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How to become a counsellor in Australia: careers in counselling

How to become a counsellor in Australia: careers in counselling
Counsellors provide therapy, advice and other options to their clients to assist them with emotional issues. They help their clients set and achieve goals in order to improve their quality of life. Often, counsellors will work alongside other professionals including psychologists, social workers and medical practitioners to manage their clients’ health and wellbeing. Pathways into counselling as a career include vocational training and tertiary qualifications.

Being a counsellor: daily duties

Counsellors provide information, support and therapy to their clients in order to assist them with their long or short-term emotional issues. They work with their clients and other health professionals to devise and implement care plans, locate appropriate resources and give emotional support. A counsellor may choose to specialise in a specific field, such as relationship counselling, grief counselling or drug and alcohol rehabilitation.


  • Assessing clients
  • Conducting individual or group therapy sessions
  • Devising approaches to behavioural or emotional issues
  • Referring clients to other services such as rehabilitation
  • Assist in conflict resolution

Being a counsellor: skills for success

Counsellors deal with a wide variety of people who are under emotional distress, therefore a caring and compassionate nature is essential to succeed in this career. Counsellors also need to maintain professional objectivity, be methodical, logical and tactful, as well as have excellent listening skills.
  • Excellent listening skills
  • Compassionate and understanding nature
  • Collaboration skills
  • Calm, soothing manner
  • Professional objectivity

Specialised roles within counselling

Counsellors can pursue a variety of paths in their professional life. They may narrow their focus to work with particular population groups defined by gender, ability, religion or cultural background. They may also choose to specialise in a particular area of counselling such as grief, relationships or addiction.
  • Drug and alcohol counsellor
    Drug and alcohol counsellors work with their clients to address behavioural patterns that lead to dependency and create strategies to cope with addiction and maintain positive lifestyle choices.
  • Mediator
    Mediators act as a neutral third party, facilitating discussion and decision making, to resolve disputes between two parties in an attempt to avoid legal action and achieve an outcome that is mutually beneficial to the parties involved.
  • Family and marriage counsellor
    Counsellors working in this area focus on resolving issues that arise between couples or family groups. They address issues of interpersonal strain, stress and tension and promote healthy communication in relationships.

Educational pathways for counsellors

Counsellors come from a variety of educational backgrounds and bring their insights and life experience to the profession. Qualifications aren’t essential to become a counsellor, but will be looked upon favourably by many employers.
  • Start your career
    Equip yourself with skills and training to get the best start in your career in counselling.
  • Strengthen your skills
    Take your career to the next level by adding to your skills and experience.
  • Build your resume
    Boost your profile in the counselling industry by completing a professional qualification.
  • Industry requirements
    You may need to achieve a level of qualification to join a professional counselling association. Find out more below.
  • Finding Work
    Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your counselling career. Emphasise your personal strengths and achievements in your resume and target your cover letter to the job description listed.
  • Employment Prospects
    Over the next five years, growth is projected in employment opportunities in counselling.

Resources for Counsellors

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