As a prospective counsellor, you may be asking yourself “Why should I do a degree in Counselling?” For those of us that have a formal background in the field, the answers are self-evident and myriad. For me personally, my Masters in Counselling out of Gonzaga University was one of the most powerful learning experiences of my life. And it wasn’t about the “counselling” theories, practice, etc. It was about “me”
That is, the two years that I spent learning and studying and practicing and writing didn’t so much help me to become a counsellor or develop my skills as a practitioner as it was about me simply becoming a better person, developing my interpersonal skills and expanding my introspective analysis and intrapersonal acumen.
I had no idea that this would be a by-product of my time, effort and money. (Isn’t serendipity wonderful?) I fully expected that I would gain a background in psychology and psychotherapy and develop skills that would help me to help others. What I didn’t expect was how intimate I would become with those aspects of my personality that were, how shall I put it, “less than satisfactory”. I thought I had people skills! I actually didn’t! It was a very humbling realization. I thought I was a good listener. I was in fact a pretty good talker. I thought I was doing a Masters in Counselling to get job skills. What I found was that I needed to work on my people skills. This was incredibly important, life-changing information for me to have as a 30-year-old “professional.” (At that point, I was 5 years into a career as a professional educator.)
So, “Why should you do a degree in Counselling?” Do it for yourself! You will become a better person. You will develop better interpersonal skills. You will develop a better understanding of who you are, what makes you “tick” and the ability to step back, analyze your feelings and behaviours and, ultimately, make better choices. These choices are fundamental to living a fulfilled, satisfying life. You will like yourself more and the people around you will like you more. You will establish and maintain better, more fulfilling relationships because you will have a better understanding of yourself. And really, how can any of us expect to have better relationships with others if we haven’t developed that most important of relationships? With ourselves?
In Part Two of this Blog I will explore the unintended benefits of having a counselling degree in my day-to-day work life.
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA