Career in Counselling—Help People in Distress

Career in Counselling—Help People in Distress

If you’re thinking of becoming a counsellor, but just don’t have a clue on how to go about it, then fear not! You are at the right place.

To start off, here are a few questions that may help you understand if you are heading in the right direction or not:

Do you enjoy helping people?

Do you want to have a positive impact on people’s lives?

Do you enjoy spending time with people and helping them talk about their feelings?

If you answered ‘yes’ to all three questions, then counseling may just be your true calling. However, there is a lot to consider before you take that plunge.  

Who is a Counsellor?

A counselor is someone who helps people in need by providing them with support when they experience emotional difficulties and guides people on personal, career, lifestyle, and relationship issues.

A counselor:

  • Works with individuals and groups to improve their mental health and well-being.
  • Helps clients define goals, plan actions and gain insights.
  • Develops pathways to the goal with different alternatives.
  • Acts as a facilitator to reach goals.
  • Takes care of holistic (mind and body) health. 

Different Types of Counsellors

A counsellor supports and guides clients with issues, which can arise in any sphere of their lives. As a result, a counsellor can don many hats and work in many different domains. Here are the 4 most common types of counsellors.

1. School Counsellor

School counsellors work at the school level (usually as an in-house counsellor) and help students to deal with social, behavioural, personal and academic problems that arise at this crucial stage of their lives.

2. Rehabilitation Counsellor

Rehabilitation counsellors help people deal with the personal, social, and vocational effects of disabilities. They help people with both physical and emotional disabilities caused by birth defects, illness or disease, accidents, and other causes.

3. Mental Health Counsellor

Mental health counsellors address and treat mental and emotional disorders. They use therapeutic techniques to deal with issues such as depression, anxiety, addiction, suicidal impulses, stress, trauma, low self-esteem, grief, etc.

4. Career Counsellor

Career counsellors (like me) help high school students, college students and working professionals to find direction in their career and resolve career-related issues. They help people to know and understand themselves to make career, educational, and life decisions.

Is psychology marketable in Kenya? / Is counselling psychology marketable in Kenya?

The course is very marketable especially in light of increased cases of depression in both young people and adults in Kenya.

You see, perhaps due to harsh economic times, there are more cases of depressed people in our nation today (there have been calls to declare depression a national disaster).

In the same breath, today more youths are suffering from stress and other mental illnesses in Kenya (this is partially caused by the way kids are being brought up today) so schools, churches, and other institutions that deal with youths are increasingly hiring counselors.

Even the disciplined forces in Kenya are also affected- if you have been following the news, you may have noted that hardly a few weeks pass before you hear of a police officer who has committed suicide.

So, in a nutshell, there are more jobs today for qualified psychiatrists than at any other time in history in Kenya.

Now that I have answered your “Is psychology marketable in Kenya?” question, let us now turn to important details about psychology and counselling courses in Kenya.

Psychology courses in Kenya

Here are the counselling psychology courses in Kenya you can take if you have decided to go ahead and pursue a career in psychology:

Degree in psychology

You can pursue any of the following degree options:

  1. Bachelor of Psychology
  2. Bachelor of Arts(BA) In Counselling Psychology
  3. Bachelor of Arts(Counselling Psychology)
  4. Bachelor of Arts(Psychology)-Egerton University
  5. Bachelor of Science(Counselling Psychology)
  6. Bachelor of Arts(Psychology, Sociology, And Political Science)
  7. Bachelor of Psychology(With IT)
  8. Bachelor of Science(Medical Psychology)
  9. Bachelor of Counseling Psychology
  10. Bachelor of Arts (BA) In Psychology (With Technology)

Universities offering psychology in Kenya (Universities offering counseling psychology in Kenya)

Below are the names of universities that offer psychology in Kenya:

  • Chuka University
  • Bomet University College
  • Alupe University College
  • Africa Nazarene University
  • African International University,
  • Catholic University
  • Daystar University
  • Egerton University
  • International Leadership University
  • KAG-EAST University
  • KCA University
  • Kenya Highlands and Evangelical University
  • Kenya Methodist University
  • Kisii University
  • Kenyatta University – There are several psychology courses in Kenyatta university (KU was among the first institutions to offer online counselling psychology courses in Kenya)
  • Laikipia University
  • Mount Kenya University
  • Maseno University
  • Pan Africa Christian University
  • Pwani University
  • Scott Christian University
  • St Pauls University
  • Tangaza University College
  • Technical University of Kenya
  • Technical University of Mombasa
  • Zetech University
  • USIU- Of all USIU psychology courses, their BA in Psychology is best known.

Note that if you did not qualify for university entry, you will start at the Diploma level.

Below are the minimum entry requirements for both the Degree and Diploma programmes

Psychology courses in Kenya requirements

Degree in Psychology

KCSE Mean Grade: C+

Other requirements: None

Diploma in Counselling Psychology / Diploma In Psychology and Counselling

KCSE Mean Grade: C / C- depending on the institution

Colleges offering Diploma in Counselling Psychology in Kenya

Here now are some of the government-sponsored colleges offering Diploma in Psychology in Kenya

  • Eldoret National Polytechnic
  • Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology
  • Laikipia university
  • Nyandarua Institute of Science & Technology
  • Siaya Institute of Technology
  • Thika Technical Training Institute
  • Turkana University College

Keep in mind that there are dozens of private colleges offering a Diploma in Counselling Psychology in Kenya including Amani Counselling Centres.

It’s worth mentioning that there are colleges that offer a certificate in Counseling and Psychology in Kenya for those who got a grade lower than a C- including Kenya Institute of Social Work.

How to become a psychologist in Kenya

First, you need to take a course- and I have already listed the qualifications to help you see the course level your grades can fit.

Next, you need to go for an internship- in some cases, you have to do this during the course.

The idea behind the internship is to help you acquire practical skills that will later on serve you well when you come to the practice.

Once you have finished the course plus the attachment, you need to apply to join the Kenya Counselling and Psychological Association.

This is the body that regulates the profession and having a certificate from them showing that you’re an accredited counselor can make a huge difference when applying for jobs.

Here is a link to their website.

With all that done, you can now start looking for formal jobs or open a private practice (if you will take this route, be sure to pay for the necessary licenses to the county government before you open).

A word on child psychology courses in Kenya

There are different types of psychology courses and one of them is child psychology.

Now, unlike general psychology courses, courses in child psychology prepares you for a career as a children and adolescent counselor so the training tends to lean more on understanding kids thinking and emotions.

The Kenya Institute of Social Work offers a Diploma In Counselling(Child and Adolescent Option) and can be a good bet if you want to pursue child psychology

A word on clinical psychology courses in Kenya

The other branch of Psychology is Universities offering clinical psychology in Kenya.

Here you undergo highly specialized training programs in the diagnosis/treatment of various mental illnesses- The aim of the courses is to make you a wholesome mental health professional who can work in a “clinical” setting(medical facilities).

Universities offering masters in clinical psychology in Kenya

Now, for the most part, you must have undertaken a degree in an area such as Psychology/Counseling Psychology, Sociology/ Social work etc. before advancing to clinical psychology.

Here are the universities (somE) that you may join if you want to advance to masters in clinical psychology in Kenya:

USIU– Master of Arts (MA) in Clinical Psychology

University of NairobiMaster of Science (Msc) in clinical psychology

Daystar University– Masters in Clinical Psychology

Please note when it comes to practicing clinical psychology, you must be certified (and registered) by the regulatory bodies.

The skills and interests required to pursue a career in this field

  • Effective communications skills
  • Planning skills
  • Organization skills
  • Tolerance
  • Empathy
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Time management skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Team spirit
  • Research skills

    What the job / profession /career entails

The work involves the following:

  • Providing support to people experiencing social or emotional difficulties by helping them work through the challenges
  • Challenging inappropriate behavior in communities
  • Providing the means for emotionally distressed individuals to obtain help within community settings
  • Building links with other groups  and agencies dealing with counselling/trauma healing
  • Helping to raise public awareness on depression and stress-related issues relevant to the community at large.
  • Provide continuous psycho-education to families and caregivers.
  • Facilitate the Rehabilitation and re-integration of individuals in recovery.
  • Provision of pre as well as post-test counselling tailored to different situations
  • Providing individual/group counseling interventions to those experiencing different forms of trauma/stress while observing maximum confidentiality and professional ethics/etiquette
  • Conduct necessary psychological assessments or Mental Status Examinations
  • Prepare and submit various reports to your Supervisor.
  • Follow-up and monitor individual cases and provide required feedback of the interventions offered.

Career Prospects for holders of psychology and counselling qualifications in Kenya

  • Career Counsellor
  • Child Care Supervisor
  • Cognitive Psychologist
  • Clinical Psychologist
  • Cross-Cultural Psychologist
  • Developmental Psychologist
  • Counselling Psychologist
  • Mental health practitioner
  • Educational psychologist
  • Forensic psychologist
  • High intensity therapist
  • Occupational psychologist
  • Sport psychologist
  • Psychological wellbeing practitioner

Where can you find work?

You can work in health institutions, educational institutions, humanitarian organizations, agencies and centers, Not-for-Profits, faith-based organizations, correctional facilities among others.

Kenya Association of Professional Counsellors (KAPC) Membership

KAPC strives to promote professional development in Kenya and other African countries by offering an active membership service to professionally trained counselors. Membership is open to professionally trained counsellors, trainers and supervisors in Sub-/Sahara African region and other developed countries such as UK, America, and Canada.

Download the Membership Application Form

- Registration: Ksh. 2,500/=
- Renewal: Ksh. 1,500/=

Benefits include being part of a prestigious and well-known professional organisation and opportunities for professional and personal development. Those who register as members will enjoy the following services at all of the KAPC branches of Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa.

  • Accreditation for ‘Chartered Counsellor’ cc
  • Supervision
  • Continuing Professional Development e.g.
    • Annual conference
    • Workshops
    • Seminars
    • Short Courses
  • Personal Development or Growth groups
  • Newsletter
  • Library
  • Computer Lab
  • Fun outings
  • Community service
  • Counseling practice opportunities
  • Discussion forums
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