Your guide to studying counselling online or on-campus
Professional counselling is a little different. It’s a process where a trained person helps their client to resolve specific challenges, whether they’re personal, social or psychological. Counsellors focus on promoting mental health and wellbeing, and enhancing self-understanding.
People may find you approachable and you may have found yourself playing the role of “counsellor” to a friend or family member before. Yet there’s a big difference between what you’ve perhaps done in this role, and acting as a professional counsellor.
As a counsellor you’ll need to be a good listener in order to gain an understanding of your client’s situation. You’ll have conversations designed to create a safe and confidential space where your clients are supported to resolve the challenges that they face and can move forward in their life more purposefully.
What does a counsellor do?
Counselling is built on the foundation of safety – listening to a client non-judgementally, with empathy, understanding and respect.
As a trained professional counsellor, you’ll need to be able to use a range of counselling approaches with your clients. Counsellors are trained to use evidence-based counselling approaches with their clients to promote mental health and wellbeing.
Your goal will be to help people better understand the pressing issues that affect them, through connecting with them at their level. You’ll work collaboratively with people to help them gain insight into the issues affecting them, within the context of a safe and trusting relationship.
As a counsellor your role will be to help your client process their thoughts and feelings, see things from new perspectives, and make positive life changes by exploring their own solutions to the challenges they face. The answers will not always be “black and white” as in other disciplines. You’ll need to ask the right questions and listen well.
Counsellors don’t attempt to “fix” a client’s problems but to help them, in a non-judgemental way, to see things in their life more clearly and from a different viewpoint. This change in focus can help your client to make a positive change in their life.
Why choose a career in counselling?
You may find that by understanding your emotions or situation better, you’re able to live more intentionally with a better understanding of yourself. A good understanding of self will not only help you manage your internal wellbeing, but also to understand people and their situations better. This will allow you to support others more effectively and in a non-judgemental way.
For example, a stressed and tired working mother might snap at her kids when she arrives home from work. This isn’t due to a lack of care or empathy for her children, but rather an unintentional emotional action. Your knowledge and skills may help someone like this to have better understanding of self and emotions and act differently.
How much practical experience does a counselling degree offer?
Practical learning will give you the confidence of knowing how to take what you’ve learnt and apply it in real-world situations.
A counselling degree or Masters program will provide you with substantial opportunities for clinical practice of theory; through practical work in class with other students, student placements, and participation as a Masters student in our counselling centre at Life Design Counselling.
Available counselling qualifications
So which counselling qualification suits you? There are a range of options, depending on what outcome you want and whether you have studied before.
Your counselling study options include:
If you’re thinking of a career in counselling, a Diploma of Applied Social Science (Counselling) could be ideal.
A diploma will provide you with a broad introduction to helping people, allowing you to grow in your interpersonal skills and understanding of people, and how to support them effectively in a broad range of human services contexts. You may not wish to be a full-time counsellor yet, but would like to add to your skill set in your current role.
A diploma can be the first year of the degree. This means you can choose whether you graduate with a diploma or continue with further study.
A Bachelor of Applied Social Science (Counselling) is a foundational introduction to the counselling profession. It prepares you to work in a broad range of contexts.
As a counsellor you’ll assist your clients by helping them to understand and cope with difficult issues. You will help empower them to develop self-understanding and make intentional changes to accomplish mental health and wellbeing in their lives.
A counselling degree will give you both a theoretical understanding of clinical counselling approaches, and the practical skills you’ll need in interpersonal communication and personal reflection. You’ll also gain a broad understanding of the human services industry which will enhance your work-readiness.
A Bachelor of Applied Social Science (Counselling) makes you eligible to apply for provisional membership with PACFA, the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia. It also gives you the option to continue to specialise in the field with postgraduate study (such as the Master of Counselling Practice).
Graduate Certificate in Counselling
If you have a previous undergraduate qualification, a Graduate Diploma in Counselling can help you continue developing your skills for effective engagement with people in contextual need. This qualification could serve as a pathway as the subjects comprise the first semester of the Master of Counselling Practice course.
Such a course is designed to build both self-awareness and your capacity to relate to and engage with the broad range of clients who need counselling support. There are also other significant benefits to developing your communication and counselling skills, whether you’re looking for a career in counselling, teaching, nursing or ministry.
The course will also benefit you if you’re involved in community development, customer service roles, human resource management, or youth work.
Building on your previous study, the Graduate Certificate in Counselling will introduce you to counselling theories grounded in research, as well as the skills for applying such theories.
Counselling aims to change lives for the better. If you want to improve your counselling awareness through a formal qualification, or if you are seeking a pathway in a Counselling Masters degree, then the Graduate Certificate could be the next step in your journey.
Graduate Diploma in Counselling
Building on your previous study, the Graduate Diploma in Counselling will help you to develop a comprehensive understanding of foundational theories in counselling practice. The many specialisation subjects available will help you to more effectively customise the delivery of your counselling, depending on situations and contexts.
Counselling can change lives for the better. If you want to turn your counselling awareness into a career or if you are seeking a pathway in a Counselling Masters degree, the Graduate Diploma may be the right path for you.
Masters of Counselling Practice
The Masters of Counselling Practice places a significant emphasis on supervised practice in clinical situations where you’ll engage in delivering practical one-on-one counselling.
Building on your previous study, the Masters program will help you develop a comprehensive understanding of evidence-based therapeutic practice, and equip you to apply both critical thinking and theory across an extensive range of human conditions.
This course will build your self-awareness and capacity to relate to and engage with the broad range of clients in need of counselling support, particularly in human service contexts such as counselling, teaching, nursing and ministry.
The course will also benefit you if you’re involved in community development, customer service roles, human resource management or youth work. Building on your previous study, you will be introduced to counselling theories grounded in research, and the skills for applying this theory in varying contexts.
Often the practice component of Masters of Counselling Practice takes place in a placement context. The clinical practice of Masters Counselling students is supervised in a variety of ways – including live observation of student counselling sessions, video review of student clinical practise, group supervision and case conference. The aim would always be to develop our students into empathic and effective counsellors. In addition to coordinated group supervision, it is important that students get considerable one-on-one supervision practise during the journey of each student.
The Masters of Counselling Practice course work and clinical practice can comprise up to 200 hours of client contact, with 50 hours of supervision at some institutions. Upon graduation you’ll earn provisional membership with the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia. As a PACFA-registered practitioner, you can look forward to a challenging and rewarding career in the world of counselling practice.
Why study counselling at Tabor?
As an institution Tabor rates as the top performer of all tertiary providers in Australia as far as student engagement and satisfaction goes. We focus on personal, interactive, and relational learning.
Our courses offer flexibility and can be partly delivered online. This allows students to study anywhere and anytime. This is especially important for people who are working and are looking to upskill or change careers. Practical assessments of course can’t be done online.
Tabor prides itself on providing robust and quality teaching. Our focus is always on practical outcomes and getting students career-ready through teaching real skills. Many of our alumni have gone on to achieve great things in the community professions.
Tabor offers a unique experience. Our students that have studied at other universities tell us that Tabor is very different from their previous institutions.
At Tabor we want to see you do well!
Talk to Tabor to find out more about counselling courses
If you’d like to know more about how a counselling degree could help your career, get in touch with Tabor online or call our expert team today on 1300 482 267.