Counseling is an established and well respected industry. A rapidly growing field, with a close connection to the psychology field, is that of coaching; which is often misunderstood by the general population. The International Coach Federation (ICF) defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.” And there are numerous coaching niches that one can pursue, just as there are in the arena of counseling. The 2012 ICF Global Coaching Study, shows that “the profession appears to be growing rapidly, with almost 50,000 professional coaches generating close to $2 billion in annual revenue.”
Lauren Aycock Anderson has a Master of Science in marriage and family therapy, and is a licensed private practice therapist and coach for creatives and couples. For those seeking to pursue a career in psychology, Anderson offers some sage advice.
How does your experience in formal education relate to your current role?
“One cannot be a licensed therapist without at least a master’s degree in counseling, so my experience in formal education directly relates to my current role as a helper. I learned nearly everything I know about counseling from my graduate program. I honed my writing skills tremendously and surprisingly developed a love for the craft. I also learned to disseminate vast amounts of research information, a skill most useful in continuing my education throughout my career.”
How has your education contributed to your success?
“My education included discussions of issues of gender, race, culture, and sexuality which greatly widened my capacity for empathy. My counseling skills correlate directly with coaching, so I essentially found two careers through my education. I am focused and more excited for my future than I have ever been in my entire life.”
What is some advice you can offer others looking to go into the field of psychology?
“You have no idea what it’s like to be in therapy if you don’t experience it yourself. Many of us get into this field because we experienced something we now want to help others with, but it’s important to work through those issues to truly help others. There are several types of counseling professions, so do your research and find what interests you. Exploring your options offers different perspectives on mental health.”
Sara Lugardo is a professional writer out of Chicago, Illinois. She has a bachelor’s in Communication and is currently working on her master’s. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.