To think I could make a good counsellor? Anyone know much about this as a profession?

(44 Posts)

I've never known what I want to do in life; worked for 10yrs+ in banking, then lots of sales type jobs etc., but I hate selling! I'm a "good" salesperson, in that people seem to like me and trust me, but I cannot and will not sell something to someone who doesn't need it as I have too much of a conscience. This has led, over the years, to loads of brilliant feedback from customers about how lovely I am, and how I've gone the extra mile for them, but very poor results when it comes to my appraisals as I'm just not target driven.

I'm currently working a couple of part time jobs in a shop and a cafe and I'm loving dealing with people, however, the shop keep telling me off for letting people talk to me for too long, and being everyone's "agony aunt". Thinking about it, this is what I enjoy doing most; I'm good at listening, good at offering perspective on people's problems, and I'm good at getting on with people.

I had a sudden epiphany last night that I may be good in some kind of counselling/therapy type job! Now this would mean retraining and qualifying, but I'm only mid-30's so plenty of time for that. So what's the next step? I've been googling, but it's so confusing! Some results say you need a degree, others point towards diplomas in counselling skills - does anyone here do this for a job and could offer me some pointers?

Thanks in advance, and apologies for this not being a "real"AIBU, but there's more traffic here and you lot give good advice grin

ilovesooty Sun 15-Jun-14 12:04:44

I'm a qualified counsellor. In the first instance you need to look at the BACP site and find out where the local courses are. Sorry, can't link on phone.

I also work full time alongside a private practice and you need to be aware that it's costly to train as well as costly to maintain your development as well as hugely the consuming.

ilovesooty Sun 15-Jun-14 12:05:40

Sorry I meant I work full time in another job as well as counselling privately.

Goblinchild Sun 15-Jun-14 12:07:01

Have you thought about volunteering with the Samaritans?

Silvercatowner Sun 15-Jun-14 12:09:01

My OH is a counsellor (hi ILS!!!). He trained alongside full time work (evenings and Saturdays) then went part time then finally took very early retirement. He works as much as he wants as a counsellor and is very happy (and very good although I am biased). I'm the main wage earner though - his work could not pay the mortgage. Happy to answer more specific questions by PM.

Aradia Sun 15-Jun-14 12:10:59

I'm the same and am a hypnotherapist, it's an amazing job, incredible job satisfaction! smile

ilovesooty Sun 15-Jun-14 12:12:52

Hi Silvercatowner grin

I have enquired about volunteering for the Samaritans, yes, but my local one needs people in the evenings more than anything, and that's the time I can't work because of ds.

I'm looking at the BACP website now, thank you smile May well send some PM's later!

Helpys Sun 15-Jun-14 12:18:03

Getting some volunteer training is an excellent idea. Why don't you contact the Samaritans as train as a listener.

Helpys Sun 15-Jun-14 12:18:51

Doh!
grin
Good luck!

Branleuse Sun 15-Jun-14 12:22:14

Samaritans insist you do evenings and nights, which is a pain when you have a family, and meant i had to give up. Its also not counselling.

Diploma in counselling i think is a good one

Yeah I'm a single mum so evenings and nights not an option, particularly not for volunteering as I'd struggle to pay a babysitter when I'm not actually earning money.

Looking at the BACP site, it appears I wouldn't need a degree then?

shockinglybadteacher Sun 15-Jun-14 12:26:45

You might be a good fit in a public sector customer facing role, have you thought about that? or for the CAB?

I'm open to suggestions! All I do know is that I'm sick to the hind teeth of working in retail for people who don't give a damn about the customers. Of being told to chat to people for no more than 3 minutes, unless it looks like they are spending a lot of money, and doing what's right for the company, not the customer. I hate it and it goes against everything I am!

ilovesooty Sun 15-Jun-14 12:33:55

You could look at roles in advocacy, support or advice and guidance, especially with charities. That's my daytime role.

shockinglybadteacher Sun 15-Jun-14 12:46:34

I'm a union shop steward. To me, it sounds as though you'd be perfect to do something like that. You have to spend a lot of time chatting with members, sorting out problems, that sort of thing. You're a retail worker - your union would be USDAW, who are normally crying out for reps. Something to consider?

I will consider anything! I enjoy talking to people and problem solving, I hate targets and bad customer service. I'm sick of selling and retail! I want to do something a bit more fulfilling smile

Silvercatowner Sun 15-Jun-14 12:54:24

The Samaritans are great - but they aren't a counselling service. My OH was actually advised they were not a good experience for someone in training as the skill set is so different.

InternetFOREVER Sun 15-Jun-14 12:59:41

I'm not a counsellor but am in a similar sort of profession in the NHS... be warned, if you're working in anything other than your own private practice there will still be targets! I too thought when I left my sales job that I'd never be stressed about targets again, no such luck!

Hi, I'm currently studying to become a counsellor so may be able to help you! Take a look at the CPCAB website they will be able to give you loads of info regarding courses and the progression route to becoming an accredited counsellor.

There is quite a lot of studying involved to become a counsellor, the route that I have taken will take 4 yrs part time including a year on work placement. Also be aware that any issues you may have will be brought up as there is a lot of self awareness work, I've found that element of studying fascinating and have discovered so much about myself.

The course that I am on has been fantastic and I would highly recommend it, good luck!

4 years is my aim, as I'll be 40 in 4 years and would like to have made steps towards doing something I want to be doing by then! Ds will also be 12 then, so, hopefully, won't have to rely on childcare quite as much before and after school, and will free me up to work more flexibly.

Flossyfloof Sun 15-Jun-14 14:10:25

Hello ILS from me too! I wonder if you can guess who I am? Not from r/l, but from Somewhere Else, connected to your previous role. Different name.
A friend of mine signed up at a local University to train as a counsellor, specialising in trauma. They postponed the course several times and in the end, weeks before she was due to start, cancelled it for this year. Just check this kind of thing out before you commit yourself.
I think I would be a brilliant life coach, I am seriously considering doing a course in this.
Best of luck.

wobblyweebles Sun 15-Jun-14 15:52:49

It is a very interesting course but very few people actually work as counselors and earn money from it.

IndieKate Sun 15-Jun-14 17:32:25

Hi OP I'm a therapist and ante natal teacher.

If I were you I would see if I could find an introduction to counselling course running near you to get a flavour of what counselling is like.

The training is a huge commitment both time and money wise and once you are qualified it can take years to become established enough to make enough money to live on. You also need to be mentally robust enough to support other people while they are dealing with their issues and it can be very draining but its also the most rewarding thing I've ever done.

I don't want to discourage you, if you think you have a talent for it by all means explore it further smile

Weathergames Sun 15-Jun-14 17:36:50

I am a counsellor and I have 8 qualified counsellors volunteering for me - paid work is hard to come by IME.

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