Lady with grey hair sits opposite male/female couple on couch

Career Spotlight: Counsellor

What is a counsellor?
Counsellors are support works that help people define and work through their emotional, social, and educational difficulties. Counsellors help people through various therapeutic activities such as those involving cognitive behaviour or communication. Counsellors listen to, empathise with, encourage and help to empower individuals.

To be a counsellor you will need to complete a formal qualification. Completing a Diploma of Counselling qualifies you for entry level roles and introduce you to the field. However, having a bachelor of counselling is the most common qualification needed to be a registered counsellor. Students who complete their general qualification may choose to specialise in many different fields including drugs and alcohol, family and marriage, and grief. This qualification is likely to come in the form of a postgraduate degree such as a Graduate Diploma or Masters which will set you up with the required knowledge to help a wide variety of clients.

The nature of problems encountered varies according to the setting and could include, for example, depression, anxiety, the need to manage harmful emotions and behaviours, or difficulties with coping with traumatic experience and events.
Graduates will be qualified to work in counsellor, case manager, support and liaison roles in community, education, healthcare, government and private sector organisations.

Complete a Diploma of Counselling (CHC51015) which will introduce you to the field of counselling and qualify you for entry level roles within the industry. This qualification can also be used as a pathway into further study.

What does a counsellor do?
Counsellors do not advise their clients but seek to help them to understand themselves better and find their own ways to cope or to resolve problems. Referral and liaison with other agencies is a feature of the work.

Some common counsellor tasks include:
Establishing and maintaining positive relationships with clients from all backgrounds.
Applying a range of proven therapy techniques to assist individuals and groups on matters related to personal and psychological wellbeing
recognising and responding appropriately to crisis situations, and to evidence of family violence, parenting stress, mental health issues and child harm
confidently and respectfully refer clients to other services when necessary
Working within a case management framework.

They are also responsible for:
Providing counselling face to face, over the telephone, or online
Working with individuals, families or groups
Keeping confidential records
Building a relationship of trust and respect with clients

Are you suited to be a counsellor?
A counselling job is well-suited for those with excellent interpersonal skills – including the ability to actively listen, empathise, collaborate, and tackle problems with patience and understanding. Providing strong emotional support is just one aspect of the job, however; counsellors are still required to pursue methodical, logical, and objective tactics to properly analyse the situations at hand, free of bias.