Counselling careers are perfect for those who love offering psychological therapy or career coaching. Learn how to become a counsellor or career consultant.
During the coronavirus pandemic, mental health became a global issue, with the result that counselling is now one of the most preferred career options.
Because of social distancing guidelines, many career counsellors have transitioned to providing telephone counselling and career counselling online, and mental health counselling has transitioned to online therapy too.
E-therapy, e-counselling, and telehealth counselling are fast-growing fields and scientists are working on robot therapists or AI-powered mental health apps to provide affordable therapy for millions of people.
However, many people will prefer counselling sessions with a human counsellor and there are a growing number of apps now offering online counselling free to those who need it.
From providing psychological therapy counselling to becoming a mental health coach, life coach, or providing career coaching services, there is a great demand to learn more about the counselling career path.
What Counselling Services Can I Provide?
Here are a few professional counseling services and counseling solutions you can specialize in when you start your counseling career:
- Marriage counseling
- Couples therapy
- Relationship therapy
- Domestic violence counseling
- Divorce counseling
- Family therapy
- Trauma therapy
- Crisis counseling
- Grief counseling
- Depression counseling
- Anxiety counseling
- Group therapy
- Substance abuse counseling
- Anger management therapy
- Career guidance and counselling
- Educational counselling
- Special education needs counselling
- School counseling
- Vocational counsellor
- Student counselling
- Child counselling
- Teenage counseling
- Life coaching
You can even specialize in niches like psychodynamic counselling, holistic counselling, spiritual counselling, Gottman couples therapy or become a job coach.
But who can become a mental health counsellor or career consultant? What subjects do you need to study for psychological therapy counseling?
And how can you get the certifications necessary to get into career coaching and find career counselor jobs?
How To Start A Counselling Career
In a session on the SHEROES app for women, career coach, Monica Majithia answered questions from women on how to become a counsellor and provide psychological therapy or career guidance and counselling.
What does a mental health coach do? What is the difference between a mental health coach, a psychologist or therapist and a psychiatrist?
A mental health coach helps empower people with mental health issues. A psychological therapist analyzes behavioural aspects and resolves problematic beliefs, feelings and behaviours.
A psychiatrist diagnoses and prescribes a specialized treatment such as medication and clinical counseling or psychological therapy counseling.
Who is eligible to become a mental health coach and does one need to take a course or training in mental health counselling?
Essentially mental health coaches help people manage emotions, challenge negative thinking patterns, improve their relationship skills, and reduce stress and anxiety — all of which aids mental well being.
A mental health coach can have a background in social or behavioural science. A post-graduate certification or diploma in counselling and therapeutic training can help build better competencies.
You will require a Master’s Degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences (education, psychology or social work) and a Certification in Mental Health Coach Training to get into this profession.
What degree or certification is a must to get into psychological therapy counseling?
A post-graduate degree in psychology or applied psychology is a must if you’re looking to become a psychologist. You can get a certification in Clinical psychology or so a certified course in Mental Health or a certified Clinical Mental Health counsellor program after a degree course in psychology.
I am 39 years old. Do I stand a chance to become a counsellor at any age?
You can definitely become a counsellor, provided you work to acquire the required skills. A degree in applied psychology and specialized training in counselling are the basic requirements.
You can choose to work in any field of counselling – academic, career, relationship or child and adolescent counseling. There is tremendous scope for growth and specialization professionally and personally.
There is no age bar to become a counsellor and, in fact, maturity and experience are an added advantage in this profession.
I am a high school teacher interested in psychology counselling courses, but I can’t study regularly. How can I become a counsellor?
You can go in for courses in guidance and counselling from the State Council of Educational Research and Training or even the National Council for Educational Research and Training. They have seats reserved for teachers.
There are various certifications available in educational and academic counselling or even as a Special Education Needs Counselor. However, you will have to put in the effort to study for your certifications in the prescribed format and time period.
What are some of the recognised certifications for counselling careers in India?
The following certifications programs for counselling careers are available in India through various Universities or recognised Institutes:
- Certificate in Counseling & Psychology
- Certificate in Child Psychology (after Graduate Degree in Psychology/Clinical Psychology)
- Certificate in Developmental Psychology (after a Graduate Degree in Psychology/Clinical Psychology)
- Certificate in Stress Management
- Certificate in Mental Health
- Certificate in Career Counseling
- Certificate in Marriage and Family Counseling (after a Graduate Degree in Psychology/Clinical Psychology)
- Certificate Program in Couple and Family Therapy
- Community Program for Fostering Strengths
- Skills and Perspectives for Enhancing the Psychosocial Well-being of Adolescents and Young People
- Post-Graduate Diploma in Counselling
- PG Certification Supervision in Counselling
- Psychotherapy and Helping Relationships
- PG Diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling
- Post Graduate Diploma in Community Mental Health
- Post Graduate Diploma in Guidance and Counseling
Are there any specialisations in counselling specifically for caregivers?
There are specialized courses for caregivers working with cancer patients, with Alzheimer’s patients, and also for those dealing with patients of dementia.
In addition, many platforms offer counselling services for caregivers themselves. The Rehabilitation Council of India offers a certificate course in caregiving and also a post-graduate course in rehabilitation psychology.
How can I set up a counselling centre or offer counselling services from home as a Postgraduate in Psychology?
You need to make sure that you have the required counselling certifications from a recognised entity, University or Institute apart from a post-graduate degree in psychology.
Also, before setting up counselling services make sure you have completed the legalities and have the required business licenses. You will also need a business account for taxation and accounting purposes.
If you are looking to set up as a career consultant, you can contact NCS under the Ministry of Labor & Employment. Also, consider the physicality of having a separate professional space and set-up.
Depending on the kind of counseling services you are offering you will need to build a clientele, either through your network or by referrals with other therapists. Make sure you have clear disclosure and consent policies in place.
I am a commerce graduate. Can I also take up a counselling course?
You can go in for a degree course in Psychology, Applied Psychology, Sociology, or Education. In fact, IGNOU offers such distance learning programs.
After this, you can take up various mental health certificates or diploma programs. There is no age barrier and there is also the option of training as a Special Needs Teacher even with a commerce degree.
Besides empathy, what kind of personality traits are required for those in counselling professions?
For counsellors, apart from empathy and communication skills, listening skills are essential. Mental health professionals especially need to know how to set boundaries and need to have critical, yet objective, thinking skills.
If you are naturally empathetic, kind and helpful, you can join various initiatives to help and support others. However mental health is a specialized field for which you need the required skills and certifications as one is dealing with providing supporting people in fragile emotional and mental states.
A degree or background in psychology, education or social sciences is required, to which you can add certifications in different fields of mental health.
Does India’s Medical Council (on the lines of Bar Council for the lawyer fraternity) grant certificates to mental health counsellors also?
The certifying authority, in this case, is the Central Mental Health Authority or the State Mental Health Authority.
Clinical psychologists or mental health counselors are recognised as such, if they have a certification or degree from an institution recognised by the Rehabilitation Council of India or an Institution or University recognised by the University Grants Commission (UGC).
How can I write blogs raising awareness about mental health, if a counsellor has to have an online presence as well?
If you have expertise or experience in the field or if you feel strongly about such issues do go ahead and start a blog. Do make sure you have a definite voice – decide on what you want to say and how you want to say it.
Make sure you have clarity and enough material at hand because once you start blogging, consistency is the key to success. You can find more tips for writing blog content and promoting your blog in this blogging guide.
You can adapt and improve as you go along and stand out in your counselling career or business with these tips for personal branding for women.
Get Free Career Counselling On The SHEROES App
Whether you want to become a marriage and family therapist and provide family counselling and psychotherapy or provide career counselling for students, this article will give you the guidance you need.
Do you have any more questions on how to become a counsellor and provide counselling and psychological services? Need advice on how to start a counselling career and find a counsellor job?
For more free career counselling and guidance, join the Glow & Lovely Career Community on the SHEROES app for women and participate in the live sessions with our career coach.
You can also take a psychometric test and a free career aptitude test to learn about careers that match your interests, try an online course, practice for a Government Job exam or create your own resume with the easy resume builder.
About the author:
Monica Majithia is a Life and Career coach, POSH trainer and Counsellor at SHEROES. She is also an external member of the IC committee of various organizations on behalf of SHEROES. She was a UGC research fellow and has worked in the field of Gender studies. As a returning professional, she has done extensive work in careers and skills-building guidance.