Pursuing a Career as a Community Counselor

Counseling is the practice in which a trained professional assists and guides a client in their personal issues. The client may be going through psychological or social difficulties and would therefore need assistance from a professional since they may not be able to manage the issue effectively on their own. Counseling offers the client an opportunity to openly discuss the issues they are going through. The counselor then educates them with constructive coping mechanisms and effective problem solving skills in a safe, confidential, supportive, and non-judgmental environment. Counseling therapy is focused on client-centeredness, healthy development, and goal achievement.

Community counseling is a type of counseling that is offered to communities who have been affected by a massive natural disaster. The goals of community counseling include providing supportive interaction, education and awareness of the nature of natural disasters, understanding different reactions to trauma, assisting survivors in their expression of emotions, and referring severely traumatized survivors to qualified professionals.

Students interested in pursuing a career as a community counselor must complete both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in counseling. The bachelor’s degree is four years in duration and the master’s degree is two years in duration. During these programs, students are educated in areas such as behavioral psychology, conflict resolution, psychology of personality, psychotherapy, community counseling theories, behavioral therapy, family counseling, counseling diverse communities, human development, research methods, measurement and assessment, mental health counseling, cultural awareness, patient assessment, and practices of community counseling. After students complete both programs, they may gain hands-on experience by working alongside a qualified and skilled community counselor before obtaining the opportunity of working independently.

In addition to the education and work experience requirements, students must have specific skills and personality traits that are essential in this profession. Community counselors must have exceptional interpersonal and communication skills since they interact with natural disaster survivors. They must have the ability to actively listen to their concerns and issues and provide constructive advice and assistance in any way they can. They must also be able to interpret the client’s non-verbal communication towards them. Community counselors must be compassionate and empathetic and be able to show concern for the misfortunes of the survivors. Community counselors must have good problem-solving skills and be able to determine the right course of action and treatment for different individuals and their situations. Exceptional organizational skills are important and community counselors manage their time well and prioritize responsibilities.

Those who encompass these skills and qualities mentioned above, excel in the bachelor’s degree and master’s degree program in counseling, and have a passion to work with survivors of natural disasters will no doubt be successful in this challenging, important, and rewarding field.

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Helen Immelstadt

About Helen Immelstadt

About The Author: Helen Immelstadt has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. She has worked in the psychology and medical field for over 27 years and has an extensive background in writing. She is currently working as a freelance writer while also writing her book about online psychology programs.

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