Firstly, let's look at what qualities make for a good counsellor:
A deep understanding of psychological principles including human behavior, needs assessment, goal setting and emotional intelligence;
Excellent communication and interpersonal skills;
Empathy for those in need;
A patient demeanor that allows those seeking counselling to feel comfortable discussing sensitive topics;
The ability to remain objective while presenting different perspectives or solutions.
To build these qualities without formal education or practical experience you must focus on developing yourself as an individual first in order to understand how people think and act in different situations. Reading books on psychology (including related topics such as philosophy) can deepen your understanding of human behaviors while also broadening your own horizons which will help foster the empathy required when counseling others. Additionally attending seminars or workshops so you can learn from experts provides valuable knowledge that can be applied directly into practice. There are plenty of online courses available too if investing time away from home isn’t feasible.
In terms of developing social communication skills try joining soft skill development classes like public speaking programs which involve learning how interpret nonverbal cues , active listening techniques etc., this could both improve your confidence but also open up opportunities where you get meet other professionals who may offer advice or job leads . Additionally participating in any community volunteer activities would be beneficial when it comes to gaining clients since being able to demonstrate compassion could go along way towards building trust so they feel comfortable disclosiing their difficulties confidently .
As far as earning potential goes , professional counselors tend earn around £20k-£35k per year depending on experience level , expertise choices made by the consultant during sessions leading up per client session fee payed by Insurance companies( using private practice), however earning potential can increase significantly with DBS certification , licensing accreditation via BACP membership . On average an experienced counselor should expect yearly income somewhere between £30 - £40k based off personal judgement provided services .