If you’re considering a career in counselling, you should think about whether you’re a good fit for this occupation. Counsellors are professionals who are trained to be objective and whom build a trusting and therapeutic relationship with clients through talk-based therapy.
So, what type of person becomes a counsellor? And what are the traits that make them successful? We spoke with Shane Warren, a professional counsellor and psychotherapist about what makes a great counsellor, how to become a counsellor, what it’s like to be a counsellor and why he loves his job.
The ability to actively listen is integral to a career in counselling; after all, listening to others is how you will spend your workweek. You’ll also need to be able to express your ideas and thoughts clearly. These skills can be improved through professional development, but you’ll need a natural ability to connect with others through listening and engaging to succeed as a counsellor.
As a counsellor you will need an inherent ability to empathise with others. You will be helping people through the most difficult times in their lives, so compassion will be important to connect with clients.
You will not solve your clients’ problems for them, as counselling is about having the skills to help clients help themselves. But you’ll need to be able to problem-solve to identify negative thinking and behaviours that may be contributing to your client’s mental health and issues.
- Rapport Building
Interpersonal skills are important to be able to build report and develop a trusting relationship with clients. You will need the ability to focus on clients so that they feel heard and understood, as this is essential to building trust.
- Flexible Mindset
Having a flexible mind-set, or an open mind is also integral to being a successful counsellor. “I think the best trait for a great counsellor is a flexible mind-set. We all need to be open to new ideas and even allow our clients to teach us,” says Warren.
Being self-aware allows counsellors to understand differences between their experiences and their client’s experiences. Self-awareness is important so that counsellors remain nonjudgmental towards their clients. It is also a trait that helps counsellors better understand their clients.
Why Study Counselling?
If you have a passion for helping people and possess, or have the ability to acquire, the traits of excellent communication, empathy, problem solving, rapport building, flexible mind-set and self-awareness, counselling could be the right career for you.
There are many different career paths for counsellors and different types of counselling jobs.
Different Types of Counselling Jobs
- Marriage and family therapist
- Guidance and career counsellor
- Mental health counsellor
- Alcohol and drugs addiction counsellor
- Educational counsellor
What’s it like to be a Counsellor?
Shane is a counsellor and psychotherapist with his own coaching and counselling practice. He has worked as a group facilitator, counsellor and coach.
Why did you become a counsellor?
“I fell into it. It was a process but in essence, I did not have this childhood career goal to be a counsellor. My professional life started in community welfare and then moved across into the world of private practice.”
How did you become a counsellor?
“My undergraduate studies are in the social sciences, but not counselling specifically. In postgraduate years I studied counselling and psychotherapy. But I must say the best training I received was from working with people in the community welfare sector – both my peers and our clients taught me many great lessons!”
What do you love about your job?
“At the end of the day, it is very rewarding, and ego fulfilling, which is a nice way to feel when you go to bed at night.”
Why Study Counselling Online?
Australian Online Courses offers many online counselling courses to develop counselling skills for professional development. Whether your job involves counselling skills, or you aspire to a new career in counselling, these online professional development courses will take you there.
If you study counselling online you will enjoy the flexibility of a state-of-the-art e-Learning platform that allows you to work around work and family commitments.