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Counselling and Self Awareness

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 23 Nov 2023 | comments*Discuss
Counselling Self Awareness Understanding

Because of the intimately private counselling work that qualified counsellors and psychotherapists do with clients, it is vitally important that a counselling professional is fully self-aware. Being able to self-reflect enables a counsellor to identify and develop personal awareness, and to remain emotionally detached from the relationship he/she is developing with a client.

Relating to Others

Counsellors will naturally draw their own conclusions about self-awareness. Their work with clients may present many personal challenges, but also an on-going opportunity to assess personal strengths, feelings, thoughts and limitations, as they relate to other people. Understandably a counsellor may also experience a sense of personal familiarity, whilst counselling clients, but must remain emotionally detached at all times.

Relating to clients, in a positive, open manner, encourages the client to disclose in a comfortable, confidential environment and provides the counsellor with the ideal setting in which to communicate in a supportive way. Using their own life experiences, a counsellor can demonstrate empathy, compassion and understanding without becoming personally involved in the counselling process.

Becoming More Self-Aware

Self-awareness is something that grows over a period of time and with exploration. Techniques, to access information about oneself, can be learned, and personal experiences can affect personal thoughts and feelings. A counsellor will experience all of these issues and concerns, and must use the knowledge gained to help their clients overcome their own personal issues.

Throughout a counsellor’s training he/she will be exposed to a series of opportunities that will allow them to question their own beliefs, awareness and values, and how these impact on their personal lives, work and others. It is this self-awareness and self-knowledge that forms the foundation of their counselling career.

A person’s growth and understanding can only be assessed through self-awareness, and it is no different for those working in a therapeutic profession. Being continually open to personal, and career, development will help a counsellor fully understand their values and self.

Dealing With Intimacy

Counselling is a very personal, private and confidential process for each individual client. It is also a challenging experience for the counsellor who is supporting the client through the counselling process. Dealing with intimate information, on any level, will make a person feel exposed and a counsellor will experience this also. Maintaining a professional attitude throughout the counselling process will enable the counsellor or psychotherapist to assist the client, to the best of their ability. However, at the end of the counselling relationship a counsellor must be able to close the door on the relationship.

A good counsellor will not also not allow their own beliefs, attitudes and values to compromise the client-counsellor relationship in any way.

Changing Attitudes

Through supervised counselling sessions and consultations with experienced professionals, a counsellor will be able to explore their own self-awareness and personal development. Difficulties in counsellor-client attitudes can also be expressed. This should be an on-going process throughout a counsellor or psychotherapist’s career, and can provide the therapist with clarity, focus, further understanding and personal growth. Without a positive outlet to explore these ideas a counsellor will lack the opportunity to Develop Their Skills.

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I'm concerned at the wording of this article - it's vital practitioners do not "emotionally detach" from our clients. Counselling is a relational activity, involves both ourself and the client's experience - we use our self-awareness of emotional responses to better empathise with and connect with our clients. Our emotional responses are incredibly valuable to help give us insight into the relationship, we need to connect with our clients on an emotional level. We don't block out our emotions; we need to work out where ours start, and the client's ends. As opposed to "emotionally detach", I wonder if the author means to say, "ensure we put the client first" (by recognising our own emotions, whilst also staying the client's experience) or not become too "attached" in the sense we collude, or blur professional boundaries?
LC - 23-Nov-23 @ 10:24 AM
M a student how do I learn to answers allocated to me How do I build my self awarness
Joe - 16-Aug-20 @ 11:00 AM
I am a student, kindly guide me about the factors which impact selfawareness of a psychotherapist....
Saan - 8-May-20 @ 2:27 PM
Pleasemy question is what are the counselingskills that makes individuals identify themselves.
Steve - 11-May-19 @ 6:03 PM
im studying at the moment and have one question to ask people please the question is this how can personal and professional support be used to highlight issues arising from the use of counselling skills ? regards john
eddie - 14-Nov-17 @ 12:24 PM
The section of Counselling and Self Awareness is really a commendable topic. Really educative, especially to me. I am a diploma student in Psychological counselling and this is helpful. God bless.
Alicia - 22-Apr-16 @ 12:43 PM
I have been in a relationship with an emotionally abusing man. He is currently cheating his way through a counselling course and preys on vulnerable people. He also has a criminal record for being in possession of and cultivating drugs and an assault charge against a woman! Are there any rules that mean with these charges he cannot become a registered counsellor. I have spoken to his tutor who knows he did not write his own essays but is willing to give him another chance. Then he acquired another drugs charge?
Niffer - 28-Nov-15 @ 5:19 PM
My question is.what would you say the counsellor could learn by paying attention to his/her negative feelings during the counselling process?
Tazman - 5-Oct-15 @ 3:14 PM
@alle - Counsellors are really supposed to be objective and extricate themselves from their own beliefs aren't they?
Jess - 4-Mar-15 @ 1:46 PM
how can the beliefs of a counsellor affect his or her counselling sessions?
alle - 2-Mar-15 @ 12:54 PM
my question is can a counsellor mar or make guidiance and counselling service.
oye - 16-Jul-14 @ 4:21 PM
My parents think that Bcos I am fifteen,i'm pretty much grown, ready to be on my own or should marry and spare them the problem of training me in the University
mercy - 19-Jun-14 @ 5:12 AM
Uncle J - 18-May-13 @ 10:27 AM
Am developing Girls and Boys Clubs in the rural Schools of kenya. I work for Choice Humanitarian Kenya as the Education Project Officer in Kinango District of Kwale County of Kenya. I wish to be associated with you to help curb the teenage challenges and help them improve their performance in Schools.
Uncle J - 18-May-13 @ 10:24 AM
Help with some tips in dealing with students in classrooms who are at risk but misbehaves at all times.
Apple - 7-Mar-12 @ 3:48 AM
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