Effective counselling relies upon a clear and workable therapeutic relationship. The client needs to feel safe and unconditionally accepted, they are making themselves vulnerable and require understanding and undivided attention. The counsellor themselves requires boundaries within their role and ethical guidelines to follow, these can help to prevent transference and allow for a professional relationship without emotional complications. The strength and nature of this client-counsellor relationship impacts greatly on the efficacy of the therapy offered. There are key skills every counsellor needs in order to build good relationships and offer safe practice, this essay will look at a range of these skills and their impact in the therapeutic setting.
A vital skill every counsellor needs is the ability to listen actively, many of the additional skills follow on from this and require that a counsellor is able to concentrate and take in all the information a client is offering. Active listening requires the counsellor to listen to and understand what the client is saying and to do so without pre-judgement or imposing their own ideas. The counsellor should be taking in not only the words but the way in which they are said, the emotions displayed verbally or physically and the context of what is being expressed. This is important to allow the counsellor to explore the client 's situation further and also to build the relationship between them, effective listening demonstrates to the client that the counsellor is present with them and interested in what they have to say. This builds trust and allows for more effective communication and counselling because a client who feels listened to and understood is more likely to disclose their deeper feelings and concerns.
By listening in this way a counsellor is able to draw in information from the client and
References: McLeod,J. (2008) Introduction to Counselling [Ed. D.Langdridge], Milton Keynes, Open University Press. The Open University (2008) D171 Developing Counselling Skills DVD, Milton Keynes, The Open University. The Open University (2008) D171 Introduction to Counselling Course Guide [Ed. D.Langdridge], Milton Keynes, The Open University.