Exploring Counseling as a Vocation. Where Do I Begin
July 8, 2019 1:31 PM   Subscribe

I am exploring this option and am unsure of where to begin.

have been a yoga teacher for 25 years. I am born communicator and listener, deeply empathic and clairsentient. I have been told that I am a "context creator" I am good at giving valid, practical guidance when asked and have gifts of healing. I have a B.A. in History from UCLA.and am a 56 yo male who works full time and lives in the Los Angeles area.

Where do I begin? I am guessing the first step is a career counselor. Where would I find one that has a grasp of my skill set. Where do I look for accredited schools that would be a good fit. How would I go about finding financial aid?

Thanks for your advice in advance!
posted by goalyeehah to Education (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What age group do you want to work with?
posted by parmanparman at 2:15 PM on July 8

Also, do you want to specialise in anything you have come across previously?
posted by parmanparman at 2:16 PM on July 8

One question is whether you would like to become a licensed therapist (clinical counselor, social worker or marriage and family therapist) or a life coach.

The licensed tracks requires a masters in social work or counseling psychology and an extensive internship and examination process. Being both male and older would probably be seen as a significant advantage in a career that values life experience. I've known a number of people who have made this change in their 40s and 50s. Although financially it might not be a good investment, you would have a good foundation for creating lasting positive change in people. Here is information from the California licensing board about the requirements.

The other option is "life coach" which is totally unregulated - you could decide if you wanted to get a masters in counseling or just pay a private company for their training course or just hang up your shingle.
posted by metahawk at 2:31 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]

I would like to work with individuals in the 25-35 yo range.

As a yoga teacher, I do my best work with couples and have steered the themes of my classes and workshops in those directions.
posted by goalyeehah at 4:34 PM on July 8

There is a huge movement towards the somatic aspects of therapy, rather than just talking therapy alone, especially in regards to trauma work. With your background in yoga I feel you’d be ideally placed to explore this area of the field. You could consider adding training in trauma-informed yoga to your practice (if you haven’t already) and look into Somatic Experiencing or Sensorimotor Therapy as avenues for your counsellor training. I’m a therapist but I practice in the UK and there are significant differences in training, accreditation/licensing processes etc, but feel free to memail me if you’d like.
posted by billiebee at 4:38 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]

If you get some training in Kundalini you could practice yoga therapy including for mental health/personal growth purposes and as long as you don't use legally protected language (counselor, psychotherapist, etc) you could just leverage what you already do into a personal transformation business. For example, this book might help you chart the path you want without going for a Master's degree. I'd still recommend taking classes on assessment and clinical skills to enhance the work you do on the ego to ego level.

Also, some jurisdictions allow spiritual counseling with fewer regulations. If you offer yogic philosophy tied to clearing of samskaras, etc., that might be another avenue.
posted by crunchy potato at 5:30 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]

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