Using your Personal Qualities, Skills and Knowledge
Successfully counselling clients through difficult times requires a combination of interpersonal skills, sufficient knowledge about the issues involved and a host of personal attributes. Balancing and adapting all this information requires the counsellor or psychotherapist to maintain a level head, confidence in their abilities and a genuine interest in providing support.
Personal QualitiesA successful counsellor must be able to demonstrate a thorough understanding of the counselling process. There are a number of key personal qualities that counsellors and psychotherapists should also possess, and which will make the therapeutic relationships they have with their clients more effective.
EmpathyWithout this quality a counsellor will be unable to comprehend the problems, experiences, thoughts and feelings of another person, and will not be able to offer clients the level of supportive understanding that they will require.
CongruenceThis provides clients with a vision of a counsellor’s genuine understanding and supportive nature.
Positive RegardCounsellors must be able to build counselling relationships on a foundation of warmth, understanding and genuine support. In order for this to work, and to encourage a client to self-disclose, counsellors must have a natural rapport with a client.
RespectCounsellors must show respect for another person, and their welfare, at all times. They must also remain impartial and non-judgmental.
Challenging skillsA client must experience challenging questioning if they are to make progress during the counselling relationship. Being able to detect contradictions and encourage positive thought is an important part of the counsellor’s role.
Personal SkillsActive listening, good interpersonal skills and an ability to question, reflect and challenge attitudes and beliefs are all personal skills that can help a counsellor build a successful career. An interest in self-awareness and self-development will also ensure that the counsellor or psychotherapist continues to develop their counselling skills, whilst expanding their own knowledge of themselves.
A counsellor can also utilise many other important skills within a counselling relationship, and this could include good planning and motivational skills, problem solving, organisational ability and re-orientation skills. Each counsellor will bring their own unique abilities, qualities and skills into a counselling relationship, but must ultimately ensure that their client feels safe and supported.
Personal KnowledgeBesides the counselling qualifications, and additional certificates, a counsellor should possess in order to provide a good counselling relationship, the counsellor must also be armed with sufficient personal knowledge and understanding of what counselling is all about. They must also be clear about the role of the counsellor and the problems, issues and expectations every client will present.
A counsellor must also be self-aware, and must be in control of their feelings, thoughts and emotions whilst working with clients.