Counselling and Psychotherapy are vocations. People do this work because they care, they want to make a positive contribution, they want a career that is flexible, stimulating and interesting and personally nourishing. It is a vocation, but that’s not to say that people cannot make a living doing it, they certainly can, and many people do. Although the hourly rate is very good (I charge £65 for a 50-minute session) you often cannot work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. The maximum clients I ever see are 6 per day and would not work more than 4 days per week however I do know people who see more than this. It really depends on you, your life, your stamina and the client group you are working with.
People often say to me ‘I couldn’t do what you do, I wouldn’t be able to switch off’. As a therapist it’s very important to take care of yourself and make sure that you have plenty of time off. You need to be well resourced yourself so that you can be fully present when working with clients and able to switch off and get on with your life when you are not. This is one of the many skills that you learn in training.
It is true that some people are more suited to this work then others. You do need to be interested in others, caring, compassionate, professional and have integrity. You also need the courage to be honest with yourself and a willingness to sit with others in the depths of their pain and the height of their joy. You also need to be willing to be honoured with someone’s innermost secrets, to travel with them as they build an understanding of themselves and to support them in the changes they make. You also need to be willing to celebrate their successes and say goodbye to people you may have come to care deeply about and to be willing to acknowledge that you have been a part of someone turning their life around.
At the Link Centre we use a theory called Transactional Analysis. TA is also used more widely in education, organisational consultancy, training, parenting and lots of other areas. TA is stuffed full of lovely concepts that can be easily understood in simple language and can be used to empower therapists and their clients in making the changes they want to make. Our 2-day Introduction to TA is our most popular course and gives people a great taste of the follow-on training for those who want to progress but is also a really useful as a standalone course. Trainings in this industry vary enormously in terms of cost, quality and what qualifications they offer, we encourage potential students to check us out!
We get such a range of people attending this course teachers, parents, social workers, managers, musicians, flight attendants, dog walkers – anyone who is interested in people, psychology and understanding themselves and others better. Some participants then want to develop more tools and join our foundation year and others then choose to continue and become nationally and internationally accredited counsellors and psychotherapists.
The full training is an investment and takes time as with any new career. Apart from training, it also takes time, commitment, a willingness to take a personal journey of self-discovery – having a good understanding of yourself is a key ingredient of being an effective, professional competent therapist.
Some (like me) then go on to be trainers and teach this stuff. I am one of those who LOVE what they do. Facilitating others in development knew knowledge and skills that will enhance their lives, either in what they are already doing or in creating a new career that is more nourishing for them is pretty cool I think.
Happy new year to you all