What does a counsellor do?

Counsellors may choose to specialise in a specific field such as grief counselling, alcohol and drug rehabilitation or relationships. They provide information, support and therapy to their clients in order to help them deal with long- or short-term emotional issues. Working with their clients and other health professionals, they devise and implement a care plan, locate appropriate resources and provide emotional support.

Tasks:

  • Completing client assessments
  • Conducting individual or group therapy sessions
  • Devising appropriate approaches to behavioural and emotional issues
  • Provide referral to other services, such as rehabilitation or employment help
  • Provide assistance in conflict resolution

What skills do I need to be a counsellor?

Choosing counselling as a profession will put you in contact with a wide variety of people under emotional stress. A caring and compassionate nature is an absolute prerequisite for this rewarding career, however it is also important to approach clients with professional objectivity. You must be methodical, logical, tactful and a great listener to excel as a counsellor.

Skills/attributes
  • Excellent at listening and drawing out information
  • Compassionate and understanding
  • Able to maintain a professional objectivity
  • Willing to work collaboratively to achieve client goals
  • Able to maintain a calm, soothing manner

Specialisations

There are many varied paths that a counsellor can pursue in their professional life. You can choose to narrow your focus to working with a particular population group, defined by their gender, ability, religion or cultural background, work on a specific area of counselling, such as addition, relationships or grief.

Drug and Alcohol Counsellor

Often working in a cooperative team with medical practitioners and social workers, drug and alcohol counsellors work with their clients to address patterns of behaviour that have lead to dependency, create strategies for coping with addiction and maintain positive lifestyle changes.

Mediator

Mediators work to resolve disputes between two parties in an effort to avoid legal action and achieve a mutually beneficial outcome for the parties involved. They act as a neutral third party, facilitating discussion and decision-making.

Family and Marriage Counsellor

Focussed on resolving issues that arise between couples or family groups, counsellors working in this area allow their clients to utilise the “safe space” of their office to address issues creating interpersonal strain, stress and tension and promote healthy communications in all relationships.

Study pathways for counsellors

People from varied educational backgrounds are attracted to counselling as a profession, bringing with them insight and life experience. While qualifications are not required to become a counsellor, they are desirable.

Getting Started

Equip yourself with the tools and training to make the best start in your counselling career.

Skill Building

Add to your skills and experience to take your career to the next level.

Professional Development

Complete a professional qualification to boost your profile in the counselling industry.

Industry Recognition

Professional counselling associations may require you to have achieved a level of qualification in order to become a member. Find out more below.

Getting a job after graduation

Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your social work career. Take a look at our sample resume and cover letter and put your best foot forward when you apply for social work jobs.

Job Prospects and Salaries

There is a projection for growth over the next 5 years in employment opportunities for counsellors. There is a correlation between level of qualification and potential earnings in the counselling sector.