How to become a Counsellor in Australia: Counsellors in Australia perform an important role by providing support to people who are, or have, suffered physical or emotional difficulties. By becoming a Counsellor you have an incredible opportunity to assist these individuals to identify and then work through their various issues and ultimately move past them.
Good counsellors are compassionate and caring individuals with a desire to assist others to overcome their personal challenges and in some cases help them to completely turn their lives around.
The impact of a counsellor cannot be underestimated, engaging with and assisting people to overcome life challenges and go on to live a more enjoyable and productive life as well as benefit society in general.
What does a Counsellor in Australia Do?
Counsellors provide a wide range of services and can elect to become specialists within specific areas such as Relationship Counselling, Career Counselling, Conflict Resolution or Drug and Alcohol management.
One of the most important aspects of counselling is the relationship between the counsellor and the client. The counsellor is responsible for providing an emotionally and psychologically safe environment in which the client has the opportunity to build trust. The counsellor walks alongside the client in a collaborative role and is fully present with the client, at all times, empowering the client in a supportive manner.
By enrolling in the CHC51015 Diploma of Counselling you will learn a range of techniques to help build rapport and create strong and positive relationships with clients, then select and implement counselling methods designed to assist them to overcome specific challenges in their lives.
With the growing levels of stress in modern society and the pressure that the increased access to information through social media generates, we are facing unprecedented levels of mental health issues across all age ranges and genders. According to the Australian Department of Health National Survey, 45.5% of the total population experience a mental disorder during their lifetime.
Given this growing level of mental disorders, there has been a corresponding increase in the need for professionally trained practitioners, such as Counsellors, to assist people in navigating their way back to good health.
Specific Types of Counselling
Although some counsellors offer services dealing with all types of potential issues, others choose to specialise in particular areas and become what is known as a specialist counsellor.
There are a wide variety of specialist counsellors, but the three most common types of Counselling jobs in Australia are:
|Marriage and Family Counsellor||School Counsellor|
|Mental Health Counsellor|
Marriage and Family Counsellor
Couples therapy, or Marriage and Family Counselling, describes counsellors who specialise in helping married couples and families to work through a range of issues relating to how their marriage or family is functioning, including the overall well-being of the entire family.
Marriage and Family Counsellors are often also referred to as Marriage Therapists, Relationship Counsellors or Couples Counsellors given that they work predominantly with married couples who are having issues in their relationship.
Marriage Counsellors typically work closely with both partners, meeting them together to identify the issues within their relationship, then using various techniques to work towards a positive outcome.
One of Australia’s leading organisations for the provision of counselling in this area is Relationships Australia. They offer a range of counselling and therapy services, predominantly in the area of marriage, couples and family counselling. As a Not-for-Profit organisation partly funded by the federal government, they are able to provide couples and families with highly subsidised and cost-effective counselling.
Marriage counselling delves deeply not only into the marriage but also the past lives of each individual. This is because the experiences of the past, such as the way someone may have watched their parents interact, can create a ‘profile’ of what a marriage looks like or ‘should be’ from their perspective. Despite the fact that a great deal has changed in terms of the role of partners over recent decades, what has also been discovered is that all marriages are unique.
One of the most important functions that a Marriage counsellor can perform is to get both parties to increase their levels of communication with the other and at the same time discuss and resolve the issues within their relationship which is holding them back from enjoying time together.
The ultimate outcome for a Marriage counsellor is to get both parties to collectively work through the issues in their relationship, eliminate any physical or emotional harm, increase their levels of trust in each other, develop satisfying levels of intimacy and restore their communication levels.
School counsellors provide students across a range of ages with guidance and support, especially when it relates to dealing with their academic, social, personal and parental challenges. They advocate for students in a range of situations and are a confidant who students can speak with about issues that may be troubling them.
Common issues that students discuss with a school counsellor include:
|How to handle a bully||How to manage daily activities if they suffer from a disability|
|Issues with violent or abusive parents||Managing conflict with others both in and out of school|
|Planning ahead, include their career options and how to achieve their desired goals|
In an article published by Time Magazine in March 2014 discussing the outcomes of a report published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology there are some staggering statistics. For example, the rates of depression from 2009 to 2017 among teens aged between 14 and 17 grew by more than 60%.
It specifically remarks that many parents, counsellors and others working with young people are pointing to the heavy use of technology and social media as a key issue affecting mental health.
Increasingly most counsellors, and especially School Counsellors, are having to deal with higher levels of stress and mental health issues, including suicide, as the prevalence of social media continues to grow.
Unfortunately, the days of bullying being left at the school gate have gone and now those that are targeted by bullies suffer through it around the clock, which is taking a massive toll not only on those being bullied but also their parents, teachers and of course School Counsellors.
It’s fair to say that the days of a School Counsellor simply providing career, and general behavioural advice are fading and there’s a good argument that School Counsellors increasingly require more specialist training around the management of Mental Health.
Mental Health Counsellor
Mental Health Counsellors provide a range of guidance and support to individuals, families or groups who are suffering from a range of issues affecting their mental health and well-being.
Mental Health Counsellors treat similar issues to those treated by psychologists including depression, anxiety, PTSD, ADHD, personality disorders plus the many other issues that can affect a person’s mental well-being.
Typically, Mental Health Counsellors have completed training in specialist techniques such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) during the completion of a course such as the CHC51015 Diploma of Counselling.
As previously described, there has been a significant decline in the mental health of young people during the last 10 years. This is also the case across the general Australian population, with Beyond Blue advising that some 3 million Australians are currently living with anxiety or depression and an estimated 45% of people will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime.
A Mental Health Counsellor specialises in assisting individuals with mental health issues to work through a process that identifies the root cause of these issues and then takes them through a series of therapeutic steps to either reduce the effects or ideally to overcome them completely.
Salary and Job Outlook for Counselling Jobs
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