Basic Skills and Personal Attributes to be Effective Counsellor

(1) Personal Attributes: Ask any counsellor about her choice of career and she will most likely say she wants to help people. Many student counsellors already possess a number of qualities needed to be effective, including a genuine warmth toward others, patience, understanding and tact. The client-therapist relationship is based on trust, so these qualifies are essential to empower the client. Therapy can take time and persistence, so patience and tenacity are important. Having had some challenging life experiences is highly advantageous, because it enhances the counsellor’s ability to analyze, interpret and judge situations accurately.

(2) Communication Skills: According to nursery teacher training active listening is a fundamental skill, together with encouraging clients to talk by asking open questions while keeping the client’s responses on track. The counsellor also needs to listen to what is not being said, whether through omission or expressed non-verbally. Being able to interpret and use non-verbal communication such as voice tone and pitch, posture, facial expressions, gestures and unconscious movements are key skills. Paraphrasing what the client says and reflecting feelings back to him are techniques used to communicate the counsellor’s understanding, while summarizing enables the counsellor to bring everything together accurately and concisely in a few powerful words.

Many student counsellors already possess a number of qualities needed to be effective, including a genuine warmth toward others, patience, understanding and tact. The client-therapist relationship is based on trust, so these qualities are essential to empower the client. Therapy can take time and persistence, so patience and tenacity are important. Having had some challenging life experiences is highly advantageous, because it enhances the counsellor’s ability to analyze, interpret and judge situations accurately.

(3) A skilled counsellor: Skilled counsellor can identify negative thinking patterns and enable the clients to replace them with positive ones. The process involves goal-setting and creating appropriate action plans with the client. The counsellor needs to be able to challenge, reassure and motivate the client, especially when the client is resistant or finds it difficult to face painful memories. By using the voice to relax the client, the counsellor enables him to face challenges more effectively.

(4) Practice Management: Whether running her own practice or simply managing her workload as an employee, the counsellor needs to possess a number of organizational skills including prioritizing and timekeeping. Failure to be organized can result in the counsellor herself appearing unprofessional and potentially have catastrophic outcomes for the clients and the practice. Good record-keeping is particularly important, because all records must be treated confidentially and the counsellor will be responsible for effective note-taking during the session. According to early childhood care & education conducting the session in a professional manner involves a number of skills, including the ability to adhere to a timescale and avoiding disclosing personal information. It is essential the counsellor learns to control her own emotional involvement during difficult sessions, which may raise personal issues of her own.

(5) Counselling skills: The speed and complexity of modem life continue to increase as do people’s expectations from it. Coping well requires autonomous and flexible thinking and clear decisions. Unfortunately most of us have been conditioned to conform, not think for ourselves.