Introduction to Counselling

Posted by on 21 December 2016

Counselling is a profession where human connection counts. We asked Professor Denis O’Hara, Head of ACAP’s School of Counselling, what to expect from a career in the discipline.

What type of person is usually attracted to becoming a counsellor?
People attracted to counselling are those who have a keen interest in promoting others’ wellbeing and who also like to understand how people function psychologically, both individually and relationally, and how people make sense of their world.

What are the typical personal rewards of counselling work?
The main rewards for a counsellor are seeing other people become more self-aware, work through their problems and concerns, and empower others to more ably meet the demands of life. 

Does a counsellor need a lot of life experience to be an effective practitioner?
Generally speaking, the more life experience a counsellor has the more they have to offer clients. Having said this, younger counsellors have potential advantages in working with specific groups like youth and different community groups.

What’s the difference between counselling and psychology?
Counselling and psychology have a lot in common in that both disciplines are interested in understanding how human beings function. Besides being a discipline, counselling is also a practice focused on facilitating therapeutic change.

Is counselling improved or threatened by ‘wellness’ apps and remote consultation technology?
Wellness apps can be beneficial in a host of different ways from supporting biological health as well as checking on psychological health. However, the benefits of technology will not negate the need for person-to-person support and interventions. Therapeutic change occurs best via relationships and as such counselling is here to stay.

How do counsellors prevent burn-out from dealing with clients’ stress and trauma?
One of the main ways counsellors manage their work stress apart from maintaining healthy boundaries between work and the rest of life is through regular professional supervision.  

ACAP offers a study pathway for Counselling from Diploma to Masters level. Find out more here, including entry criteria, course content and available study modes.