When working as a counselor, every day is a new one with fresh challenges, different activities, and unexpected experiences. Whether it’s hearing from a couple that their relationship is now stronger than ever after receiving couples counseling, seeing a domestic abuse victim gradually get their confidence back to leave their abuser, or simply getting to know a new patient and learning about their lives, each day is interesting and varied.
Let’s look at the sort of activities, daily obstacles, and joy that a counselor receives on the job.
New Patient Assessment
Meeting with new patients and assessing their needs is a common requirement of a counselor. Whether they have long-standing mental health issues or need help with creating meaningful goals, helping them plan and prepare is essential. Being a good counselor with new patients involves listening patiently, assessing needs, and creating a forward-looking plan for future counseling sessions.
Not every counselor is a perfect fit for each patient or has useful knowledge in the area where they need the help the most. Perhaps they need marriage counseling with their partner and the counselor knows just the person to help them who will do a far better job of it than they will.
Of course, referrals run in both directions. This is especially true when offering counseling services in specific areas like veterans’ counseling, substance counselor, mental health counselor, or another type that’s in demand.
Challenges with Inward Patients
It’s fair to say that while most patients are outgoing enough to learn to share their feelings and concerns to get them off their chest, not everyone is so inclined. Sometimes, a court mandates a counseling session as part of a plea agreement in which case the patient hasn’t come willing, isn’t open to the counseling process, and makes a poor patient who’s unlikely to get much benefit from the time invested. Other times, patients have suffered trauma of one kind of another and now find it difficult to trust another person and be open about their troubles.
Earning the trust of a patient can take weeks or months of regular counseling sessions to get to a point where they can be helped. When patients won’t willingly participate in the process, then there’s not much that a counselor can do to assist them. Each major psychological breakthrough provides building blocks for patients as they struggle along through the counseling process until they learn to trust it.
If you’re not yet a qualified counselor but find that you are able to help your friends talk through their problems and find solutions or make a workable plan, then you might well be a good candidate to study an online masters in counseling at Bradley University.
The benefit of online counseling programs is that they offer a flexible way to work through the curriculum studying at home in your own time. Usually, counseling degrees online can be completed in less time if putting more effort into it.
A career in counseling is a rewarding one both financially and from a job satisfaction standpoint. The different patients to see, each with their problems unique to them and the many specialties within the profession offer counselors many different paths to follow.