Counsellor Kaitohutohu

Counsellors help people to deal with their feelings and responses, solve problems and create change in their lives.

Counsellors can apply to become members of a professional body such as:

Professional bodies require members to meet quality standards, including qualifications and face-to-face counselling experience. For example, both the New Zealand Association of Counsellors (NZAC) and the New Zealand Christian Counsellors Association require:

  • at least a Level 6 qualification in counselling (NZAC plans to make this a Level 7 Bachelor's degree from 2019)
  • 200 hours relevant work experience for provisional membership, and further counselling practice for full membership. 

Counsellors may do some or all of the following:

  • encourage clients to express feelings and discuss what is happening in their lives
  • listen, respond to, and reflect with clients 
  • help clients understand themselves, their needs and how to meet them
  • discuss changes that clients could make, and the consequences of those changes, and support clients to make decisions
  • research ways to deal with clients' specific problems 
  • run workshops and courses.
  • Counsellors working for district health boards are expected to have at least a three-year degree.
  • Guidance counsellors working in secondary schools are usually trained teachers with extra qualifications in counselling.
  • Counsellors contracted to ACC must have relevant training (eg, in sexual abuse or physical injury counselling) and meet cultural sensitivity and professional support requirements.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for counsellors includes:

  • volunteer work with organisations such as Lifeline and Youthline
  • social or community work
  • work that involves helping or caring for people
  • research or study in fields such as psychology
  • life experience.

Personal Qualities

Counsellors need to be:  

  • mature, broad-minded and non-judgemental 
  • caring, empathetic and supportive
  • positive, and able to appreciate people’s strengths
  • patient and persistent
  • able to keep information private
  • able to relate to people from a range of cultures and backgrounds.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for counsellors includes:

  • volunteer work with organisations such as Lifeline and Youthline
  • social or community work
  • work that involves helping or caring for people
  • research or study in fields such as psychology
  • life experience.

Counsellors can earn around $45K-$48K per year per year.

Experienced counsellors may progress to set up their own private practice, or move into management roles.

Counsellors may specialise in:

  • drug and alcohol counselling
  • family counselling
  • sexual abuse counselling.
Counsellor

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