The following has been written by Nicky Ferry, a training development manager at Gloucestershire Counselling Service in Stroud.

Is counselling a viable career option?

Almost daily we hear of a high profile celebrity, politician and even royalty revealing struggles with their mental health.

This has to be a positive cultural shift as we start to diminish the stigma surrounding emotional and psychological problems. Less positive are the equally prolific stories about our desperately under-resourced health system that simply cannot provide sufficient mental health services.

Clearly the demand for professional counsellors and therapists has never been higher. But what does it really take to create a career in counselling?

Does it involve years of study with little or no job security at the end of it?

Those with sufficient business savvy and confidence successfully promote themselves in private practice whilst others choose to work within the NHS, an EAP or a charitable organisation.

In Stroud we are very fortunate to have GCS where people are able to train as a professional counsellor, then go onto work within the service as a staff counsellor or join the training team.

GCS offers a sense of community that can be very attractive and engaging, especially as most people chose the career in the first place to meaningfully connect with others and to make a difference.

In a large organisation or in self-employment, this sense of belonging can be sorely missing.

GCS has recently opened its associate programme, designed to support people who have recently finished their training – at GCS as well as from any university, college or training centre– to make the transition to accreditation and employment.

If you have any questions about training to be a counsellor or a career in counselling email