I was checking the stats on my website and saw that some found me by searching “worst things about being a counselor”. Since I don’t address this topic on my blog, I figured I might as well since it’s something that people are curious about. First, let me just say that I LOVE being a counselor. I wouldn’t work all these hours and devote so much of my free-time to psychology if I didn’t. Being a counselor gives my life meaning and fulfillment. I believe that providing guidance and nurturance to others is my life path, why I was put on this Earth. That being said, like everything it has it’s pros and cons. Since this is a taboo subject that’s not being addressed elsewhere, I thought it would be a service to prospective future counselors to give a fair and balanced perspective on the negative aspects of the profession.
1. The hours are terrible: My day starts at 9am and ends at 9pm. I also work Saturdays. If you are thinking about being a therapist, you have to give up the hope that you will have a 9-5 M-F salaried job. It’s not going to happen in this field. The only possibility of having “normal hours” is to become a school counselor or a psychology professor, but believe me, those jobs are in short supply and high demand. As for me, this one personally doesn’t bother me that much. I’ve pretty much always worked hours like this and it helped that I accepted early on that it would probably be like this for the rest of my career. If working long hours is something that you can’t live with, don’t become a counselor.
2. Reschedulings and cancellations: I’m not sure about other counselors, but for me this is the absolute worst part. My schedule is tight, but clients just don’t seem to understand that. Having to deal with cancellations and reschedulings is for me the worst thing about the job. It is a major hassle and seems to happen every day. If people could just stick to their agreed upon appointment time, I’d be one happy therapist!
3. Sometimes clients just don’t want your help: The client comes in with a problem they want you to solve; you create a treatment plan to solve it; you KNOW that if the client follows the treatment plan, the problem will be solved; the client will not follow the treatment plan; the client then blames you that the problem hasn’t been solved. This is something that annoys a lot of therapists. It’s very frustrating to know that you can help someone and they just wont take your help. It happens and is something that you should be prepared for.
4. Being undervalued by society: I’ve written before about how therapists are viewed negatively by society. In just about every movie, if there’s a therapist, the therapist is a devious or immoral character. We’re underpaid for the amazing work we do and frowned upon by the other medical professionals. I have to remind people constantly that YES psychology IS a science! I also hate the weird looks and comments I get when I tell people what I do for a living. Hopefully this will change as counseling becomes more mainstream.