We all need counseling at some or the other points in our lives. Counseling can be emotional, behavioral, or even educational. Counseling is a profession and needs a proper training or education before a person starts practicing it. Counseling greatly helps people who seek direction and guidance in life and have unclear thoughts and irrational behavior. People have to gain license to become professionalCounselors as their words and guidance have a great impact on people and their actions. In cases of mental illness also, counseling can help to bring some positive changes in the patients’ behavior. Counseling helps emotionally distressed people to come out of their depression and live a better life. There is another aspect of counseling which is the career counseling and is usually taken up by students who are not very clear about their career paths. So basically, counseling is the two ways interaction between a qualified and trained person of a particular fieldand someone in need of direction and understanding. Counseling requires deep study of behavioral sciences as a counselor has to build a relationship with his or her clients.
Since over the years people have become more cautious and open about their needs of counseling, the need of studying counseling as a course also emerged. Many universities came up with courses in counseling. Every year more and more people enroll themselves in these courses to become professional counselors across the globe. Counseling has taken place amongst the other full time courses in universities. One such program is the Wake Forest’s counseling degree program. The counseling department at Wake Forest University is one of the finest and professionally most renowned faculties in the field of counseling even though it does not provide doctorate level degree courses. The courses are only up to master’s degree in counseling. The need for counseling courses has also given way to online courses. The course online also provide the same content as a normal classroom content but only the part time students take online courses. Graduate courses at the University require all regular and part time students to take practical counseling sessions of 200 hours. After the completion of the practical training, students will further enroll themselves in internships lasting for 600 hours. The Counseling Department keeps a list of such facilities where students can do their internships. The regular graduate program is a two years course and the online program finishes in three years. The selection criteria to a full time counseling are simple and if selected students get scholarships that covers a major portion of their fees.
Just like all other courses, the counseling courses also need to be accredited with the concerning bodies like counseling programs in USA have to be accredited to Council on Accreditation and Related programs (CACREP). Since counseling is a diverse field of study, students have to specialize in any one of the programs like mental health or educational counseling. The first year of the course mainly focuses on theories, skills, research, career counseling, group sessions and family counseling. Next year is for the practical training. Those candidates who successfully complete the course can apply for National Certified Counselor Examination and on qualifying the examination they can apply for a license and start practicing counseling as a career professionally.
The main aim of any counseling program is to provide our societies with trained counselors who can work with a problem solving approach to help people who have lost hope or lack focus in their lives. Counseling may bring positivity in lives of such people so that they can lead a peaceful life.