Counselling Jobs: A guide to mental health professions
If you have an interest in counselling jobs, this post is most definitely for you. The Job Mail team takes a closer look at not only counselling, but the different fields of practice a professional in this field can specialise in.
What is a Counsellor and what do Counselling jobs involve?
Also known as a Social Counselling Worker, counsellor jobs involve professionals working with individuals (or even groups) in order to analyse that person’s specific situation. From here, a trained professional can then provide alternative approaches for this person (or group) in terms of resolving problems.
As a counsellor within this scope, you will also be tasked with interviewing clients (be it individually, in groups or in a family situation) in order to assess the situation they find themselves in as well as the problems they might be experiencing. From here, you will be able to determine the type of services these individuals might need.
You will also be involved in providing services that range from therapy to mediation. As a professional within this field, you will also be responsible for facilitating group sessions aimed at helping clients. This ‘help’ can be in a range of different aspects of a client’s life – from solving personal problems to social problems.
A professional within this field is also required to maintain good contact with other social service agencies, health care providers involved with your client and educational institutions, to name but a few examples.
Within this position, you will be able to build a trust with your client, a relationship that will enable them to discuss their situation and emotions (or feelings). By listening and understanding, coupled with the correct training, you will be able to help your clients to understand their problems, deal with their problems (or situation) and, at the end of the day, help them overcome their obstacles.
Being a Registered Counsellor, you will have to be registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). The HPCSA approves various areas of practice for Registered Counsellors. These areas of practice include Community Mental Health, Human Resources and Employee Well-Being, School, Family, Career, Sport, HIV/AIDS, Pastoral and Trauma Counselling.
Do note that you must also meet the Continuous Professional Development (CPD) requirements set out by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA).
Becoming a Counsellor
Becoming counsellor can be done in one of two ways. The first education pathway to being qualified for these types of counselling jobs involve completing a three year Bachelor’s Degree programme with Psychology being your main area of study. After completing your Bachelor’s, you will also have to complete an Honour’s Degree in Psychology (which is a one year programme).
Tertiary education institutions that offer a Bachelor with a major in Psychology programme include the North West University (with various qualifications like the Bachelor of Arts: Psychology programme), Rhodes University (with a Bachelor of Social Science) and the University of Cape Town (with a Bachelor of Social Science: Psychology Studies), to name but a few examples.
You can complete your Honours at a number of universities including the University of Johannesburg, the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the University of Venda.
Your second option is completing a four year long Bachelor of Psychology degree. Within this degree programme, you will be required to complete a six month long internship with a registered Psychologist.
After your internship and study programme is successfully completed, you will have to pass the National Examination of the Professional Board for Psychology. Once this is done, you can register with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA).
Some of the tertiary education institutions that offer this type of training includes UNISA (with a Bachelor of Psychology: Community and Health Psychology), the University of Pretoria (with a Bachelor of Psychology) and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (with a Bachelor of Psychology: Counselling) to name but a few examples.
Specialisations within Counselling Jobs
A branch of psychology, counsellor jobs involve a broad field of study, each specialisation within the field offering its own rewards, career paths and opportunities. The Health Profession Council of South Africa (HPCSA) approves various areas of practice for Registered Counsellors. These areas of practice include Community Mental Health, Human Resources and Employee Well-Being, School, Family, Career, Sport, HIV/AIDS, Pastoral and Trauma Counselling.
Family and Marriage Counselling
Marriage Counselling involves helping individuals, families and couples with problems and difficulties relating to relationships and marriages.
Within this type of counselling jobs, you will be tasked with working with both the individual as well as the family. Within this setting, you will be able to assess their problems and the situations these individuals and families find themselves in.
With a full assessment and understanding, counsellors within this field of specialisation will be able to conduct counselling sessions with the individual and the family. This job also involves investigating cases where neglect and abuse may be taking place, serving to protect the children and individuals that might be at risk.
Another specialised field within this field of study, Trauma Counselling involves helping people (be it individuals or groups) deal with a traumatic event that took place in their lives. As a professional within this field, you will be working with people that have suffered emotionally or even physically from a traumatic event.
You will be tasked with evaluating the needs of every client. Because trauma affects different people in different ways, you will need to cater for your client based on their personality, their specific trauma and needs.
You can also work in a number of environments ranging from shelters to emergency rooms.
Marked as a scarce skill by the Department of Higher Education and Training, Career Counselling involves working with both groups as well as individuals, providing them with information regarding career choices, opportunities within certain fields and even further education.
A professional within this field of counselling will be tasked with preparing information regarding occupations as well as studying and analysing the different jobs that are performed within an establishment.
This assessment and analyses of occupations are done using various techniques, including interviews with all level employees. From here, the counsellor can move on to compile detailed information regarding job descriptions.
This field of study and practice is not currently regulated in South Africa.
Grief counselling is another aspect of counsellor jobs and involves working with people or groups that are experiencing grief. This grief can be caused by a number of things happening within a person’s or a group’s life including the loss of someone close to them or even the end of a marriage.
Within this field, you will be tasked with helping people deal with grief by using various techniques. By asking questions and listening to your client, you will be able to explore the nature of their grief, providing them with suggestions as well as various methods to help them cope.
Note that grief counselling does not only involve one-on-one session, but may also involve group sessions like seen with various support groups.
Already qualified as a counsellor and ready to start looking for amazing counselling jobs in a field of specialisation that you are passionate about? Register your CV on www.JobMail.co.za now and start applying for the amazing opportunities listed on Job Mail.