Counseling covers a wide range of techniques and approaches, each needing its own skill set. There are some basic skills in addition to any life experiences, if any, and personal attributes needed to be good at any specialty in this field. Also very important is that the counselor continues in the learning process throughout their career, developing professionally will help the counselor to never stop learning.
If you were to ask the writer about her choice in career she would most likely say she wants to help people. A lot of student counselors already posses a number of the things already needed to be a good counselor, a real warmth towards others, patience, understanding. The relationship of helper-client is based on trust, so these qualities are very important to give the client empowerment. Therapy can take some time, so this is why patience is important. Having had some life challenging experiences gives the helper a very good advantage; it enhances the helper’s ability to analyze, interpret and judge situations, as well as have a real feeling of what the client is going through. The helper actually understands and actually really has been there.
Active listening is a very good skill, together with encouraging the clients to talk by asking open ended questions while keeping the clients responses on track. The helper need to be able to listen also to what is not being said, whether through omission or through their body language. Being able to read body language such as voice tone, pitch, facial expressions and gestures are important skills.
Sometimes the need comes up to paraphrase, or repeat in a different way what the helper thinks the client just said to make sure that there are on the same page. This technique is considered most helpful in getting rid of or reducing the importance of extraneous material that could affect the helper’s judgment of the situation....
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