There are many different approaches to counselling, and also many specialist areas of counselling – relationship and family, abuse and addiction, stress and anger management, grief and loss etc. A good counsellor therefore will be one who shares common attributes and is able to offer empathetic support and understanding, in a caring, comforting manner.
There is more to counselling than simply listening to a client talk about emotional issues, and a counsellor must be able to demonstrate a wide variety of skills. These include empathy, compassion, understanding, challenging skills, motivational ability, creative thinking and loads more besides. A counsellor must also be able to listen to a client’s problems and concerns and translate these into goals that the client can work towards, in order to reach resolution.
Anyone who is contemplating undergoing training to become a counsellor should firstly pause to consider whether they possess the necessary interpersonal skills, can acquire them through training or simply isn’t emotionally equipped to successfully work in the field of counselling.
take charge of the situation empower others are logical and practical and like to solve problems
Answering yes to either, or both, of the above questions would make you a suitable candidate for counsellor training. Being able to focus on practical issues whilst empowering individuals to work towards personal goals is every bit as important as being able to offer a client a sympathetic ear.
Understanding that the counsellor’s role is varied and adaptable will enable you to view counselling as a worthwhile qualification to consider. If you already work in a person-centred role – perhaps in teaching, nursing or care-giving or other supportive field – counselling could provide you with a beneficial, additional qualification and skill.
Is Counselling For You?
enjoy dealing with people on a one-to-one basis find it easy to build rapport with othersempathise with people and understand the importance of confidentialityare you able to encourage, coax and help others to empower and improve their lives
If you answered yes to 3 or more of these questions then counselling would be a good career option to consider. Most individuals opt to train as counsellors as a second career, and will therefore bring a host of other key skills, from previous employment, into the counselling environment. These may include dealing with problems, motivational ability, person-centred skills, administrative knowledge and record keeping.
Counsellors must possess emotional awareness and be emotionally stable and mature enough to handle other people’s problems, concerns, issues and worries. They must have a strong interest in other people and in helping them achieve positive changes. If you are able to demonstrate sensitivity, can inspire trust, confidence and respect in others you are most definitely counsellor material.
The Next Step
If you decide you like the sound of helping others and want to consider training to become a counsellor the next step to take is to check out available courses in your area. There is also a wealth of information, regarding relevant counselling skills courses, available online.
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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
I feel and been told many times that I should look into doing counselling on a voluntary basis.I consider to have the many skills required and have the listening empathetic approach to people.I have no idea of the first step to take I,e a class at a nearby college or beit an online course.Can you please advise.
Smiler - 4-Dec-23 @ 9:55 PM
I want to know what qualifications need to become counsellor?
I’m good at listening to others and their hardships,always good with online people. I learned many different things from online people eg marriage, divorce etc.
Emerald - 3-Oct-22 @ 7:00 PM
Hi, I am 57 and I am 2/3 the way through my level two in counselling skills, I’m looking forward to level three and hopefully going onto level four, sometimes I think to myself, I’m the oldest in the class, I wonder what other people are thinking about me !
They’re probably actually not thinking anything at all about me, and if they are, well they are :-) and if they’re not, then I think they will be successful as I hope I am..
None - 5-Mar-21 @ 4:25 PM
I have been a listening ear to a couple of people for a few months now. Every time we've had conversations via messaged, I've always reiterated that I'm not a qualified counsellor. In addition to listening I've researched various organisations which maybe able to help. How do I know if I'm doing the right thing? How can I get a grounding for basic counselling skill.
Alicat - 17-Dec-20 @ 3:50 PM
Hi, I'm 49 years of age, and have recently withdrawn from my nurse training due to the stress on the wards and my father taking ill.I tried training in 2011 but my partner died suddenly when I was about to qualify.I've been very unlucky with my training and it's made me exceedingly anxious about the nurse training specifically.
I'm currently off work as I feel too anxious to go back onto the wards - however, my longing is to retrain as a counsellor and has been for a while.I'm thinking of taking some time out to reconsider my options and am currently doing quite a lot of research.Would it be worth my while and would I stand a chance of getting on a course in my local area?As well as bereavement, I've witnessed domestic violence as a child and also my Dad has a chronic mental health condition - I'm his main carer.
I have suffered anxiety for most of my life due to my traumatic childhood and wonder if I can use my life experience to help others.
lynney - 16-Jul-20 @ 5:43 PM
At 47 I think I have found what I want to do and I think I’d be good at at.At present I’m seriously considering applying for a LEVEL 2 CERTIFICATE IN COUNSELLING SKILLS (CSK-L2)
CPCAB ACCREDITED.Would this be a good place to start? TIA
Trez - 30-Jun-20 @ 12:15 AM
I have been through so many experiences in life, marriage and career. Will like to have a training as a counselor to impact the younger generation of women.
diligenthands - 12-Jun-20 @ 5:46 PM
Hi I haven’t got any training in counselling, but I have lived a thousand lives. I have been through so many experiences and always managed to pull through the other side.
I am great at braking things down and learning to understand people and reasonings behind their actions. I am a very sensitive person and I can empathise with almost anyone. Their isn’t much I haven’t already been through so when people open up to me, I am able to feel their pain and understand them probably more than anyone with a degree. I am great at solving problems and I do this from sharing my life experiences too and how I managed to deal with all the stress and worries of the world. I am also an open book and don’t believe that only my way works. I feel quite spiritual in some ways and sensitive to feelings.
I’m not academically clear and I don’t learn that way. I learn from things that have happened and also from being hands on or being shown something.
I would love to help others, I already do with people online. But I would love to be a counsellor as a career too. What would be my best options to becoming a counsellor please? Would I have to study for years? I really struggle with reading and writing.
Any help would be much appreciated x
Louise - 6-Dec-19 @ 10:58 AM
I’m an occupational health advisor (RGN) and am considering undertaking a counselling course that would be beneficial for my development but more importantly the clients I see. Can anyone recommend a good course either distance learning or face to face (would need to be local).
Knotty - 30-Oct-19 @ 7:36 PM
Hello I am really keen to train as a counsellor. I am 51 with plenty of life experiences. I am qualified to A level. I am set to attend an introduction to counselling course next month. Please could you recommend the best approach training wise after that? Thanks very much
greenpink - 7-Sep-19 @ 6:25 PM
Good evening... I notice I have good talks when it comes to relationships matter...anytime I'm asked to give advice know relationship issue, I found myself talking like its my field....i don't just know where these words will come from... after the talking, the person will be like wow..
I don't know if I'm good to go
chilexy - 22-May-19 @ 12:48 AM
I really want to put something back in society I really love to help young people who are having home problems or otherwise.I have been a carer in a home with 10 persons all of different ages but alas had to leave after a hip operation as some persons wereviolent .I have been out of work for two years and now I am ready for a new challenge
Chimera - 15-Aug-18 @ 9:46 PM
@Eileen - good on you. An inspiration to us all. I was thinking I might be too old at 54, but I'm glad to see I'm not.
Linds63 - 17-Jul-18 @ 10:38 AM
Never ever think you are too old to retrain. I have just finished advanced counselling with BSY. While on this course I volunteered with a local charity who help children and young adults and their families with mental health issues. In November I am going to start bereavement counselling with them. I am a retired school teacher and I am 66 years of age. Not 66 years old you notice.
Eileen - 16-Jul-18 @ 10:38 AM
Here I have a question to ask please?
Is it still possible to study counselling (presently on advanced with BSY)
Whilst I’m in counselling myself for personnal reasons?
I have all the qualities required with a great understanding to many areas of this subject.
Personally I would like to give something back to society with the knowledge and wisdom I have gained over the years.
I am 50 and the reason I have put my age is simply having read some posts here, with age concerns.
Very inspirational and I also say, it’s never too late.
Thank you and look forward to feedback x
Bal - 25-Feb-18 @ 9:13 PM
@Eli - you're at the perfect age to go to university and do a degree in the subjects you wish to specialise in.
OPO - 23-Oct-17 @ 3:57 PM
I am a 19 year old male and have always wanted to persue a career in counciling, I have a passion for phycology and wish to use that passion to help others. My only concern is my age. How old would you say is old enough to be able to start a career in this field? I would like to specialize in mental illness.
Eli - 21-Oct-17 @ 7:05 PM
@Zo - absolutely, your life and nursing experience will play to your strengths. As Matty B says, the fact is there are going to be so many people who need to work as we get older because retirement is being constantly pushed back. There shouldn't be any age discrimination (but we know there is), you just have to get out there and prove there isn't.
Niki - 18-Jul-17 @ 9:55 AM
I am 62 and a semi retired Registered Nurse. Always wanted to do counselling, but will be 65 by the time have completed all the levels. Will I stand any chance of employment by the time I have friends finished?!
Zo - 16-Jul-17 @ 5:36 PM
Hi, I have just finished my second year of a four year Integrative Psychotherapy course and I'm about to start in my first clinical practice as a volunteer, this is to gain my client contact hours.
After reading your really informative site I am left a little worried as to how I will manage to work with clients orfering brief counselling intervention.
I have been informed by my work placement that I can only offer each client6 -8 week sessions.
As training to become a psychotherapist I work in Transactional Analysis which is long term therapy. can you recommend or suggest how this might fit into short term Therapuetic counselling which you state is short term and mostly goal, behavioural interventions.
Therapist57 - 28-May-17 @ 11:28 AM
I am a student studing this area of interest
emmanie - 22-May-17 @ 6:15 PM
@Clare - You are never too old to retrain and many counsellors are older as they have the wisdom of experience to add to the mix. However, despite the policies of no age discrimination, finding a job when you're older is more difficult in general in a market that sees new graduates as the future. Hopefully counselling is one area where age is not seen as a barrier.
MattYB - 9-Jun-16 @ 11:22 AM
Hi I wish to change my career to become a counsellor but I am 41. I know there is a lot of training involved in this and will be about 44/45 by the time I finish my courses.Am I too old to retrain will I find it harder being older to get a job when qualified. Thanks Clare
Clare - 8-Jun-16 @ 2:31 PM
@Annie - there can be a crossover, for instance you could work in media and also do voluntary work helping others i.e for the charity MIND, or once your media training has completed, this might help you gain work for a charity doing media-based work. It depends really what you feel is uppermost closest to you, i.e writing and/or helping others. However, whatever you decide you can always have a crossover, and that's a nice choice to have.
Jo - 17-Feb-16 @ 11:35 AM
Hi, I'm 16 and I've always loved to help people (at the moment it's been my friends and family), I once got in with the wrong people which led to me having panic attacks and anxiety. I'm over coming it and having a blog has been a big part of my mental recovery. I don't know which route I want to go into. I wanted to go into media and reach people that way so in a September im doing English, ICT and media studies but I want to help people and I also want to work in media. I don't know what I should do. Does anyone have advice? Thank you.
Annie - 16-Feb-16 @ 6:46 PM
I am a 25 year old woman in Zimbabwe.I have experienced emotional and physical abuses and I have no one to talk to,I just keep everything to myself.This has made me wish to help others who are in the same situation as me.I am currently helping and have helped so many people with relationship problems,who lost loved ones and they are doing just fine.That made me realise I could help so many people out there with similar problems.I want to be a counsellor here in Zimbabwe or in south Africa.
Poppy - 14-Jan-16 @ 2:46 PM
Has anyone studied the specialist counceling course, did they find it hard to understand,
what was there main concern.
Yvonne Baseley - 10-Jan-16 @ 12:01 AM
Has anyone studied the specialst councelling course with bsy, how did like it and did they find it very hard to understand.
Yvonne Baseley - 9-Jan-16 @ 11:58 PM
Hello, I would love to do the specialist councelling course with bsy and wondered if anyone else has studied this course and what they thought of it.
Bon - 9-Jan-16 @ 11:55 PM
Ava - Your Question:
Hi, I am 33 years old, post grad in management. I would like to study counselling in the uk. I want to get a qualification which will allow me to work as a counsellor. How should I go about this? Also are there any good universities or institutes in North west England where I could study part time? Thank you
You can find all the necessary further information you need to know via the link here. I hope this helps.