According to the dictionary definition, a counsellor is essentially a person who has the professional qualifications to guide and help people facing difficulties. These difficulties may be personal in nature, or they may be related to a person’s profession or education.
Counselling is a process in which people talk about a problem or difficulty they are facing with a professionally trained and duly qualified individual who has the knowledge, insights, skills and the ability to suggest ways and means of dealing with the said problem or difficulty. Counselling, by its very nature, is a profession that is built on confidentiality, trust and without judgement or prejudice.
As a process, counselling can provide people from all walks of life the opportunity to express their views, opinions and feelings without fear of judgement, and be heard and understood, and in turn be presented with new and different perspectives on the circumstances and situation that they are faced with. In turn, counselling helps to give people a sense of clarity and a better understanding of the problem at hand, as well as gaining knowledge on the possible ways of addressing and resolving the problem. Counsellors work with their clients with the goal of jointly working out solutions that result in a desirable outcome for the client.
In today’s world, counselling is a highly specialised field that straddles several domains, with each domain requiring specialised and in-depth knowledge. Counselling is a specialty that is rooted in psychology and it seeks to focus on a host of aspects about a person, such as character traits, interactions with other people as well as the environment in general, educational advancement and career development, and a person’s attitudes, strengths and assets.
Counselling, therefore, is a form of talk therapy that is conducted by professionals who not just share their opinions and suggestions, but are also great listeners and providers of support and encouragement. Counselling is built on trust, confidentiality and firmly based on a strict code of professional ethics. Counsellors need to be self aware and always eager to learn more about the people sitting across the table, while having the presence of mind to understand the situation being presented to them so that they can provide advice and guidance that best suits the needs of the client. Equally important are patience, mutual respect and a keen eye and ear for cues both subtle and obvious.
To become a counsellor, one needs to have a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in psychology. Alternatively, there are diplomas and certification courses that one needs to undergo to be qualified to work as a counsellor. Along with education, counsellors need to have a fair amount of practical experience with clients and helping them with real problems.
Given the nature of this job, there is little wonder that counsellors are in such high demand today. In India, counselling can be one of numerous subfields, such as education counselling, career counselling, counselling therapy, health counselling, admissions counselling, financial counselling, to name a few. There are various opportunities for counsellors in India today, and those seeking vacancies in the field of counselling typically look for them on online job portals, professional social networking sites like LinkedIn, or newspapers.
Even though the world has gone digital, the importance of newspaper advertisements cannot be understated. In a country like India where newspapers are regarded as sources of reliable and authentic information on a wide range of topics, people search for vacancies in the fields that they are qualified for and have an interest in.
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An ad in which candidates for the role of counsellor are needed would look like this:
“Student counsellor required for Central University, Bangalore. Applicants must have BA/BSc or MA/MSc in psychology, and at least 3 years experience. Send CV to firstname.lastname@example.org.”