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Career change possibilities

  • #1
    Registered Users Posts: 295 ✭✭ LastStop


    Currently looking for information regarding switching careers.

    How feasible would it be for a 41 year old with no degree to study psychology and work as a counselor/therapist.

    Its 4years undergraduate, then 2 postgraduate or more. That would put me at about 47/48. Is it possible to work in the area while gaining full qualification? It's obviously going to cost a lot to do 6years study.

    Another thing I saw posted was that as a psychology student you are expected to go into therapy yourself but its not mentioned in any of the course documents I've looked at, is this true and how many hours? Seems like another major cost to consider.

    Thanks for any information you can provide.


  • Confusingly, psychology is a huge field, yet when we talk about psychology in everyday language we are usually talking about counselling and psychotherapy. Psychology encompasses everything from how to teach a mouse to run through a maze to human reaction time to perception etc. Stuff that's not super relevant to counselling and psychotherapy (but also stuff that is!)

    In the US you have to do a psychology undergraduate before you are allowed to study counselling and psychotherapy. Here you can do it that way OR you can do an undergraduate in counselling an psychotherapy. That's probably where the confusion came, you heard that on a counselling degree you need personal therapy (usually 50 hours), but then looked at a psychology course. This isn't necessary in a psychology degree because maybe the psychologist is going to specialize in HR or comparative psychology (which is more similar to zoology than counselling) etc. etc.

    How feasible is it? Totally feasible, counselling and psychotherapy degrees are designed for mature students. There are a bunch of threads of people asking about the various courses and heated debates about which is the best one :)

    Look for IACP or IAHIP accredited courses in your area, ask more questions if you want! Lots of people here to answer

    Another hidden cost is supervision. You are guaranteed to work at least 100 hours unpaid, possibly the full 550 needed for accreditation unpaid, but probably not, and you need to be supervised (a meeting with a more experienced counsellor to talk about your work) for every 5 hours of volunteer work, and you have to pay for that yourself.

  • You don't need a degree to be a counsellor/therapist. It's not regulated, anyone can do a short course and call themselves one.

  • vriesmays wrote: »
    You don't need a degree to be a counsellor/therapist. It's not regulated, anyone can do a short course and call themselves one.

    Hopefully some day the titles will be protected, I assume that this person is getting into this because they want to help people and not because they want to be a charlatan!

    You can't be accredited without a degree and 550 hours experience

  • Hopefully some day the titles will be protected, I assume that this person is getting into this because they want to help people and not because they want to be a charlatan!

    You can't be accredited without a degree and 550 hours experience

    Thank you for the reply and the information within. It is very easy to get to confused with the different letters and accreditation attached to it and that's before you even think about what direction that you might want to go towards. I should probably try narrowing that down first and finding appropriate courses then.

    I've looked at Dbs, Dcu, Griffith, Iicp and a couple of others. One important issue for me is to find a course that will fit around my current employment in order to keep paying the bills. Another factor to consider is that I might like to emigrate after and a qualification that would travel would be preferred.

    Boards is an excellent source for information(Many interesting SuperRabbit contributions) however a lot of threads are a number of years old now and as with regulation in any profession things can change and evolve quickly rendering information obsolete.

    Over the past few years I have done some level 6 business management courses, it's something I was always good at but never found a path in life that fulfilled me. I was considering a BA in business but I found myself thinking, What will I do with it ? Apart from being able to say I have a degree what will I do. Still haven't got an answer to that.

    Recently I spoke with a couple of colleagues who were going for promotion and were nervous and worried, I spent time with them individually discussing their fears about the process and how to approach it. That felt very natural and finding out that they both were successful was probably the best feeling I had in a while, even better than my own promotions a few years back. That's something which also has me questioning my current career.

    Iicp have a couple of information/taster evenings coming up, I'll try to get into one of them and dbs hve open evenings also so will speak with them too.

    Finally, of course the salary a person can make is important as mortgage, car loans and bills won't disappear anytime soon and accepting the probable need to take a pay cut to get started I don't want to be living on minimum wage even if it does end up helping people, I've people in my life that need to be taken care of too.

  • Ooo maybe you would love HR? So that's back to the psychology + post grad route. I don't know what career opportunities are like in it because I've never had a head for the business world so it's not something I've looked into.

    I think the old threads are valuable, nothing has really changed, CORU haven't done anything yet and there's no sign of anything happening soon

    In theory the PCI course might travel better than the IICP, ICHAS (Griffith) and DBS courses because it's the only undergraduate in counselling/psychotherapy which is accredited by a university (that I know of). In practice I think all of them travel well to the UK since the BACP have an agreement with the IACP to accredit each other's people (and have promised they will keep this going after Brexit), and I don't know if any of them travel well outside of that at all. You'd have to check each individual country. It seems some countries, Germany for example, absolutely will not accept an undergraduate in counselling, regardless. That was just the experience of someone I was talking to though, don't take that as gospel.

    I don't know what the salary is like, I haven't got that far yet. It seems to depend on a lot of different things. If you charge 50 a session you take home 30 after supervision and room rental costs. Then how many hours can you work a week considering you might be supporting people to work through some really heartbreaking stuff. You clearly can't do that 40 hours a week, but how much you can do is different for everyone. So lots of counsellors counsel and also have a second job, like teaching counselling or mindfulness or something completely unrelated. Our teachers say that some counsellors have long waiting lists and others say they can't get clients. It depends on so many things.

    There are lots of jobs in EAP apparently, Employee Assistance Programs. From what you've said it might suit you? It's usually short term counselling with a limited number of sessions and you need to use a "cognitive model" with your clients, usually CBT. Choice theory works too, which they like in IICP I've been told :) ,

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