Types of Counselling Courses Available

Counselling can be a very fulfilling and rewarding career, but not necessarily an easy one. Counselling is about good relationships between the counsellor and the patient. A counsellor is not the same as a psychologist or psychiatrist. Often a patient will first visit a counsellor to assess their mental wellbeing and, if necessary, be referred to a psychologist or even a psychiatrist.

What do counsellors do?

The main role of counselling is to help people through difficult times in their lives. Most commonly a good counsellor will assist in identifying negative thought patterns that become obstacles for success or happiness. They will not prescribe drugs but rather recommend new behavioural patterns that may result in tangible outcomes. Counsellors tend to take a more holistic approach to emotional wellbeing and happiness than psychiatrists. In the final outcome the patient should gain a deeper perspective into their life, perhaps identifying their own complicity in their problems. Ideally, a patient should walk away with an understanding of what led to the problems and a better idea of how to overcome them.

Counselling Theories

There are a number of different counselling theories. None of them are right or wrong; it comes down to the individual. Certain counsellors or students will be drawn to one kind of therapy based on their perception and understanding of life. Others will be drawn to different theories. Some of these theories include a client-centred theory, a solutions-focused outlook on counselling and the cognitive behavioural model. Patients may find that they get no joy with one type of counselling whereas another helps them find the solutions to their problems.

Client-Centred Theory

This was developed by Carl Rogers in the 1940s; it is also sometimes called Rogerian theory. This therapy helps patients to find their own solutions to their problems through talking about them in a comfortable and relaxed environment. In this therapy, the counsellor remains empathic and non-judgemental, helping the patient find the emotional space to find his or her answers.

Solutions Focused Outlook

This is about helping the patient figure out where they want to go. The focus is on the end goal of the therapy rather than the problems and issues that led them there. The patient is encouraged to imagine what their ideal future will look like; counsellors then help the patient move towards that outcome. Often this therapy is about little triumphs, one step at a time.

Cognitive Behavioural Model

This therapy emerged from an integration of behavioural and cognitive therapies. The basis of this therapy is about changing thought patterns to change dysfunctional or problematic behaviour. For instance, a patient tends to focus purely on every negative aspect of his or her life; this could lead to a depressive cycle and alcohol abuse. This model may help the patient focus on the positive and help to bring on more productive thought processes.


This short article does not by any means give an exhaustive view on various counselling methods and theories. There are a number of avenues to explore if you are considering a career in counselling. It is important that a counsellor be familiar with the most common therapies because in some cases it might be necessary to adapt methods according to patient needs.

This guest post was written by Natalie Simon, a freelance writer based in Cape Town, South Africa, Natalie grabs the opportunity to write on any topic that comes her way, including health and wellbeing, such as classroom-based and online counselling courses in Sydney, Australia.

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