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The Relationship Between the Counsellor and the Client

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 3 Feb 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Relationship Counsellor Counselling

Counselling is not only about exploring core issues and gaining a different perspective on problems and psychological difficulties. It is also about building a rapport and trust with the counsellor, so that a client feels comfortable enough to open up and voice their worries. This relationship is built on trust and confidentiality, and can make all the difference between a positive and negative counselling experience.

Behaviour Pattern

A counsellor will never impose their own values or beliefs on a client, and will remain impartial and non-judgmental. The counselling process is an opportunity for the client to explore their own values and beliefs, and to understand how to challenge him/herself to make positive changes in their life.

All counsellors are bound by a Code of Ethics and Practice, as well as by whichever professional body they belong to. The clauses state that:

  • No information is exchanged with a third party, unless with prior client consent.
  • The content of the meeting remains private and confidential.
  • In extreme circumstances, where the counsellor becomes concerned for the personal safety of the client, the client is informed that confidentiality may be broken. A Risk Help Plan can be created to provide additional support for the client.

Developing a Relationship

In order that the client feels comfortable in expressing him/herself in an uninhibited way, the relationship between the client and the counsellor needs to be built on reciprocal trust. It is the counsellor’s responsibility to provide a safe, confidential environment, and to offer empathy, understanding and respect.

The counsellor’s tone of voice, and the words they choose to greet the client with, will also affect the relationship. Offering the client enough time to collect thoughts and express concerns and difficulties will encourage the client to relax and talk freely. Allowing sufficient delay in responding also gives the client more opportunity to open up further.

Maintaining a Comfortable Relationship

Some clients may be more reluctant than others, when it comes to explaining their difficulties, and counsellors must be aware that these individuals require a sensitive approach. By offering reassurance, empathy and genuineness, clients will become more comfortable in a counselling environment. Engaging the client is only possible once they are sufficiently relaxed and comfortable.

Using open-ended questions also encourages a response from a client, and should form a major part of the counselling script.

Seeking Advice

The relationship between a counsellor and client is based on a one-sided discussion. It is the counsellor’s job to actively listen and gently challenge the client, where appropriate. It is not a counsellor’s responsibility to offer advice, unless the client specifically asks for it. Support, understanding and a sympathetic ear is all that a client really wants to receive.

Boundaries

As with any professional relationship the setting of boundaries is important. All relationships should be limited to a therapeutic setting, and all social contact between a counsellor and client should be avoided. A counsellor should also never accept a friend or family member as a client, or enter into a sexual relationship with a current or former client.

These boundaries form part of the contractual agreement between a counsellor and client and must be adhered to at all times.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Hey,i want to know the issues that surround upholding and breaking the agreement between the counselor and the client
roxy - 3-Feb-17 @ 6:19 AM
Hey, I'm Doing Diploma in Psychology.. I have a QuestionSuppose if i have a client who is very coperatiive & very frndly. Oneday the client Inviting me for a personal relationship. What Should A Coucellor Do in this situation? What are the ethics boundaries to follow ? Help me out pleaseee !
Princess Qatar - 4-Jan-17 @ 1:52 PM
How can I safely use previous client case experience to support a new client without breeching confidentiality Thanks
Elle - 1-Jan-17 @ 6:15 PM
Hi, I am doing my diploma in counselling and stuck on a question about challenges that i would experience with a client that is trying to find a relationship.
linda - 14-Dec-16 @ 9:19 AM
Hello!want to know more about defense mechanisms.
The Remnant Soldier - 11-Dec-16 @ 8:52 AM
I cannot find psychotherapy long term on the NHS, but been offered counselling.Ive tried it before but they are out of their depth in just a few sessions, as my issues are deep seated and complex stemming back from forty years ago.As this is all I can get for almost free then Im about to embark on it tomorrow.I have no money as on benefits, so this is it or nothing. I feel hopeless, this person won't be a trained psychoanalyst...I did explain this on the phone to the receptionist but she just said 'try it'.Sigh.... :(Sick of wasting time seeing counsellors, and find they are useless.
SilverJay - 17-Nov-16 @ 5:59 PM
I WANT TO GET NOTES CONCERNING COUNSELLING FROM ANYONE.
Trust - 4-Nov-16 @ 10:46 AM
Sherry77 - Your Question:
Yes I would recommend following a CPCAB course in counselling because it is integrative. We learn about all theories and not one specific one which is beneficial because every client will be unique therefore requiring different approaches.Im currently studying Level 4 at Synergie Counselling in Hayes (West London) and they are brilliant because of the content of the course, the tutors, and its in a real counselling setting as they are an agency.Hope this helps people out there who were thinking of becoming a counsellor.Good Luck.

Our Response:
Many thanks for your comments I'm sure they will help our readers.
TheCounsellorsGuide - 23-May-16 @ 12:19 PM
Yes I would recommend following a CPCAB course in counselling because it is integrative.We learn about all theories and not one specific one which is beneficial because every client will be unique therefore requiring different approaches. Im currently studying Level 4 at Synergie Counselling in Hayes (West London) and they are brilliant because of the content of the course, the tutors, and its in a real counselling setting as they are an agency. Hope this helps people out there who were thinking of becoming a counsellor. Good Luck.
Sherry77 - 22-May-16 @ 3:48 PM
What if counselling did not help the individual, what other ways could you suggest for that person?
Tbaby - 5-Nov-15 @ 8:27 PM
I'm writing a project on the comparison of individual and group counselling in tackling students poor academic performance. But I'm stuck
bisky - 24-Oct-15 @ 11:45 AM
Tpotty - Your Question:
I'm doing level 3, counselling and am a little bit stuck with the importance of boundary setting and how it keeps the client safe and supported, can you help demystify pls??

Our Response:
I'm afraid you would have to speak to your tutor about this. He/she can explain how to best answer the set question.
TheCounsellorsGuide - 19-Oct-15 @ 11:23 AM
I'm doing level 3, counselling and am a little bit stuck with the importance of boundary setting and how it keeps the client safe and supported, can you help demystify pls??
Tpotty - 18-Oct-15 @ 12:38 PM
Hi I'm currently doing Bed honors in learner support and school counselling what to know more about counselling and the support process.
Utjii - 27-May-15 @ 2:35 PM
I want to become a counsellor.. its my dream..
Aaaash.. - 24-Apr-15 @ 6:04 PM
@JLopez - I'm afraid we can't be seen to be recommending any specific courses, but there are a few independent ones available if you do an online search.
TheCounsellorsGuide - 9-Mar-15 @ 11:29 AM
Hello, I am looking for the best course and school in London. I am looking at Counseling but with a holistic view. Any recommendations or experiences with this type of counseling practice?
JLopez - 6-Mar-15 @ 12:01 PM
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