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Retraining as a Counsellor Later in Life

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Later-life career changes may seem daunting but they are more common than you think. Whether it is the result of changing circumstances or major life experiences, many are taking the plunge and finally pursuing a life-long passion that they had put off in favour of a ‘job for life’.

Counselling and psychotherapy is one such field that has seen an influx of new applicants, offering new opportunities to find a deeper sense of purpose. Older applicants are ideally suited to these roles as a wealth of life experience can be a valuable asset.

If you’ve often wondered about a move into counselling, here’s what you need to know about how to make it happen and what the benefits could be.

Getting Started

Embarking on this new career journey can be a rewarding and transformative experience but it’s important to do the groundwork first. Consider what your motivations for a career in therapy are, along with your strengths and personal experiences. Is it right for you?

Research the different types of talking therapy to help find the right match for you. Once you’ve found the right speciality, there are online training courses available to help get you started. You might also be able to gain experience through internships and supervised counselling sessions.

Training and Qualifications

There are some kinds of training and qualifications you’ll need to progress as a counsellor, depending on your intended specialism. You should consider whether a degree or diploma in counselling is required, as well as looking into the relevant licences and accreditations, including registering with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).

Counselling is a complex profession and deals with sensitive, personal details. You may wish to research specialist counsellor insurance for the work you plan to do, as it can help to look out for the interests of both you and your clients.

Benefits for You

A sense of fulfilment and the achievement of lifelong dreams are what anyone wants from their job, yet over a third of UK workers are unhappy with their chosen careers. Given the amount of time you’ll spend doing your job, being able to take satisfaction from it is a huge boon.

Many counselling programmes cater for all manner of adult learners and provide part-time or online options. This flexibility allows you to balance your studies with established responsibilities and helps provide additional financial stability while you prepare for a transition into a new career.

Benefits for Your Clients

With age comes an accumulation of the kinds of knowledge and life experiences that could help others in a variety of ways. Personal journeys, challenges and an understanding of resilience are invaluable assets in therapy careers and can help connect with clients on a profound level.

A diversity of ages in the profession benefits everyone, with more mature counsellors offering unique perspectives that can help build rapport and trust with clients from similar and different age groups alike.

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