Counsellors assist people to better understand themselves by explaining options, setting goals and helping them to take the appropriate action. They work with clients to find solutions to emotional and mental problems and act as facilitators in group sessions.
Counsellors work in confidential settings with individuals who are experiencing personal difficulties, to help them overcome their problems and to make appropriate changes to their life. Counsellors sometimes work with other professionals such as medical practitioners, psychologists and social workers as part of a health management team. On occasion they act as mediators in conflict resolution.
Counsellors may specialise in a number of fields such as working with people from non-English-speaking backgrounds, and single parents, or in service areas such as health, accommodation, relationships or employment, grief and loss, stress management, child development and abuse issues.
Counsellors listen to, empathise with, encourage and help to empower individuals. The nature of problems encountered varies according to the setting, but counsellors do not deal with seriously disturbed clients and they do not give advice. Referral and liaison with other agencies is a feature of the work. Vacancies arise within dedicated counselling services, general practices, hospitals, secondary schools, colleges, universities, or larger companies. Promotion is normally into managerial roles, but opportunities are limited as most counselling departments are very small.
Some counsellors are successfully self-employed, although this is only possible if you have a good network of contacts for referrals.