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what is the hardest part bout being a counselor

#counseling

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mark’s Answer

Hi Maddy,

I would like to answer you in two distinct ways. On a personal level, I find the most difficult part of being a counselor is not allowing the job to overshadow all other aspects of your life. Maintaining perspective and having an enriching life outside work are crucial elements of avoiding burnout. We are best able to help our clients when we are at at our physical and mental best, so make sure you take care of yourself!!

Practically speaking, paperwork, dealing with insurance companies, and making sure you get paid for the work you do are all difficult at times. It can be helpful to hire a bookkeeper who can manage some of these responsibilities for you.

I know this answer does not cover all the potential difficulties you might encounter, but I hope it is a good starting point. Please also keep in mind that while there are difficulties associated with any job, being a counselor can be fantastic, satisfying, and stimulating work. I feel a great sense of joy when I can help someone feel better about their lives and the lives of those important to them.

All the best,

Mark V.

mark recommends the following next steps:

Review ACA publications regarding mental health counseling as a profession.
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Matthew’s Answer

Maddy, thanks for asking this question. It's not an easy one to navigate, but I'll do my best to help you understand. First and foremost, Mark and Priya are absolutely correct: the paperwork, the busyness and the emotional side effects of working as a counselor can be quite draining. And yes, if you're not careful, burn-out can occur.

From my personal experience of working as a counselor at the high school, collegiate and private practice levels, the hardest part of working as a counselor is making sure I'm at my absolute best for each student or client. Sometimes, especially in a high school setting, I simply don't know who will walk into the high school counseling office and why a student needs to see me. Sometimes a student or a client will approach me regarding some awful circumstances at home or at school. Knowing how to support that student best in that moment can be very challenging.

However, if I can maintain a good sense of self-awareness and work to do my best, there is great satisfaction in this role. It's undoubtedly the hardest job I've ever loved.
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Priya’s Answer

Hi Maddy,
This can be different for everyone! I think the hardest things about being a counselor for me are if I get triggered and the paperwork! I often have to do a lot of paperwork and I may not get paid for the time I spend on them. This can vary by job and type of paperwork but there definitely is a lot of paperwork in the field! In regards to being triggered, it can be a scary feeling to get triggered by something someone says that is really close to my own stuff. Keeping professional boundaries and a group of counselors I can consult with or a supervisor can help support me in those times! Also a lot of self-care and my own personal counseling.
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