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Student Q&A: Carolyn Gannon

Community Services Faculty Student - Counselling

Coming from a nursing background, Carolyn Gannon knew that her interest in human behaviour was something she wanted to further explore, so studying a qualification in counselling with Upskilled was a stepping stone towards feeding that curiosity.

She found that while nursing and counselling had their similiarities, the key point in difference was that as a counsellor, you cannot offer advice to clients.

In this Q&A, Carolyn shares more about her course experience, what motivated her to study a counselling qualification and why she chose Upskilled as a course provider. 

What made you decide to study Counselling? 

Studying counselling was something I always had an interest in. I was curious to why people behaved the way they do. 

I also liked the idea of being able to help others through a profession. When friends were going through tough times, I found it rewarding to support, help and listen to them.

In the past, I've been involved in family meetings and quite often they would say to me that I made such a difference in caring for their elderly parent. This made me consider the career path of either a counsellor or support worker.  

You have experience working as a hospital trained nurse. What are the differences and similarities between nursing and counselling? 

The similarities between nursing and counselling is that they're both built on Legislative Acts and policies that need to be abided by. Professional conduct needs to be ensured in both professions.

I found that with counselling, one of the most important things to know is to never give advice to the client. 

The counselling process involved, “walking alongside the client”, developing rapport with them and most importantly, being empathetic.

Nursing tends to steer towards giving advice, making suggestions and providing solutions and the most appropriate healthcare to enhance the patient’s life. 

counselling concept

What skills and knowledge have you developed from the course?

To really listen to what the client is saying and to be aware of their non-verbal clues through their body language. I also learnt how to help a client talk openly and build rapport with them in a non-judgmental way.

The topics from the course were very diverse and thought-provoking. These are the ones I thought were beneficial to me as an aspiring counsellor:
  • The history of Indigenous Australians and their ongoing struggles
  • Cultural Diversity
  • Suicide Prevention  
  • Behaviour Management Strategies
  • The issues surrounding poor self-esteem and self-worth
  • Gender Dysphoria and relationship difficulties. 

What would you say are the benefits of studying online?

The chance to study during your own time. I particularly enjoyed researching the topics and digging a little deeper in answering the 'why' and 'how'.

This approach to studying worked for me but you do need to research extensively. I had moments when I thought it was all too hard but with some perseverance and encouragement from the trainers, it was possible for me to complete the course successfully. 

What aspects of the course did you enjoy?

I liked how the course had a strong emphasis on positivity. It taught me the importance of self-care (daily exercise, healthy eating, adequate rest), practicing gratitude and becoming more self-aware. These skills were ones I already put into practice but it made me realise their importance since I commenced my studies. 

The overall messaging I took from the course was that you need to look after yourself first before you can help others. By understanding this, it helped me cope with the difficulties of everyday life. 

I also enjoyed communicating with the trainers, particularly when they spoke of their past experience with clients and how they approached certain behaviours.

Doing the face-to-face sessions was probably the biggest challenge for me as I was so accustomed to giving advice. However, the sessions tied into the course content and this in turn proved to be very rewarding for me.  counselling concept

Why did you choose to study with Upskilled?

I found Upskilled to be the most affordable option compared to some of the other courses I reviewed. I was quite hesitant because I had not studied in years and didn't want to start a course that I was unable to complete.
I found that the student support team were very encouraging when I first discussed the course with them. 

Prior to starting my studies, I recently lost my mum and felt it was a good time to pursue a new goal. As my children were all grown-up and found success in their careers, I felt it was time for me to pursue something of my own. 

Any advice you'd like to give to those thinking of studying this course? 

Think about time management and set yourself goals so that you can complete the course within the desired timeframe. It's important to start with a positive attitude and to believe that you can do this. 

Be prepared to research extensively and ask for help when needed. When certain assignments or tasks may become overwhelming, remember to persevere. 

Studying can be stressful but with support from family, friends and Upskilled, success can be yours!

Build your counselling skills through online education 

Interested in a career in counselling? Studying the counselling with Upskilled can help you prepare for a rewarding role as a counsellor, developing interpersonal skills in empathy, rapport building and mediation.

This two-year qualification is delivered online and will have you undergo a practical assessment where you will be a trainee counsellor within a simulated workplace. This helps you apply what you've learnt, giving you hands-on practice in counselling clients.

Get in touch with Upskilled on 1300 009 924 and enquire about this course today! 

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Start your next course with Upskilled. Enter your details in the form below.

*By providing your information, you agree to our Privacy Policy and to receiving email and other forms of communication from Upskilled. You are able to opt-out at any time.