Becoming a counsellor
A worthwhile career as a counsellor
- “Nearly 3 million people in Britain are in ‘distressed’ relationships where they regularly argue or consider divorce.”1
- 526,000 workers suffer from work-related stress, depression or anxiety annually2.
- The number of children having therapy for anxiety has risen by 60% in two years3.
- 12.5 million working days are lost annually due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety2.
- 92% of young people will experience what they see as a significant bereavement before the age of 164.
Helping people through difficult times can lead to life-changing results for clients, and be incredibly rewarding as a counsellor.
Typical responsibilities of a qualified counsellor
As a counsellor, the clients you help can include individuals, couples, families or groups. You could meet people face-to-face, via the phone or the internet. You will:
- build trust with your clients
- encourage clients to talk about issues that they may not be able to discuss with others
- actively listen to clients’ concerns or experiences, and empathise
- challenge clients comments when it is appropriate
- help clients see things clearly or differently
- keep confidential records
Working environment of a qualified counsellor
- As a qualified counsellor you can join an organisation and/or start your own practice.
- Private counselling practitioners are in high demand. Working in private practice allows you to control your own workload5.
- Counsellors typically work from their consulting room – which could be in a clinic or another location, or their own home.
- Counsellors may also combine volunteer work, private work and part-time work.
- In many full-time counsellor positions, you would expect to work standard office hours, Monday to Friday, seeing clients for around 20 hours per week.
How much does a counsellor earn?6
- Starting salary: £19,000 to £28,000
- Experienced: £33,000
- Highly experienced: £47,000
Counsellors in private practice may typically charge £30 to £60 per hour.
As a qualified counsellor you will7:
- Be able to work with different kinds of people
- Have excellent listening and communication skills
- Be sensitive to people’s circumstances
- Be able to work in strict confidentiality
- Believe that everyone can make positive changes
There is strong demand for qualified counsellors:
- Over 50% of people waiting for counselling and psychotherapy on the NHS are waiting more than 3 months to receive treatment, whilst 1 in 10 patients wait for more than a year just to be assessed for treatment8.
- Just a third of primary schools have an on-site counsellor, with over half of schools blaming a shortage of services or qualified professionals who can help9.
- The number of students seeking counselling at university has rocketed by 50% in the last five years10.
- 63% of people knew someone who could benefit from counselling8.
1 Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/love-sex/one-in-five-couples-in-distressed-relationships-report-finds-a7047521.html
2 Source: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/stress/. (Figures relate to 2016/2017.)
3 Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/12/08/number-children-having-anxiety-counselling-rises-60-per-cent2/
4 Source: https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/impact-bereavement-and-loss-young-people
5 Sources: http://www.thecounsellorsguide.co.uk/working-from-private-practice.html
6 Source: https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/job-profiles/counsellor (Earning potential is a guide.)
7 Sources: https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles/counsellor and https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/explore-roles/psychological-therapies/roles/counsellor
8 Source: https://www.mind.org.uk/media/494424/we-still-need-to-talk_report.pdf