There is a growing demand for training in counselling and psychotherapy. Development options at all levels from basic to advanced and an increasing number of individuals from all works of life are asking question such as, “What qualities are required to be a good Counsellor?”; “What is expected of someone who is seeking to work as a Counsellor?”, “What training is available before one can practice as a qualified Counsellor?”
Registered Counsellor Qualities
To be effective one must enjoy dealing directly with the public while being very discreet in handling their sensitive and personal information. It is a basic need to have positive communication skills and having an ability to relate and listen, not just hear what a client is saying. In a conversation where there is a need to understand a client, active listening is a skill that you must develop, you should also be almost journalistic in the way that you ask insightful relevant questions to encourage a client to have enough confidence in you that they are ready to open up and talk freely in your presence. There is a need to keep concise and correct client reports to enable a path to the ultimate goal to be tracked and achieved.
A Counsellor is never judgmental building relationships by having respect, patience, empathy and a desire to help a client.
A Counsellor should be agreeable and act appropriately to provide the client with a comfortable foundation for the counselÂling relationship. Only by creating a friendly therapeutic atmosphere can the Counsellor encourage interaction and disclosure. One should always use appropriate body language such as a non-threatening posture, while maintaining eye contact and respecting the client’s personal space.
A Counselling academic diploma qualification is not just down to training programmes and degree courses, for the Counsellor must always be armed with enough personal knowledge and understanding of what psychodynamic counselling or therapy is all about. A client must find a therapist who is in control of their own feelings and thoughts in dealing with the range of problems they are consulted on day-by-day. This self-awareness is enhanced by self-counselling; a good work/life balance; good focus on career and personal goals and self-discipline.
What personal counselling therapy is not, is directing and leading the ideas of clients, moralising or preaching to a client, being patronising toward clients, approaching client sessions with a closed mind.
Many of these learning skills are already within the person considering a counselling career and good training and development will only serve to specialise, enhance and sharpen the skills necessary to aid the development of a good career in counselling.
Each training programme will have its own method according to its philosophical and theoretical base, however the EAC lay down some guidance for the establishment of a counsellor-training programme. Before embarking on a counsellor training programme it is suggested that these guidelines be used to compare with the content of the course you are considering.
As a specialist Counsellor training programme it should last between three and six years ensuring that the trainee gains a full insight of a core theoretical model of mental health problems and counselling. EAC recommend that a course will include the theories of personality; the theories of change or client movement, the development of humans, while understand ethics and professional practice.
In studying counselling theory the course should also enable the student to set up a counselling relationship, show how they should be able to work within a clear theoretical frame and heighten their awareness of interpersonal dynamics.
The student should learn to understand and work with verbal and non-verbal communication, whilst facilitating the clientâs understanding and self-awareness of the issue presented. They should be encouraged to be working on their ongoing professional development by review and evaluation and become aware of and address personal and professional limitations and issues (CPD).
The staff counselling service must make sure that students training to be counsellors pursue their supervised practice in an appropriate environment of support. This will normally be encouraging them to attend formalised and contracted counselling arrangement that offers the student emotional support & advice. Training programmes must make sure that providers of counselling supervision are experienced practitioners in the field.
Usually clear contracts need to be established about Supervision workshop arrangements; a study of ethics and professional practice must be followed, the student should understand why there is a need for administrative arrangements in counselling as well as financial arrangements, they should be given liaison and referrals to other professionals and services.
The counselling process can be influenced by personal issues that arise in the work and a programme of personal development (CPD) hours should be part of every counsellor’s armoury. Personal development facilitates growth in intellectual understanding and knowledge, brings emotional maturity and acceptance of others. The programme should also help develop a global perspective of self to the world and give the opportunity of experiencing being the client within a formalised professional counselling relationship.
Students respond better when they feel empowered and are given the tools to express and explain their problems which makes professional supervision a vital aspect of counselling service. Every counsellor whether trainee or experienced, paid or voluntary should work with regular supervision as their counselling skills and needs alter over time. Supervision is not just an element of a basic training course in the field of counselling.
Counselling is not regulated in many countries and it is a goal of the European Association for Counselling to work with its many partners to standardise a minimum level of qualification across Europe to make sure that counsellors have the necessary skills to professionally practice and ultimately to qualify for the European Certificate of Counsellor Accreditation as an accredited member of their National Organisation and the EAC and as such have their business details entered into the Accredited Member’s Directory.
You can get a FREE copy of the EAC Professional Training, Accreditation and Ethical Charter by completing your name and primary email address in the registration box at the bottom of this page.
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