It has been 9 years since I left education and began work in the technology and internet industry, but as of today I embarking on a little side adventure to become a counsellor. I am going to document the process (although to what extent I am not sure) on my blog for your reading pleasure. Perhaps others who are wondering how to become a counsellor can read this to and find out about my experiences along the way.
Why a counsellor?
For the last decade I have worked with technology in one form or another, and out of work I absolutely love technology and gadgets. From an academic point of view however my passion is the human mind; Those who know me will know that I actually have a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Lincoln University.
Whilst studying for my degree it was my intention at the time that I would continue into Psychology and become a practising psychologist of some kind. So why didn't I continue in Psychology if that's what I wanted? Ultimately it came down to a number of factors.
- First and foremost, I didn't know what I needed to do. There was very litle in the way of career guidance at the end of my degree and so I didn't know how to continue into post-graduate training and eventually to become a practicing Psychologist. (This may well be a topic for another blog)
- Money, even if I had wanted to continue at university it would have been very expensive. Whilst funding is available for Masters level degrees, once you get to doctoral level you're more or less on your own in Psychology unless you want to do a Clinical Psychology doctorate which are highly competitive.
- Time, and for two reasons. Firstly I would likely have only just completed my education now some 9 years after graudating! That's a long time to be going without a career or full time income. Secondly, life experience is something of a virtue when it comes to being a counsellor, how can one counsell if one has little experience beyond the academic setting and supervised placements.
Those three issues are now largely resolved; I know how to go about becomming a counsellor (More or less), I now have money owing to the fact I run a successful internet service provider full time, and most importantly I am now much older and have much more experience.
A good question, maybe it's reaching 30 and feeling like I need to do something different to break the routine, or maybe it's just reaching a point where actually I want to do something I always wanted to do and finally have the guts to do it. I'm told that I'm a good listener, and that I'm unflappable, forever calm and collected, my friends tell me that I would make a good counsellor, so why not?
Ultimately since finishing university I've encountered lots of situations in my own life, or those of people I care about, that make me realise there is a lot of pain in the world. Unfortunately there isn't always someone to help by listening to our worries.
In particular since becoming a foster carer I've realised that one of the biggest groups of people in need are children. There is a serious lack of provision. Those services that are available are over worked and under provisioned like much of the public sector. I hope that once qualified I can help at least some of these children.
So, what first? The first step on this journey I felt was to rejoin my professional body the British Psychological Society as a graduate member. This will allow me to read academic journals, the BPS magazine, and hear about events related to my field of interest so that I can begin to get up to date with modern Psychology, a lot can change in 9 years.
The next and most important of my journey into counselling is to enroll on a course. It seems unlikely that I could enroll and pass a doctoral level programme in counselling at this stage with my lack of knowledge and experience in counselling, so instead I have opted to enroll onto a introductory counselling course.
The course I have opted for is a CPCAB (Counselling & Psychotherapy Central Awarding Body) Level 2 Certificate in Counselling Skills which should give me the basic foundation I need.
The CPCAB offer a wide array of courses and in actual fact one could, if they wished, simply progress through the levels to the point where you were able to practice. In my case I intend to continue through the levels to a point where I can confidently look at enrolling in a post graduate counselling Psychology programme. Then the ultimate goal is to become chartered with the BPS, register with the HCPC, and get out there and help some people.
Exciting times ahead
My course begins today (Monday 2nd October) and lasts until July, and I am very excited. The prospect of re-entering education even if only for an evening a week is an exciting one. I'm looking forward to learning again and gaining some new valuable skills.
And of course attending a course means something almost as exciting, I get to purchase a whole lot of stationary, and everyone loves stationary! Although if possible I do intend to take notes on my iPad with my Apple Pencil, I didn't get that luxury last time afterall what with neither the Kindle nor the iPad (let alone an Apple Pencil) having been invented yet.