At various stages of my life I have had counselling and have tried to use what I have observed to illustrate the three core conditions that are Empathy, Congruence and Unconditional Positive Regard which make up the key elements to understanding the Person-centered approach to counselling, along with other specific areas, which help to outline the primary skills needed.
Listening and Body Language
One of the most important qualities of a counsellor is the ability to listen, meaning that the counsellor must be fully present in the session. The counsellor needs to put aside his or hers own matters and thoughts to be fully present and available as it is impossible to help someone if you are not actively listening. It is important to be listening not only to what is being said but also sometimes to what is being avoided but maybe being felt. When you listen actively it can help make the client feel worthy, appreciated and respected. This could be the first time they have actually been listened to. It is so important that you listen with undivided attention. During a role-play at college I had to listen without speaking for a full ten minutes to the client. I found this exercise very useful and even surprised myself because I was so aware of concentrating on what the client was saying and was so interested in what was being said that I did not feel uncomfortable in not speaking. Even in the few short silences I felt at ease and could appreciate that this silence can be a part of the interaction between the counsellor and the client and I recognised how the silence may help the client to focus. It is vital not to jump in during these silences, as they can be helpful in allowing the client to think and reflect. The counsellor may be able to help them by inviting them to talk about what was going on for them, rather than starting a new topic. It is more helpful for the client to ask ‘what
Bibliography: Mearns .D & Thorne .B - Person-Centred Counselling in Action 2007 Rogers. C - On Becoming a Person 1988 Dryden. W – Handbook of Individual Therapy 1996 Mcleod. J – Introduction to Counselling 2009 Certificate in Humanistic Integrative Counselling Ayse Banbridge Monday Evening Class