Five Types of Counselling Jobs | The Essential Guide
Are you considering a career helping others as a counsellor?
Counselling can be a gratifying profession. Working as a counsellor offers excellent job opportunities through low unemployment rates and a positive job outlook with predictions of very strong growth for the industry in the future, accompanied with the gratification of offering help and support to those in need. With 34% of counselling work offering part-time opportunities, it can be a great career choice for those not seeking a full-time schedule.
With different pathways and specialisations on offer for counsellors, it’s essential to think about what type of counselling job is best for you. That’s why we’ve looked at 5 types of counselling jobs for you to consider!
1. Mental Health Counsellor
Reports from the National Health Survey of 2017-2018 suggests that 1 in 5 Australians have been diagnosed with a mental or behavioural condition. As a result, there is a great need for mental health counsellors within our communities.
Mental health counsellor’s primary role is to offer guidance and advice to individuals who are affected by mental illness and help improve their overall wellbeing by creating an effective treatment plan. Professional Counselling Psychotherapist, Karen Philip, emphasises that counsellors require empathy, understanding and no judgement to guide patients through what can be a tough time in their lives.
While having the desire to help people, mental health counsellors also need to have a sound understanding of psychological conditions, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and trauma-related disorders. In addition to providing patients with a treatment plan, counselling services can refer their patients to other mental health professionals or other required health services if medication or further treatment is necessary.
2. Alcohol and Substance Counsellor
For many individuals with alcohol or substance abuse addictions, the journey to sobriety and managing their dependencies can be arduous. As a result, the role of an alcohol and substance counsellor can be challenging but also extremely rewarding while guiding their patients through this difficult time.
The treatment plan for patients suffering from alcohol or drug-related affected patients revolves around introducing behavioural changes to overcome their addiction. It’s pivotal for counsellors to offer a constructive and non-judgemental environment for their patients to be open to the changes proposed and appreciate that as a counsellor, they are acting within the best interests of their patient.
Alcohol and substance counsellors must work alongside their patients and their families in a collaborative process for the wellbeing of the patient. Counsellors of these patients may also refer patients to support groups or other medical services as required on a case by case basis.
3. Family Counsellor
The role of a family counsellor is centred around analysing the dynamics between family members, getting to know their psychological behaviours and how members interact with one another. Often involved in marriage or relationship counselling to work with a couple to navigate through their problems, it’s pivotal for a counsellor to have interpersonal skills in an attempt to resolve any family conflict issues successfully. Family counselling can cover a range of challenges, such as separation, the loss of a loved one and domestic violence.
The purpose of family counselling is to identify behavioural patterns that are causing family or relationship issues and create an understanding of how these behaviours can be altered to improve the relationship of the family unit. Family therapy sessions typically involve sitting down with each family member individually to discuss their problems and concerns, followed by working together as a family with their counsellor to resolve the issues raised.
Other forms of family counselling also focus on families who may be experiencing separation, offering emotional support and guidance for individuals going through a separation or for their children. Research suggests that over 40,000 Australian children were involved in divorces in 2016, illustrating not only the challenges involved in family counselling but also the importance of the work of family counsellors within our society.
4. Education Counsellor
The role of education counsellors placed into schools is exceptionally diverse and involves helping students through a variety of issues and challenges. Creating a safe and open environment for students to feel comfortable to share how they might be feeling or what they are going through is crucial for a counsellor to be able to help students.
Some of the many issues school counsellors may need to assist students with involve an array of challenges such as bullying, drug/alcohol-related incidents, family issues or mental health problems. Other roles of the school counsellor may revolve around career advice in high schools, behavioural issues or organising peer support groups for students dealing with similar challenges.
Being a school counsellor is a pivotal role in a school community for the wellbeing of students and is the perfect role for counsellors looking to help young people.
5. Rehabilitation Counsellor
Rehabilitation counsellors offer a broad range of assistance to their patients and serve those affected by a medical/mental condition, accident recovery patients or those otherwise disadvantaged to participate in aspects of society such as employment.
For physically affected patients, rehabilitation counselling focusses on patients with physical conditions, illnesses or may be recovering from surgery, in an effort to improve their functionality, mobility and overall wellbeing to overcome limitations. Rehabilitation counsellors generally work with a larger team in related fields, including doctors, social workers and nursing staff to optimise a person’s recovery and journey to independence.
Individuals with mental conditions or substance addictions can also be referred to rehabilitation counsellors to work alongside their patient to enable them to operate as an independent member of society. Rehabilitation counsellors often work within government-related training programs; however, can also operate within private practice.
Think you've found your passion?
Working as a counsellor provides several career pathways and offers many gratifying opportunities to help those in need. If you’re considering taking up a career as a counsellor, have a look through courses available and enquire today!
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