A day as a counselling psychologist

This morning you're working at a GP surgery, providing therapy sessions for patients with a wide variety of emotional and psychological problems. You begin at 9am, talking with a middle-aged woman who's suffered a bereavement, and consequently developed a minor phobias of confined spaces. Together, you consider her life in a broader sense, including previous life experiences and general health. You encourage her to discuss her emotional state, and suggest possible behaviours she could practice to manage her distress and potentially overcome her phobia. She leaves feeling happier and more able to cope with life, and you're pleased to be meeting with her again soon to monitor her progress. After seeing several more patients, you finish at 5pm. You find your work very rewarding and well-paid, with many opportunities for career advance and development.

Does this sound like you?

You're tolerant, patient and have excellent communication skills. You easily empathise with people's problems and concerns, and would like a career helping others.

What's next after GCSE?

After gaining a minimum of five 9-4 (A*-C) grades at GCSE (or the equivalent), you'll need to apply for at least two A levels - psychology can be useful but is not essential.

What's next after A level and beyond?

You'll need at least two A levels (or the equivalent) - psychology can be useful but is not essential - and ready to apply for a BPS-accredited degree course in psychology. After your degree, you'll need to go onto further postgraduate study in counselling psychology.