Guidance and counselling is a field of work which is concerned with encouraging clients or patients to reflect on a particular type of behaviour, dig through underlying issues and address feelings or emotions. It can play a role in helping people with health issues, relationships, addictions and even helping those who have suffered sexual abuse – either on a one-to-one basis, in couples or as part of a group session.
Many guidance counsellors are self-employed, freelancing across both public and private sectors rather than working as a member of staff within an institution. It is a flexible job that can require work outside traditional office hours. Primarily practitioners work from an office or clinic, but on occasions they might be expected to travel to visit clients or utilise telephones or video links to provide their service.
A HND qualification or degree provides the basis for employment in this industry, but subsequent qualifications in counselling are required to take it up as a profession. Diplomas or Masters in psychology, social work, social studies or even nursing are often preferable with recruitment agencies, as is gaining the appropriate accreditation from the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).