Working in community services: A day in the life of a counsellor

Working as a counsellor in Australia is a rewarding career path for those who want to help others. If you’re interested in a career in counselling, take a read through the typical day-to-day activities of a counsellor as well as some of the most common myths about the profession.

What does a counsellor do?

To put it simply, a counsellor works with clients to assist them with any issues they may be experiencing in their lives. This typically takes place via one-to-one counselling sessions, couples counselling sessions or family sessions either over the phone or in person.

The common myths about counselling

There are many myths surrounding careers in counselling that often discourage people from pursuing a career in the field. However, if you’re considering a career as a counsellor, it’s important that you know what to expect. Here are a few of the most common myths debunked.

1. All counsellors are the same

Many people believe the myth that all counsellors do the same thing every day, but this is far from the truth. In fact, each counsellor has their own individual way of working based on their personality, experience, studies and preference. 

It’s important that counsellors develop different skills, to ensure clients find the right fit for them.

2. Counsellors just sit in silence

Not all counsellors sit there and simply ask clients to talk. Different styles of counselling call for different approaches, meaning that while yes, some therapy requires a counsellor to listen to what their clients have to say, it’s not always this way. Some counsellors may choose to run structured sessions by incorporating talking sessions and activities, among other exercises. 

3. Counsellors can’t support clients unless they’ve experienced the same things

Counsellors are highly trained individuals in their field. They may not necessarily have the same lived experiences as their clients, but they have a firm understanding of the psychological impacts different scenarios cause as well as how to help somebody overcome them. 

4. Your life needs to be perfect to be a Counsellor

Nobody is perfect. Counsellors are human beings just like you and me, navigating their own lives. They will experience periods of struggle and stress just like everyone else. That being said, they undertake training to help them separate their personal and professional lives so they always give their clients full attention. 

Working as a counsellor in Australia

Keen to learn more about what it’s like to work as a counsellor? Here is a run-down of the typical day-to-day activities you might carry out as a counsellor.

Prepare for upcoming counselling sessions

Preparation can involve many administrative tasks, including arranging and organising appointments with clients, reviewing notes and creating an outline for their upcoming sessions.

Meet with clients

Depending on the client’s preferences, you might meet with them in person or online. You will check in on your client’s progress, or if they’re a new client, gain a deeper understanding of what they hope to get out of the meeting. You would then run through the prepared session structure, ensuring complete confidentiality and open discussion. 

Record notes

To ensure each client’s records are up to date, you will need to take notes during or after each session and use these observations to provide advice and direct further meetings.  

Get started in your career as a counsellor

Overall, counselling is a very rewarding career for people interested in helping others. If counselling appeals to you, you might like to research courses best suited to you. You might also like to attend a careers expo in your area and speak to people about how you can excel in the field.