I Want to Work In .... Counselling


“What I like doing best is Nothing."
"How do you do Nothing," asked Pooh after he had wondered for a long time.
"Well, it's when people call out at you just as you're going off to do it, 'What are you going to do, Christopher Robin?'
and you say, 'Oh, Nothing,' and then you go and do it.
It means just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering."
"Oh!" said Pooh.”


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PROFILE: Counsellor

INVOLVES: Enabling individuals to come to terms with & try to solve problems or issues often of a very emotional & personal variety. Can also work with groups of people in this way.
EMPLOYERS: Self-employment, Education: Universities, schools (mostly Secondary level). NHS
RELATED JOBS: psychotherapy, social work, youth work, clinical psychology, careers adviser.
SATISFACTIONS: Working intimately with a small range of clients. Helping people.
NEGATIVES: Employment opportunities are limited. Risks in self-employment. Income can be sporadic.
SKILLS: Counselling-related (listening, summarising, caring, challenging, focusing etc.), Oral communication skills including verbal comprehension.
ADVANCEMENT: Some management opportunities exist, especially among Education sector employers. More difficult with regard to self-employment.
DEGREE: All subjects relevant, although psychology, sociology, social work & nursing of particular relevance.
POSTGRADUATE STUDY: A BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) recognised Certificate or Diploma would be of great benefit.
VACANCY SOURCES: Counselling Jobs Online - British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy web site. The Guardian (Tues & Wed in particular), Local Press.
TIPS: Study a vocational Counselling course (preferably BACP recognised) first. Undertake voluntary work with Samaritans, Relate, Mind etc. in order to acquire additional practical skills & make contacts.



The first stage is to get lots of practice in counselling as the job is 10% theory and 90% practical experience. Organizations such as the Samaritans, Mind and Relate will give you excellent free training in counselling in return for a commitment to do work as a volunteer counsellor for a few hours a week.

Further Information

See the following job profiles

They were really concerned about my age, saying that they did not think I had enough experience to bring to the job because I am so young. They said that if I was successful, they would only offer me the chance to do the course part-time to begin with, because they believed that I need more "time for growth" and "to get to know myself better". I hoped that they were just testing me to see how I would cope under pressure and I tried to confidently state that whilst I can't match the experience of older interviewees, I can definitely match them in enthusiasm and hard work. You can imagine my delight when I received a letter saying that I have been formally offered a place! 

Interviewee for psychotherapy course

Life Coaching

Life coaches support and encourage people to help them fulfil their potential in areas such as relationships, careers, fitness, work-life balance and self-confidence.

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Hypnotherapists try to access the subconscious to help clients to overcome a wide range of psychological and physical problems including: phobias, anxiety and panic attacks, problems sleeping, lack of confidence, stress-related conditions and habits such as smoking. They induce a state of deep relaxation in clients, and then make suggestions to their subconscious to alter negative patterns of thought and behaviour.


Last fully updated 2012