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Sound counsel

A child counsellor provides counselling on a variety of problems and disorders, such as relationship issues, depression due to family conflicts, exam-related anxiety and learning difficulties such as dyslexia.

education Updated: Jan 31, 2012 18:29 IST

The lowdown
A child counsellor provides counselling on a variety of problems and disorders, such as relationship issues, depression due to family conflicts, exam-related anxiety and learning difficulties such as dyslexia. S/he can also provide career guidance. Often these counsellors need to counsel parents, too, to address the root cause of a problem. Child counsellors work in hospitals and practise independently, too. As a counsellor, you should have an inherent capacity to understand others, be a good balancer — understand the parents’ and the child’s viewpoints. You should be far-sighted and extremely sensitive in your communication style. Respect the person who is coming to you. If you try to impose things, communication could stop

Clockwork
A counsellor’s usual day at a school in the National Capital Region:
8.25am: Give the first lesson of the day on life skills
9.05am: Go for second class
9.40am: Break
10.30am: Two life skills periods
11.40am: Introductory sessions with a student
12.05pm: Write a daily report
2pm: Lunch
3pm: Call up parents for appointments, follow-up discussions. A face-to-face session with a parent
4.45pm: Leave for the day

The payoff
A senior school counsellor, with an MA in psychology and a PG diploma in guidance and counselling, can draw about Rs 17,000 a month. On average, a PGT-scale counsellor with three years’ experience can earn about Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 a month. In a private hospital, a fresh clinical psychologist with an MPhil degree can make about Rs 30,000 a month. However, much depends on your expertise

Skills/TRAITS
* Excellent communication skills
* Good interpersonal skills
* Open mindedness and objectivity to deal with the child
* Ability to win trust to establish rapport with the client
* Sensitive and non-intrusive

Getting there
Opt for any subject combination in Class 12 to be eligible for a bachelor’s in psychology. After that, do your graduation and master’s in psychology and/or a PG diploma in guidance and counselling. For better career prospects, you may do MPhil/PhD

Institutes and URLs
* University of Delhi (psychology)
www.du.ac.in
* Indira Gandhi National Open University (certificate in guidance)
www.ignou.ac.in

Pros and cons
* Great joy in seeing a depressed soul walk out happy
* Job options limited largely to big cities

With stress levels rising in children and them going wayward... the role of a counsellor is getting challenging with each passing day Deepak Sehgal, director and CEO, Phoenix Hospital, Greater Noida