If you want to become a counselor, you likely want to help people. Although most people know that a counselor's main job is to listen to others and give them advice, many people don’t know that there are many areas that therapists can specialize in. Yes, you can become a general mental health counselor, but there are so many more options. There are many types of counselors out there, so if you are thinking about a career in counseling (or need one yourself), it may be helpful to know about them.
1. Disability support counselors
Living with a disability comes with challenges, and sometimes you might need to talk to someone about it. A disability support counselor is someone who can support you when you need help navigating life.
Under the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme), certain individuals with a recognized disability can gain access to a range of support, including mental health support from a registered therapist. It can be challenging to work in disability support because of the high emotional stakes. However, it can also be very rewarding as a counselor to see someone with a disability have a breakthrough and live a better life.
2. Carer counselors
Carers are people who look after someone who is not fully able to care for themselves. It can be hard to be a carer, especially if you are looking after a loved one and you are not paid for the work that you do. Carers often put the other person first and leave themselves for last.
These folks often need someone to talk to and be attentive to their own needs, which are often forgotten about. It can be a thankless and frustrating job to be a carer, so having someone to talk to about your situation who is impartial can be a real help. This is one of the many types of counselors you can be if you want to feel like you're making a real difference.
3. Sports counselors
If you are a serious athlete or know one, you’ll know the immense pressure that you can be under when you are trying to be at your best. Most athletes have a team of people to help them, including their trainers, dieticians, and doctors, but sometimes their counselor can be the most important member of their team. Sports counselors are there to help athletes with their mental health and to improve their overall performance so that they can always be at their peak.
Sports counselors will work with a variety of people in their careers, from people who were once top athletes and are now retired to young people who are just starting their careers and showing promise. It can be very rewarding to work with athletes because they are willing to do what is needed to win. They will be accepting of help if it is going to improve their performance.
4. Children or student counselors
Children are some of the most vulnerable individuals in our society. So when one of them has a problem, they should be able to talk to someone and ask for help.
Sometimes, it can be hard to get through to a child because they may not understand behaviors that are right or wrong, depending on their age and their situation. However, as a therapist of children, you can learn valuable communication skills that can be used through all parts of their lives.
Many children’s counselors start out in schools as student counselors, helping students with learning difficulties, bullying, and family issues. If you want to work as a counselor in a school, you need a diploma in counseling or a higher qualification. It can take about two years to get a qualification as a counselor, but websites like Courses.com allow you to start learning from the comfort of your own home, so you can take things at your own pace.
5. Nutritional or dietary counselors
Not everyone has a really good relationship with eating, food, and their diet, so talking to a counselor that specializes in dealing with these issues can really help some people. The main goal of a nutritional counselor is to help their patients create a plan so they can live a fairly normal life without any issues around eating. Sometimes, people develop issues with food because of health issues like diabetes, heart conditions, or digestive issues and it can be hard for them to get enjoyment out of eating regular meals.
As a nutritional counselor, you will help people to establish good dietary habits and help them to overcome their problems to live a more healthy and fulfilled life. These counselors will often have a background as a dietician or a nutritional specialist, so they will be comfortable with talking about these types of issues.
They may also support people who have an eating disorder. If someone has had an eating disorder, they may feel more comfortable talking to someone who has experience with these issues, as opposed to someone who doesn’t, so a counselor that specializes in nutrition and eating disorder may be of some assistance to them. They can also put them on the right path to having a better relationship with food as well.
If you are looking at starting a career in counseling, you probably already have an idea of the type of counselor that you want to be. However, because there is always a need for counselors in a range of different parts of society, you may find that you work across many different types of subcategories in counseling throughout your career.
At the end of the day, most people become a counselor to help people and give them good advice, so even if you are not someone who has experience speaking about certain issues, you will always have something to offer that could change somebody’s life for the better.