What do Counselors, All Other Do?
Counselors offer emotional and psychological guidance to individuals, couples, and groups who are dealing with mental health issues. Everything from complex psychological disorders to everyday issues is confronted by trained counselors. There are many types of counselors, all lending their expertise to a wide variety of institutions and environments. The primary goal of any counselor is to encourage patients or clients to confront emotional issues on the journey to mental wellness. Counselors may work with a defined demographic (children, addicts, etc.), while others offer general counseling.
Counselors, All Other Skills and Abilities
As a counselor, you should possess strong active listening skills, since patients are encouraged to speak about their personal issues at great length. You should also be able to take an objective, non-judgmental perspective on issues. Basic knowledge of human behavior is required to adequately perform this job, and many counselors are well-trained in multiple areas of psychology. Experienced counselors will be able to apply various methods and procedures for the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental health issues. Extensive knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, as well as an in-depth understanding of various cultures and ethnic groups is greatly beneficial to counselors.
Counselors, All Other Duties
Counselors work with individuals and groups to promote sustained mental and emotional health. Many counselors work with individuals suffering from addictions, while others may provide guidance to couples and families. Experienced counselors will be expected to make judgments and assessments regarding the behavior of patients. In order to properly perform this function, critical thinking skills and a high degree of emotional intelligence is required. Counselors may also:
- Keep patient information and files confidential
- Assess the mental condition of patients, in particular if a patient exhibits suicidal behaviors
- Help patients develop the tools they need to succeed at meeting goals
- Assist patients with establishing healthy boundaries and personal values
- Assist psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers in treating patients
- Perform crisis intervention
Counselors, All Other Tools and Technology
Personal computers and notebook computers are commonly used by counselors to collect and organize client information. Statistical software and test interpretation software are often used to assist with the counseling process. In hospital and office settings, the mastery of more complex medical programs may be required. Internet browsing and electronic communication devices are typically used to communicate with superiors, co-workers, and subordinates.
Education and Training for Counselors, All Other
Becoming a fully licensed professional counselor typically requires at least a master’s degree. This means that most counselors have at least 4-6 years of post-secondary education. Internships and residencies are usually needed in order to give counselors on-the-job training. After the completion of schooling, counselors may choose to join an established organization, or practice individually.
Counselors, All Other Salary
Choosing a career in counseling can provide a stable income for the right person. It is always important to remember that your salary is dependent on factors such as work experience, geographic location, and level of education. The annual salary for mental health counselors is $41,500. Counselors employed in the scientific and technical consulting industries made the most money – over $70,000 a year. Counselors who worked in private settings made more money than those employed by public organizations. There was a 0.6% increase in counselor salaries over the last year.
Counselors, All Other Jobs by Geography
The states of Pennsylvania, California, and Virginia had the highest proportion of workers employed in the counseling industry. Alaska paid counselors the highest wages in the country, followed by Oregon and Wyoming. Since there tends to be a shortage of counselors in these states, higher salaries are offered. The Philadelphia, PA metro area had the highest rate of employment for counselors.