The decision to take this course was rooted in a deepening interest in psychotherapy, self–development, the welfare of other people and in a desire to gain a theoretical base to enrich my current arts and health practice. I understand counselling to be a helping practice that differs from other helping activities, such as teaching for example. Counselling requires professional training and is specifically contracted or explicitly agreed. It has a theoretical base and uses specific methods within an ethical framework. The relationship between the counsellor and the client is built upon mutual expectation and is central to the process of the client under-going significant change in their lives.
Counselling is not giving advice, instruction, information or guidance, such as in the case of teaching. It is not problem solving on the clients behalf nor is it sympathising with the client. There are neither implicit agreements nor reciprocal arrangements. Counselling does not involve making personal judgments or giving opinions, which maybe appropriate in a teaching situation. The counsellor does not impose conditions upon the client or infringe upon agreed boundaries. This differs enormously from teaching, where strict codes of conduct and boundaries are implemented. Disciplinary action is likely to be faced if the ‘rules’ are broken in a teaching situation. In counselling the boundaries are likely to be mutually agreed for the safe working practice of both the counsellor and client, rather than to instill or teach discipline.
The counsellor must also remain impartial and must not have conflicts of interest. Whilst this may not be so for teachers, teachers and counsellors do share other qualities, such as being attentive, present, available, understanding, supportive, and respectful. Counsellors however seek to empowerment their clients through employing specific skills in active listening and considered responding.
Counselling is self-directed (by the client) and therefore does not require expert knowledge of issues and subjects, where as teaching is expert led and requires specialist knowledge in particular fields/subjects. Counselling ultimately values individuality, diversity and uniqueness – both of the person and their experience. The focus in teaching on the other hand is largely upon the progression and development of the group or class rather than the individual within the group. “People become engaged in counselling when a person, occupying regularly or temporarily the role of the counsellor, offers or agrees explicitly to offer time, attention and respect to another person or persons temporarily in the role of the client. The task of counselling is to give the client an opportunity to explore, discover and clarify ways of living more resourcefully and towards greater well-being”. Counselling: Definition of Terms in Use with Expansion and Rationale. British Association for Counselling, (1991). In: Sanders, Pete. (Third Edition, 2003, p.3) First Steps in Counselling (Ross-on-Wye: PCCS Books). Through the course I have gained a basic understanding of three different types of counselling. These are Psychodynamic, Cognitive Behavioural and Person Centred Therapy.
The development of the Person-Centred approach is credited to Carl Rogers. This approach rejects the medical, psychoanalytic model in favour of an egalitarian relationship between the counsellor and client. The quality of this relationship in the immediate term, or the ‘here and now’, is fundamental to significant positive change. The Person Centred approach is non-directive. It relies on the client’s innate intelligence to self express and to engage in a process of change, as they experience therapeutic growth. This process of fulfilling personal human potential is known as self-actualisation. Three core values have emerged from Rogers’ original six value model that are the prerequisite for this...