Counsellors help people to deal with challenges and manage their emotions, thoughts and behaviour.
Counsellors can apply to become members of a professional organisation such as the:
- New Zealand Association of Counsellors (NZAC)
- New Zealand Christian Counsellors Association (NZCCA).
Professional organisations require members to meet quality standards, including qualifications and practical counselling experience. For example, NZAC and NZCCA require:
- at least a Bachelor's degree in counselling
- 200 hours' relevant work experience for provisional membership, and further counselling practice for full membership.
- NZ Association of Counsellors website - information on becoming a member
- NZ Christian Counsellors Association website - information on becoming a member
Counsellors may do some or all of the following:
- provide counselling face to face, over the phone, or online
- encourage clients to discuss challenges in their lives
- help clients to talk about their feelings and find ways to cope
- discuss changes that clients could make and help them to make decisions
- research ways to deal with clients' specific problems
- keep client records
- run workshops and courses.
Useful experience for counsellors includes:
- volunteer work with organisations such as Lifeline and Youthline
- social or community work
- work that involves helping or caring for people
- research or study in fields such as psychology
- life experience.
Counsellors need to be:
- mature and professional
- caring, empathetic and positive
- good listeners and communicators
- patient and persistent
- able to keep information private
- able to relate to people from a range of cultures and backgrounds.
Counsellors need to have knowledge of:
- counselling theories and techniques
- human behaviour and thought patterns
- grief, addiction and sexual abuse, and how these problems can affect people
- social and cultural problems
- research in their area of counselling.
- usually work regular business hours, but may do shift work
- work in private practices, clients' homes, schools, hospitals or prisons
- may travel locally to visit clients.
NCEA Level 3 is required to enter tertiary training. Useful subjects include English, psychology, health education, social studies and languages.
Experienced counsellors may progress to set up their own private practice, or move into management roles.
Counsellors may specialise in:
- drug and alcohol counselling
- family counselling
- sexual abuse counselling.
Years Of Training3-5 years of training usually required.
To become a counsellor you usually need to:
- have a Bachelor's degree, or higher qualification, in counselling
- be registered with one of the professional organisations for counsellors.
The New Zealand Association of Counsellors (NZAC) requires new members to have a minimum of a Bachelor's degree in counselling.
The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 means that if you have certain serious convictions, you can’t be employed in a role where you are responsible for, or work alone with, children.