Counselling psychologists help people to cope with mental health issues, emotional problems and challenging situations using a range of psychological concepts and psychotherapeutic techniques, such as transactional analysis, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and the Milan systemic approach.
Rather than simply offering guidance, counselling psychologists encourage service users to make their own decisions. They assist people by offering them a structured and focused way of addressing their problems.
Counselling psychologists help people with all kinds of difficulties, from substance abuse and domestic violence to post-traumatic stress and eating disorders.
As well as talking to people and helping them deal with their problems, counselling psychologists are responsible for assessing service users’ needs using psychometric tests and clinical interviews. Based on these assessments, counselling psychologists will then create a bespoke therapy plan for the individual service user.
Counselling psychologists are also responsible for maintaining records, tracking the progress of service users, and writing reports.
Salary & benefits
Starting salaries for counselling psychologists tend to range from £28,000 to £32,000. Once you have gained more experience, however, your salary can increase to anywhere between £45,000 and £80,000 a year.
Counselling psychologists typically work five days a week, nine-to-five. However, extra evening and weekend work may be required from time to time to accommodate certain service users.
To enter this line of work, you will need an undergraduate degree in a psychology-related subject which is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS).
Alternatively, if you have an unrelated undergraduate degree, you will be required to complete a one-year conversion course.
In order to become a chartered counselling psychologist, you will need to obtain a postgraduate qualification – either a BPS Doctorate or BPS Qualification in counselling psychology.
Finally, all counselling psychologists are required to become a registered member of the Health and Care Professions Council.
Training & progression
Counselling psychologists complete the majority of their training whilst working towards chartered status. However, the British Psychological Society also gives its members access to a range of additional training and networking opportunities.
Some counselling psychologists choose to specialise in one particular area, such as mental health or post-traumatic stress disorder, and focus on building up their reputation and client base in this niche.
Some large organisations, like the NHS and the Civil Service, give counselling psychologists the opportunity to advance into senior management positions.
Many people opt to work on a freelance basis. Alternatively, you could always give something back to the counselling community by working as a university lecturer and teaching the next generation of counselling psychologists.