prepare appropriately and only reveal personal information that portrays you in a positive light
You will typically be asked open ended questions when you attend interview for a counselling and psychotherapy placement. It is important, therefore, that you prepare appropriately and only reveal personal information that portrays you in a positive light. Open ended questions can potentially make you ramble and before you know it, you have gone off on a huge tangent. Worse still, you might inadvertently reveal negative information about yourself. Try to only reveal the information you wish to reveal about yourself and try to keep your answers succinct and to the point. It is okay to ask for clarification if you are unsure about how to answer a particular question. This will give you time to assess what the interviewers are looking for.
remember that you are being interviewed to work
at an organisation
Remember to treat the interview process as a job interview. You should already be aware of the personal questions you might be asked if you recall the questions from your course interview. However, it is important to remember that you are being interviewed to work at an organisation. This means that you should turn up dressed neatly, even if counsellors at the placement centre walk around dressed in scruffy jeans. Carry a copy of your CV with you as well as a print-out of the organisation’s website.
Typical questions might involve all or some of the following:
- What made you want to become a counsellor?
- What attracts you to a placement here?
- How much experience have you had in placements?
- How would you work with a short term treatment model?
- Can you give us an example of working with boundaries in a therapeutic relationship?
- How did supervision impact your client work?
- Is there a client group you would not work with?
- Can you give an example of an ethical dilemma and how you dealt with it?
- What would you do if the client talked about committing an illegal act?
- What would you do with a client with suicide ideation and how would you deal with it? What would be your role in this scenario?
- What is your understanding of equal opportunities and how you have had to challenge it?
- How do you work within a team?
- What would others say are your personal qualities?
- In terms of your own personal growth what do you see as your areas of growth?
At the end of the interview always reaffirm your interest in the placement. Thank the interviewers for their time.
If you are unsuccessful at the interview always ask for feedback. Successful people learn from their mistakes. So, drop your pride and always seek feedback on your performance.
Noel Bell is an integrative psychotherapist based in London.