If you’ve always felt like you can help those around you by listening to their concerns and finding effective solutions for them to lead a better more satisfying happy life then becoming a counselor could be your calling. Here we have Nouran Nazer, couple’s counselor and life coach to ask the most common questions new therapist must have buzzing in their mind all the time.
What classes or courses do I need to be certified as a couple’s counselor?
To become a counselor, you need to start by obtaining your bachelor degree first. This can be in any specialization, however, specializing in Psychology would be mandatory for some programs and would also help you with a smoother transition into counseling and lays a solid foundation for that.
The second step would be choosing an accredited counseling program, typically a master’s degree. Accredited master’s degrees programs in marriage and family therapy are available from many colleges and universities, however, it is always useful to check the practice’s regulations of the country you live in first to be able to decide on the requirements.
Looking at an international accredited certificate would support you toward a widely recognized practice. For that try navigating some of the international accrediting bodies, like the American Psychological Association or Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Another good start point would be checking the Psychology Studies departments in major universities in your city, almost all universities do provide postgraduate studies in the field of psychology and counseling.
Becoming a counselor will also require hours of supervised clinical experience. All of these requirements fall under the program’s curriculum, you just need to choose what suits you best.
Do I have to be in a successful relationship for my clients to see me as ‘credible’ or can I be single and a great couple counselor?
Becoming a counselor requires a good set of core skills, many of which you will study, but others you might learn from different areas of life. None of these skills require you being in any kind of relationship. A good counselor is someone who can set enough boundaries between personal experiences and people they deal with, so no evaluation or treatment is based on personal judgment. Credibility is built through the right forms of the support a counselor provides to their clients, and not through the experiences they went through.
Where can I work as a therapist, schools, or institutes or do I have to have my own practice?
Depending on your area of specialization. Therapists can work almost in every institution that looks over ways of developing and nourishing mental health. This includes hospitals, health-care centers, schools, community health organizations, besides the possibility of having your own practice/clinic.
How do I put a price on my time with clients, I have no idea how to price my sessions, and what an average session costs?
Start by researching the market you operate in. Simple market research will show you the average prices in the market, who your competitors are, along with the services they provide.
You then need to understand how much it costs you to get your service to your client. Calculate your direct and indirect costs then add this to your pricing.
Gather feedback. It is always good to ask your potential clients how much they are willing to pay for your service. A quick survey targeting your potential clients can help, so does after-service surveys.
When deciding on a price, think of the service’s value, rather than a figure that is neither representative of your work, nor enough to cover your costs. A common fault is to set very high or very low prices hoping that clients would judge a service beforehand by its price. Refrain from pre-judgments, and do not be afraid to set the right price for the service you provide.
Most therapists and counselors charge clients per hour, which is relevant and logical to the service they provide. The average cost for a counseling hour might fall anywhere in between EGP 300 – EGP 800, of course, there are exceptions for higher or lower prices.