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Counseling refers to a process that provides direction or advice regarding a decision or course of action. The process involves five crucial stages, which apply in succession. The stages are introduction, information gathering, discussion development, conclusion making, and offering a solution (Maddux, 2010). Counseling involves giving directions or advice on multiple disciplines in life.
It is important to know that a career in counseling does not suit everyone, as there are certain technical and personal skills essential for success in this area of expertise. Successful therapy requires specific individual traits, methodological skills, life experiences, and unremitting specialized development (Maddux, 2010). Counseling is a vocation, which attracts individuals who are highly passionate about helping people.
Essential Counseling Skills
A passionate counselor needs to be patient, tactical, welcoming, trustworthy, and understanding. Another important counseling skill is effective communication (McLeod & McLeod, 2011). An effective counselor ought to communicate well through active listening, maintaining eye contact, observing and responding to body language, as well as asking open-ended questions that allow for responses.
Effective counselors also paraphrase what their clients say, take notes, and make summaries as a way of connecting and understanding them. Other skills essential for a successful counseling career include proper time management, organization, prioritization, confidentiality, good record keeping, emotional intelligence, accessibility, and adherence to pattern sessions (McLeod & McLeod, 2011).
Counseling Skills Scale
The counseling skills scale applies different criteria in assessing how well a counselor applies both individual and technical skills to deal with a client (McLeod & McLeod, 2011). Based on the criteria applied in the model, there are certain skills that come easily, while others are challenging to execute.
As earlier mentioned, counseling is a vocational process that requires a lot of passion and application of certain skills by a counselor, in order to achieve success (Maddux, 2010). In my case, there are four skills that I will have ease in applying. First, I will be quite emphatic with a client. This is because of the human nature to show sensitivity and comprehension towards the state of others.
This comes naturally even for people who are not counselors. The second skill will be listening. This is because listening plays a crucial role in effective communication with a client. I am an active listener, thus I will not struggle to connect with clients.
The third skill is compassion towards clients. All people have a humane quality of understanding the suffering of others, and want to do something about it (McLeod & McLeod, 2011). Therefore, I will not have a hard task showing compassion to my patients.
The final skill is offering solutions to clients. My professional training on critical analysis of patients’ situations will make it easy for me to offer solutions (Maddux, 2010). Effective communication skills will also boost my capacity to offer solutions.
However, I feel it will be a challenge for me to master certain skills. The first skill will be controlling the whole process that comprises various steps. This is because I am poor at developing schedules and organizing information. To achieve success in a counseling process, it is important to develop effective schedules for clients to follow, as well as record and organize information in a professional manner.
The second skill entails understanding clients. I may be a good listener, but not an all rounded communicator. To understand clients, I ought to have essential skills such as ability to read and interpret body language (McLeod & McLeod, 2011). I have little knowledge about body language. Therefore, I foresee struggle to master the skill and eventually be in position to help a client.
McLeod, J., & McLeod, J. (2011). Counseling Skills: A Practical Guide for Counselors & Helping Professionals. New Jersey: McGraw Hill International.
Maddux, C. (2010). Basic and Advanced Counseling Skills: Skilled Counselor Training Model. New York: Cengage Learning.