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How do I get into Counseling? (Advice needed)
February 6, 2006
9:02 pm
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werdup
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I am strongly considering getting into Counseling as a career choice. I need some advice...

Here's my situation. I'm 21. I have no real experience with counseling, other than my friends saying that I'm a good listener. I am a junior at Texas State University. I have finished pretty much all of my core requirements, and am taking some time off from college to 'figure things out'.

Counseling seems very appealing, but I don't really know how to start.

All I really know is that I can get into it either through Psychology or Social Work. I am leaning towards social work because it only requires one year of post-grad work, comparatively to 4 years through psychology.

Other than that, is there anyone here who has gone through this that could offer some advice?

February 6, 2006
10:16 pm
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LthrNlace
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What branch of counseling are you considering? I got into counseling through an internship opportunity in college. I suggest trying to get into any volunteer work, internship program, or shadowing of another counselor. Research the field first and try to get as much experience as you can before making a decision.

Good Luck!

February 7, 2006
1:24 pm
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kathygy
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My favorite and most helpful therapist was a licensed social worker. I have had sessions with psychiologists that weren't near as helpful. However, my current therapist is a psychologist. She has helped me a lot but in a different way. Sometimes I wish she were more like my social worker therapist by being more experiental. I have talked to her at length about this but it not really her approach.

So I don't think which path you choose will make a difference in how good of a therapist you would be.

February 7, 2006
3:28 pm
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I would recommend doing informational interviews with a psychologist, social worker, and licensed professional counselor as the training, focus, and professional implications although contain some similar elements,aren't the same. Another way approach it is to look at the Master's programs in those areas, the program description, and the course offerings or talk with a professor in those types of programs.

February 7, 2006
9:40 pm
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werdup
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I appreciate the advice so far..

I'm thinking about Christian counseling.. through ministry, but I'm really not too sure..

What kind of volunteerism (is that a word) do ya'll suggest? How do I get into internship programs? How do I job shadow somebody?

What do you mean by information interviews with a psychologist? Just asking someone in that field to have an interview?

February 8, 2006
1:18 pm
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Informational interviews are calling up a professional and asking for a little bit of their time to meet and ask questions about their profession. I tend to stay at about 6 questions and if they want to give more info that's great. State why you are interested - you are looking into a career in counseling and looking for some insights into the career.

Volunteering is a good way to see what you like. Some things you could do is work at a hotline of some sort in your community. Maybe talk to your pastor or priest etc. about putting you in touch with others that are doing Christian counseling. Volunteer at a homeless shelter or for community programs that are put on by a social service agency - options are limitless.

Job shadowing is asking a professional if you could observe what they do in a typical day - you will not be able to watch them actually do counseling due to confidentiality issues.

Internships can be pursued through your Career Services office at the school you attend, or talking to a social service agency and asking about possible internships available. Or talking to professors in the field about options they may know of.

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