Importance of Counselor Qualities to the Success of the Counseling Relationship
Most people at some point find themselves taking up the role of a counselor without the necessary knowledge regarding the true nature of counseling or what a professional counselor is supposed to carry out her roles. There is a big difference between a person who practices counseling skills in various instances such as while a person is assisting a friend to overcome some disappointment and a professionally trained counselor. The major differences lie in the ability to use various approaches to help a person deal with a situation. In order to understand the qualities of a counselor and the way such qualities are important in the success or otherwise of counseling relationships it is important to first understand the role of a counselor and the concept of counseling.
Counseling is basically a process whereby a counselor and a client set aside time in a bid to explore certain challenges that include from emotional and stressful feelings. It can also be defined to mean an act of assisting a client to understand things more clearly probably from different perspectives thus enabling a client to focus on experiences, behavior, and feelings with the ultimate aim of encouraging a positive transformation.
Counseling is usually a relationship that is based on trust. As such, confidentiality is without doubt a vital aspect to achieving success during the entire process. Usually, professional counselors describe their policies regarding confidentiality but they are often required to disclose certain information regarding some clients in cases where the counselors are certain that there is a threat to life. As such, contrary to popular belief, counseling is does not entail giving advice, efforts to remedy the problems of a client, judging, encouraging a client to behave in a certain way, being emotionally attached to the client, or looking at the problems of a client in the perspective of a counselor's personal value systems but rather entails encouraging clients to trace back their past experiences and learn how such experiences affect their current situations. As such, a successful counseling must be able to reduce confusion eventually enabling clients to make positive changes in their lives specifically concerning behaviors and attitude.
Consequently, the role of counselors is essentially to help clients explore different aspects of their lives and their mental state by discussing issues freely and openly. It is important to note that most people find it difficult to expose their feelings to family members or friends because such people are highly likely to become emotionally attached unlike professional counselors who do not become emotionally attached during the counseling sessions. Consequently, professional counselors do not judge nor do they offer advice. Counselors therefore provide clients with a confidential platform to express their anger, guilt, fear, resentment and connected feelings.
With regard to being friendly and understanding, this trait is very important in gaining the confidence of a client as the client become more relaxed and is able to trust. Once clients are at ease, they are able to share their experiences without holding back some formation. Being understanding helps the counselors to maintain their objectivity and to avoid judging clients. The aspect of understanding therefore provides a quality basis of counseling relationships. In order to make the counseling foundation more formidable, counselors must also endeavor to display their own personalities. This is important as the attitude of counselors is vital in creating a friendly attitude, atmosphere, and ensuring that the counseling relationship develops.
Friendliness is usually depicted through the body language. Body language may entail many things including the body posture, personal pace, and maintaining the eye contact. The manner in which a counselor speaks such as the speed, delivery, and the tone of voice must be consistent with the body language in order to reassure the client. However, friendliness towards a client is usually handled with utmost care as clients who exhibit signs of nervousness and suspicion usually feel threatened by what may seem to be sympathetic behavior.
Positive regard towards clients
Having positive regard refers to respecting and valuing clients. By demonstrating positive acceptance aspects, clients are usually encouraged to interact and divulge as much as possible. Here, it should be borne in mind that the more the clients disclose regarding their challenges the more they are likely to come up with the best solutions to those challenges. When the counselors display absolute positive regard it leads to the cultivation of an opportunity to explore transformation and provides the clients with a sense of acceptance and honest caring (Hoglend 257).
Although some situations may prove difficult for the counselors not to judge, they still restrain themselves by recognizing the fact that counseling relationships are built on the basis of trust. Further, accepting clients is clear indication to the clients that the counselors value them and that the counselors will be there to support them during the course of the counseling process notwithstanding the weakness or other negative qualities that may be encountered during the process.
Ability to alter the thinking pattern
Sometimes when the counseling process is ongoing, it is important to steer it in the direction that is most effective for realizing the objectives. Counselors understand that people are different and that different people understand different things differently. As such, each client understands certain things depending on their past personal experiences. Consequently, counselors usually ensure that they do not attempt to fit clients into the ideas of the counselor with regard to the manner the clients should or should not behave. This aspect is into the core of the role of counselors which is that of helping the clients to explore their problems with the view of letting the client discover the approach that is appropriate towards ending their problems and challenges.
The nature of counseling is such that communication is of utmost importance. For a counselor, being in able to communicate and communicate effectively ensures that the sharing of information between the client and the counselor is smooth and that they both understand one another for there to be a successful process. As such, developing communication skills from time to time with regard to the counselors is an important element since it enables the counselor to use a rage of approaches and skills to transmit information to clients I the manner that the clients understand. The ability to communicate precisely and in a clear manner and as intended is usually a vital skill of life and something that counselors do not and should not overlook considering that their profession is premised on communication. The fact that even in other professions which are not necessarily based on communication employers prefer to employ or promote people who are able to speak properly with different people while retaining good eye contact, those people that are able to listen effectively, present their ideas properly, and write concisely and clearly is telling on the importance of possessing good communication skills more so in the counseling ventures.
Interpersonal communication skills are important in the practice of a counselor because they are essential in developing and enhancing other skills such as problem solving skills and decision making skills. With regard to making decisions, the counseling process may from time to time require listing all possible options and solutions, informing, using the right words to communicate a verdict, and ultimately making decision on how to approach the counseling process. All these stages require a person to have quality communication skills. Consequently, when problems arise before, during, or after the counseling process, counselors are required to solve them and communication skills enhances brainstorming and finding solutions quicker and without difficulty.
The foregoing shows that effective counseling is dependent on both the counselors and clients. Each of the parties has to play their part in order to ensure that in the end the counseling processes achieves what it was initially meant to achieve. It is therefore a cooperative effort that requires a high level of commitment (Bachelor 175). People can determine whether the work of a counselor is successful or not if they are able to gain understanding regarding the courses of their thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors. When the clients feel that they have successfully made changes, learned new manners, learnt new things about themselves, learnt coping skills, and exhibits fewer symptoms as previously, then the objectives of the counseling process have been achieved. For the counselors, carrying out a review of the whole process is important in maintaining and improving the success of the process and ensuring that the clients make progress. At the end of every successful process clients feel well equipped to deal with life transformations and challenges by devising a much flexible attitude with regard to how to handle various life challenges. Often tasks that involve engagements are taken for granted. The process of connecting and creating understanding is the most important as it encompasses all the stages of counseling processes. The importance of the foregoing factors cannot be gainsaid and it is therefore of utmost importance to build a formidable connection between counselors and clients using the factors which ultimately lead to successful counseling.
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