The Big Business of Counselling Training

Counselling training is often an expensive road to a career with no promises
Counselling training providers benefit from the public’s interest in counselling and psychotherapy careers

In recent years, a growing interest in the field of counselling and psychotherapy has created a lucrative market for counselling training providers. Television, books and film have brought therapy to the public like never before and in the midst of an economic downturn, many people have sought careers (or career changes) in the therapy world.

In a quarter-page ad in a recent Evening Standard, one major training provider promoted their psychotherapist training programmes with the sub-heading Do you want a rewarding career? While being a counsellor or psychotherapist is hugely ‘rewarding,’ many qualified therapists struggle to find work. Sometimes there aren’t enough clients to go around. This often translates into qualified counsellors and psychotherapists working as honorary therapists – literally volunteering their services just to stay in the game.

Counselling training is being examined under the magnifying glass.The notion of becoming a therapist is attractive to many people, often stemming from a person’s wish to ‘help’ other people. Being a therapist is a privileged position, and people of all backgrounds aspire to gaining a counselling qualification. Each year counselling training providers pump hundreds of newly-trained therapists into the system, many believing they are about to set off on a promising career.

You don’t have to look far to find therapists in need of more work. Finding new clients is sometimes difficult and many therapists offer heavily reduced fees to attract more clients to their practice.

Of course, some therapists do well and succeed. Usually, this is achieved through hard work, determination, networking and good marketing. But for every therapist with a practice full of clients, there are many struggling to establish themselves.

Establishing a successful practice can be an expensive, slow process

Being a practicing therapist can be expensive. Practice overheads, supervision, professional memberships and CPD all cost considerable amounts of money. It can take many years to establish a successful private practice, often earning little money along the way.

Counselling training organisations have a responsibility to make it clear to all prospective students that the counselling profession in the UK is still evolving and that the public have yet to fully embrace the idea of turning to counselling in times of distress. There is not enough work for therapists and those who enter the profession should be warned of the potentially difficult road that awaits them at the other end of their counselling training.

And it might be time to re-evaluate training programmes and consider the impact on the profession, as a whole, of over-saturating the market with new therapists. In marketing terms of supply and demand, the current ‘supply’ of therapy is considerably greater than the ‘demand.’

Share this article with someone you know or add your comments below.