Lend an ear – build a new career

Become a counsellor and give people a safe space to discuss their thoughts and feelings.

3 minutes

The idea of psychological healing isn’t a new one. For example, the ancient Egyptians knew the importance of a healthy mind. They even built temples dedicated to helping people in distress.  

Fast forward a few thousand years and Scotland has 1500 counsellors and 2700 counselling psychologists

But why has the profession grown like this? Nowadays, people are more aware of their mental health, which is great. Many of us turn to professionals for help with things like bereavement, behavioural problems or relationship issues. 

Could you follow in the footsteps of someone like Sigmund Freud? Let’s find out – your route into a career in counselling may be easier than you think.

What’s it like to work as a counsellor? 

Counsellors give people a safe environment to chat about their problems. You’d listen to your clients and offer them time, empathy and respect to discuss what they’re going through. 

What’s the aim of a counselling session? Basically, you’d use your expertise to reduce clients’ confusion. You’d give them ‘tools’ to cope with challenges and make positive changes to their lives.

Counsellors are unbiased and never judge their clients. And it’s not so much about giving advice. You’d support people to explore their own behaviour and make informed choices. 

Wonderful working hours

There’s a reason so many people love working as a counsellor – it’s such a flexible career. 

A full-time role usually includes around 20 hours of client contact each week. Your sessions will usually take place between 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. 

Many counsellors choose to work evenings or weekends to accommodate clients. This is also a good opportunity to pick up some extra work. Part-time careers are available as well.

Ready for the change? Here’s how you can make it happen!

Technically, anyone can work as a counsellor! It’s not a regulated profession, which means there are no set requirements to get in.

Although, most counsellors are accredited by the And a lot of clients expect their counsellor to be BACP accredited, so it’s a good idea to investigate this.

If you need some advice and support at any point of your career change – don’t worry. Our careers advisers are happy to help.

All about Scotland’s counselling courses 

All relevant HND courses in Scotland meet BACP’s entry criteria. Be aware though, there’s a difference between There are two types of courses:

BACP accredited. This is a gold standard course. If you’ve completed a BACP-accredited course, you can join the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care (PSA) register immediately. If you’ve not completed your course yet, you can still join BACP but need to complete a Certificate of Proficiency assessment to show you’re competent enough to join the PSA. 

BACP approved. These courses are highly desirable and acceptable for professional body membership. The only difference from a BACP-accredited course is that, before graduating, you’d need to sit a Certificate of Proficiency assessment. 

Find out more about counselling

Want to learn more about the job, what skills you’ll need and how to get in? Our job profile is packed full of handy information.