When providing counseling, it is essential for a therapist to possess the right skills. This means that the individual should be certified by the professional body in his or her country (Murphy & Dillon, 2011). Further, the person should have been exposed to situations that he is qualified to handle. It is assumed that certification arises out of supervised exposure to different clinical situations. If a clinician takes on a case that is beyond his or her area of expertise, then a more experienced professional should accompany him or her. During training and on the job, a counselor should know how to read nonverbal and verbal communication. This skill is almost obligatory in effective psychotherapy. Additionally, the person should know how to use a client’s context in understanding his or her case. Having strong emotional attentiveness is also necessary for therapy as one can select the right locations or the right approach to use on a patient.
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Strong attending and listening capabilities are also indispensable in counseling. This means that one should refrain from judging the client or his situation. No single individual operates in a value-free world, but the most effective counselors are the ones who can truly listen to a client without imposing their values on them (Murphy & Dillon, 2011). Great interviewers are able to accept the fact that a client has different views and will, therefore, assess situations using different standards. With regard to listening and attending, a clinician ought to be patient with a client even when the client lushes out against him or her or when progress is slow.
One should be sensitive to the ethical and multicultural aspects of a client. Sometimes the client’s race, social class or background has a strong effect on the outcome of the counseling process. Therefore, a good counselor should be aware of those differences and use them for the benefit of the client. However, effective psychotherapy also entails detaching stereotypes about certain groups from the reality of a client’s experiences. For instance, while African Americans tend to be more sensitive to nonverbal communication, not all of them will possess this trait. Some of them may request for plenty of verbal clarifications. Therefore, it is the counselor’s duty to detect these generalities as well as individual differences. When handling clients that come from a background that differs greatly from the counselor’s, it is necessary to use members of that community to learn about hidden cues and to make clients as comfortable as possible (Murphy & Dillon, 2011).
Ethical and diversity issues in counseling responsibly
Ethical issues in responsible counseling stem from ethical standards and principles governing the profession. A counselor ought to merge his or her personal values on ethical practice with industry practice especially when solving ethical dilemmas. Nonetheless, certain rules of thumb exist when carrying out responsible counseling. A session ought to be confidential and private. No information should be dispensed to parties outside the clinical setting. Further, the client and counselor should refrain from interacting in another professional capacity outside the client-counselor relationship. For instance, a counselor who does retail business with a client may not appear professional to the client in the clinical setting. Additionally, a counselor should not have a sexual relationship with previous clients (Murphy & Dillon, 2011). It is unethical to counsel individuals who are related to or who know the counselor because this may impose an additional burden on the client. Counselors ought to make sessions as comfortable as possible for the client without crossing certain boundaries. For instance, holding the client’s hand may sometimes be appropriate when this will strengthen clinical outcomes. Decisions should be based on the therapist’s discretion.
Diversity issues in counseling stem from the fact that a counselor and a client will always have different worldviews. The two entities may not belong to the same age, social class, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. Consequently, the way they see the world will be quite distinct. Responsible counseling involves first understanding the counselors own worldview. This involves knowing all about his or her cultural attitudes, backgrounds and beliefs. Counselors should also be aware of the limits of their multicultural competence. Furthermore, they need to have knowledge about cultural stereotypes, discrimination and depictions of culture in daily settings such as work. Since they know their limitations, responsible counselors will seek help when working with culturally divergent clients. Additionally, diversity issues also involve understanding the client’s worldview. First, the counselor should know about his or her own biases against the ethnicity or group that the client belongs to. He or she should also know about the manifestation of biases against the group and whether cultural background has an effect on a patient’s psychological issues. Some sociopolitical issues may affect individuals from certain groups, so a counselor should be able to delineate these macro effects from the client’s personal psychological issues. A responsible counselor should address clients in a language they understand and should endeavor to learn more about the client’s group. He or she ought to work towards eliminating cultural biases on his part in order to enhance clinical outcomes (Murphy & Dillon, 2011).
Murphy, B. & Dillon, C. (2011). Interviewing in action in a multicultural world. Belmont, CA: Brooks.