What does anyone know about counseling for a career??

  1. By counselors, I mean people who help people talk about their problems, not attorneys. I am seriously thinking about going back to Grad school in the next year or so and getting my Master's in Community Counseling and possibly opening up my own office one day. I am getting so tired and discouraged of the heath care field that I would wecome the change. I truly believe that I could make a greater difference in a counseling capacity than I currently do. Any thoughts?
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  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   Jay-Jay
    WW, as someone who has done counselling for my church (and been counselled), I can tell you a couple of things.

    1) It is VERY stressful, and you have to put up with a lot of people who are just basically wasting your time, because they cannot change. They just need a sympathetic ear to give them some attention, so they can vent about their problems.

    2) You will need a good support system. Those who do it through the church on a regular basis have LOTS of prayer backing, and usually do it as a husband/wife team so they can support each other. They also take regular breaks and vacations from the counselling to recharge their batteries.

    3) You have to REALLYREALLY have your own act together in order to do it, or you will burn out. The biggest problem is letting go of all those you have counselled at the end of the day, and not carrying their burdens into your personal life. And, having listened to all the various trials you have weathered in your life the last couple of years, I'm not at all sure it would be the best choice for you. It sounds like you are under a lot of stress already, with your mom's illness, and your own health.

    Why don't you talk to some people who do this sort of work for a living, to get a better idea of the pros and cons of the job? That would give you a much better sense of whether it is the right choice for you.

    I wish you the best of luck, whatever you chose to do!
  4. by   warrior woman
    Thanks Jay Jay. But you know something I've found out? The recent trials you've talked about have really strengthened me more than I'd have thought possible. I've gotten a lot better at separating other people's problems from my own and not owning them. As for my mom's health, I just am grateful for each day I have with her, however I also know how fragile her health is. My health is a lt better too, since I've switched asthma meds and antidepressants. Having lived through the last two years has convinced me that I am more than willing to help others vent their problems, and listen to their concerns. It's what I know I want to do with the rest of my life. And to think, it's only taken me 34 years to figure it out ROFL!!
  5. by   gij1
    Your advice on going into the counseling field is a bit overboard with a negative tone. Part of giving therapeutic help is knowing and respecting the boundaries with your client so you do not get emotionally involved. Of course in the counselling field you will get many patients that do not want to change and seem to be going no where. With these clients you respect only that they need active "listening." Being a counselor does not mean you will completely change everyones live to the positive. You mentioned counselors from church that need prayers to back each other up, maybe should not be doing counseling. If they are that burnt out, something is not right, probably too emotionally involved or they really do not know what they are doing in the cousneling field.
    Warrior Woman i do agree that one must face one's own issues before counseling others. Keep us posted on if you decide to go for your master's. Sounds like a positive and exciting journey.
  6. by   marymary
    Quote from warrior woman
    Thanks Jay Jay. But you know something I've found out? The recent trials you've talked about have really strengthened me more than I'd have thought possible. I've gotten a lot better at separating other people's problems from my own and not owning them. As for my mom's health, I just am grateful for each day I have with her, however I also know how fragile her health is. My health is a lt better too, since I've switched asthma meds and antidepressants. Having lived through the last two years has convinced me that I am more than willing to help others vent their problems, and listen to their concerns. It's what I know I want to do with the rest of my life. And to think, it's only taken me 34 years to figure it out ROFL!!
    To Marie Corelli quote;That's real sad if that's your description of having a husband, maybe counseling could help...:hatparty:
    Last edit by marymary on May 31, '04
  7. by   warrior woman
    The more I think about this, the more I think it is the career for me. I'll have to clear up some debts before I can even think about going forward with my plan. But I know that my purpose in life is to help others, and I believe that this is the best way that I can do it. If anyone has any other thoughts on the matter feel free to weigh in.
  8. by   warrior woman
    Plus, I am also getting so very disillusioned with health care in general that I feel as if I'm spinning my wheels, and not making a difference at all. If I become a counselor, I can actually put my experiences to use in order to help others.
  9. by   Jay-Jay
    gij1, when I mentioned the prayer support, I was thinking of a minister who has been counselling professionally, full time, for at least 20 years. He was speaking at a counsellor training weekend, and said, "If you think you can do this ministry without prayer support, you're nuts!" He's very good, and I respect him highly. He also has a certificate in counselling and therapy, as well as a Master's degree (not sure of the dsicipline, and can't find his business card right now). So, it's not just the amateurs that need the prayer support.

    I also know another couple who have been counselling for years, as 'amatuers', meaning they do not have any certificates or diplomas, BUT they have attended dozens of conferences and training sessions by many different Christians who teach on healing and wholeness. They are by no means burned out. They do take regular breaks from the counselling for vacations and to spend time with family. Amateurs have to be more careful to avoid burnout, because they usually have other jobs as well as the counselling.

    And WW, yes, I agree, surviving trials does make you a stronger person, as well as giving you the empathy needed to counsel others going through difficult times. Just make sure you are healed enoungh, and have the resources to meet your own needs before attempting to minister to the needs of others.

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