Honing a solid set of counseling skills is essential for professionals in education, customer service, social services, sales and marketing, and HR fields. You can practice your skills in the workplace and monitor how effectively you use them. You can use these ways to incorporate your abilities into daily practices in the workplace.
Professionals today are working with increasingly diverse populations that have diverse sets of needs. Honing a solid set of essential skills makes for an effective manager, coach, and team player. Counsellors help people develop skills and strategies to handle life’s challenges better. Counsellors play an important role in society and they possess the right skills to make a positive impact on their clients.
What are counselling skills?
Counselling skills include interpersonal and technical skills used by counselors to help their clients process personal issues and overcome the obstacles preventing them from living a happy life. Counselling is a form of talk therapy or treatment. During this process, a counselor listens to a client and helps them deal with challenges or emotions. A counsellor equipped with the right skills can help clients by providing them with the best opportunities for personal growth.
Why are counselling skills important?
Counselling skills can be useful in many situations. People with these skills may pursue counselling as a career path. Others may use their ability to give wise and sound counsel to improve their interpersonal relationships with friends, family members, and team members. There are many careers where these skills are useful. For example, teachers and human resource professionals use counselling skills in their daily work functions.
The Qualities of a Good Counsellor
A counsellor is primarily concerned with people’s practical problems and offers help and support. They will discuss and work through a person’s issues in order to assist them in identifying and implementing feasible solutions. For example, our Graduate Diploma in Child Psychology & Mental Wellness offers learners the opportunity to broaden their knowledge of the mental wellbeing issues affecting children and develop all-around crucial knowledge as well as sought-after skills surrounding the mental health of children. Counsellors earn their certification by completing a counseling course that teaches them a variety of critical skills for success as a counsellor.
What are the qualities of a good counsellor?
1. Active listening and non-verbal Communication Skills
Counsellors need excellent communication skills. Active listening is an essential aspect of communication and is critical during a counseling session. Active listening involves using eye contact, gestures and facial expressions to show a client that you’re engaged and focused on them. This helps a client feel validated when they share information with a counsellor.
A competent counselor has outstanding verbal communication abilities to effectively communicate with a variety of clients. In your customer connection, you play a crucial role. As a result, you must be able to firmly set boundaries, express ideas, and guide your clients. Your communication should reassure your clients that they can rely on you to listen and offer competent advice, rather than upset or stress them further.
In any of the helping professions, being non-judgmental and accepting is essential. Every client should be aware that you are prepared to meet them wherever they are. This term is frequently used in counselling to express the ability to relate to clients with an open mind, accepting them for who they are and where they are in life. You recognize that they have been through stress and trauma, and as a good counselor, you must first show acceptance to your clients before you can help them heal. A good counsellor should be open to new studies and ways of thinking that may question their own practices.
3. Empathy- Genuine Interest in Others
This one is not technically a skill—but it is an essential component of a counseling career. When you wake up in the morning, do you have the drive and energy to sit with people through their best and worst? Can you be fully present for your clients’ stories, however difficult or long? Will you still be ten years down the road?
Developing an empathetic connection with each client is key to moving forward in the therapeutic process and is at the core of an effective counsellor-client relationship.
A competent counselor should have a strong desire to help others, be compassionate, and be able to empathize with the pain and issues of their clients. You will be assisting people during some of their most difficult and stressful periods. As a result, you must be able to empathize with your clients and put them at ease. While establishing boundaries is necessary, show your clients that you care about their predicament. Demonstrate your commitment to coaching your clients through their troubles so that they can achieve a healthier outcome.
4. Self-Awareness and Reflection
An effective therapist knows that it’s just as important to look within themselves as it is to carefully observe others. The idea of “self as instrument” is central to a successful education and career in mental health. A counseling student is taught to feel well, think well, and act well. By feeling well, a therapist can relate well and empathize with clients. Thinking well means thinking critically, conceptualizing the client in theoretical terms, and demonstrating good academic skills. To act well means to conduct oneself in the service of the client.
Self-awareness is the ability to look inside yourself and recognize unmet psychological needs and wants. When dealing with common sources of trauma like abuse, childhood neglect, and bullying, the challenges your clients face may be issues you have personal experience with or have heard about from someone you know. As a professional counsellor, you must have the self-awareness required to understand how these stories may affect you and how to separate your personal experiences from the care you provide to your clients. The effectiveness of a counsellor is heavily influenced by self-awareness. Furthermore, many counselors claim that their own personal experiences inspired them to pursue a career in the profession. As a result, understanding how to use these experiences to strengthen rather than hinder your own practice is critical.
Counsellors encounter individuals from many walks of life. Your clients will most likely come from a variety of cultural, ethnic, socioeconomic, religious, and political backgrounds. Gender expression and identification, as well as sexuality, will be brought to your attention. As a good counsellor, you must be multiculturally competent and have an intercultural worldview. Appreciating variety will enable you to be open and welcoming to each client so that you can provide them with the support they need.
How to improve your skills for counselling?
1. Roleplay counselling sessions with a friend, colleague, or course mate
You can practice your skills by asking a trusted friend to pretend to be your client. You can have a mock session and record yourself. Afterwards, you can ask your friend about their thoughts and what they liked and disliked about your counseling style, including the questions you asked and your body language. You can also review the footage to do a self-assessment of your skills to identify areas you can improve on in the future.
2. Register for an Accredited Counselling course
You can register for a counselling diploma and practice counselling in a safe and unbiased environment under the watchful eyes of your faculty. For example, the Graduate Diploma in Social Psychology and Counselling is a practical and stimulating programme designed for candidates with little or no knowledge of psychology and counselling. Interesting topics covered in the diploma include stress, addiction, marital troubles, employment issues, and divorce, which are all common reasons for which people seek professional help. This highly interactive programme would be able to
- Provide foundational learning and requires critical analysis and discussion of the concepts and ideas
- Designed for professionals so that they can have a deeper understanding of social psychology
- Enables individuals to acquire communication techniques
- Develop your ability to critically evaluate the strengths and limitations of the major approaches
3. Find an experienced mentor to supervise you
You can look for an experienced counseling mentor to help you improve your skills. You may consult them and find out the most effective counseling techniques to use during your sessions with clients. You can also learn about skills and techniques you can use with challenging clients.
To prepare for a career as a counselor, it’s essential to know the skills required for the profession so that you can take steps towards developing them. In this article, we define counselling skills, list five common types, show how to improve them and explain how to highlight them during a job search.
As a counselor, you have the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives by aiding them in navigating problems and providing them with the tools they need to move forward. When you seek to develop these critical characteristics as part of your training, you will discover that the efficacy of your practice and the bond you build with your clients skyrocket.
At Aventis Graduate School, we offer Counselling-related programs such as the Master of Arts in Integrative Counselling & Psychotherapy and a Graduate Diploma in Psychotherapy & Counselling. Don’t miss out – Prepare to take the next step in your career.