Do You Have What It Takes To Become a Counselor?

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The idea of being a counselor appeals to many people, especially those with a nurturing personality. And why would it not? Counselors help people to overcome psychological problems and stresses in their lives. And, it is also a lucrative and fast-growing field – counselors do not work for free.

But not everyone has what it takes to be a counselor. Being one requires patience, discretion, compassion, qualifications, and communication skills. Let us look at each of these requirements in detail.

1. Are You Qualified?

To be an effective counselor, you need to have the right qualifications. The first, of course, is an accredited counseling degree. Without one, you cannot acquire a professional license to practice your trade.

Although the bachelor’s degree is all you need to work in the counseling field, you may also want to pursue an online masters in counseling degree. The field is competitive, and being more skilled than the competition gives you an edge.

2. Do You Have Great Communication Skills?

Counseling involves spending long hours listening to clients. And when you do speak, which is rarely, it is to draw out the client. To talk and listen effectively, you need to have excellent communication skills. Yes, counselors are taught these skills in graduate school, but it is those with a natural ability to talk and listen that succeed in this business.

3. Are You Patient?

In counseling, patience truly is a virtue. In fact, it is the key to success. Clients need time to process their problems, to talk about them, and to accept them. Only then can they agree to make positive changes in their lives. All the while, you will be by their side talking to them, drawing them out, and listening to them.

Sometimes, the two of you will need to discuss the same thing several times before you can move on to something else. Other times, clients will not exhibit any progress, especially at the beginning. You must then be ready to wait for progress to happen, and all this requires patience.

4. Are You Non-Judgmental and Compassionate?

In your line of work, you will hear dark secrets, but as a counselor, you cannot afford to judge your clients. That said, judging a particular behavior sometimes becomes necessary.

 

When this happens, try not to express your disapproval. Instead, remain professional at all times. Keep in mind that clients who sense that you are judging them either withdraw into themselves or stop attending your sessions altogether.

If you have to express any feeling during a session, let it be compassion. People coming to you will be going through a hard and stressful period of their lives. By putting yourself in their shoes, you will understand them better and will help them to solve their problems more easily.

5. Are You Discreet?

As mentioned earlier, people will reveal to you intimate details about their lives. And, they expect you to be discreet about it. Failure to do so would be a violation of their trust. Even worse, it could make you the subject of a lawsuit.

Being a counselor is not for everyone, but if it suits you, look for a training course and take that first step on a new career path.

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