People who experience troubles can receive help for their problems in both formal and informal ways. An informal helping relationship can be as simple as a chat with a friend while offering advice and support. The counselling approach differs considerably form formal counselling which this essay will discuss.
An informal helping relationship may involve counselling skills such as displaying good eye contact and body language, listening, summarising and paraphrasing but this does not in any way mean they are a trained counsellor. Formal counselling will involve the counsellor, who is formally trained, and the client where the sole purpose of the meeting is counselling. The counsellor and client should meet in a private place and the meetings should be scheduled. There should be a contract in place and a strict understanding of privacy and guaranteed confidentiality although there are limits to this.
Formal and informal helping relationships both require certain qualities and skills. The skills as mentioned before include good, open body language and eye contact, tone of voice is also important. During the triad exercise I was very aware of my body language and responses and initially did not relax. At times I was more focused on my own behaviour rather than the speaker. I have now experienced three triad sessions and feel my skills have improved and I do feel slightly more relaxed and confident. I am also finding it easier to pick up on feeling words and key phrases allowing me to develop my responding skills. Qualities are perhaps what we would expect from a helping relationship to enable us to feel listened to and are not as easy to learn as skills. The main qualities to focus on are empathy, which is the ability to identify with the person and enter into their thoughts and feelings. Genuineness is where we present ourselves in an open and relaxed way and acceptance which refers to being