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What Skills Do I Need To Become A Counselor?

4 Answers

Neal Widdows Profile
Neal Widdows answered
Counselors require a wide range of skills in order to perform their role to their maximum capability. Most importantly they have to assist their clients to improve their quality of life; therefore, helping people is high on the list and as well as being a sympathetic ear for your clients' problems and suffering.
You will need first and foremost to qualify as a counselor and this can be achieved by gaining a master’s degree in psychology.
In order to be an excellent counselor you will need to have a great deal of listening skills. Inactive listening is not only frustrating but quite depressing for the client who has taken refuge in your ability to listen to their problems. This leads to the possibility that your client will not simply open up and expose their feelings to you in order to understand their background and problems.
You need to be disciplined and not stray from your subject so ensure plenty of eye contact, nodding and an occasional reassuring comment. This will benefit the flow of conversation and to reinforce the perception that you have an ability to comfort the person you are dealing with.
This will enable the person you are dealing with to be more relaxed and open to engagement. By taking an interest in your subject, this will further reassure your client and thus building up a feeling of trust and respect between you and the subject. Confidentiality is also a prerequisite of being a counselor but making sure your client has faith in you to keep things secret is also just as important. The key objective here is that you should always treat your client's privacy as if it were your own.
charmaine saunders Profile
As I have been a professional counsellor for 23 years, I can help you with your query.
Firstly, the qualities I believe are important -
compassion with detachment
empathy
humour
excellent listening skills
good communicator in general
good mediation skills
impartiality
intelligence and quick-thinking
The best way to make it clear for you is to explain how I employ these qualities to help me be an effective counsellor. First of all, I am a much better counsellor now than I was when I first began. It's not just the obvious reason of experience and practice. It's more that I've come to realise counselling is a process that involves two people and it's not up to me to control or direct the sessions. I am a `tour guide' walking alongside the client, offering solutions and strategies but never telling him/her what to do. I also take a more spiritual approach now, allowing for the intangible in the relationship between therapist and client, and the role of trust as well.
I am naturally a good writer and speaker, having been an actor and teacher before I began counselling so I use these skills to advantage, for example, I use humour to put my clients at ease, especially when they first come in.
It's a very demanding but rewarding profession. It's different to being a psychologist. I find counselling more practical where I can see actual change in my clients. If you decide it's for you, check out all the various courses available, not just at University.
thanked the writer.
Anonymous
Anonymous commented
How many years of school did you have to do and what kinda of counselor are you? Also what courses did you take ?
Mark Westbrook Profile
Mark Westbrook answered
A counselor needs a professional qualification in counselling, this is important as it teaches you techniques and routes to take your clients on which can help you to help them. Simply being a good listener is not enough.

Although having said that, being a good listener who can ask the right questions at the right moment is an important skill. Listening skills are quite difficult to acquire, most people don't actually listen, they hear, but they don't listen.

Another skill is really something of your personality, can you listen without prejudice, judgmental people would make very poor counselors, you must be prepared to hear people say terrible, vile things, but accept them and help them work through them.

Some counselors seem to listen and then help the person direct themselves, some give a range of solutions, but the asking of perceptive questions that ask the client to look at themselves, their lives and options seems a great skill to have.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Hmmmmm I'm taking a health and social care course, you will also need to be very convincing ok thanks bye D:

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