Counselling can be an ideal profession for anyone who is interested in helping others. Finding a niche that suits your lifestyle, beliefs and aspirations is just a matter of finding an appropriate counselling school and obtaining the necessary credentials.
What is Counselling?
Counselling can roughly be divided into two categories:
- A social worker basically counsels groups or individuals who need assistance in areas of their social life. Family counselling, career counselling and marriage counselling are examples of this.
- Psychotherapists work with individuals to help them overcome psychological issues or explore the deeper regions of consciousness.
Counselling is a holistic discipline and a career counsellor, for example, may also address issues such as insecurity, lack of self esteem and other psychological issues. In the course of treatment, a psychotherapist may also address issues such as marital problems and career choices.
Styles of Counselling
With such a broad spectrum of issues to address and so many different approaches to these issues, a wide variety of counselling styles or modalities are available. Some of these include:
- Applied kinesiology counsellors use kinesiology to access the energetic body's own system of "knowing." A variety of techniques may be employed, including Touch for Health, Thought Field Therapy, Emotional Freedom Technique or many others.
- Hypnotherapy is used to help people access the power of the subconscious mind. A counsellor may use hypnotherapy to access subconscious blocks or to implant positive affirmations.
- Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) counsellors assist clients with problems ranging from depression to habit control and anger management.
- Life coaches help clients set personal and professional goals for themselves and achieve them through ongoing periodic coaching sessions.
- Psychotherapy encompasses a number of related techniques and styles aimed at uncovering the hidden dimensions of negative or destructive behaviours and helping clients free themselves from their grip. Psychotherapists deal with the full spectrum of psychological issues.
Studying to Become a Counsellor
A course of study at an accredited institution is the first step towards becoming a professional counsellor. First decide on the field you wish to enter and then look for the appropriate course providers in your area. The school or college you choose should have at least the following credentials:
- The course provider must be a Registered Training Organisation (RTO). Only RTOs are authorised to give training in any discipline.
- The school should be accredited by a recognised professional association. For example, the Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS) is a professional body that represents over 65% of Australian natural therapy practitioners, including counsellors.
- If you are looking for training in a specific modality, the course provider should be a member of a related professional association. An example of this is the Australian Hypnotherapists Association (AHA).
Depending on the counselling modality you choose, certificate, diploma or university studies may be required. Make sure that you receive a level of training that will qualify you to become a member of a related professional association upon completion of your studies. This will lift your professional profile and also help you qualify for professional insurance.