The term ‘counsellor’ is a well-respected and familiar term. Counsellors are trained mental health professionals who help support those struggling with both emotional and relationship issues. They provide a safe environment to positively guide individuals through their difficulties. Counselling skills are a set of expertise that anyone can learn and are incredibly useful for those wanting to enhance their counselling career or support their families and friends. When communicating with clients, counsellors need to possess certain skills to understand what a person is going through and provide substantial feedback. Those struggling with mental health issues are vulnerable, and their emotional states require a particular approach. Counselling skills allow individuals to comprehend a person’s needs and effectively support them.
What Are Counselling Skills?
Counselling skills are defined as a combination of communication, knowledge, ethics, and values to support the emotional health and well-being of others. Using counselling skills ensures that those receiving help overcome all obstacles they are struggling with. These capabilities allow the counsellor to build rapport with others, whilst also establishing trust so that their clients feel heard and understood.
Who Uses Counselling Skills?
Counselling skills can be learnt and used by anyone; however, they are particularly suitable for practice by the following professionals:
- Social workers,
- Medical professionals,
- Ambulance services,
The Core Counselling Skills
Counselling skills should be used consciously to fully comprehend an individual’s issues and support them with their decision-making. Some of the core counselling skills include…
Active Listening – This means that you focus your complete attention on what your client is saying. Active listening ensures that you are understanding your client’s message, entirely comprehending all information, and responding thoughtfully. All of which will encourage the person you are supporting to fully open up about their current situation. Active listening does not just mean hearing and observing what a person is saying, it is also important to remember eye contact and tone of voice to develop a deeper connection with a client.
Paraphrasing – This includes being able to efficiently summarise what a person has said to you. Paraphrasing is one of the most important skills for a counsellor to have as it shows that they have actively listened to and absorbed the information provided to them by their client.
Focusing – A counsellor needs to use focusing techniques to stay attentive, establish the core issues of concern and not allow the topic of discussion to shift away. Verifying that you remain focused and help your client through the challenges they are facing.
Summarising – Whilst supporting a client, counsellors will need to effectively summarise and condense information as a response to validate what the client is feeling.
Allowing Silence – Silence can play an effective role in counselling. Allowing a period of silence can encourage a person to think as well as talk. It also helps a client and counsellor to build a trusting and supportive relationship.
Asking Questions – When a counsellor asks questions, it allows them to clarify what their client is saying. Counsellors should incorporate both open and closed-ended questions to ensure they fully interpret what a person is saying. Open-ended questions help gather more detailed information from a person, whereas closed-ended aid a counsellor to get more specific answers.
Self-Awareness – Being self-aware of body language, gestures, and facial expressions is essential for all counsellors. This is because all three can affect a person’s willingness to share personal information. Counsellors should focus on techniques of self-awareness to ensure that no signs of boredom or frustration are shown during sessions.
Building Rapport – Rapport means having a connection with another person. In counselling, building rapport with the client is incredibly important to ensure that those sharing personal information feel comfortable and trusting in their counsellor.
Showing Empathy – Even though having boundaries with clients is vital for any professional relationship, compassion and empathy towards a person’s situation should always be displayed. Guiding them with dedication through their struggles and helping them find their way to a better situation and headspace.
How To Use Counselling Skills
Understanding how to use counselling skills is just as vital as knowing what they are and their objectives. The following points are ways to help you learn how to use your counselling skills effectively:
- Review your client’s notes before and after each session.
- Be brief and use your own words whilst reflecting.
- Refrain from sharing any client information from your counselling sessions with other co-workers.
- Do not force those you are counselling for personal information.
- Always be aware of your body language during sessions.
Counselling skills are essential for building a strong relationship between clients and their therapists. They can effectively help those struggling to overcome their stresses to live a more fulfilled life. Here at CT Skills, we offer Counselling Skills as a free online course! We also have five other short courses that you can enrol on today. If they’re not for you, we also offer apprenticeships for learners and recruitment services for employers!