Ashton, Catherine - Crisis Counsellor

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[edit] Crisis Councillor

[edit] General Overview

This job entails assessments of individuals who have suffered a traumatic event, reports on their mental states, crisis intervention, and psychological treatment. The treatment usually lasts two to three months as needed. If not successful, more severe psychological problems are possible. This position entails helping with a variety of different people suffering from different experiences that have disrupted their psychological functioning. Crisis councillors provide support and protection for clients, which may include contacting law officials or medical staff depending on the situation.

[edit] Job Duties and Responsibilities

Job duties include staffing crisis phone lines, providing supportive counselling to individuals who call in or clients seen. Provide lethality assessment with corresponding documentation and dispatch appropriate level of intervention is another responsibility. Perform complete interagency program referrals to superiors. Other responsibilities include being observant, breaking vicious cycles, self-blaming, as well as challenging irrational beliefs in a professional manner. These responsibilities all depend on the crisis and client seeking help, as some clients only require one session while others may need sever sessions that can span between weeks or months. Sessions can last anywhere from 20 minutes to several hours, depending on the help needed. The goal of a crisis councillor is to provided education, support, and guidance.

[edit] Typical Workday

A typical workday will consist of set hours (e.g., 8-5) where the worker is either monitoring a phone line or visiting with clients that have suffered a traumatic experience. Workers must also be on call for evenings and weekends in case of an emergency. The workday also consists of collaborating with coworkers to ensure that the right treatment is being used ,sharing relevant information, and contacting law enforcement if need be. The typical workday may vary depending not only where a councillor is employed, such as a private practice (usually have the most amount of flexibility), schools, hospitals, or in the private sector (such as for a specific company). The area of employment, with bigger populations having more incidents than smaller, areas, but also in the area of expertise, such as rape, missing child, addiction, domestic violence or suicide plays a role. Hours may also very depending on demand, such as early mornings, evenings and weekends.

[edit] Educational Requirements and Other Qualifications

Educational requirements include a master’s degree in usually sociology but related fields are also accepted such as a Masters in psychology. Complete interagency program referrals are also required in some positions. Supervised field experiences (e.g., internships) is typically also required. A licence may be required which would include passing a written test and approximately 200 hours in the field. In Ontario, Humber College offers a great course for crisis counselling. In order to qualify for this program, a degree in in any health, human or social services discipline and/or work experience in a health, social services, corrections or human service agency is required[1]. Another option in Ontario is Seneca College which provides a mental health intervention certificate for students with a degree. It is also important to note that, in order to maintain licensure and certification, all counselors must engage in continuing education throughout their careers. Credits may be earned by taking courses in person or completing trainings online[2]

[edit] Related Skills Interests, and Abilities

Related skills and abilities include the ability and interest to work with a diverse group of people, since there are a variety of individuals who are suffering from mental health issues and crises. Compassion, patience, and empathy are also skills that are required since the main clientele have gone through a traumatic experience and need a compassionate ear and to be able to form a trusting relationship. It is also important to be patient with a client so that they are able to communicate at their own pace. Clear communication is required being that the main aspects of the job entails listening intently, and being able to communicate verbally and non-verbally. It is also important that the client feels respected, and that the worker is there for them, and that they are their number one priority.

[edit] Relevance of Psychology Undergraduate Degree

An undergraduate degree in psychology prepares a crisis councillor for the unexpected behaviour of individuals. Traumatic experiences can alter a person’s personality and beliefs. A background in psychology, especially in forensic psychology, abnormal psychology, and addiction can help an individual prepare for the challenges that this field can present. Knowing how to properly interact with these individuals and knowing how important establishing and maintaining a relationship with clients can be, a background in psychology can provide the knowledge needed to complete these challenges. A background in psychology, sociology or human behaviour is needed in order to proceed with any work involving counselling. Having a background in psychology will enhance knowledge needed to be successful in this field.

[edit] Salary Potential

The salary potential for this position is between $ 30,506 -$65,436[3]. The starting salary is usually closer to $30 000, but total compensation depends on the amount of overtime work an individual completes. In first ten years in this field, there are many steep raises that coincide with work being put forth. There are also opportunities for bonuses. Over time work can also increase the amount of money earned, with the more over time work being done, the increase in pay. It is also indicated that after the first ten years the pay becomes stable, and experience does not necessarily relate to a higher pay.

[edit] Job Outlook

The projected demand for this job is in hospitals, on hotlines, in clinics, in schools, or even private practice. The demands come from individuals who suffer a traumatic experience that could include a death of a friend or family member, a stalker, rape, sexual assault, assault, drug withdrawal, problems related to stress, or any other incident that can lead a person to become distressed. The demand for this job is increasing in Ontario, especially with the rising of awareness of mental illness and with a number of individuals in this field retiring, or changing sectors. Since this career has a short span (only a few years, due to changing jobs, and sectors), workers are increasingly in demand.[4].

[edit] To Know More

[edit] References and Footnotes

1.Zerehi, S. "Certificate Program in Advanced Crisis Intervention and Counselling." N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved Feb.2015.

2.Maurer, S. "How to Become a Mental Health Counselor." N.p., n.d. Web. Feb. 2015.

3. "Crisis Counselor Salary." Pay Scale, n.d. Web. Retrieved Feb. 2015. (

4."Community and Social Service Workers." Goverment of Canada, n.d. Web. Retrieved Feb. 2015.

5. Connor. M. What is Crisis Counselling.2011. Retrieved February 2015.

6. Crisis Intervention,2015. Retrieved February, 2015.

7 "Crisis." Internet Brands, n.d. Web. Retrieved Feb.15.

8."MENTAL HEALTH INTERVENTION." N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved. Feb. 2015.

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