will often be working with people who are at the lowest point in their lives. So, what skills do you need to become a successful counsellor?
As a counsellor, you will often be privy to details about people’s lives that they would not tell anybody else. You may learn about things that they have done that they are not proud of, and it’s not your place to judge. You need to be open-minded and able to look at the bigger picture when it comes to the choices that people make in their lives as feeling judged is going to do the opposite of helping your patients. You can learn more about being open-minded and non-judgemental in any situation through accredited counselling courses, which you will be required to take before you can practice.
Check out University Compare to find a counselling course suitable for you. This search tool will make things easier when trying to find a course to take as you can narrow down your options by location, duration, entry requirements and more.
Even if you have never been in the same situation as your patient before, a good counsellor is able to put themselves in the other person’s shoes and show real empathy regarding how things must feel for them. This is a necessary skill to help you build a trusting relationship with your clients and help them feel comfortable and supported in your presence. As a counsellor, you will be tasked with the massive responsibility of providing people who are suffering with a safe space to talk about their feelings and discuss their options with somebody they trust. Empathy goes a long way in helping your clients open up and trust you to help them find healthy solutions for their issues.
Counselling is all about talking through your issues, and as a counsellor, you’ll need to have strong communication skills, even when a client isn’t feeling ready to communicate. Often, you might deal with patients who have never been to see a counsellor before and may be feeling scared about what to say, or unsure about how to start. It’s up to you to communicate clearly to them, help them feel safer in their surroundings and provide reassurance that they can talk about anything with you. Combined with empathy, you will need strong communication skills to help guide your patients if they are not sure how to describe their experiences or feelings.
Finally, as a counsellor, you will spend a lot of your time speaking to people about what might often be truly horrible experiences in their lives. While you will learn how to stay professional, you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t feel at least a little bit upset about some of the things you might hear from your clients. Because of this, mental strength is an important quality of any counsellor. You will need to know how to look after your own mental health first and foremost; many counsellors will seek counselling themselves on a regular basis as a healthy way to talk through their work-related feelings.
If you possess the above skills and want meaningful work where you can help others, starting a counselling course will help you develop these skills and go on to work in a rewarding career.
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