Maybe you’ve thought about becoming a couples counsellor, or relationship counsellor, or marriage counsellor….Whatever you call it, let me tell you it is a journey of growth, challenge, joy and despair. Because relationships are hard work. Therefore, working with couples to increase satisfaction or repair broken bits is hard work. It’s a challenge for the couple, and it’s a challenge to you as the counsellor.
How do you know if you are suited to a career in relationship counselling?
Maybe you won’t really know whether it is your thing until you have started (or completed) the appropriate training…but here are some things to consider:
- Do you have good self-awareness?
- Are you able to be healthily assertive, without aggression?
- Are you able to stay calm in the face of high conflict between others?
- Are you willing to face your own issues of connectedness, attachment or avoidance of intimacy?
- Do you have a good sense of humour?
- Are you committed to others being the master of their own destinies?
- Can you recognise when you are wearing out or becoming cynical?
- Can you cope with explicit language around sexuality if that the way the couple talk?
- Can you let go of control?
- Are you good at recognising patterns?
- Can you stop fixing and instead commit to facilitating others to find their own truth?
- Can you commit to on-going study and personal growth?
- Can you learn to live with the reality that some couples come to counselling to end their relationship?
- Can you maintain hope, even when things look bad?
- Are you happy to live on a fairly low income?
- Do you have good self-care, at least in some areas of your life?
- Are you committed to stringent ethical practices?
- Are you prepared to take the risk you might not be able to get clients?
This is not a complete list, but it is a starting point as you look at career options.
Couple counselling is a wondrous, scary, colourful career with highs and lows. It is rarely dull, and it is hard work. If you love it, it’s great. It’s not for everyone. One subject in a degree does NOT make you qualified. Specialist training which is experiential as well as theoretical is needed. But if it seems like the idea has grabbed you by the ankles and is wagging its tail at the same time, then maybe, just maybe, you should go for it!