Counseling is a process where a person tries to assist another person to be able to handle his or her problems. A counselor is not just there to give advice; it is also based on mutual trust and understanding. Counseling is an opportunity for us to help people to mentally adjust to different situations. A good counselor should display sincerity, good listening skills and be able to assist people in gaining a better understanding of themselves and their problems. A good counselor above all should be really interested in the person and their problems. Insincerity is very easy for most people to detect and makes the counseling sessions less effective. A good and sincere counselor makes time for their client and makes and books sessions so both parties have time to speak and listen. A good counselor will listen attentively to what is being said and to work out, by looking at body language and gesture, what the client is really saying. Most of us are good at talking but need to make a big effort mentally to actively listen. Listening is a big fundamental character trait for any good counselor. There are a couple of different methods of counseling, ‘Direct Approach’ and ‘Indirect Approach’ although I have found a combination of both is often appropriate.
When the counselor takes on the responsibility for problem identification and resolutions he or she would be using the direct approach (I talk, you listen). Traditionally people faced with problems and personal crisis turned for help from those they thought to be more experienced and wise (for example a vicar, priest or rabbi). This direct approach to counseling may also be called the problem solving approach. Counselors may collect bits of information, which is aimed to determine the problem caused, this may happen to some degree before the counseling sessions start. During the session the counselor discusses the problem with the client, giving recommendation or suggestions sparingly. We must not force or squeeze out clients input even though the directive approach is being used.
‘Non-Directive Approach’, a non-directive method. This is when the counselors participation is very small and the techniques of reflection and acceptance are used to encourage the client to freely express him or herself, the counselor pays more attention to the attitude and emotions which are associated with the problem. Additionally, the client is encouraged where possible to choose the goals. Making the client take some degree of decision making and responsibility.
This method is a little limited. It depends on the ability and the level of intelligence of the client. This method is also limited by the desire of the client. That is, regarding whether or not he or she wishes to change their current situation for an improved and more secure future. Despite some of the floors, the ‘Non-Directive’ method of counseling, in my view, is almost certainly the most appropriate and effective method to use. More often than not, this has evidently been the more successful approach as opposed to that of the ‘Directive Approach’.
To be a good counselor you need to be non- judgmental, you need to be able to accept the client for what they are and who they are. We also need to accept the client for what level they are at emotionally at all stages throughout the clients counseling life with us. Also as good counselors we need to now how to be patient, sometimes our own goals for the client can take a little bit longer than anticipated. We need to always be prepared for the unexpected. When counseling a client we can have a few situations of three steps forward and two steps back syndrome, which can be very disheartening as a counselor especially when you have seen your client make huge progress, we must never let that kill our self confidence as counselors. Good listening and communication is the key basic of any...