Home > Counselling as a Career > Voluntary Counselling Opportunities

Voluntary Counselling Opportunities

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 21 Mar 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Counselling Voluntary Experience Career

Counselling is often considered as a second career, and due to the training involved many people continue working whilst studying to become a counsellor. Counselling involves the wellbeing and support of others, and this vocation generally appeals to individuals who may already work in a supportive role of some sort – perhaps in teaching, nursing or social work.

Although the amount of paid employment, in the field of counselling, may be on the rise there are still many qualified counsellors seeking full-time positions. There are part-time job options available, for professionally trained counsellors, as well as the opportunity to provide counselling services within the voluntary sector.

Vacancies Available

Counselling openings are available in a wide variety of different areas. These include within education, General Practice, the workplace and organisations offering specialist services like drug addiction or eating disorder counselling. These positions are widely advertised but unfortunately there are not sufficient career opportunities available to provide employment for the growing number of qualified counsellors.

Working within the voluntary sector however, offers an opportunity to develop skills or to refresh them. Agencies that offer specialist counselling services, select and train volunteers who go on to provide voluntary counselling within the organisation. As the training is usually free, the organisation will expect a certain level of commitment from the volunteer, in exchange.

Voluntary Vacancy Requirements

In order to be considered for a voluntary training placement it is important that an individual is able to demonstrate an understanding of the counselling process. It is therefore useful to have basic counselling skills training and an interest in your own ongoing personal development.

Many valuable skills can be picked up through the sort of training programme that a voluntary organisation can offer. These experiences will increase your level of understanding and will help you develop your natural qualities and attitudes. Working on a voluntary basis will also provide you with skills you can use to update a CV, and to gain future employment in the field of counselling.

Valuable Skills

Training for a voluntary position within an organisation will enable you to develop your key skills and will help you increase your counselling knowledge and specific practical skills. The training may also offer an opportunity to experience client contact situations.

Counselling from a community base provides a direct service to those in need of a supportive, trusting relationship. This may involve counselling individuals with specific problems like addiction. Many professional training courses do not cover the set of skills to work within a community, so a voluntary training course may also enable a counsellor to stretch their personal skills and to develop more of an understanding, as well as to open the door to more career opportunities.

Volunteering

Offering your counselling services is easy to do. Volunteers provide a valuable extension to the services an organisation already offers, and so the demand for volunteers is always high. If you contact an agency or organisation direct you will be able to have an informal chat about the placement requirements and training available. You will also be informed of the additional support, and supervision, that is available to volunteer counsellors. Thinking of counselling as a career? Why not take a look at the Career section here.

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Bl??dy auto correct!I spelled your name correctly, Florise, and didn't spot the auto correct changed it.Also - it's "unwaged" not "unwanted" in the text.
Kells - 21-Mar-17 @ 12:07 AM
Florine I can only say how sorry I am that you weren't given better guidance and support with your choices.Have you thought about e.g. The Samaritans, as a place where you can use your training to date and hopefully build towards the "right" course?Many of the great schools (e.g. The New School- existential, founded by the wonderful Emmy van Deurzen, Regent's University's School of Psychotherapy - also founded by Emmy, and then led by the brilliant Ernesto Spinelli), have bursaries and grants to help the low income and unwanted applicants who want to study for the MA.They are also flexible if you've got great experience with regard to entrance requirements. You are so right about the "Jack of all trades" approach...I have been studying the integrative approach this term, and we can see how easy it would be to "learn the techniques checklist" and just throw in stuff, without having a truly integrated theoretical understanding which then gets applied "in the room" with the client.A friend told me a howlingly funny story about her therapist announcing "this week we shall do Gestalt.Let me explain how 'the empty chair' works."Talk about cherry-picking!I told her to run away from that therapist ASAP! Good luck with progressing your career and your learning.
Kells - 21-Mar-17 @ 12:01 AM
Thank you so much for the commentary you have written Kells. It really resonates with aspects of my own training journey where I have felt the experiential learning, which of course has been essential, has however been delivered at the expense of appropriate theoretical study, which has been delivered as sound bite introductions to a range of theories none of which formed a cohesive whole to underpin the psychological purpose, benefit or risk to the client behind it, nor did it highlight the natural contradictions that different theories pose, if working from too many sources, (likened to becoming a Jack of all Trades) and did not provide for me a sense of sufficient grounding or clarity to really feel that I am standing on Terra-Firma and can call myself a particular type of counselor. This has since led me to now pursue a rigorous scholarly training path provider, accredited by the UKCP, which includes the essential developing of the inner self of the counsellor / emerging psychotherapist, and is underpinned with the essential knowledge and ability to one day allow me to state with congruence and confidence that this 'particular model' resonates with my way of being and desire to work with others in a manner that I fully understand.When starting out in counselling training, there was an emphasis that stated the candidate does not have to be academic, yet as the years have passed, I realise this is not the case at all, and for those whose sensing skills are inherent and feelings based, clearly their journey will personally rewarding, but potentially be limited to mostly unpaid skilled helping / counselling work, (complex mental health issues require considerable extra training and knowledge about, yet more people who suffer with this are not being diagnosed and are attending counselling agencies with trainees, as I experienced) and although I feel that my training and experience with working with clients has certainly allowed me to work safely with the 'worried well', and within areas of feelings that I have experienced myself such as grief, loss and bereavement, it has not qualified me to be more than a volunteer, when I wish to be employed, as I do not have a high enough qualification, (as you highlighted) and quite rightly I now realise, where I have wanted to apply for a position, I see that it requires two years post qualifying experience, hence more volunteering. (I am CPCAB L4). Buyer beware. Not all counselling courses are the same, neither are the placements, and the journey does not end at Level 5 either.
Florise - 18-Mar-17 @ 12:03 PM
The issue which many of those who are posting questions is going to be that the heavyweight clinical placements are usually only open to trainees on courses with UKCP-accredited training organisations.Being on one of these courses means that you are studying at Master's degree level as a MINIMUM, that you (the trainee) are in long-term personal psychotherapy yourself, so that you don't bring your own psychological baggage into the therapy room and your personal therapist must be fully-accredited with the UKCP. UKCP is the highest level organisation for properly trained and experienced therapists- as well as a Master's degree in Psychotherapy, you must also have then undertaken a further two year Advanced Diploma in a specialism/ specific school of psychotherapeutic theoretical approach. Additionally, to be a UKCP- registered therapist, you must remain in Supervision for your entire career as a therapist, to ensure that your supervisor (who will be a senior, highly experienced UKCP-registered psychotherapist who has done additional specialist training in supervising other therapists) is available to support and challenge you about your dealings with your clients. Finally, after all this, you have to clock up 450 hours of actual therapy sessions with clients to register. I'll be honest- some of you are following a dangerous path in thinking that lower-level diplomas which lack: (i)the academic theoretical rigour; and (I) the Skills training (so that you're fit to get a placement); and (iii) the emotionally demanding work of personal psychotherapy; are safe for your potential clients.If you don't grasp everything from Freud to Yalom, Rogers to Jung and back again (via Nietzsche and Heidegger for all the Existentialist theory and practice), and deal with your own issues and develop meaningful skills, then you are basically messing about with people's minds and emotional well-being while having not much of a clue about what you are really doing. Even with all that UKCP- focused training, support and personal therapy, we all start out feeling as though we know so little. I'd really urge many of you to consider these points and issues with integrity and open-mindedness.My lecturers and tutors have been deeply humble individuals but with vast training and complex experience of practising as therapists with the everyday issues and issues of severe trauma.One of them likened these diplomas as being akin to letting a healthcare assistant perform open heart surgery.Not fair on the assistant or on the patient.But at least the healthcare assistant would know that he or she was out of their depth.
Kells - 16-Mar-17 @ 1:35 AM
I need some helpful tips. I am a second year student on a Diploma course. I live in Surrey and have access to London. I am looking for a trainee counselling placement. Has anyone got any ideas? I have been looking since October.
Trish - 12-Feb-17 @ 2:13 PM
JUMMY - Your Question:
I have completed a Degree course in Psychosocial studies and I would love to do some voluntary work in prison/mental health how do I go about it.

Our Response:
You can volunteer via the Samaritans - please see link here. Please also see Time Bank link here.
TheCounsellorsGuide - 17-Jan-17 @ 2:08 PM
I have completed a Degree course in Psychosocial studies and I would love to do some voluntary work in prison/mental health how do I go about it.
JUMMY - 16-Jan-17 @ 11:12 PM
I have done1-2 counciling and passed3 diploma counciling would love to do some volentary work in prison or mental health how do I go about it
Baby - 11-Dec-16 @ 11:11 PM
Jan - Your Question:
I completed a 3 year Counselling/Psychotherapy course in 2011 whilst still in full time employment. However having now retired I would like to know if there are any refresher courses available I could attend as I would like to apply my skills gained and put them to good use in gaining paid employment in the Kent area.

Our Response:
You could do some voluntary work with the likes of Relate, please see link here, or the likes of the Samaritans who will also train you up which would help further enhance your skills. Please also see Place2Be here. I hope these help.
TheCounsellorsGuide - 6-Dec-16 @ 11:03 AM
I completed a 3 year Counselling/Psychotherapy course in 2011 whilst still in full time employment.Howeverhaving now retired I would like to know if there are any refresher courses available I could attend as I would like to apply my skills gainedand put them to good use in gaining paid employment in the Kent area.
Jan - 5-Dec-16 @ 4:29 PM
Hi, I am a 51 year old man studying a Diploma at Level 4. In my life I have worked as a trainednurse and most recently, volunteered at Victim Support for 9 years where I was awarded ( at the palace) Volunteer of the year. I have vast experience supporting people, clinically and emotionally. I would love to have a placement with you to further my training please. Thank you Sam
Sam - 24-Nov-16 @ 12:35 PM
ez - Your Question:
I have a bsc honers psychology degree and looking to work in counselling, I work full time ( not in counselling) so I am looking into vulentreering one day a week ( my day off) to gain experience, field training and relevant study training.Please could you send me some information on positions in the Inverness/ Highlands area of Scotland

Our Response:
You would have to apply directly to the organisations you wished to volunteer for, and/or do your own research. We are solely an advisory website.
TheCounsellorsGuide - 22-Sep-16 @ 11:24 AM
I have a bsc honerspsychology degree and looking to work in counselling, I work full time ( not in counselling) so I am looking into vulentreering one day a week ( my day off) to gain experience, field training and relevant study training. Please could you send me some information on positions in the Inverness/ Highlands area of Scotland
ez - 21-Sep-16 @ 11:46 AM
Hi I'm currently training and would love to get advise on how to get in to a replacement. Do you have any opportunities you could advise into getting in a placement? Thanks Charlie
Charliw8 - 8-Sep-16 @ 11:20 PM
I'm a current psychology student completing my BSc in Psychology. I will be going into my 2nd year this September and want to find some volunteering opportunities in my area this summer. I am interested in child psychology, but also clinical psychology. Does any one know of any good volunteering opportunities, specifically in Essex? Thank you
Charlotte2 - 21-Jul-16 @ 12:28 PM
Done 1-2 counciling just passed diploma 3 what voluntary work could I do to get me experience
Nerdy - 18-Jul-16 @ 8:09 PM
I've got BA business psychology and HRM and MA Human Resources Development. I'm currently studying a diploma in life coaching and counselling. I've got experience in learning and development and training. I'd love to pursuit a career in counselling. Would you think I would be suitable for a voluntary role in counselling? Or I need more courses? Can you please give me your advise? Thanks.
Hana - 14-Jul-16 @ 1:24 PM
hello, im applying to do councelling at university , i have put in a application to be a listener for the samaritans, apparently you cant under go their training if your doing a councelling cousre does anyone know the reson why?
jojo - 10-Jul-16 @ 10:37 PM
Betty - Your Question:
Hello, I am studying Life and Work Skills at Crawley College in full time education but at the same time I would like to volunteer to train to become a counsellor although I have no experience on that. I want to be trained for it as well and I would like to do a free course about it online

Our Response:
It is highly unlikely you will find a 'free' accredited course in counselling online.
TheCounsellorsGuide - 22-Feb-16 @ 2:48 PM
Hello, I am studying Life and Work Skills at Crawley College in full time education but at the same time I would like to volunteer to train to become a counsellor although I have no experience on that. I want to be trained for it as well and I would like to do a free course about it online
Betty - 21-Feb-16 @ 10:42 PM
Hello, I am currently in my last year of a Psychology course. I want to apply for a masters degree in Applied Psychology (clinical specialism). However, in order to be successful in this application I need relevant work/volunteer experience. I am volunteering with childline, however, the requirements state that it needs to be something along the lines of shadowing clinical psychologists or something to do with mental health. I am based in Belfast and I have been researching online a lot to find something relevant to no success. Would you be in a position to give me any advice as to what I can do? Thank you
MZ1994 - 14-Jan-16 @ 9:09 PM
Izzy- Your Question:
Hello, Hope you're well. I am writing to you to gain work experience as I have completed my degree in Psychology and Counselling. I will be available to work for two full days out of the week.

Our Response:
I am afraid we are not a counselling organisation, we are a website writing about counselling opportunities.
TheCounsellorsGuide - 23-Dec-15 @ 12:06 PM
Hello, Hope you're well. I am writing to you to gain work experience as i have completed my degree in Psychology and Counselling. I will be available to work for two full days out of the week .
Izzy - 22-Dec-15 @ 11:49 PM
I am a level 5 student in a London counselling training school, I would like a get a placement with you if possible. I am still studying, I go to school Wednesdays and Thursdays
None - 14-Dec-15 @ 10:30 PM
Emma- Your Question:
Hi I have just moved to Sureey and am trying to find somewhere I can volunteer but seem to be struggling can you give me any info on finding somewhere?

Our Response:
You don't say what qualifications you have, or what your specialist area is, therefore it makes it a bit difficult to advise. However, the Samaritans is always a good option to consider, as it offers full training for its telephone counsellors.
TheCounsellorsGuide - 11-Dec-15 @ 11:38 AM
Hi I have just moved to Sureey and am trying to find somewhere I can volunteer but seem to be struggling can you give me any info on finding somewhere?
Emma - 10-Dec-15 @ 8:48 PM
I am a BSc graduate in Psychology and Counselling (2.2 in 2010) and have been volunteering in counselling for about 5 years now.I really want to work in the field to help with post graduate studies.How do I go about it? Thank you.
Counsellor - 8-Dec-15 @ 2:18 PM
Uzma - Your Question:
I need advice. I graduated last year in Bsc Psychology with Counselling, with a First Class Honours. I did a 6 month internship alongside Psychologists, where I assisted them in their paper work. I really enjoyed the research and counselling side to my degree. & I enjoyed scoring questionnaires, data-entry, filing, literature searches, audit tasks, etc during my Internship.Is there anything I can do with this experience ? I am struggling to find a job ? & have no concrete idea what my plans are for the future ?I am based in Bradford, UK.

Our Response:
Have you thought about extending your interest in this area and going on to post graduate study? You may receive funding or burseries to help if you managed to secure a first class honours degree. It would mean that you could explore further to see exactly what area you would like to specialise in. It may also be a good move if you have failed to secure a job, and would give you the option to stay in academia and research and continue doing the type of work you enjoy most.
TheCounsellorsGuide - 18-Nov-15 @ 12:23 PM
I need advice. I graduated last year in Bsc Psychology with Counselling, with a First Class Honours. I did a 6 month internship alongside Psychologists, where I assisted them in their paper work. I really enjoyed the research and counselling side to my degree. & I enjoyed scoring questionnaires, data-entry, filing, literature searches, audit tasks, etc during my Internship. Is there anything I can do with this experience ? I am struggling to find a job ? & have no concrete idea what my plans are for the future ? I am based in Bradford, UK.
Uzma - 17-Nov-15 @ 9:00 PM
Hi wondering if anyone can advise, I have a degree in Psychology and have spent 3 years working in camhs and 2 years working in adult acute mental health. I completed training with the nspcc and was a childline volunteer for a while. I am currently completing an accredited online course in cbt and would love to get I to counselling but am unsure of the way forward at the moment. I also work as a bank auxiliary nurse at present, any help and advise would be great. Thanks
Nikki - 12-Nov-15 @ 7:49 PM
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