Since the first time I watched Freaky Friday (the 2003 remake), I’ve always wanted to be a counsellor. In her role as the hard-working mum, Jamie Lee-Curtis works in a beautiful office, listening to the problems of her clients and supporting them to find solutions. From the second I set my eyes on the scene, I knew this was the career for me. Here is my journey to becoming a counsellor, from the beginning…
It’s possible that you’re reading this because you think this might also be the career for you. You’ve made a fantastic choice. As we move forward in a post-Covid world, bombarded by social media and facing increasing difficulties to make genuine connections, the need for therapists, counsellors and mental health professionals will rise.
Perhaps you’re a school student, exploring your future options, or a university graduate looking for the next step. You might be in your 30’s, 40’s or 50’s looking for a career change. Wherever you are in life, I’m sharing my story with you, in the hope it will help you to write your own story.
Finding the right path
Although choosing my career goal was a simple decision, deciding how to get there has taken a lot of time and consideration. I’ve deliberated over whether or not to go back to university, or whether to take evening classes. I’ve found options through specialised services such as Relate, but did I want to constrain myself to relationship counselling when I have such a strong interest in disordered eating?
In the end, I finally made a decision. It took me a whole year to get there and I’m confident I’ve made the right choice for me. But my journey doesn’t start in the last 12 months. My journey to becoming a counsellor actually started 10 years ago, when I picked A-Level Psychology and fell in love with the intricacies of the human brain.
After two years studying Psychology at Sixth Form, I applied to Newcastle University to study Psychology and French. In September 2014, I began the best 4 years of my life.
It’s important to remember here that going to university is not essential to become a counsellor or therapist. It was just a personal choice for me.
On completion of my undergraduate degree, I began my Masters of Science in Psychology. This was the most challenging academic year of my life and in September 2019, I completed my thesis, said goodbye to traditional academia and hello to a study break.
So, which path did I decide?
After finishing my Masters, I knew I needed a break. The work was exhausting so I wanted to take at least one year away from studying to find a job and to give myself time to decide how I was going to pursue my dream.
I almost went down the university route again. However, after struggling to find a job (no thanks to the eruption of a global pandemic), financially it didn’t feel like the right option anymore. If I had chosen to go back to university, I would have been committing to spending thousands and thousands of pounds across 3 years whilst only working part-time.
Instead, I decided to take evening classes, and my next post will go into more detail about what’s ahead for me.
The great thing about counselling as a profession is that you don’t need any prior experience. Don’t look at my academic history and think that you need to do what I’ve done. The route that I’m taking can be taken with no previous experience so come back soon to read more of my journey to becoming a counsellor and find out how you can train too!
If you’re struggling and need someone to talk to, call 116 123 to speak to the Samaritans or text SHOUT on 85285. (UK only)