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Counsel queries

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A listening ear
I want to become a counsellor, and I think studying psychology should help me, but I do not know much more. Please help me. Also, I need help in convincing my parents that I want to take up such an offbeat career. How do I go about it?
– Prachi Khare

Dear Prachi
I am glad that you are sorted in terms of what you want to do in the future. I think you should just check that your personality is suited towards becoming a counsellor. You will need lots of patience and the ability to distance yourself from the person’s problems.
Professional courses are being offered by many institutes in India and trained professionals are being injected into this field. Different types of courses are offered, like certificate, diploma and PG diploma courses. The education eligibility for each is of these courses is different and aspirants are advised to visit the sites of the particular institute to check on the eligibility. For pursuing a PG Diploma in Clinical and Community Psychology, you need to have a graduation in psychology. For admission to diploma programme in guidance and couselling, some institutes prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree in home science, education or arts, whereas others admit candidates with a MA/ MEd (psychology) degree.
As mentioned earlier, for this profession, the qualities of a counsellor matter a lot. You need to be patient to listen to the problem, and have the expertise to navigate the conversation in a way where clients feel comfortable. You should also have the sensitivity to not trivialise the problems of the clients at the wrong time, and need to know what technique to use with which client. Needless to say, your research needs to be done well. Aspirants are advised to look at all the details of the professional programme and make their choice accordingly.
Whether patients worry about career planning, walk out off a relation or face social, emotional, academic, familial and economic crisis, they can seek the support of a trained counsellor at various stages of their lives. Counsellors ensure healthy development of a person by offering support, aid or consultation. They can be involved in teaching and research.
As far as convincing your parents is concerned, you need to talk to them of the benefits of being a counsellor, and how much they are in demand. Explain to them that it is a satisfying and well-paying profession.

Making the moves
I am a good dancer but I am not trained. I already choreograph wedding functions for clients and earn well. I want to advance my career as a choreographer. I want to know what to do about it. Do you think I should still continue by BA studies as I am already earning well?
Sahana Mehta


Dear Sahana,
Courses are up and coming for this field so you can think of getting a professional certification. The best you can do is join a course with a dance academy and then get a choreography session.
There are a few private institutes in Mumbai which offer courses. These include:
• Shiamak Davar Institute for Performing Arts
• Terence Lewis Dance Academy
• Sandip Soparkar’s Ballroom Studio
• Danceworx Performing Arts Academy
Experts warn good dancers that they need to understand that choreography is something completely different. You need to have great communication skills to talk to the dancers explaining well what you want. You should also have great people skills to manage those with you. Most importantly, you need to have the ability to teach the dancers. It is not necessary that each one will learn at the same pace, so for some it might be easier than the others. You will have to work harder on some participants compared to others. You need to be ready for that.
Sometimes, you have a certain vision which the dancers might not be able to relate to, and you will have to provide the back story to get them to do things the way you have visualised them. All of this requires a lot of patience and physical energy to get through the day, every day.
In my opinion, yes you should continue your BA, and get that degree at least. Apart from the earnings, there is a certain respect for education that you should not miss out on. Also, going to college and meeting new people will be a good experience. You can also network within college and work towards building your reputation as a private choreographer.

Beautiful people
I want to become a beauty expert in simple treatments and hope to open a parlour someday. I have been accompanying a neighbour during her home visits for make-up orders on occasions. I want to know what kinds of certifications are available and how I can become good at my work, other than just learning on the job.
– Priti Desai

Dear Priti,
Taking up a course and expanding your knowledge will help you a lot. Learning on the job will bring the kind of experience that you will never get elsewhere, however, studying the styles and techniques and acquiring knowledge through a professional course enhances a person’s ability to move long much faster. In fact, several experienced players and well known names in the field have established training centres and teaching schools, attached to salons. That way, the student gets an education, and then immediately gets the experience working on real time clients in the salon.
In most courses the basic qualification needed to enter the field is passing class 12, however some courses accept students who have passed class 10 as well. There are so many courses available, that you can choose from, there are combined courses for hair and beauty, separate courses for cosmetology, whereas hair care is a different industry altogether. Also, the duration of different courses is different and so is the number of hours you have to put in on a daily basis. That’s why, it is necessary that you look up every aspect of the course you want to do, and then sign up for it. Look at the specialisations the course offers, so that you know exactly what you will be able to do after you finish it.
Once you finish the course, the entry into the field at the basic level will become easy, but you need to upgrade your skills and knowledge constantly by attending add on courses and seminars and being proactive and reading up. This is a continuous process.
Some courses also offer global certifications like CIDESCO from Switzerland and the CIBTAC from the UK. These may cost a little bit more, but they are widely recognised so getting placed at the high end salon after pursuing this certification will be very easy.