Ever wonder what makes for a competent career-ready Counsellor? Is it what the Counsellor knows? What qualification they have studied? Where they have studied? What supervised practice the Counsellor has had? Each one of these factors is part of what makes for an effective Counsellor. But in addition to the theoretical and practical knowledge taught, here are ten important attributes of a counsellor, which Ikon trainers instill into their student’s so they can become career-ready graduates.
Ten Important Attributes of a Counsellor
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. As a Counsellor, you need to be able to put yourself in the shoes of your client and understand the situation from their point of view. Even if you don’t agree with their perspective, you still need the ability to understand how it feels to them in order to address their issue effectively.
Confidentiality is of upmost importance when you are a Counsellor. You must be able to maintain confidentiality so the client can trust you and so that an effective rapport can be built with your client.
As a Counsellor you need to have patience with your clients as they process the discussion. It may take them time to accept certain things and to move towards positive changes. It may also take time for you to see large changes.
It is very important that your clients sense you truly care about them. You may not be able to relate to every issue that is shared with you, but you need to be able to have compassion for how it feels to be in their shoes.
The ability to encourage and instil hope in the client, is important attribute of a Counsellor.
- Self Awareness
A Counsellor who is aware of their own feelings and does not react defensively to what a client shares, will be more effective in the therapeutic relationship.
- Open Mindedness
Counsellors hear all kinds of private information and encounter all types of people. It is important that the client understands that you are not personally judging them but working on improving the outcomes of their behaviours.
The competent Counsellor understands the need to remain flexible in their approach often using a variety of conversational responses depending on the needs of the client. Sometimes we ask questions. Other times we are silent.
- Good Listener
Counsellors spend a significant amount of time listening to their clients. You will need to be intuitive in discerning what the client is really saying and “read between the lines” to translate their dialogue into goals that the client can work towards, in order to reach resolution.
- Ability to care for self.
Finally, the competent Counsellor recognises personal limits, boundaries and actively seeks to sustain a life of personal care.
With these ten important attributes of a counsellor, a good counsellor will be able to offer empathetic support and understanding, in a caring, comforting manner.
At Ikon Institute of Australia, we are determined to propel individuals towards life-altering futures. We do this by fostering curiosity and self-development through meaningful learning experiences with our courses in Counselling, Arts Therapy and Early Childhood Education.
A rewarding career awaits you, and we'd love to help you along the path.
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