11 Rewarding Reasons to Become a Counselor
Why do people choose to spend their time, effort, and money in studying for a masters in counseling? Why do they then go on to become counselors for the rest of their careers? It's a hard job, and not one that is suitable for everyone, so what are the reasons behind why some people find it's the best career they could possibly have?
There are, in fact, many reasons. It will depend on the person in question's personality, and what they want out of life. It will depend on their own experiences and how that has shaped them. Most of all, it will depend on their dreams and goals. Read on to discover some of the main reasons people choose to become counselors; you might find that it's just the career you are looking for.
It's What You've Always Wanted
There is no point in taking the time and hard work required to study for a masters in counseling if being a counselor is not your end goal. The work you need to put in on your course is reflective of the work you'll be doing once you have graduated and are actually dealing with people, so if you don't like it, you need to think of something else; there can be little worse than a counselor who just isn't interested in their patients or the job as a whole.
However, if counseling is something you have absolutely always wanted to do, or it has become a dream because of your own experiences, then this is a wonderful reason to study and become one. You'll be fulfilling a life goal and that will make you happier than anything else.
Being a Positive Force
Some people have had difficulties in their lives. This could stem from grief, injury, depression, loss, trauma, and many other things. Some of these issues go back into childhood and have been a negative force ever since.
As a counselor with a masters in counseling, you can be a positive force in someone's life. You can change everything just by being there and listening. Of course you'll make suggestions as to how your clients can improve their own lives, but the main bulk of your job is to listen as people are finally able to speak out loud. This is a positive thing in itself and many people find that the act of visiting a counselor is all it takes to begin the healing process.
Seeing People Flourish
As a counselor, when you first see a patient they are likely to be looking and feeling down. They will be upset, confused, perhaps angry. They won't be as happy as they could and should be - their lives will be lacking.
You are the one person who can make a difference. Remember, by the time someone has decided they need to speak with a counselor, they will always have talked to friends and family (or decided against it for whatever reason makes sense to them), perhaps colleagues, maybe even searched online and found an internet forum to chat with strangers in. None of this will have worked, otherwise they wouldn't be coming to a counselor. This means you are their last hope. Yet with your masters in counseling, you can make the difference; you can see those patients flourish and become the people they are meant to be.
Starting People on Their Personal Journeys
One of the reasons people need a counselor is that they are lost in life. Something has happened, or a number of things have accumulated, and now, rather than having a definite path in life, that person is floundering, unable to work out which direction to go in.
The truth is, people need to find their own path in life. Being told what to do because someone else thinks it's the right thing is never going to quite work out - it might be positive, but there will always be that 'what if?' question, and the person who is being guided will never be quite satisfied. Or it could be entirely negative, because it wasn't what the lost person really wanted in the end.
As a counselor, your task is to help the person who has come to you find their path again, and start off on their own personal journey. Seeing this happen, even if it takes a long time and many sessions, is certainly worth getting your masters in counseling for. Although you won't have made any decisions on your client's behalf, you will have helped them understand what they want and need in life, and they'll know what they need to do and which direction to take.
Your Own Life Will Improve
As a counselor, your masters in counseling was all about helping other people. Yet in doing this, you will improve your own life as well, and this is just as important. It's an unexpected side effect, but it's one that will help you become more positive and more aware of everything around you.
You might find some of your patients have similar issues to you, even if you hadn't realized that's how you felt. By talking to them and offering them sound advice, you can understand what you need to do in your own life too, thus improving your standard of living, your relationships, and your ideals for the future. This is not something you can do in every job; there isn't time or the skills to be so introspective when you're working in another profession, so this is an added benefit you might not have considered, but one you should take complete advantage of.
A Job for Life
Today it seems that many people don't ever really settle on a career. They pick a job and start it, realize it's not quite what they want, and move on. The idea of a 'job for life' has been lost, although it was what was expected in past generations.
If you study for a masters in counseling you will have a job for life. With these qualifications, skills and the knowledge you learn along the way, you can give yourself the chance to have a solid, stable career for as long as you want - if that means until you choose to retire, then so be it. In this case, you won't have to worry about seeking new employment, or finding that the sector is narrowing; you'll always be able to help people in the way you have chosen to.
More and more people are choosing to see a counselor or therapist in the 21st century. They realize there is no stigma attached to having mental health issues, and there is certainly no shame in asking for help - it is approved on in society, and so those who might have tried to ignore their pain and suffering or to deal with it themselves are now looking for counselors instead. This is a wonderful thing, and on a personal level it means your career choice is a safe one.
You Mean Something
Going through life and touching others, making a difference in their own lives, and being a positive force is a beautiful thing to be able to do; if you can make it your career because you have achieved a masters in counseling that's even better.
You will mean something to others, and this will boost your confidence and make you happy. Imagine being the one person to whom others turn to when they need help the most. With your skills and training and your innate understanding of what others need, that really could be how you spend your days. That's worth every minute of hard work and effort you need to put in when you're a counselor.
You'll Be Challenged
Although some people are more than happy to go through life without any challenges to deal with, that's not what everyone wants, and if you are the kind of person who likes to be challenged then starting with your masters in counseling is a great beginning. This will be a challenge, but the sense of achievement you'll get from it will be unparalleled.
Unparalleled, that is, until you start work and you realize that the challenges you faced in your masters in counseling was really just the beginning. When you are a counselor, there will be new challenges to face every day. You're not going to know what to expect from one patient to the next, even if you've seen that patient before. Things change, and they will hopefully improve but there might be setbacks too. You need to be able to think quickly and have an answer at all times. This will mean taxing your brain and it makes the role of counselor one that is certainly never boring. If you love a challenge and you're able to come up with solutions that make a difference, this could be the career you are looking for.
You'll Have Freedom
When we say you'll have freedom as a counselor, this will depend on the particular route you decide to take after you gain your masters in counseling. You might go to work for someone else, in which case your freedom will be somewhat limited since you will have to abide by their rules and the working hours in your contract.
If you work for yourself, however, you will be able to have a lot more freedom. Some careers are ideal for taking on in a self-employed capacity. You could start your own practice and see people on your own terms. If you can live on the money you earn on a part time basis, you can pick and choose the days and hours you work. If you want to work full time but would prefer to work from home or in a garden office, or anywhere else you want rather than being told where to work and when, you can work the appointments with your clients around your commitments. This is perfect if you have a family to care for (you can work only during school hours, for example) or you have a hobby you want to enjoy (you can take a day off in the week to do this).
You having freedom in your life and still being able to earn a good income is something that is precious. With your masters in counseling it is a reward you can give yourself and one that will help your own mental health too. You won't be so stressed and you won't feel overwhelmed. You'll do exactly what you want to do when you want to do it.
Being There for Breakthroughs
Not all your patients are going to have visible breakthroughs in their therapy. Some will slowly but surely come to a realization about their lives and finally see what it is they need to do and change to make things better.
Some, however, will have breakthroughs that might even happen right in front of you. You'll see their eyes light up and their faces change as they have these 'a-ha' moments at which point you'll know that everything you've said and done has worked. They have understood what you were helping them with, and they can do what needs to be done because they have had you there to bring them to that moment.
You'll Help People Get Excited for the Future
Mental health problems take a terrible toll, and for some, they won't even want to think about the future; it's too frightening and too unknown. They might not even think they have a future, so there is no point in thinking about one.
You, as a qualified counselor with a masters in counseling, can change that. Through careful discussion and gentle talking, you can turn someone from being afraid of the future to being excited for it. Once someone is excited for the future they will start to make plans and they will be much more positive. You can help them be their real selves and find their genuine path because, after all, everyone has one.