OPPORTUNITIES IN THE FIELD OF COUNSELLING
Most people think of counselling as "giving advice" or "offering solutions to problems". However, counselling is neither of these. When a counsellee comes for help with a personal problem, he/she has to change something within to solve it. This may be a change of attitude, of perception of self or others, or habits or in general a change of behaviour. There is no permanent solution to a problem without some change in the counsellee.
The objective of counselling is to help a person to understand and solve his/her adjustment problems, while guidance may be individual on group oriented, counselling is primarily client centred in its approach. It is a therapy which is a two-way process, involving the counsellor and the counsellee. A wide range of procedures may be followed from interviewing, questioning, psyco-analysing. testing, interpreting test scores to giving advice, providing information, encouraging the counsellee to think out his/her difficulties / or work through his/her emotions etc.
EVOLUTION OF COUNSELLING
Counselling started at the turn of the century with an understanding of the patient's symptoms as attempts to adjust to a hostile environment. In this light, Freud did away with hypnosis and emphasised the interpersonal relationship between therapist and patient. Through psychoanalysis, he stimulated the patient to communicate freely all that was in his/her mind. He interpreted the data thus collected in the light of his development of human behaviour.
In the forties, Carl Rogers found the psycho-analytic interpretation too subjective. He believed that if the therapist created the required facilitative conditions, the client would be in a better position than the therapist to understand himself/herself and make his/her own diagnosis. The emphasis was thus transferred from the therapist's interpretation to the client's self-understanding.
In the late sixties, Robert Carkhuff accepted all that Rogers had to offer and developed it further by personalising the client's contribution to his/her problem, changing that into a goal identifying appropriate and systematic steps for the client to attain the goal and thus solve his/her problem.
Present day counselling is moving towards reaching the client "life-coping skills", both interpersonal and interpersonal and involving the client's family in the process of counselling.
A counsellor must have at least the equivalent of a master's degree with training in the essential areas of counselling such as counselling process, understanding the individual, statistics and research methods used in those psychological investigations ordinarily used or undertaken by all counsellors. It is apparent that a counsellor needs to be a good student of human psychology. Therefore, ideally a postgraduation in psychology is recommended with specialisation in counselling psychology.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR CAREER GROWTH
There is an increasing need for counsellors in all fields. There are challenging job opportunities in :
You can also establish a counselling centre of your own after an assessment of the need in your area. Thus the field of counselling has tremendous potential.
Apart from career counselling, there are a number of other specialised areas in the field of counselling namely :
QUALITIES OF A COUNSELLOR
The counsellor's distinguishing mark is a special
sensitivity to people - sensitivity to their hopes and fears and personality tensions.
The key to the counselling process is therefore, empathy which is a state of
identification leading to genuine understanding between people. Listening
skills as well as interviewing skills are important. Counsellors must
be reliable and capable of inspiring trust. Problem solving is a major
part of the work, therefore, the ability to think creatively and logically is
important. The work can be emotionally demanding, you have to develop the
art of switiching off after work :
If the quality of the counsellor is the essential requirement in counselling, then there is a serious obligation on the part of the counsellor-trainee to ascertain what kind of person he/she is. Only helpful persons ie. those who can stimulate personal growth in others, should assume responsibility for counselling. The quality of being "helpful" seems to be a natural gift. Some people, without training, possess it and use for the good of others. That is why we hear at times people say, "Everybody goes to consult him or her." Other people may have the capacity of counselling, but they need training in order to actualise their potential of stimulating personal growth in others.
The process of one individual attempting to help another is not the exclusive domain of professional counsellors. Research findings show that some lay persons with a short period of training can effect significant changes in distressed people.
As a teacher you'll play a vital role in the intellectual and emotional development of children. You'll either teach one class of children in several subjects or a special subject to a number of classes.
Your job includes planning, designing, implementing lessons and maintaining classroom discipline. You could work as a schoolteacher, a special education teacher, adult vocational-education trainer or a college professor.
Kindergarten And Pre-Primary School Teachers: Your job involves introducing children to numbers, language, science and social studies. Games, music, films and now computers are some of the tools used to teach basic skills.
Secondary And Higher Secondary School Teachers: Here you'll be involved in imparting more specialised education in many of the same subjects as elementary school teachers.
In addition to teaching, you'll prepare lesson plans and report cards, maintain discipline in the classroom, grade assignments and tests, monitor students' progress, meet with administrators and parents, etc.
Special Education Teachers: A challenging job as you'll teach children with disabilities such as speech impairments, learning disabilities, mental retardation, emotional development disabilities, hearing and visual impairments, brain injury and other impairments to help them learn and develop to their maximum potential.
Apart from developing their
hearing, visual, speech or language capabilities, you'll also deal with various
behaviour disorders or mental illnesses.
Developing individual plans for each student and working closely with parents and counsellors to develop an appropriate curriculum is your job.
College And University Faculty Members: As a lecturer or professor you'll teach more than one course to undergraduate and graduate students. If you choose administrative job your teaching workload will be lighter.
Enter this field only if you have the ability to communicate and interact effectively. Around here, it is essential to be creative, organised, methodical and patient. Students respond better to teachers who are encouraging, empathetic, cheerful and optimistic.
For primary school teaching, you need to be a graduate with a certificate/ diploma/degree in nursery training. Preference is given to teachers who are trained for pre-school education.
At the junior level (school), you need to be a graduate or post-graduate with a diploma/degree in teaching/education. You should also have studied in at least one teaching subject during your graduation years.
Secondary and Higher Secondary teachers should have a graduate/post-graduate degree in the subject and a B.Ed. (Bachelor of Education).
Kindergarten, elementary and secondary school teaching requires a variety of skills and aptitudes such as:
* Organisational skills
* Excellent communication skills
* Administrative and record-keeping abilities
* Power to influence, motivate and train children (who can get very stubborn at times)
* Patience and lots of it
* Very good general knowledge and awareness
* An academic bent of mind
You should be sensitive, empathetic and able to make decisions about individual students' needs. You also need to have a love for learning and the desire and ability to convey your enthusiasm to students.
Teaching offers a vast field of opportunities. Teachers work with people of all ages, from toddlers to senior citizens. They work in many different settings, from well-appointed private boarding schools to dilapidated community centres to colleges and universities.
Opportunities also exist in the Defence forces as teachers in the Education Corps of the Army, Navy and other forces.
Money & Other Benefits
Government Schools: Gross salary ranges from Rs 4,000-5,000 a month to start with.
Private Schools: Rs 2,000-8,000 per month depending on your qualifications.
Schools which are fully or partially aided by the government and some private schools offers benefits such as Contributory Provident Fund, D.A., insurance, gratuity, medical reimbursement, etc.
Kindergarten and pre-primary schools pay you less, in the range of Rs 2,000- 4,000 a month.
Salary for a college/university teacher is pretty good in the range of Rs 12,000-13,000 a month to begin with.
Salaries in special education schools range from Rs 2,000-5,000 a month. The highest pay masters are government schools.
In defence forces, the starting salary is about Rs 6,000 per month.
Tuition, either private or in classes forms an additional source of income for teachers.
Teaching is quite a lucrative profession these days. There is ample scope for earning even after your normal working hours. College and university teachers are very well paid.
Another upcoming field is online education. In fact according to some industry pundits, online education is going to be the next big thing in the cyber world. And with this, there will be a barrage of positions for teachers and educators. The online teachers will be developing teaching materials, interacting online with the students, answering students' queries, solving their problems, etc.
Apart from these, teaching is one of the most flexible professions. It permits career-breaks and late entries. Teachers can switch their careers for positions where communication skills are important. Marketing, writing, and research careers are some of the options.
Psychologists study the human mind and behaviour. They help people understand their troublesome emotions and behaviors and how best to deal with them.
Psychologists work with counselors
and other mental health professionals to understand what constitutes normal
brain function and behavior. They traditionally study both normal and abnormal
functioning, and also treat patients with mental and emotional problems. Today,
they are increasingly concentrating on behaviors that affect the mental and
emotional health and mental processes of healthy human beings. For example,
they work with business executives, performers, and athletes to combat stress
and improve performance.
Psychology is a vast field. Psychologists conduct both basic and applied research, serve as consultants to communities and organizations, diagnose and treat people, and teach future psychologists and other types of students. They also test intelligence and personality. They assess behavioral and mental function and well-being. They study how human beings relate to each other and also to machines, and they work to improve these relationships.
In essence psychologists study the human mind and human behavior. Research psychologists investigate the physical, cognitive, emotional, or social aspects of human behavior. Psychologists in applied fields provide mental health care in hospitals, clinics, schools, or private settings.
Like other social scientists, psychologists formulate hypotheses and collect data to test their validity. Research methods may vary depending on the topic under study. They gather information through laboratory experiments, as well as through administering personality, performance, aptitude, and intelligence tests. Other methods include observation, interviews, questionnaires, clinical studies, and surveys.
Psychologists generally specialize in one of a number of different areas.
Clinical psychologists, who constitute the largest specialty generally work in counseling centers, hospitals, or clinics. They assist mentally or emotionally disturbed people adjust to li fe and may help medical and surgical patients deal with their illnesses or injuries. Some work in physical rehabilitation centres, treating patients with spinal cord injuries, chronic pain or illness, stroke, arthritis, and neurologic conditions such as multiple sclerosis. Others help people deal with times of personal crisis, such as divorce or the death of a loved one. Some clinical psychologists work with physicians and other specialists to develop and implement treatment and intervention programs for patients.
Some areas of specialization within clinical psychology include health psychology, neuropsychology, and geropsychology.
Health psychologists promote good health by helping people to stop smoking or lose weight.
Neuropsychologists study the relation between the brain and behavior. They often work in stroke and head injury programs. Geropsychologists deal with the problems faced by the elderly.
Cognitive psychologists deal with memory, thinking, and perceptions. Some conduct research related to computer programming and artificial intelligence.
Counseling psychologists use various techniques, including interviewing and testing, to advise people on how to deal with problems of everyday life. They work in school, university, hospital, and individual or group practices.
Developmental psychologists study the physiological development that takes place throughout life. Some specialize in behavior during infancy, childhood, and adolescence, changes that take place during maturity or old age, or developmental disabilities and their effects.
Experimental or research psychologists work in university and private research centers, and in business, nonprofit, and governmental organizations. They study behavior processes with human beings and animals such as rats, monkeys, and pigeons.
Indust rial-organizational psychologists (I/O) apply psychological principles and research methods to the workplace for improving productivity and the quality of worklife. They frequently act as consultants, brought in by management in order to solve a particular problem.
Educational psychologist are concerned with the teaching methodologies, learning pattern of students, testing of abilities, skills, aptitudes acquired from teaching and learning, etc. The whole area of teaching, learning and evaluations of learning is his/her area of special interest. Educational psychologists work in schools and in research organizations. They are assigned to diagnostic and remedial work, though the main task is to engage primarily in preventive and development work.
Social psychologists examine people's interactions with others and with the social environment. They work in organ izational consultation, marketing research, systems design or other applied psychology fields.
It is very important for a psychologist to be excellent communicator who can quickly assess and analyze emotions. You must be able to learn new methods and skills on an ongoing basis. The most important thing is to be interested in the people and in how the human mind functions.
Aspiring psychologists who are
interested in patient care must be emotionally stable, mature, and able to deal
effectively with people. Sensitivity, compassion, and the ability to lead and
inspire others are particularly important qualities for clinical work and
Research psychologists should be able to do detailed work independently and as part of a team. Excellent communications skills are necessary to succeed in research. Patience and perseverance are vital qualities because results from psychological treatment of patients or from research usually take a long time.
While a BA in psychology might help you find out why your roommate is moody, it won't get you far professionally. To have a good career, you need at least a MA/ M. Sc. in Psychology/ Applied Psychology/ Industrial Psychology. To be into research, a Ph. D is a must. You can also have a degree in Social Work (MSW) to work in the field of Social psychology and Counselling psychology.
While most psychologists work
directly with patients, they are increasingly being hired by corporates,
various branches of government, and educational institutions. Some
psychologists use their knowledge to design better products and services, based
on the latest psychological theories. Others analyze marketing campaigns to
understand why one venture was a hit and another flopped. Regardless of where
they work, psychologists are interested in what people think, and why.
Some psychologists also team up with other professionals like physicians, scientists, lawyers, teachers, computer experts, engineers, policy makers, and managers to contribute to every area of society. Thus we find them in laboratories, hospitals, courtrooms, schools and universities, community health centers, prisons, and corporate offices.
Psychologists employed as faculty by colleges and universities divide their time between teaching and researc h, and some have administrative responsibilities as well. Many have part-time consulting practices. Most psychologists in government and industry have fixed hours.
Educational institutions employ psychologists in positions other than teaching, such as counseling, testing, research, and administration.
After several years of experience, some psychologists enter private practice or set up their own research or consulting firms. Over 40 percent of all psychologists are self-employed.
Money & Other Benefits
Most psychologists are inclined to
social work and prefer to work with NGO settings. And it goes without saying
that good money hardly exists in social work.
At an average, school psychologists are paid Rs 4,000-5,000 per month when they first start out. It could go up to Rs 6,000 a month after a few years of experience. The maximum a school psychologist could make in India is Rs 7,000.
However the scenario is not so bleak for college lecturers. They start at Rs 16,000 - 17,000. University professors are much better paid at Rs 25,000 a month.
But hold on. The corporates are the best pay masters. Though you start with just 10,000-12,000 there is not limit to the scale you will reach after a few years of experience.
Opportunities for work in psychology are expanding in
number and scope. The move toward preventing illness, rather than merely
diagnosing and treating it, requires people to learn how to make healthy
behavior a routine part of living.
Indeed, many of the problems facing society today are problems about behavior, for example, drug addiction, poor personal relationships, violence at home and in the street, and the harm we do to our environment. Psychologists contribute solutions to problems through careful collection of data, analysis of data, and development of intervention strategies--in other words, by applying scientific principles, the hallmark of psychology.
The study of psychology is also good preparation for many other professions. Many employers are interested in the skills that psychology majors bring to collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data, and their experience with statistics and experimental design.