Core Conditions

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Name of Student: Fiona CruickshankStudent ID: 51125153 Course Name: Counselling Skills 1.Course Tutor: Anne Smith Counselling Skills Essay 1.Date Due: 17 Nov 2011
Counselling is a form of communication whereby one individual, from now on referred to as the listener, forms a helping relationship with one or a group of individuals. (Hough 2010) A counselling type relationship is used in a multitude of everyday home and work settings. These individuals may not call themselves counsellors or indeed have any formal counselling skills training. It is this training that sets apart therapeutic counselling from other forms of helping communication. Sanders, (2007, p15) defines counselling skills as “interpersonal communication skills derived from the study of therapeutic change in human beings”. Crucially the counsellor is bound by a framework of ethics and professional responsibilities derived from their employment setting or by their professional body e.g. Doctors and The British Medical Association (BMA). In order to use effective counselling skills it is necessary to recognise that many different theoretical models exist. Understanding of the theoretical knowledge behind these models assists the counsellor to employ effective counselling skills. Carl Rogers’ Humanistic approach believed in the innate ability of individuals to find their way through their problems given the correct environment to do so. In order to do this successfully however, Rogers professed that three core conditions: empathy, congruence and understanding must exist. In the absence of one of these, positive personality change will not happen. This essay will explore in greater depth these three fundamentals and I will show how they are necessary, and can be applied practically to achieve an effective helping relationship. For any therapeutic counselling relationship to succeed it must be established with the creation and maintenance of certain professional and ethical standards. Without these Rogers’ core conditions cannot be fulfilled. I recognise however that there is currently no statutory requirement in the UK to undergo a recognised counselling skills training course in order to provide therapeutic counselling.

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) is a charity working towards achieving such regulation for professionals and the public. It has laid down an Ethical Framework for Good Practise in Counselling and Psychotherapy (Sanders 2011). This is basically a structure with a set of rules under which BACP registered counsellors are required to practise. This gives clients and potential clients reassurance that practitioners are working while respecting the ethical principles and the personal moral qualities of both parties. (BACP, 2010). Under these rules a BACP qualified counsellor must protect the safety of their client by establishing a safe, confidential place for consultations to take place. A contract is recommended, and set up at the outset of the counselling process. This confirms that both individuals understand “the nature of the commitment between them.” (Hough, 2010, p296). Details in it include boundaries. These denote “the limits of acceptability in the therapeutic relationship” (Counselling Central, 2009). These apply to both parties and set the unbreakable confines with which the liaison will be maintained. They include the location of the meetings, time keeping, note taking and privacy issues. The client is reassured that their discussions will remain totally confidential ensuring their safety and security. It is only within this safe framework that a therapeutic helping relationship can successfully proceed in conjunction with Rogers’ three core conditions. Empathy is the first such condition required for a successful counselling relationship. But what is empathy? Empathy is not sympathy. Freshwater, (2010, p.20) confirms that sympathy is concerned with...
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