Counseling is infact,one among the few careers that gives a great deal of satisfaction. Counseling is a form of talking therapy. If performed efficiently, this therapy has the potential to modify the thinking pattern, behavior and thereby can mend the perspectives of the people in a positive manner. People seek counseling for many reasons, which includes relationship conflicts, redundancy, self-sabotage etc. These problems if not treated properly would pave way for depression, anxiety, low self-image and so on.
Counseling is actually a rewarding career. Apart from monetary satisfaction, it obviously gives self-fulfilment. There are different speciality areas that are available within the stream of the so called counseling. The person needs to introspect himself/herself, as to which area would be feasible for his/her mindset or attitude.
Types of Counseling Careers
You can choose the option that is best suited to your psychological inclination. The following are the major options in the main stream of counseling.
Career counseling is the process of helping people, by directing them in the right track of career, that suits best to their attitude and interest.
Career counseling also includes persuading the clients to develop the necessary skills to enhance their career prospects. Career counselors should also be helpful in wiping out the work related stress.
Educational and School Counseling
Children in their budding stage need professional direction and guidance, to make them aware of their abilities and to enable them to get along with the school environment. The school counselors often need to work along with the teachers so as reach the children psychologically. Apart from these duties, the school counselors offer academic counseling services to the students, in which they should do proper assessment, as to which career would be best suitable for the attitudes and interests of the concerned student.
Marriage and Family Counseling
Marriage counseling is a very sensitive stream. Marriage counselors are expected to offer emotional and mental strength to the couples/families, who have dumped themselves in the conflicting environment.
Counselors should be able to help their disturbed clients to bounce back from their emotional or psychological distress.
Mental Health Counseling
Unlike the other areas of counseling, the mental health counselors often needs to work along with psychologists, social workers, physicians etc. They have to effectively deal with the individuals suffering from anxiety, depression, phobias, traumas, aggression etc. However, most of these problems could not be dealt with talking therapy alone. These are the serious areas of concern, as far as mental health issues are concerned. So mental health counselors, often seeks the guidance of the health care professionals and physicians, to treat the affected individuals.
People who are affected by acquired disabilities in achieving their career and personal living goals, would be treated by the rehabilitation counselors. Rehabilitation counselors deal with the people who strives to overcome personal, social and professional effects of disabilities.
Academic Requirements To Become A Counselor
Counseling is an inherent ability. Because persuading others is an genetically acquired skill, for which you need to possess a good cognitive abilities, so as to interpret the problems and challenges faced by the others, from their own stand points. But still, to become a professional counselor one needs to go for the academic qualifications and recgnitions too.
If you are interested in opting for a career in counseling, you need to earn a master’s degree in either psychology or counseling psychology or clinical psychology or social work. While pursuing the masters degree, you would be exposed to a good chunk of learning environments during the practicum and internships. If you choose to excel in counseling profession, then you may opt to go for doctoral programs and post doctoral programs. Specializations and research works would enhance your career prospects.
There are some exclusive qualities that are highly expected from a good counselor. They are,
Strong Desire to Help Others
Counselors should have inherent liking and desire to help others. This intrinsic motivation evokes positive attitude in them to deal with the people, who comes to them with different level of challenges.
Good Listening Skills and Patience
Usually, people who attend the counseling sessions would have been entangled in a deeper level problems. They would be having a deeper psychological need to be listened and to be appreciated. Listening doesn’t mean sitting passively in front of the person. Rather, active participation in heeding to the problems of the clients are needed. The counselor should be open minded and should respond appropriately to the feelings and emotional problems shared by the clients.
Excellent Communication Skills
Excellent communication skills are highly expected to be a successful counselor. No matter, how good your interpretation skills are (or) how good your knowledge level in the field of counseling, you will still have a low probability of going far in the counseling career, without effective communication skills, which is highly needed to connect with the people. As a good counselor, you are expected to put forth your perspectives and persuasions as such.
Human mind is too deep to understand completely. So merely superficial or peripheral knowledge would not be enough to deal with the problems of human mind. People observation would enhance your knowledge regarding the various mind sets of the people and how they differ in coping with the difficult situations. Watching the body languages, facial expressions, behaviors, way of thinking, different perspectives etc are included in people observation.
A good counselor should not be prejudiced. While judging the others, you are confining your mind. Don’t have pre-determined views and try to develop a reflective nature and receptivity as well.
Being empathetic builds connection between the interacting persons. By empathetic tendancy, the counselor can put the clients at ease, make them feel more secure to open up and share his problems to its fullest.
Good Knowledge in Human Behaviors and Thought Patterns
Human behavior is quite unpredictable in many circumstances. Learning about personalities can be too tedious, infact. Hence, it takes repititive practice and efforts that leds you to gain proficiency in understanding and reading people accurately.
A good counselor should be able to use the methods and tools of psychology to learn about the client. They should have mastery over the personality assessments methods, that is solely done on the psychometric grounds. The counseling therapy includes cognitive behavioral therapy, hypnotherapy, neuro-linguistic programming etc. Hence, professional expertise is mandatory in this regard.
In short, a good counselor should enable the people to see a clear and positive way through their problems and issues. A good counselor should prevent the people from self-destructive thoughts and behavior patterns. Thereby, they help people to convert their negative circumstances into a more positive, productive and self-empowering life patterns.