NHS Careers > Explore by career > Psychological therapies > Careers in psychological therapies > Counsellor

Working as a counsellor

Working as a counsellor

The NHS employs a range of staff who provide counselling to patients. Many staff will have the job title of 'counsellor', although this will usually be in a specific area, depending on the needs of the particular employer.

Examples of counselling roles, include:

    • oncology counselling - provide help, care and support to patients with cancer and their families
    • primary care counsellor - provide counselling to clients with mild to moderate mental health problems
    • care coordinator/counsellor - work with individuals who have drug-related problems
    • genetic counsellor - help individuals understand and deal with genetic disorders
    • specialist nurse counsellor or sickle cell and thalassaemia - provide counselling and support for people with sickle cell and thalassaemia
    • counsellor (unplanned pregnancies) - provide counselling and support for patients presenting with this condition.

For many of these roles, a recognised counselling qualification will be required, such as those accredited by the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (*BACP) or other professional organisations. (*The voluntary register maintained by the BACP has been accredited by the Professional Standards Authority)

Some roles may also require a clinical/professional qualification, such as being a registered nurse, occupational therapist, social worker or other healthcare professional.

Experience or skills in a particular area may also be required, such as the ability to speak in multiple languages or experience in mental health care.

Each employer will indicate their individual requirements through the person specification for the role. The person specification will outline whether the qualifications required, need to be accredited by the BACP or another organisation.

The 'talking therapies' also provide related job opportunities and include roles in areas such as psychology, psychiatry, psychotherapy and high intensity therapy.

Visit the psychological therapies contacts page for a full list of professional organisations and their contact details. 

How to apply

Vacancies for psychological therapies jobs are advertised in a range of places. Most NHS trusts will advertise their vacancies on the NHS Jobs website. Some will also advertise in relevant trade journals and their own websites.

For a list of all the NHS trusts in the UK, please visit the Employer list on the NHS Jobs website.