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Why Choose Counseling as a Career Choice

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Which path to take?

Which path to take?

Choosing Counseling as a Profession

Have you have ever thought about counseling for a career?

What is Counseling?

Definition of Counseling
'the provision of assistance and guidance in resolving personal, social, or psychological problems and difficulties, esp. by a professional.

People have many different reasons to choose counseling as a career such as:

  • Having a strong desire to help or enjoying helping people
  • A natural ability to understand and listen to people
  • Enjoying an experience of volunteering in a welfare setting etc
  • Personally receiving help from counseling and a desire to give back to others.

Professional Counseling

Professional counseling is a relationship between counselor and client that helps clients to become empowered to face and cope with life issues and to become better educated about mental health and well being.

Traditionally to become a qualified counselor most counselors had to go through the disciplines of psychology or social science at university. Consisting of four years of straight psychology and offering few counseling subjects a counselor in training was offered little practical experience to gain employment in the field of counseling. But with the introduction of specific counselor training colleges and universities realizing the need for students to become better prepared in the health industry there are increased opportunities for people to gain the qualifications they need with a specific undergraduate and post graduate counseling course; to gain experience that is so important with work placement in a counseling industry while training and the practical skills that are so needed with specific counseling subjects on offer.

A professional counselor must be prepared to:

  • Complete an undergraduate degree and further graduate study
  • Be registered with an accredited counseling body
  • Meet the requirements of the organization to practice
  • Attend regular clinical supervision sessions
  • Be involved in continuing professional development and upgrading skills

Types of Counseling.

Counseling is needed for many reasons and may include;

  • Counseling after illness
  • Accident and Rehabilitation
  • Depression and Anxiety
  • Grief and loss counseling
  • Trauma counseling
  • Family Therapy
  • Career counseling
  • Marriage and Relationship
  • School Counseling
  • Weight Loss
  • Premarital counseling
  • Study skills
  • Exam preparation
  • Significant life changes
  • Abuse
  • Domestic violence
  • Drug and alcohol
  • Self harm and suicidality
  • Learning and educational problems
  • Health issues

Counseling can be a most satisfying and rewarding career choice for some of the following reasons:

  • Making a difference in someones life - The ability to help someone become empowered to change their life is both satisfying and rewarding for a counselor. To be given the privilege of being involved in and helping someone get out of an abusive situation, overcome a life crippling mental health illness such as depression or to become free of addiction is such a valuable and worthwhile occupation.
  • It is a career in a health profession that is growing - the opportunities to work as a counselor are endless as counselors can be self employed in private practice; employed in many areas of health services such as in medical centers, counseling centers and welfare organizations working as drug and alcohol counselors, gambling and financial help, crisis help lines, domestic violence support, marriage and relationship counseling therapists, teaching parenting skill training; in hospitals as social workers for bereavement, pastoral care and trauma counselors, post natal depression help; and schools, colleges and universities as school counselors for kids struggling with learning difficulties, bullying and friendship issues,mental health issues such as depression/anxiety/deliberate self harm/suicidality, family pressure & expectations, stress in coping with separation & divorce.
  • Training - Trainee counselors learn much about themselves and also learn valuable life skills such as interpersonal and communication skills. Placing oneself in the vulnerable but useful position of role playing different scenarios a trainee counselor learns the valuable lesson of what it is like to be walking in the shoes of clients in the same situations
  • The opportunity to make a difference to society as a whole - helping an individual to resolve personal, psychological or social issues will most likely impact on family and friends and in turn will benefit many people that the individual is involved with. For example a gambling counselor may help a gambling addict break his obsession to gamble, saving countless dollars being sucked into the black hole of debt, fear and poverty that is often associated with compulsive gambling.
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To become a counselor one needs to have:

  • a strong desire to interact with people
  • be able to communicate with people
  • make a commitment to complete an undergraduate degree and study further graduate work
  • be willing to attend clinical supervision sessions with an accredited supervisor

Some basic skills are helpful if you are considering counseling as a career:

  • a genuine like for people
  • compassion for people who are hurting
  • being a good listener
  • being able to keep information about people confidential
  • able to be non judge mental

Through the process of training you will learn to:

  • Listen well
  • To read body language
  • To reflect feelings back
  • Be empathetic
  • Understand and follow specific theoretical models in counseling practice

Some of the more modern Therapies that counselors use in practice today are:

  • Solution Focused Therapy or Brief Therapy focuses on what clients want to achieve through therapy, rather than on the problem that made them come for help and seeks to help clients find solutions.
  • Strengths Based Counseling focuses on what is going right in a person’s life. The counselor and client work together to find past and present successes and use these to address the challenges.
  • Client Centered counseling first developed by the well known Psychologist Carl Rogers in which the counselor provides unconditional positive regard for a client and sets up a warm, accepting climate where the client is able to develop and grow as he / she wants and needs to.
  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy - Cognitive therapy focuses on the way people think, behave, and communicate instead of fousing on past experiences and problem solving. The premise is changing thinking changes behavior.
  • Narrative Therapy takes both a collaborative and respectful approach and focuses on the stories of peoples lives and looks at what people have done or are doing that works for them.

If you have a heart for people and think you have what it takes then counseling may be the right career choice.


Mary (author) from Cronulla NSW on August 04, 2015:

You are very welcome hope you will enjoy a rewarding career as I have..all the best with it..Cheers

sylvia Mukasa on August 04, 2015:

Thank you so much for this informative piece.I'm soon starting my Masters in guiding and counseling and I look forward to learning more and acquiring more skills that will assist me in my practice.

Mary (author) from Cronulla NSW on April 15, 2015:

It sure is poetryman6969..I have had the occasional moments throughout my career where I have wanted to quit but overall I have loved my work..thanks for your comment..


poetryman6969 on April 15, 2015:

Sounds like a rewarding profession for a people person.

Mary (author) from Cronulla NSW on November 12, 2014:

Thanks for your comment Shivali..I think Counseling is an interesting and most satisfying career be able to facilitate peoples issues and choices in life in a skilled, educated and professional manner is definitely rewarding..


Mary (author) from Cronulla NSW on October 28, 2014:

Hi Sammy d.. yes it does become easier because your understanding increases exponentially and when you head in the direction of your area of specialty you want to go in your passion drives your interest..good luck with your exams..its an awesome career choice..Cheers

sammy d on October 28, 2014:

I'm currently taking my exams in counseling psychology and am telling you i can't wait for the results so that i may further my education. The good thing with the course is that the more you further the more it becomes easy and interesting. In deed it is a helping therapy even to self

Mary (author) from Cronulla NSW on October 02, 2014:

Johne407 thanks for your comment & for reading my hub..hope you got something useful from it..Cheers

Johne407 on September 27, 2014:

Appreciate you sharing, great blog post.Thanks Again. Really Cool. ekcdgcbeeffd

Mary (author) from Cronulla NSW on October 23, 2013:

Hi Kathleen, thanks for dropping by on this one..and will get over to yours asap..cheers

Kathleen Cochran from Atlanta, Georgia on October 22, 2013:

Would love your feedback on one of my hubs about teachers dealing with divorce and their students.

Mary (author) from Cronulla NSW on August 23, 2012:

Thanks for your comments & sharing midget and I just have to say if you still have a passion for counseling just go for it...and don't worry about your emotions, you will learn how to deal with them as we all do professionally when we undergo training...cheers

Michelle Liew from Singapore on August 23, 2012:

I have thought of counseling before, Carter!! I was only afraid that I would be too emotionally involved in a client's problems that it would drain me and make me give it up!! An interesting read which I will be sharing!!

Mary (author) from Cronulla NSW on August 02, 2012:

Hi Emma, so nice to meet you...and thanks so much for dropping by, commenting & voting...I have loved it & still do as I supervise other counseling students online through skype these's such a great career choice...maybe you can think about it again one day that's after you become a famous freelancer first :) cheers

Mary (author) from Cronulla NSW on August 02, 2012:

It sounds like you have a rewarding job there Denise and sounds like you are making a great choice with the change up, believe me you have to look after yourself in the workplace... I can tell you that over here in Oz counselors make around $60 -80 per hour in private practice but if you specialize it is higher up to 120 ph - but if you work in a welfare or church organization it is considerable lower ( I'm just assuming you mean counseling only not psychology? as it does change the standard rate of pay & is usually higher). You can google The American Counseling Association and they may have info on their website among their guidelines. If I can be of any further help please email & let me no...Thanks so much for popping by...cheers

Emma Kisby from Berkshire, UK on August 01, 2012:

What an interesting and engaging hub. I wanted to be a counselor after I left college. I did my Level 1 but didn't take it any further. I still work in social care though.

I really admire counselors and therapists. It's a real skill and takes an amazing person to do it. Voting up.

Denise Handlon from North Carolina on July 31, 2012:

Hi Carter-had to read this hub because it is an area that is close to what I do. I've been trying to segue from the inpatient hospital setting into the office and private practice setting to create a kinder working environment and hours for myself. This is one of the areas I've explored. Thanks for the info--any idea of how it compares in wages with similar professions?

Mary (author) from Cronulla NSW on July 29, 2012:

Hi Mike its so nice for you to drop by and thanks so much for your comments...what you say means a lot to me...and yeah there are so so many people who need our help...cheers

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on July 27, 2012:

It takes a special type of person to pursue a counseling career. A big heart is one requirement, think skin may be another. Your article is packed with valuable information. Heaven knows there are many who need counseling.

Mary (author) from Cronulla NSW on July 27, 2012:

Oh Billy that's so sweet of you to say and very kind of you to think like that about counselors, it is such a worthwhile profession...but no need to apologize there are just so many wonderful Hubbers & fantastic hubs that's it's hard to get around to everyone!! I've been a counselor for just under 20 years & the last 11 in schools and it's just been such a rich & rewarding career...thank you again my friend for life:) cheers

Mary (author) from Cronulla NSW on July 27, 2012:

Thank you so much TT for dropping by, I appreciate your time and comments...I try to make my hubs informative & am so glad you found it to be...cheers

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on July 27, 2012:

Carter, I apologize. I get so busy with the writing business and hubpages that sometimes the people I follow fall through my personal cracks. I never noticed that you were a counselor....bravo to you my friend. Anyone who dedicates their life to helping others is a friend of mine for life. Thank you for the lovely comment you left on my hub but more importantly, thank you for the work you do each and every day to help people.

Mary (author) from Cronulla NSW on July 27, 2012:

dwachira thank you so much for your comments & doubt times of economic hardship increase the need for welfare & counseling services but here in Australia for some time now the statistics in mental health need in children for instance are alarming, for example 1 in 10 children are diagnosed with anxiety and 2 in 5 with to meet the need are high and growing...sounds like Kenya is doing a good thing in recognizing the need...cheers

Terrye Toombs from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. on July 27, 2012:

A very informative hub on what it takes to become a counselor, carter. Nicely done. :)

Danson Wachira from Nairobi, Kenya on July 26, 2012:

Of late, i have noted services in Guidance and Counseling increase in demands. Could the many economic related problems have something to do with this? We can no longer ignore these services in today society and especially on young men and women who are finding life increasingly difficult without employment.

I agree with you, these services are very important and here in Kenya, it is mandatory for every institution to have these services to help students in need. Great article, voted up, useful and shared.

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