It is a counsellor’s job to create a comfortable, safe and confidential environment where a client can voice their concerns, problems and thoughts involving their own experiences and personal difficulties.
This environment must provide clients with reassurance, so that they feel comfortable enough to share their private thoughts and feelings with you. To encourage a positive rapport, and the building of trust, it is the counsellor’s responsibility to provide the client with full, undivided attention, understanding and empathy, and good listening skills.
A counsellor will usually work within one specialist field of knowledge. This may be relationship based, career-orientated or an equally broad area, like addictions or eating disorders. The counsellor will also concentrate on one particular approach, and may work in a people-centred, humanistic or psychodynamic way.
A Counsellor’s Typical Day
Because a counsellor works with a huge diversity of people, there is no such thing as a typical day in their working week. There will be an element of paperwork involved, and for counsellor’s working within a Practice there may also be meetings to attend. Generally though, a counsellor’s job centres around spending huge chunks of their day in the company of people who have problems they would like to resolve.
Working with individuals, couples or families, a counsellor will spend their time creating a safe environment where clients can be comfortable about discussing private and personal matters, in the strictest confidence.
It is a counsellor’s responsibility to build rapport and trust with a client. Establishing a counselling contract, which outlines what will be covered during the sessions a client attends, and will also help project the caring aspect of your profession. Listening carefully to what a client tells you, and encouraging clients with challenging questions are also part of a counsellor’s job. You may also refer clients to other helpful sources and attend further training yourself.
A typical full-time job may include around 20 hours of weekly client contact. This will usually take place between 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday. A counsellor may also decide to work evenings, in order to accommodate some clients. Part-time work is also available.
Due to the nature of the work involved Counselling is usually a person’s second or third career. Life experiences are highly valued so your background does not influence your ability to do the job well. Most employers do expect you to have an accreditation with a professional body, like the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).
Working towards further professional recognition is recommended. Ongoing supervision is also important, as is developing your skills through private learning, courses and workshops.
A newly qualified counsellor can expect to earn in the region of between £19,000 - £26,000 pa. This will obviously depend on the area of specialist knowledge you work in. Supervisory responsibilities can bump your pay cheque to between £30,000 to £40,000.
Counsellors offering their skills privately can typically charge around £30 to £50 per hour.
Unpaid work is also available, however, as there is always a plentiful supply of voluntary counselling positions available.
How many people train to be counsellors each year?
duq - 20-Apr-17 @ 8:15 PM
sav - Your Question:
HI,Im wanting to become a councellor/Therapist. I have no experience, nor qualifications. Where do I start?Thanks.
You can see the entry level qualifications you would need via the gov.uk link here. I hope this helps.
TheCounsellorsGuide - 25-Oct-16 @ 1:47 PM
Im wanting to become a councellor/Therapist.
I have no experience, nor qualifications. Where do I start?
sav - 24-Oct-16 @ 2:48 PM
Hi I'm lungile mkhize at hammarsdale I want a job for rape and traumer causellor I'm stay at home I'm not working bt I do a life skills ECD uncillary and victim ipmowerment bt no job plz help meee
Lungy - 5-Aug-16 @ 11:49 AM
Sisi - Your Question:
Hi. I'll be qualified child counsellor and taking a year out before I start MA in child and adolescent psychotherapy. Is there any agency that specialises in counselling/psychotherapy jobs, please? I found jobs on BACP as I'm a member and also I sent off letters to schools but no luck. Any advice?Thank you.
I'm afraid we cannot name specific agencies, as we do not wish to be seen to be biased. However, if you do an online search it should throw up a few agency names that may help. Also by searching for employment via job sites, it may lead you to specific organisations where you could apply directly to volunteer. I hope this helps.
TheCounsellorsGuide - 8-Oct-15 @ 12:08 PM
Hi. I'll be qualified child counsellor and taking a year out before I start MA in child and adolescent psychotherapy. Is there any agency that specialises in counselling/psychotherapy jobs, please? I found jobs on BACP as I'm a member and also I sent off letters to schools but no luck. Any advice?
Sisi - 7-Oct-15 @ 6:56 PM
At this moment this post is the most useful one. I am really confused about what to do next. Currently I am pursuing education honours in India. I am keen to study in London. I am confused between developmental counsellor or general mental health counselling. Also which universities will provide me with these courses? And what are the placement opportunities for immigrants? I would also like to later work in my country,India
Please do reply. Any advise is appreciated.
arpita - 18-May-15 @ 7:16 PM
@JohnFrancis Here is a link to the NHS website that lists counselling jobs when they come up link here . BACP also have a list here .There are also numerous online jobs sites such as Indeed that gives a comprehensive listing of jobs. I hope these help.
TheCounsellorsGuide - 24-Oct-14 @ 12:43 PM
I've completed msc in counselling two years back in regular course basis. Can you advise me counselling jobs in UK?
John Francis - 24-Oct-14 @ 9:16 AM
There is a great danger of the market being flooded with too many counsellors chasing too few jobs and competing for too few clients in private practice, especially in the recession. One example of an NHS job saw over 500 applicants... I have met a number of shop workers and care workers who are qualified counsellors and psychologists unable to get work in their chosen field.
Locally a counselling centre has closed down in the recession.
I am deeply concerned that the basic training in the UK does far too little to equip counsellors who discover clients with serious mental ill-health issues.
Whilst well intended quite a few points in the article are inaccurate. Some counsellors and psychotherapists charge £90 to £60 per session hour (2013) of 50 minutes. When paying an hourly hire charge for a room of say £15 to £10 and bearing in mind time spent in supervision sessons, CPD costing thousands of pounds and taking calls from people wanting to book sessions, not all of whom will go ahead with the booking, doing accounts etc. if in private practice then there are fewer hours available for which to be paid than you might expect...
Some venues insist on you hiring a room for a whole eg half day and if clients do not show up you are seriously out of pocket.
If you work from home you put yourself at risk of being attacked - although rare it can happen. The movie Patch Adams told the tale of a young doctor being killed when she had no chaperone. In private practice the costs of running an office, plus other overheads including professional liability and public liability insurance and professional body membership(s) and continual professional development (CPD) are considerable and it can be difficult to make a living, especially when new clients do not show up and some peope work as counsellors who are wealthy and doing the work for a little extra cash and their prices undercut those of us needing to make a proper living from this important work.
It is common for counsellors and psychotherapists to work using an integrative approach rather than being purely. e.g. CBT or person centred and to work every weekday evening which can seriously affect your social life. You also need to deal with calls at all hours if you have people approaching you who may be for example suicidal or otherwise at risk.
Truthtalker - 19-Jan-13 @ 12:54 PM
To become a counsellor in the UK you need a foundation degree in counselling. I started at level 2 and worked my way through to the foundation degree which is level 4and 5. You can then opt to do the top up year for the BA hons, although completion of the FdA qualifies you as a counsellor. Hope that helps.
Vik42 - 2-Nov-12 @ 12:08 PM
Hello there, I am 18 years old and I am really interested in becoming a counsellor or therapist in the UK. Problem is I have no idea how to go about it, I have researched a fair bit but i am quite a late starter as everybody i know is now in university and i am yet to begin my path their.
Do i go about it by doing a health & social course at college? or do A level Psychology? And then at university do i do a bachelors degree in Psychology or Social working?
Thank you for your help