A child counsellor means a psychologist who specializes in mental therapy of children. How does one become a child counsellor? Read on to learn the tricks of becoming a child counsellor.

How To Become A Child Counsellor

"Horror is beyond the reach of psychology." – Theodor Adorno. Child counsellors are psychologists who work with young children and teenagers and help them manage their emotional, physical and mental issues. They are probably the ones that see the most horror! Even in this area, specialization into illnesses, behavioural patterns and divorce are possible. But, why do children require psychologists? Due to several factors such as childhood trauma, abuse, divorced parents, academic issues, peer problems and so on adding up to the stress levels of kids every day, it is quite obvious that the need of a therapist is greater for this age group. To become a child counsellor means having to learn and master the different techniques of expression such as art and play and creative speech. Dealing with psychological conditions is hard, but when it involves kids it becomes harder! Read the article given below for an insight on the eligibility criteria for becoming a child counsellor.
Becoming A Child Counsellor
Basic education in any field is accepted. A pre-university course in home sciences that includes child development is highly recommended. An undergraduate degree/bachelor’s in subjects such as psychology, sociology, social work and child development is imperative for this particular field. Next, one must complete a master’s degree in any of the above. Specializations are decided based on interest. You need to pick child counseling and growth to pursue your career in this area. The National Examination for Licensure to become a National Certified Counsellor must be obtained. After getting the licensed you have two options to go about things. One is to do a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) which involves intensive scientific research while second can be to do a Psy. D. (Doctor of Psychology) which is a professional degree that emphasizes on clinical practice with less research training. This takes a total of 5 years + 1 year internship. After all this, you become a fully certified child psychologist/child counsellor.
Courses Required
Diploma: If you are only looking to be a counsellor and not so much as a trained psychologist, you could do a psychology diploma or degree in accordance to the rules of the state and province of desired practice. Advanced diplomas dealing with child psychology are also available.
Postdoctoral Fellowship: This is a specialty board examination which comprises of two years of practical training and treating children and adolescents. Sometimes, a postdoctoral residency of one year is also preferred.
Advanced Certificate:This is for a shorter time period than a diploma. It has only a recognized number of modules such as introductory subjects and the essentials of child counseling and equips you with the basic tools that one requires in this field. 
Skills Required
  • Good Attention: The client (child) might have several things to tell all at once. These might be related or not. But, as a counsellor, one needs to take into account all that is being said and find an interpretation to the problem. A focused and undivided attention is therefore, important.
  • Listening Skills: Develop the habit of listening as much as speaking. This helps children confide in you easily and your listening can also enhance the thinking power of an adolescent.
  • Non-Judgmental: This is a highly preferred quality for a counsellor. If the therapist talks to the kid and makes judgments with regard to his responses by shouting etc, it won’t be a pleasant experience. By being non-judgmental, you can make the child feel safe and respected.
  • Understanding: The idea here is to be more empathetic than sympathetic. Make the child understand that there are many other kids of his/her age who face similar situations. Give an example in the form of a story to prove it without naming anyone.
  • Expressive: Expression in many forms such as speech, smiling,nodding and body language is crucial in determining your success as a counselor – reason being that while there shouldn’t be communication gaps between you and your patient, your expression shouldn’t invade theirs. 
Roles And Responsibilities
  • Almost a multi-tasking individual of sorts, child counselors are trained both mentally and academically in the same area. In therapy, they work around providing solutions to children with domestic or school issues.
  • Some counsellors aim at developing methods of testing child development. They might be appointed to work in schools and help formulate education programs.
  • Working in government positions to assess the risk of a child to society as well as helping the family involved also forms a part of their functions. Children of divorced parents may be irreparably injured and it is the duty of a counsellor to help them regain their balance. 
Career Prospects
This is a very stressful and demanding job but if you love children and are intent on helping them then this job is where you belong. Every institution that works with kids requires counselors so the scope is unlimited. Local Education Authorities and the Government pay them quite well and career growth comes with experience. Child psychologists can even move up the ladder to become managers of education and training.
The job of a child counsellor is very rewarding but it is challenging and at times even heartbreaking. Remember, a child counsellor never provides medication to patients. The only way to help them is to listen to them. Hope this article has inspired you!

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